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The ‘Other’ Phone Number.

Littlemore: “Chief Inspector, you said there were two ‘phone numbers in – in the book.”

Brown: “Yes.”

Littlemore: “What about the other one.”

Brown: “The other one – er was of er – business premises and we were not able to trace or find any person that had -er spoken to the deceased person. Um – we were satisfied that er- this was just probably noted down in a – in a general way that any -er ordinary person would note the ‘phone number down.”

Littlemore: ” But not necessarily so satisfied about the first one.”

Brown: “No.”


In Gerry Feltus’ book ‘The Unknown Man’ he writes that there was mention of another phone number(s) written on the back of the Rubaiyat but goes on to say he had seen no evidence of them. Feltus also makes no mention of DS Leane or any other detective following up the other number despite Brown’s response, saying there was.


The Somerton Man was not ‘an ordinary person’ as Brown intimated as everything do with him was subjected to a painstaking analysis: his clothes, possessions, tools, fingernails, cigarettes, calves, skin, genitals, teeth, fingers, hands, feet, underwear, thighs, shoes, shirts and ties, the code, his brain, stomach contents, hair, pencils and envelopes – everything but the other phone number, the one Feltus found no evidence of, the one Brown was happy to write off as irrelevant.

Irrelevant? The police spent months trying to track down who the Somerton Man was, how he travelled to Adelaide, who he might have seen and if he had any connections in the city.

And here they had a slam dunk connection. A local phone number unaccountably deemed irrelevant by the investigating police despite their not being able to find and interview who it was the Somerton Man wished to talk to or why, leaving us to wonder what made them decide to walk away – unless the decision was made for them.

Because no mention has ever been made of the type of business Brown said was linked to the other phone number or the police who were unable to trace or find who may have spoken to the Somerton Man. Was it Detective Canney? Detective Inspector Brown himself? Detective Sergeant Leane?

Not a whisper. Nothing in print.

Making this look like an unwritten chapter in the true story of The Somerton Man.

We don’t know the telephone number of this ‘business.’

We don’t know its name.

We don’t know its address, assuming that’s where the police went in their search for someone who may have spoken to TSM.

We don’t know who was tasked with interviewing the employees of this business and we don’t know what the employees did.

We don’t know what the business did.

We don’t know if the ‘business’ was a private concern or something more on the official side.

And we don’t know why Gerry Feltus was unable to unearth the information Len Brown was privy to, or why Brown kept it from him.

Which might make this other ‘phone number the missing link in understanding why The Somerton Man was in Adelaide.

Either that or trust Detective Inspector Brown’s word that the phone number was irrelevant despite being written on the back of a Rubaiyat together with an undeciphered code and the phone number of a woman thought to be involved in the possible murder of the writer.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Sanders writes on Cipher Mysteries “in reviewing old running sheets; the second number was said (read below) to have been traced to ‘State Savings Bank of S.A. at 23 Currie St. though they pulled out in ’42 leaving private tenants and A.G.’s plods plus renovators behind, until CSB bank re established there in 1949”
    I have two questions there: (1) Running sheets? and (2) who was it who said the second number was traced?
    We deal in certifiable facts here Johnno, not some old chaff you picked up here and there from this bloke or that.

    Gordon Cramer
    too has a point to make, saying ‘the number is C 7407 and it’s the number of the Savings Bank of South Australia. But, I am told, it is also the number for the SA Attorney General’s Office in the same building with a shared switchboard. And there is one other party to that switchboard, The Commonwealth Investigation Service.’

    We deal in certifiable facts here Gordon, and if as you say the number C 7407 was found (by you) to be in tiny writing on the back of the Rubaiyat then you’ve already my response.

    And a very good morning to both of you.

    April 3, 2022
  2. It would seem I’m still blocked from commenting on Gordon’s blog, however I’d like to congratulate him for convincing John Sanders that micro-writing exists in that he appears to have quoted Gordon’s findings, sadly though without giving him credit, nevertheless to have a follower is quite an achievement.

    April 3, 2022
  3. Clive #

    C7407: See following from ‘The Advertiser’ 12 May 1948 Page 6, 7 Apr 1949 Page 14 & 25 Mar 1950 Page 15.

    April 3, 2022
  4. Clive #

    12/5/1948 Lost & Found; 7/4/49 Flat Wanted; 25/3-50 C’Wealth Exec.

    April 3, 2022
  5. Looks like someone has a case of wrong number … Gordon? Your call.

    April 3, 2022
  6. the Sly Dog #

    I always thought that the link of the second phone number to the bank was put forward by an amateur teenaged sleuth who was convinced the code letters were number substitutes, or some nonsense like that… he made the newspaper of the time and it becomes fact? While I don’t own a copy of the Feltus book to make a quick check, there is a chapter in there that mentions this.

    April 4, 2022
  7. Waiting for another squiz at where Gordo found it

    April 4, 2022
  8. the Sly Dog #

    While you wait… what about the number W9048 that was included in the markup on the back cover of the Feltus book? Feltus got that from the jottings in the original SA Police file, or something like that, so maybe a number that they called at the time?

    April 6, 2022
    • Check bottom of latest post for the place where GC said he found the number … and that number on the back of Feltus’ book was just cover art … nothing to do with anything real.

      April 6, 2022

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