By Alan Hamill
What happened on Somerton Beach and in Adelaide from the 1930’s to the 1980’s?
Back to Homepage here
In this post I will attempt to deconstruct the coroner’s queries from a file that has a last entry dated in 1970. This may have been a file that lasted till that date by being in a “corner” somewhere and contains the coroner’s thoughts as to some of the questions he needed to ask when the case proved more complex than originally considered.
View original document here and marked up document here.
Even though the sites that discuss this case on the various interweb locations (including this one) have tended to indicate that the printed reports used from time to time came from the hand (or typewriter) of Leane. In fact quite a few of these reports to the Coroner were produced by Detective Len Brown and Brown was the unofficial lead investigator and did all the legwork. However, the case was overseen and managed by Leane.
The report attached does not list a date of compilation, nor does it nominate its author, however, it does mention trying on the clothes found in the suitcase and this is why it’s likely to be by the hand of Len Brown.
A Barley Grass seed head was found in the suitcase in a pair of trousers in a similar position to the trousers SM was wearing. This would indicate that the grass seeds didn’t come from walking locally at Somerton during the evening of the 30th of November, but at some time before the suitcase was lodged at the Railway Station.
Why is it that Detective Brown would misspell Somerton? When you go through the document there are quite a few corrections so maybe he did this report hurriedly?
It is here that it may get interesting as it mentions the mark on his face which has been discussed widely as an entry point for a prefrontal lobotomy.
During the late 1930’s and up to the mid 1940’s, severely disturbed mental patients may have been treated by surgeons employing prefrontal lobotomy (leukotomy) surgery in what was called “the wire loop leukotomy” method where a hole would be drilled in a patients skull at the point where the top of the nose met the forehead. From the late 1940’s the “transorbital leucotome” method was employed where the entry holes were made in the eye sockets by lifting up the eyelids and going in behind them in front of the eye.
A semi-trained pair of hands possibly tried a wire loop leukotomy through the top of the nose as they had little faith in their workmanship to go in through the eyes and get all the angles right. They were probably right handed as the facial entry was off centre to the right allowing them to work from the left hand side of poor old Charlie.
Was the query about “Mark on Face” about a scar that wasn’t mentioned under his chin? An outward sign of an earlier broken jaw listed on a report for another “Joe” or should I say Alex?
Where conventional anaesthesia was unavailable, or inconvenient to utilise, electroconvulsive therapy could be used to render the patient unconscious for the purposes of administering this brain treatment.
You will see (above) where the Coroner wanted to know about Carl’s shirt having a large blood stain on the back behind his head near a tear and whether this blood came from the mark on his face. This blood-staining was not on his coat even though he was wearing his coat and any stain should have been found on the coat before it made it to his shirt. He wanted to question the person who removed SM’s clothing to verify this query. This notation appears more than once in this document.
Given that the medical examiner and his staff were supposed to be highly regarded at the time, it is unlikely they would have placed SM on a dirty slab so the question remains, why wasn’t this reported in earlier studies and documents?
Oddly enough, in this case there has been discussion about another phone number being that of a local bank. Now we see a notation about a Bank Clerk and reference to another case.
What could these two possible chemicals be? Are they the Coroner’s next best guess as to a poison?
This note indicates SM’s right hand and fingers were closed (bent) as if they were holding something or were being clenched in pain or anger.
As indicated in the section at the top about grass seeds in the suitcase, there were also the same seeds found in the clothes he was wearing when on the beach. As the seeds were in both the suitcase and his clothes, they had to be present before the suitcase was lodged at the Railway Station.
Were all these clothes part of the rapid delivery from Broken Hill by our lad on the motor bike, tipped out on the grass to be sorted, and some put back in to the case while the rest was left to float away?
How long could someone tolerate a grass seed in their singlet? Never, never, never! Or perhaps only if you were unconscious.
More queries about blood stains and seeds.
The trousers SM was wearing on the morning of Wednesday December 1st 1948 had tobacco remnants in the right hip pocket but no remnants in either side pocket. And the coat had tobacco remnants in both side pockets.
So it’s likely that whoever owned the clothes, whether it was SM or someone else prior, smoked “rollies” or “roll your own” as they would not be able to carry “tailor-made” or filter cigarettes in their back pocket as they would be irreparably broken and unusable almost instantly when you sat down. This renders the ArmyClub/Kensitas cigarettes as planted items most likely.
And the clothes’ owner was right handed given the placement in the right hip pocket. We’re yet to confirm SM as left handed or right handed.
And was it a Hillman Minx that had the ROK lodged into it or was it a Ford Utility truck?
According to a later update (5-5-70 Addenda) the Hillman Minx Sedan that was part of the ROK search was not the car that the mutilated ROK was actually thrown into. The ROK was thrown into the back of a utility truck in Glenelg!
Like this one below!
Like the one the brother in law of Freeman had access to. The actual Freeman member to be involved in this case was likely Mick Freeman, not a chemist, but a visiting bank manager from New South Wales. The delivery of the ROK to Police was carefully delivered by the chemist knowing Mick had a criminal wrap sheet as long as the road is from Charters Towers is to Adelaide. Or did the Chemist know anything about it at all?
Is the concept of a chemist being part of this case completely irrelevant or malicious?
Did the bank manager deliver the instructions and £50,000 to George for his past and upcoming efforts?
Aaghaz – Tamam ………. (#go to Home Page)
Aaghaz 1930’s – Tamam 1980’s (#1) ……… click here.
A foggy day in Old London Town (#2) ………. click here.
Hiding in plain sight (#3) ………. click here.
Just letters? Nope! They’re a message! (#4) ………. click here.
Care for a walk on the beach dear? (#5) :- click ………. here.
Imagine, one day we’ll use power from the sun! (#6) :- ………. click here.
The Hands of a Sous Chef! (#7) :- ………….click here.
Is that lipstick on your collar Chuck? No, it’s all my blood! (#8) :- .. click here.
More pages and posts will be here soon ………… click here
Hey Ronald, the Medics have come to clean up your town again! (#) :- …click next.
Back in the day, my mates at the 8th Light Horse would’ve taken care of it. (#) :- …click next.
I’ll open our orders Mr Bickford? Yes Colonel. (#) :- …click next.
If you need Barbour, Birks and Cleland, they’re down at Piccadilly. (#) :- …click next.
Tumby Bay Retirement Home – Hurry, it’s in great demand! (#) :- …click next.
A new Sheriff comin’ to town. And he’s one of yours! (#) :- …click next.
The Hatfields v The McCoys v Who wins? (#) :- …click next.
The gardener’s job at Wolston Park? NO WAY! (#?) :- ………. click soon.
Nothin’ leaves here with tags! OK? Nothin’! SIR, YES SIR. (#?) :- ..click soon.
Could I get some more diallers please Jimmy? (#) :- …click next.
Jessie and Tiny Tina? (#?) :- ………. click soon.
When Jessica meets Dorothy! Hello! (#?) :- ………. click next.
H C Reynolds was a local. (#?) :- click ……….
You’re a loose cannon Dwyer! Lt Col (Dr) Matthew John (Barb) Dwyer ME. (#?) :- click ……….
So, Cleland and Bickford run the SAJC! There’s trouble! (#?) :- click ……….
She’s the poet, not me! (#?) :- click ……….
Boy, I’ve said it before! It’s for the greater good, the bigger picture! (#?) :- click ……….
Painter? Painter? I’m not after a Painter! (#?) :- click ……….
I’ll let you know at the Lodge meeting tonight? (#?) :- click ….
Need a car, false statement, new wife, or.. ? (#?) :- click ……….
Now? But I’ve only done half my task! (#?) :- click ……….
The Snake Group (#?) :- click ……….
My Ol’ Kentucky home! (#?) :- click ……….
Meet the Curr Sisters! (#?) :- click ……….
Get out of jail free card. Was it handed down after ’66? (#?) :- click ……….
So, you both work at a Bank? Which Bank? (#?) :- click ……….
Everything in his pocket had a reason to be there! (#?) :- click ……….
When is a tie not a tie? When it’s a tie! (#?) :- click ……….
Flowers for the mother of my Grandson! (#?) :- click ……….
May I offer you a Kensitas Frank, my MI6 friend? (#?) :- click ……….
Was Pakie my aunty, mum? (#?) :- click ……….
Neighbours! Everybody needs good neighbours! (#?) :- click ……….
The Mail Truck is always on time! (#?) :- click ……….
Allow me to replace your ribbon! (#?) :- click ………
Pie Floater? No, a Gibbs Super Pastie please! (#?) :- click ………
You met my brother Wednesday! (#?). :- click ….
Comb your hair please, both of you! (#?) :- click ….
To backtrack and brush up on what this case is about, go to Wikipedia here
Some relevant reading that is on the same search path :-
The Unknown Man by G. M. (Gerry) Feltus 2010 ISBN 978-0-646-54476-2
Tamam Shud – The Somerton Man Mystery by Kerry Greenwood 2012 ISBN 9781742233505
City Of Evil by Sean Fewster 2018 ISBN 978-0-7336-2883-2
Spies and Sparrows by Phillip Deery 2022 ISBN 9780522878301
The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair 2021 ISBN 9781489296931
Actors Blood by Alastair Duncan 2004 ISBN 978 0 9751510 4 5
The Bookmaker From Rabaul by Peter Bowes 2016 ISBN-13 978-0995430211
You could also view some of the more relevant blogs listed below!
Tamam Shud / Somerton Man – Cipher Mysteries
University of Adelaide Wiki page
TAMAM SHUD The Somerton Man Mystery
Identifying the Somerton Man | Facebook
(Note – The site or sites may require subscription, or joining the site, to load fully)
To backtrack and brush up on what this case is about, go to Wikipedia here