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Were all the Webbs as camera shy as Carl?

Nobody’s having much luck in finding any more images of Carl Webb and as a result they are beginning to concoct a whole new series of reasons of why not, one being he was gay and given the times wasn’t too willing to advertise it, another that he had a nervous breakdown after his brother died, all meaning ……….

Here we go again.

The committee though has come up with something a little revolutionary, asking if all the Webbs were equally discretionary when it came to having their photos taken and if so then that’s the mystery solved. The whole thing turns into a case of join the club.

We would ask any willing burrower to consider having a dig. Any successful efforts will gain substantial exposure, worldwide.

The Webb Mob

Russel R Webb 1893-1949

Freda Grace Webb 1896-1964

Gladys May Webb 1897-1955

Doris Maud Webb 1901-1956

Roy Webb 1904-1943  …. him we got Carl Webb 1905-1948 …. and him we got

We need the full collection, and who knows, young Carl might show up at a wedding or birthday party.

Searching for Carl Charles Webb

Everybody’s at it. His family tree is being dismembered, laid out and examined for anything that may lead to a sign he existed other than his signature on a wedding certificate found and paid for by Dome who I’m almost sure won’t mind me using it  … being such good mates as we are.

And that’s it so far. Never mind the dozens of Webb family members near and far because none of them has popped up with a pic of him as a man, a boy, baby or small child. Abbott hasn’t anything to offer, yet, and Dome is busy fielding a slew of new commentators, some of whom haven’t done much homework: for instance.

PB .. I would as well be interested in links to the Rubaiyat as a suicide handbook. It certainly is not well known as such, because if it was well known, it would be ah well…known. I need to know more on this, and if it is not forthcoming, it is worthy of being ignored. 

That’s from Matt. He should try GOOGLE sometimes, maybe get lucky and score a hit on a Rubiyat themed painting by Elihu Vedder he called The Suicide.

Then there’s this from the same fellow:

‘The murder allegations were made by the investigating coroners who examined the body at the time of death. They said he was poisoned. End of statement.’

Investigating coroners? Examining the body at the time of death? They said he was poisoned?

Matt, matey  .. how can someone be so wrong in just fifteen words. Trouble is, nobody over at Domes is bothered to put old Matt right, maybe suggest he read the inquest papers and buy a second hand copy of GF’s book, and good luck with that.

All of a sudden we’ve got all these new faces onboard and without being rude, they haven’t got a bloody notion. One particularly disappointing comment on DA’s facebook site has the phone number written on the Tamam Shud slip.


Bute is not a big town, only having about 450 residents in the 2016 census so I’m figuring when Webb’s wife Dorothy arrived there in 1947 the place might have been a little on the dusty side. Looking at the town’s website today and you will find six suggestions as to what to do when you visit. So hold onto your hat.

Stop the car and stroll around this lovely old town.

Visit the “Fauna Park“.

Picnic in the town square.

View local history.

Stroll through the streets and see the buildings.

Eat at the pub.

Stay overnight if you wish (at the caravan park)

Bute Railway Terrace

So, if like me you’re asking yourself why after six years of marriage the recently deserted and childless wife of Carl Webb left home and headed for Bute then one answer might be that she was familiar with the territory in some way.

So, there you go Matt, try researching for a Robertson family in Bute back in the forties, you might get lucky.

New Mission: Carl Charles Webb.

There’s a scene in Sicario: Day of The Solodado where Josh Brolin realises a young girl he’s transporting has gone missing and he calls out his team of mercenaries to say that they have a new mission.

Same here with Carl Charles Webb, once known as The Somerton Man.


Webb was thought to have arrived in Adelaide in November 1948 carrying various tools in his suitcase that were perfectly suited for gaining entry to motor vehicles and starting them without using a key (see previous post).

He was later found to have had two tickets in his pocket that indicated that he had two destinations in mind after arriving, settling for Glenelg rather than Henley Beach.

At the time Prosper Thomson was using a Moseley Street Glenelg phone number in his business of buying and selling used cars and his girlfriend Jessica Harkness was living there with her young son, Robin, his father unknown. She had arrived in Adelaide from Melbourne pregnant the year Webb deserted his wife. They had also lived in Melbourne.

Webb deserted his wife Dorothy Jean (nee Robertson) in 1947 after a childless marriage lasting almost six years.  She then moved to Bute in South Australia, a town 144 kilometres distant from Adelaide.


It is not known if Webb visited Bute before lodging his one suitcase at Adelaide Station on November 30th and buying the tickets to Henley Beach and Glenelg as no train tickets were found on his body, similarly, no lodging stub for his suitcase was found either.

Webb was found dead on Somerton Beach a short distance from the Moseley Street address the following morning and the only signs of violence found on the body was an abrasion between the knuckles of his right hand. Any identification he might have carried was removed.

Three medical witnesses called to the inquest were of the opinion that his death was not natural. The coroner could not say where he died. The two Persian words printed on a slip of paper found in his pocket took six months for the police to translate. The book it was torn from was handed in after the inquest was adjourned and it was found to have Prosper Thomson’s Moseley Street phone number written on the back cover together with series of lines of capital letters which have yet to be deciphered.

The labels on some of his clothes were noted by the coroner as being ‘carefully removed’, which may indicate they were bought second-hand from a clothes dealer who removed them prior to sale.

In the month before Webb deserted his wife, Prosper Thomson was advertising for a partner for an Adelaide used car business as well as placing several wanted ads for weapons (rifles).

In the month after Webb deserted his wife Thomson was advertising for a building suitable as a workshop.

The police were of the strong opinion that Webb was known to Prosper’s girlfriend, Jessica Harkness. Prosper Thomson was never interviewed by the police and as a result it is not known if he too knew Carl Webb.

As of yet no photographs of Carl Charles Webb have been unearthed other than the one taken of his body and none of his sizeable family is on record as having recognised him from his image reproduced in the many newspaper reports printed over the past seventy years.

Newspapers published in every city and major town in the country.

It is also noted that despite Webb being of a suitable age and having a very strong physique, there is no record of him as having any war service, unlike his brother Roy who died in a POW camp in ‘43.

Roy Webb, born 1904.

1947 – Prosper Thomson’s want ads and the possible uses of Carl Webb’s tools.

Updated … *

Screwdriver and Bobby Pin


The Six Pencils.

*‘Graphite powder is the preferred lock lubricant for professional locksmiths, so you know it’s good for lockpicking, All you need is a lead pencil.’  Robin Mansur.


Cut down knife and screwdriver.

*‘Johns & McHale specialised in odometer manufacture and ex-employees talk of how they learned how to disconnect them in rental cars to reduce their costs. There’s also a nice video on youtube showing how you clock a vintage mechanical odometer. All you need is a small screwdriver and a strong, thin, flat edge to prise apart the numbers on the barrel if you want to move them individually.’ Lifted from CipherMysteries, comment by Jamie.


Particle Brush containing an unidentified black powder.

Could be used to apply pencil graphite to the inside of car lock to assist the lockpicker. The black powder shaken from the brush was not successfully analysed by James Cowan as he only tested it for common poisons.



Could be used to strip ignition wires. An electrician/electrical engineer would have no trouble hot wiring any car in the 1940s.



*The Rubaiyat associated with Carl Webb had the Moseley Street phone number Prosper Thomson used for his classifieds (from July 1947) written on the back cover.  Number X3239.

Prosper Thomson’s girlfriend Jessica Harkness, who lived at Moseley Street at the time, almost fainted when she was shown Webb’s bust. When questioned by the police she divulged nothing. Prosper Thomson was not interviewed.

Carl Webb’s body was found on the morning of December 1, 1948 only two hundred yards away from Jessica’s home in Moseley Street.

The coroner ruled that Webb did not die where he was found, citing the body’s conflicting lividity.

The cold case investigator – ex-detective Gerry Feltus – interviewed a man who had formally reported to the police in 1959 that he and three others had seen a man carrying another man along Somerton beach on the night of November 30, 1948, the night before the body was found.  Feltus, a seasoned detective, found the man reliable.

Some conclusions  may be drawn.


Some of the classifieds Prosper Thomson placed in 1947 together with other relevant information.

1947 – Jessica Harkness arrives in Adelaide from Melbourne.

Feb 47 – Clinic Distrib. WANTED – Paying cash or exchange take over terms for Roadster.

Mar 47 – Clinic Distrib. FOR SALE – Morris 10 hp series 1940 for Dodge or similar. Genuine NSPR.

Mar 47 – Box 1009j. WANTED – House or flat. Thomson

Mar 47 – FOR SALE – Dodge 1923 single seater NSPR £110

Mar 47 – Wanted .22 rifle (Three times this month). Hindley St.

Mar 47 – WANTED .22 auto or repeater -cash or exchange Healing Cycle. Thomson

Mar 47 – WANTED. Car, any make, any model, buckboard will do. Thomson Box 1009j.

Mar 47 – WANTED. Partner for used car business – £500 to £1000. City premises. Box 1009j £500 to £1,000


Apr 47 – Wanted. Car or buckboard, any make. McTaggart (twice more this month). Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. Employment of any kind. Good refs Thomson. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. URGENTLY. Car any type, spot cash. Thomson. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED DESPERATELY. Car, any type, pay cash. Box 953H. £75 to £200

May 47 – WANTED. Any make car, cash or takeover terms. Thomson. £150. Box 953H

May 47 – WANTED. Building suit workshop – pay ingoing or buy plant. URGENT. Thomson. Box 953H.

June / July 1947 – Jessica Harkness gives birth to son Robin.

July 47 – WANTED. 1946 / 47 sedan for taxi. URGENT. Thomson, X3239. Moseley Street.*


And a big thank you to Dude47, who’s been been plugging Webb as a shifty sort of character from day 1.

CARL ’CHARLES’ WEBB and His Family Tree.

See end of post for family tree.


The Somerton Man is said to be Carl ‘Charles’ Webb.

Born 1905 Footscray, Melbourne.

He had six siblings.

He disappeared in ‘April 47, the same year Robin was born and Jessica moved to Adelaide from Melbourne.

Deserting his wife, Dorothy “Doff” Webb. Maiden name Dorothy Jean Robertson.

They had no children.

She divorced him in absentia in 1951 and by that time was living in Bute, South Australia, 90 miles from Adelaide.

Electrical Engineer – Instrument Maker.


DNA match made. First cousin three times removed on his mother’s side.

No photo of him found.

No official record of him found other than his record of birth.

No death record.

None of his family on record as having identified him as the Somerton Man from newspaper photos

Derek Abbott claims success. Colleen Fitzpatrick claims success.

SA police have no comment to make, neither verifying or confirming this claim.

Abbott has found Webb had a brother-in-law named Thomas Keane who lived in Brunswick, and believes the sharp objects were likely used in his work as instrument maker.

Abbott found family records showing he wrote poetry and liked a punt on the racehorses.

The following lifted from CNN, article written by Hilary Whiteman.

Who was Carl ‘Charles’ Webb?

According to Abbott, Webb was born on November 16, 1905 in Footscray, a suburb of Victoria’s state capital Melbourne. He was the youngest of six siblings.

Little is known about his early life, Abbott says, but he later married Dorothy Robertson — known as Doff Webb.

When Webb emerged as the prime person of interest on the family tree, Abbott and Fitzpatrick set to work, scouring public records for information about him. They checked electoral rolls, police files and legal documents. Unfortunately, there were no photos of him to make a visual match.

“The last known record we have of him is in April 1947 when he left Dorothy,” said Fitzpatrick, founder of Identifinders International, a genealogical research agency involved in some of America’s most high-profile cold cases.

“He disappeared and she appeared in court, saying that he had disappeared and she wanted to divorce,” Fitzpatrick said. They had no known children.


Courtesy of Byron Deveson.



‘You know how I answer the question, ”Was he a spy?” I get a coin, and I flip it up in the air.’ Feltus.

The Somerton Man is in the news again.

Read more

Adelaide’s Other Black Market And Another Look At The Somerton Man Mystery.

Then it's the simple matter of arranging a meeting between the buyer and the German and offering him work in the same field in another country.

Read more

The Somerton Man’s DNA – What They Said

'I essentially think about him every day and I wonder every day, literally, about the truth and where I fit into all this and where he fits into all of this and how we fit into all of this as a family.' (Rachel Egan)

Read more

Solving the Somerton Man Mystery, step by step.

Theory and precedent.

Read more

Reading between the lines. Is this what the code is all about?

What is revealed by the placement of the code letters?

Read more

There’s more to this than meets the eye …

And a stroll up the garden path

Read more

How the Somerton Man investigation could have been done in one day.

90A Moseley Street

The phone rings.

Read more

The Unknown Man Who Saw What Was Really There ..

And covered it all up.

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The Somerton Man’s suitcase contents by classification

A definitive list of what was there and what might have been missing.

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Why was the Tamam Shud slip hidden so carefully when the book was dumped for anyone to find?


Gordon Cramer’s Micro_Code Claim Discredited.

Gordon Cramer writes that the individual responsible for marking up the photograph of the code did so in order to deny the agency most able to confirm his micro-code claims the opportunity to do so, this act giving rise to at least three propositions - none of them believable.

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Ancora Imparo –

and how it relates to the work of Gordon Cramer

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The question nobody has asked ..

Here we have two spies engaged in determining each others' identity by reconciling the shape and size of the Tamam Shud slip with the hole in the last page of the Freeman Rubaiyat ...

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What could be an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the death of the Somerton Man.

With a little help from Aristotle and the infamous Soviet spy, Harry Gold.


In the course of his interrogation, Rumrich divulged some information on how the Nazi spy ring operated. For example, he explained how as a means of identification, he would receive one half of a torn postcard that would be reconciled with the other half carried by one of his fellow agents.

NThe Nazi Spy Ring in America – Rhodi Jeffreys-Jones.


In a fragment ascribed to Aristotle’s Constitution of Ithaca, the Spartans repeatedly used a pair of sticks (skutálē) as a simple encryption device. A long piece of leather was wrapped around a stick of a particular diameter and a message was written on it. The message could not be read without being wrapped around around a stick of the same diameter.

The Aristotlian fragment gives another version of the skutálē as it was used in financial transactions in Sparta. Discourides cut the skutálē in the presence of witnesses and wrote the corresponding part on each segment to signify a contract or bond (sumbolaoin). He would give one part to one of the witnesses and keep the other himself. This suggests what might have been a more precise function in wartime.

Aristotle’s Empiricism – Jean De Groot.


After wrapping up the details of the Fuchs meeting, the handler told (Harry) Gold something surprising: the Soviets had a second mole inside Los Alamos. This mole would be in Albuquerque, not far from Santa Fe, while Gold was visiting, so Gold needed to make a side trip there to pick up additional papers from a man named Greenglass.

The handler then gave Gold half a Jell-O box top, which had been cut into a jigsaw shape. He passed the puzzle piece over to Gold. You’ll know it’s Greenglass, he said, because he’ll have the other half.

Harry Gold: Spy in the Lab – Sam Kean April 25, 2019.


Somerton Beach, 1948.

The plan was for one agent to receive a copy of a book (Rubaiyat) with the part of the last page containing the two words Tamam Shud removed. The other agent was to receive the removed slip of paper. Upon meeting they would reconcile both the tear in the book and the Tamam Shud slip. With that completed to their satisfaction, whatever needed to done would be done.

Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances were their undoing and the agent carrying the TS slip was found dead on the morning after their meeting was planned to have taken place,* aware of this the other agent disposed of his Rubaiyat through the open window of a car parked nearby rather than be caught with it in his possession.

Given that contact was known to exist between both agents and Harkness: one being the existence of her phone number on the back of the abandoned Rubaiyat, the other her reaction at being shown the bust of the dead man found to be carrying the TS slip, it is suspected she was responsible for covertly distributing both the book and the TS slip.

As far as the code found inscribed on the back of the Rubaiyat is concerned, it may have been something written by a previous owner as the book was likely sourced by Harkness second-hand rather than bought new. Her choice of a Rubaiyat as a means of covert identification is not surprising as she was known to have a strong attachment to the book, as evidenced by her gift of an inscribed copy to a wartime acquaintance some years previously.

Alf Boxall

Speculation has it that the reason both the body and abandoned Rubaiyat were found so close to Harkness’ home is that not only did she covertly distribute the book and slip, she also advised the agents where would be the best time and place for them to meet.

Here, in the open?

… or here, behind closed doors?

*If we were to believe that the man who saw a man carrying a man along the beach on the night of the 30th was watching the Somerton Man being taken to the bottom of the steps, already dead, then perhaps the man doing the carrying was the individual SM was meant to meet and the meeting and his death took place at 90A Moseley St. A scenario that might explain the body’s lividity, and after completing the carry he abandoned the Rubaiyat by slipping it into Freeman’s auto, not realising Harkness’ phone number was written on the back.

What was the real purpose of the Tamam Shud slip?

Time and Place.

Read more

Several years ago, Ms. Egan had her DNA analyzed …

Several years ago, Ms. Egan had her DNA analyzed, and links were found to people in the United States (including relatives of Thomas Jefferson). More recently, links were also found to the grandparents of the man that Jo Thomson eventually married.” (Prosper Thomson)

NYT 21 May 2021.


We almost know these words by heart, particularly those in the Abbott family who might be wishing it all went away. Nevertheless, given the years the Professor and his wife Rachel have spent publicly declaring she and their children may be related to the Somerton Man it’s only natural that we continue his quest, though in a completely different direction now that Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick has upset the Abbott applecart.

Rachel and Derek at the gravesite.

Jessica (Jo) Harkness became pregnant in late 1946. She was also known to be in Mentone and staying at her parent’s home in October 1946, whether for a visit or something more permanent isn’t known so it’s conceivable she fell pregnant whilst there and not prior to leaving Sydney.

Prosper Thomson moved from Blacktown in NSW to Melbourne in 1936 where he lived in Mentone with his wife Queenie. Within weeks of Jessica finding she was pregnant, Thomson left his wife and accompanied her to Adelaide where they both settled as man and wife with Jessica passing herself off as a Thomson and where she gave birth to a son, Robin, future father of Rachel, the lady whose DNA links were ‘found to the grandparents of the man Jo Thomson eventually married.

A man doesn’t have to be Einstein.


Mrs. Ina Harvey revisited

'I won't be seeing you again.' 

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To part quote Derek Abbott ‘There’s two things that bug me.’

He was talking about socks, I'm talking about tickets.

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This case is one of secrets upon secrets: names suppressed, names withheld for generations, police investigation inexplicably delayed, crucial evidence ignored, evidence tampered with, evidence withheld from public scrutiny, crucial fingerprinting not done, police investigation hampered, witnesses not called to give evidence, evidence as a whole not officially secured for over two months, witnesses suspected of being rehearsed, crucial evidence not acted upon, suspected false evidence submitted, inquest closed despite compelling new evidence, witnesses not interviewed in a timely manner, failure to enquire aircraft passenger arrivals of a passenger Keane prior to body being found, false images distributed to the press, failure of police to door-knock nearby Somerton Beach residences after body found, contradictory depositions submitted, false reporting allowed, incomplete analysis of evidence, contradictory depositions not questioned, early loss of crucial evidence and inadequate official reasons given for same, incomplete investigation of poisons as means of death, contradictory legal rulings, key witness not followed up for second interview, key witness not asked whereabouts prior to body being found, key witness’ de facto husband not questioned, his whereabouts immediately prior the body being found not known – and all of this in the middle of one of Australia’s best kept political secrets, the employment of dozens of Nazis in an Adelaide suburb within months of the end of WW2.*

The exhumation of the Somerton Man’s body was completed almost twelve months ago and an investigation into his DNA commenced almost immediately but no results have been made public.

Given the above perhaps they never will be.


Fifty days to interpret the two words ‘Tamam Shud.’

The third instalment of a series of posts that show the influence Detective Sergeant Leane had on all aspects of the Somerton Man Investigation. Here we look at his removal of evidence from the Somerton Man's suitcase and the 50 day delay in translating the two words 'Tamam Shud.'

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