I think we can now say with much greater confidence that the photo revealed in last week’s History Channel documentary is indeed that of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Jaluit Atoll after their capture by the Japanese in July 1937. The ship has been confirmed as the IJN Koshu, as I suggested it might be last week.
The best support came of out of Tokyo, ironically. Defeated by facial recognition software all the Japs could come up with was the old pre-date the photo and stick it in the national archives trick. They’re claiming the photo was taken in 1935. I am not even sure that Amelia and Fred were IN the Marshall Islands, alone on Jaluit Atoll, in 1935.
The island was then under Japanese control. There was a small airfield there (you guys very properly bombed it in the war), but why would the Japs grant permission to American flyers to use it, at a time when they were secretly fortifying the Marshall Islands in breach of international law? And what would fliers be doing down at the docks anyway? They would hardly have arrived by sea.
The clincher, aside from tracking Amelia and Fred’s movements in 1935, is that the KoshuMaru appears not to have been in service in 1935! I believe that she did not appear in the Lloyds Register until 1937, when she was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Then there’s the small matter of the plane being towed on a barge, which happens to be the same length (38ft) as a Lockheed Electra (we’re not talking the later turboprop here!). How do the Japs explain that away?
Amelia’s last flight
The 1937 round-the-world flight was originally planned to be west-east, as I pointed out last week. For recon purposes over the target areas in the Carolines and the Marshall Islands, however, east-west made more sense, as they needed to arrive overhead in daylight. It made little aviation sense of course, as it meant flying AGAINST the prevailing winds.
The fact that Amelia and Fred were flying mostly into wind is important when it comes to determining which model Electra they were flying. Mary Lovell, her biographer, who is critical of Amelia’s flying skills, and others unwilling to confront the brutal truth that Amelia and Fred were murdered by the Japs, claim that she was flying the same aircraft, a Model 10 Electra, tail number N16020, which she so skillfully crashed on take-off at Honolulu.
That cannot be right however. On the way out to the Pacific, the intrepid duo were delayed at Fort Lamey by a leaking oleo (undercarriage leg) strut. The landing ground at their next stop, El-Fasher, was unlit. They were running to a tight schedule, partly because the ONI had arranged a rendezvous with a warship at Camden Island, which they would not have wanted hanging around.
For whatever reason, Amelia and Fred could not risk a day’s delay, so they set off late for El-Fasher. This meant that Amelia had to pour on the sauce, as they used to say in the Royal Flying Corps. This in turn betrayed the true capabilities of their impressive machine.
The boys at Burbank had fitted her with the uprated, military-specification Pratt & Whitney R-585 engines developed for the pressurized XC-35 version of the Electra. Some have even claimed that she was flying an XC-35, even though photos of the plane taken at Lae, New Guinea,and elsewhere en route, clearly show that the aircraft lacked a pressure cabin. Although the Fairchild high-resolution cameras were good, they weren’t that good, i.e. there was no requirement for high-altitude flight.
Between Fort Lamy and El-Fasher, Amelia was cruising at up to 240 mph, some 50 mph faster than the maximum cruising speed of a Model 10 Electra. Bear in mind that the aircraft was fitted with long-range tanks and was heavily loaded.
Lovell and others have never sought to engage with these arguments, any more than the History Channel, which is generally sympathetic to the Axis powers, will try to deal with my arguments about the Koshu. (Perhaps the folk at the History Channel are afraid of being beheaded with a samurai sword!)
In Spyhunter I gave a maximum fuel load figure of 1,100 Imperial gallons. I am aware the aircraft was designed using the Winchester gallon, but she was refueled at Lae in the British Empire, where the fuel on board figure was calculated by the refueler, Robert Ivedale, in Imperial. I stand by the figure I gave in Spyhunter, which has not been challenged in the three years since the book was published.
I also stand by my range calculation – 4,800 statute miles in still air allowing for take-off and climb to 10,000 ft. That was a very impressive figure for 1937, but achievable, indeed it largely follows from the massive 1,321 US gallon tankage.
The last flight was clearly intended to be Lae-Truk-Marshall Islands-Camden Island. It wasn’t a bad plan by ONI, but of course it was betrayed.
Fred Noonan wasn’t drunk, by the way. As commenters on last week’s column correctly pointed out, he had been drinking but was sober by take-off. He was a consummate professional, a brilliant navigator and didn’t let his drinking interfere with his work. He was only a bottle a day man anyway – hardly an alcoholic!
I should also let readers into a little secret. If you’re a pilot and you’ve been at the sauce you can recover pretty quickly with a few whiffs of oxygen. In the old days, during the Cold War, it was not unknown for RAF pilots in Germany not to be entirely sober at take-off. (As my old man would no doubt be able to tell you, there were some rather good parties in officers’ messes at British air bases!). There were very few if any drink-related accidents, however, partly because of oxygen, but mostly because the pilots were pros.
Sad to relate, the RAF has gone PC these days. I gather that there is an expectation that pilots should be entirely sober before climbing into their aircraft. They’re not even allowed to bomb Germany any more – political correctness gone mad!
Who were the guilty men?
I name them in Spyhunter: William T. Miller, James Forrestal and Ernest ‘von’ King. Each was an agent of the German Abwehr and each knowingly conspired in the capture of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan by the Japanese. Happily, Miller was probably spotted and taken out during the war.
James Forrestal was very properly sanctioned by President Harry S. Truman and executed, informally, by the ONI in 1949. He was the first Secretary of Defense, but hopefully not the last, to be thrown from the top of a tall building. I gather that he screamed all the way down.
Paul Mantz and Frank Tallman
The cover-up has continued for 80 years. As part of the cover up, I think that the brilliant stunt flyer Paul Mantz was murdered during the filming of the movie ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ on July 8th 1965. Paul was Amelia’s right-hand man and saw her shiny, powerful new Electra close up.
The finding by NTSB that he had excess alcohol in his system was almost certainly flawed, indeed it suggests that NTSB knew that the scratch-built Phoenix plane had been sabotaged and were anxious to cover it up. The NTSB as an organisation lacks integrity, with respect, like its counterparts at Farnborough and in Paris.
I suspect that Paul Mantz’s colleague Frank Tallman was also murdered, possibly using a fake ADF beam, on April 15th 1978, over the Santa Anna Mountains. The crash was never properly investigated, which is another way say of saying that the NTSB handled the investigation.
The little guy’s still hanging in there. Mr Justice Francis, who very frankly should have recused himself, has adjourned the proceedings for further medical investigation. That’s all very well, but many are asking why a judge should even think of over-ruling decisions by loving parents as to who should treat their child. Baby Charlie is not in the care of the state. For a court to order treatment where parents have been delinquent is one thing. Banning parents from taking a child abroad for treatment by reputable and registered medical practitioners is quite another.
Great Ormond Street Hospital used to be good but is clearly behind the times. GOSH should back down and let better American doctors, who know what they are doing, try to save Baby Charlie’s life. No one is saying that there are guarantees – there aren’t. What Baby Charlie’s supporters are saying is that he should be given a chance at life.
The Russia Thing
Much ado about nothing! The MSM in the UK are touting Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was given a visa to enter the US by the Obama Administration, as a ‘Kremlin confidante’. I have seen no evidence that she is any such thing.
She has also been described as a state prosecutor, but is in fact a defense lawyer. She knows the chief prosecutor, absurdly described as a ‘crown prosecutor’, but not apparently that well. Unlike Britain, modern Russia’s state prosecutors are independent of the government.They are also probably far less political than the Department of Justice, which regularly brings political prosecutions and is currently engaged in highly partisan attacks on the Trump Administration.
We know that the Russia smear is being co-ordinated by the Correa/COREA Group in Frankfurt and is being pushed mainly by pro-German assets in Washington. If Goldstone is close to anybody he is close to the Krauts, not the Kremlin.
On the face of it, it looks as though both parties to the meeting were deceived by the intermediaries: Donald Trump Jr thought he was going to get political intelligence on Senator Clinton and Veselnitskaya thought the Trump Campaign had a serious interest in changes to US adoption law.
The meeting was clearly a non-event. The Democrats and the MSM are making themselves look ridiculous. One Democrat Congressman ranting away on the BBC’s Today program this week sounded semi-deranged. Even the anti-Trump presenter (all the BBC’s presenters are anti-Trump and most are anti-American) seemed embarrassed.
On the BBC Radio 4’s lunchtime news program on Tuesday this week, Euro-fanatic Matthew Parris claimed that “Brexit is dying”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After the defeat comes the occupation. Having failed to lie and murder their way to victory in last year’s referendum campaign, unwilling to accept the verdict of the people, Euronutters like Parris are having a gigantic hissy-fit. (In fairness I don’t believe that Parris, who is intelligence-illiterate as well as economically-illiterate, was in the loop on the German decision to assassinate Jo Cox, indeed I’m sure that he wasn’t.)
The countdown to Brexit continues. The Article 50 notice has been served and the UK will comeout of the EU, at long, long last, on March 29th 2019. That will be the occasion for great national rejoicing, although if May is still PM we’ll be luck to even get fireworks.
Freed of the massive burden of EU membership, the British economy will thrive. Unemployment will cascade downwards and the housing shortage will ease as upwards of three million semi-skilled and unskilled European workers go home.
The Spanish King’s Insult
We may even get a war with Spain, which will be at least as much fun as the Spanish-American War in 1898 was for you guys. That was the last time that the Spanish fleet was engaged in major combat operations by the way. (The last time the Spanish Air Force engaged in major combat they were flying Messerschmitts.)
I know that war can be hell, what the hell, if you can’t have fun killing Spaniards, when can you? The Spanish are down on their knees literally begging for war with Britain over Gibraltar. That much was made clear last week when His Catholic Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain chose to mount a deliberate insult to Britain and our Queen over Gibraltar.
Speeches to both Houses of Parliament are an honor for visiting Heads of State. We do not expect them to be used as a platform for insulting us, or threatening war, either impliedly, as His Majesty did last week, or expressly. There is no way that we are going to hand over Gib. The Spaniard knows this, and presumably is planning a military attack again, as 1941 and 2002. The 1941 and 2002 attack plans were aborted, of course.
Clearly the Royal Navy is going to have to singe the King of Spain’s beard again. Don’t buy real estate in Cadiz! We need an emergency naval building program and we need it now. The RAF also needs a new bloody paralyzer, able to bomb both Berlin and Madrid on internal fuel with maximum bomb load, on a hi-lo-lo-hi mission profile, with supersonic approach to and egress from the target.
At the moment it would take the RAF weeks to flatten Madrid, which is ridiculous. In the meantime we keep wasting money much needed for defense on fripperies like overseas aid, EU membership and the NHS.
Viscount St Davids
In another sign of tensions over Brexit, Viscount St Davids was jailed this week by District Judge (MC) Emma Arbuthnot for making some with respect ill-advised comments on Facebook about Gina Miller, the unpleasant anti-Brexit campaigner who went to the courts in a desperate effort to reverse the referendum result. Miller has been linked to the Hungarian George Soros, identified by the distinguished Israeli historian Dr Robert Kaplan as a German agent. Neither Miller nor Soros has denied the accusations against them.
Viscount St Davids, who sadly is bankrupt, no doubt due to death duties, offered £5,000 to the first person to waste Miller, but His Lordship can scarcely have meant it. Apart from anything else, His Lordship didn’t have £5,000. Trustees in bankruptcy tend not to approve requests for five grand to pay hitmen to whack anti-Brexit campaigners, however badly they may have behaved.
I regret to say that DJ Arbuthnot (DJs used to be called Stipendiary Magistrates, and if they are going to go about jailing viscounts arguably ought to go back to being called ‘stipes’) was rude to His Lordship. She conspicuously failed to address him as ‘My Lord’ and approved charges drafted by the, with respect, equally impertinent Crown Prosecution Service, which apparently failed to identify His Lordship correctly.
I respectfully upbraid the District Judge for her impertinence. As a member of the lower social orders, with respect, she should have known better. I hope that His Lordship will be treated with greater respect in prison. The prison officers will need to remember to doff their uniform caps when addressing His Lordship. I sincerely hope that the governor of the prison invited His Lordship to dinner on Friday evening, with wine, and that arrangements have been made to bring His Lordship’s dinner jacket into prison. It is sad to see the decline in standards in this country.
This Week’s Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017, dir. Matt Reeves)
Released to theaters in the UK this week, this is a slightly odd movie, in that it’s billed as being about a war between mankind and speaking apes for control of Planet Earth. In fact the action takes place within a comparatively narrow compass. It’s about a battle, not a war.
None of the apes takes a selfie, but they continue to demonstrate their riding and fighting skills.
Caesar, the nice ape leader, continues to be portrayed as having American values. He prefers peace, but will fight if forced to. (His predecessor, the bad ape Koba, displayed more German values, such as paranoia, nastiness and aggression).
It’s actually very well-made and acted, with a superb score. The director is clearly on the side of the apes and has very obviously never been bitten by one.
It’s good fun, and the end is very moving. If anything, it’s better than the first two in the trilogy. I still miss Charlton Heston, however!
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