On the morning of 1st December 1948, an unidentified man was found dead on Somerton Beach just south of Adelaide: he is usually referred to as “The Somerton Man” or sometimes “The Unknown Man”.Six weeks later, a suitcase apparently containing the same man’s property was retrieved from Adelaide Railway Station’s cloakroom, where it had been deposited at around 11am the day before his death.Yet a curious feature is that despite having been found with his head propped up against the sea wall, the dead man’s body had extensive lividity (blood pooling) at the back of the head, suggesting that his body had spent some considerable time after dying with the head in a quite different position (i.e.lying on its back face up, yet with the head slightly below the rest of the body).
She did tell police that she had independently given a copy of the Rubaiyat to a man called Alfred Boxall, who she had met at the Clifton Gardens Hotel in Sydney in 1944 while she was training to be a nurse at the nearby Royal North Shore Hospital.
However, in a 2013 interview for the Australian “60 Minutes” current affairs TV programme, her daughter Kate revealed that her mother had told her that she indeed did know more about the Somerton Man, but had deliberately not revealed it to police.
She also revealed that her mother was able to speak Russian; suggested that her mother may have been involved in some spy-related activity; and that her mother thought that the whole Somerton Man affair was above “a State Police level”.
The phone number X3239 turned out to be that of a nurse called Jessica Ellen Thomson (née Harkness) living at 90A Glenelg Street, not far from the same beach.
When quizzed by the police at the time, she said that she did not know who the deceased was.