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Blame Derek Abbott and his University of Adelaide researchers.

Five years ago, when it was suggested that the mystery of the Somerton Man might make a fair fictional read if someone could put it all together, I found DA’s UoA site and began reading it up, thinking that a professor of engineering and his students would have all the facts.

They wrote (it has long been corrected) that a ‘Tom Keane’ was a sailor on the steamship Cycle, which was in Adelaide at the time, and a couple of the crew had come by to view the body because Keane was reported missing.

The two crew members  said the body was not Tom Keane and that was the end of that.

‘Why,’ I shouted at my computer screen, ‘didn’t someone go on with it and find out where this Tom Keane had gone?’

I didn’t  get a response.

Derek Abbotts’ students had got it wrong. The missing seaman was Tom Reade.

There were two Toms.

Now you know.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Xlamb #

    Pete I came to the SM subject for an entirely different reason as you know, and it was only after the I.D. match in mid 2010 that I thought I needed to find out more about SM. So I read GF’s book the following year. As odd as it may sound I didn’t use the Internet until 2011, and gradually I read a bit more. I’d only seen a small article in the papers till then, and it was presented more as one of Adelaide’s myths and legends, rather than a cold case or unidentified man needing a name. My father had wanted to talk about it sometimes, so I let him, and I thought little more of it until I remembered his other past criminal activities.

    After reading GF’s book, one of the main and most open ended issues that stuck with me was the matter of the ‘missing sailor’. I could never understand why his absence didn’t become another investigation as to where he’d gone as well. No-one seemed to care what became of him. So to me it seemed their was 2 dead men. For one there was a body and no name, while the other had a name, and no body was found. Yet the latter wasn’t given any real investigation at all. But he must have also had a family somewhere who wondered where he’d gone. So to me there are 2 cases to solve, not just SM’s

    June 16, 2016
  2. Clive #

    Hi Xlamb, Does seem odd that a seaman called Tom Reade goes missing, and the authorities are made aware, yet all the focus is on the body on the beach, Whatever happened with Tom Reade’s disappearance? Sailors did/do ‘jump’ ship and never returned for a variety of reasons, it’s happened ever since man sailed the seas, but in this case, the silence is deafening.

    June 17, 2016
  3. Xlamb #

    Clive…He doesn’t appear on S.A.’s ‘missing persons’ list…But according to that, not one person went missing pre-1966.

    Pete…Ever since you stated that I could spell correctly, I’ve been making mistakes.
    Think you’ve jinxed me!

    June 17, 2016
  4. Clive #

    Xlamb, Everyone makes misstakes!

    June 18, 2016

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