Amelia Earhart And Eleanor Roosevelt Letters
Amelia Earhart And Eleanor Roosevelt Letters – On the 88th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s solo Atlantic flight, which saw her become the first woman and second person to accomplish the remarkable feat, we return to a recurring theme in the Earhart saga – the possible location of Amelia’s final resting place . “THE GARAPAN PRISON. . . Another Incident” appeared in the November 1998 issue of
[Enigma Press, 1994] received a letter from a [person] who was on Saipan in 1953, long before public interest in the AE disappearance began in the early 1960s. The letter from the unnamed person follows. Boldface emphasis mine throughout.
Amelia Earhart And Eleanor Roosevelt Letters
I arrived on Saipan in the early summer of 1953, for a tour of duty. Two or three months later, when I and others had explored the island fairly thoroughly, the topic of Amelia Earhart came up, probably during a dinner party. We all remembered the story of Amelia’s disappearance many years before, and that she was captured by the Japanese and taken to Saipan, assuming that her plane went down somewhere other than Saipan. A few days later I spoke to a Chamorran native, a male in his mid-thirties, and I asked him about Amelia. He offered to take me and one or two other friends to the jail where she and Fred Noonan were being held. A day or two afterwards we followed the Chamorran into a rather heavily overgrown area near which was the headquarters of the pre-war Japanese sugar and tapioca business.
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The smaller of the two Garapan prison cell blocks, often reserved for “special” prisoners and females, according to some reports, where several witnesses reported that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were held after their arrival on Saipan in the summer of 1937. also seems to be a consensus that she [Earhart] was kept in the cell block on the left side,” Guam researcher Tony Gochar wrote in July 2015. to have access to her. After seeing the connection, I am convinced that she was in the small building and her cell was on the left. (Courtesy of Tony Gochar.)
The main building was roofless and the walls were in bad shape from the bombing that happened during the American invasion. Beyond the headquarters building towards Garapan, but I would guess to be about halfway between Chalan Kanoa and Garapan, we came to a small clearing in which stood the remains of a prison. As I recall there were four cells and the second cell from the right was pointed out to us as the one in which Amelia was kept. Fred was on the far left.
As I recall the cells were about five by eight feet in dimension so the entire cell block was only twenty feet long. The paint on the interior of the cells was faded and chipped and open to the elements because the roof was missing. There was no soil, just sand and coral. The wall of “her” cell had faded writings, scratches really, that were unintelligible except for those of an American GI, a corporal who might have been locked up for a few days for some misdemeanor or, more likely, simply scratched his . Name and date when visiting the cells I was in.
Father Sylvan Conover with eyewitness Jesús Bacha Salas, a Chamorro farmer who was held in Garapan Prison between 1937 and 1944 for fighting with a Japanese soldier. Fred Goerner reported that “once in 1937 a white woman was put in the next cell [next to Salas], but only kept there for a few hours. He only saw the woman once, but gave a description of her, which matched those of the other witnesses. The guards told him the woman was an American pilot who had been captured by the Japanese. (Photo by Fred Goerner, courtesy Lance Goerner.)
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My Chamorran guide said that Amelia was kept there for an unspecified time and then executed and buried in the jungle fifty meters above the cell block. Fred met a similar fate, according to him.
Please consider two things: one is that I wasn’t looking for Amelia at the time. It was just a curious thing that I happened to find myself in a place where a very interesting event was taking place. I now wish I had spent a lot more time asking my Chamorran friend and looking further afield for other natives who might have knowledge. Secondly, in 1953 there was no public interest that I was aware of in Amelia’s fate, and certainly there was no excitement of the indigenous population in the story, which would have served to whet their appetite or imagination and produced exaggerated details.
This appears to be the back of the same prison block. Wilson’s photo caption says only: “Amelia’s cell window – the closest one.”
The attitude at that time among all of us, including the Chamorros, was kind of ho-hum, is not that interesting. So I am quite ready to accept the story told to me by the Chamorran. Whether he got his story from other credible sources, from stories circulated by the Japanese to suit their own purposes, or saw a portion of the story himself, I do not know. Also, a time frame was attached to this scenario. Amelia and Fred descended in 1937. I was there 16 years later. My Chamorran friend did not say when Amelia and Fred were brought there, from where or when they were executed. If he did, then I forgot that part. I didn’t scratch around for graves. The undergrowth was much too thick for that. I simply took his word for what he said because he had no input. I didn’t offer to pay him, nor did I.
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So, Don, that’s the extent of my memory. I realize that it offers you nothing new and may just confuse things more than they are now. I wish I could have been more useful. I will now open your book first and read with interest what you have bought.
This is the inside of the cell in Saipan’s old Garapan prison said to have been occupied by Amelia Earhart. Former Marine and Saipan veteran Henry Duda took it during his visit to Saipan for the 50th anniversary of the historic 1944 Battle of Saipan. Note the larger square area in the lower center of the barred window, which is where the dining room door was.
I really appreciate the detailed information you sent me about your experiences on Saipan regarding accounts of Amelia Earhart. You said that “We all remember the story of Amelia’s disappearance many years before and that she may have been captured by the Japanese and taken to Saipan.” This statement surprised me because I was not aware that people talked very much about her being taken to Saipan until after the investigations began in the 1960s. As I mention in my book, there were several American soldiers both in the Marshalls and on Saipan who had information about Amelia during World War II. But to my knowledge these accounts were not widely published in the 50s.
It was fascinating to read about your memory of the prison and the four cells in one of the cell blocks. It was especially interesting to read that your source specified different cells for Fred and Amelia than my source. But that’s OK, and doesn’t discredit the tact that Amelia and Fred might be trapped there.
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You wrote that you wished you had “been more useful.” Actually, your account is significant to me because of the early date – 1953 – in which your experiences occurred. Many people were interviewed years later, but yours is the earliest account known of where the Americans spoke to the islanders about Amelia and Fred after World War II. I would agree that they had no ulterior motive for their accounts.
If you get a chance, I’d appreciate any comments you want to make about my book. You may or may not agree with my conclusions, but I would like to know your thoughts.
Don Wilson provided this photo of a sketch of the inner cell he believed was occupied by Amelia Earhart. He was told that a Japanese guard was the artist, but not the date of his creation. Who can really say?
I would like to be able to share what you wrote to me with other members of the Amelia Earhart Society. A newsletter is published several times a year for the benefit of the approximately 100 members who are interested in the fate of Amelia and Fred, and who from time to time come with bits of information that they share with colleagues. Much of my resource material came from the newsletters of the