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Author Topic: Shoe Parts  (Read 2475 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Shoe Parts
« on: November 03, 2018, 04:21:47 PM »

Before we address the bones themselves we need to review the shoe parts. Everything we know about the shoe parts found with the bones comes from the following correspondence:

Gallagher to Resident Commissioner, September 23, 1940
"Some months ago working party on Gardner discovered human skull – this was buried and I only recently heard about it. Thorough search has now produced more bones ( including lower jaw ) part of a shoe a bottle and a sextant box. I would appear that

(a)   Skeleton is possibly that of a woman,
(b)   Shoe was a womans and probably size 10,
"

Gallagher to Resident Commissioner, October 6, 1940
"(d) Only part of sole remains,
(f) Appears to have been stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal,
"

Gallagher to Secretary Vaskess, October 17, 1940
"Only experienced man could state sex from available bones; my conclusion based on sole of shoe which is almost certainly a woman's."

Dr. Steenson to Secretary Vaskess, July 1, 1941
"I have examined the contents of the parcel mentioned. Apart from stating that they appear to be parts of shoes worn by a male person and a female person, I have nothing further to say."

Note that Gallagher makes no mention of "parts of shoes worn by a male person" in his September/October 1940 correspondence, nor does he mention the corks with brass chains.  On October 26, 1940, Sectretary Vaskess ordered: "Your telegram of 17th October. Organised search should be made in the vicinity and all bones and other finds, including box, sextant and shoe, should be forwarded to Suva by the first opportunity for examination."  The male shoe part or parts and the corks with brass chains were apparently found during the subsequent  "organised search."

TIGHAR's hypothesis is that the "part of sole" of a woman's "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal" was from one of Earhart's two-toned walking shoes.  The cream-colored soles and heels suggested a woman's shoe and the molded heel was typical of a sandal.  The shoe parts Steenson identified as being from a man's shoe or shoes was from Noonan's shoe or shoes. There is no evidence of Noonan's remains at the site (or anywhere else) but shoes of any kind would be valuable to anyone cast away on Gardner.
Gallagher's estimate of the size of the woman's shoe or sandal is too large for Earhart but it was based on only part of the sole.

Are their other credible explanations for the shoe parts?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 04:23:49 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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Don White

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2018, 06:55:35 PM »

Is it possible that fragments of Earhart's Blucher oxfords could look like they were from a man's shoe? Seems likely to me.

Don
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2018, 08:21:15 PM »

Is it possible that fragments of Earhart's Blucher oxfords could look like they were from a man's shoe? Seems likely to me.

That sounds reasonable. I’ve wondered if Earhart wore one of Fred’s shoes because of a swollen foot and ankle from an injury, as possibly suggested by an entry in Betty’s notebook.
But thinking about your idea, I now realize that we don’t really know how many shoe parts Gallagher ultimately found.  Steenson’s comment is ambiguous. Maybe parts of two female shoes and two male shoes were found. Earhart having two pair of her own shoes with her is simpler than my swollen foot speculation.
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 08:23:24 AM »

From the Statement of J.H. Swindell, of the Trongate.  "We have meat but a case of milk would come in useful also matches, chlorodyne as some of us are getting diarrhoea and any old boots (on pair size tens) and any old hats and tobacco."
[/size]  Although boots may not have survived from the time of the Norwich City rescue until 1940, if they did, it's not inconceivable that they could have been found and transported to the castaway site.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 08:45:56 AM »

and any old boots (one pair size tens)"[/size][/font]
[/size]  Although boots may not have survived from the time of the Norwich City rescue until 1940, if they did, it's not inconceivable that they could have been found and transported to the castaway site.

That's certainly an interesting coincidence, but wouldn't the guy who requested the size 10 boots (presuming they were delivered) be wearing them when he was rescued?  And what kind of boots aboard Trongate, if reduced to part of the sole, would give the impression that it came from a woman's stout walking shoe or sandal?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 12:06:44 PM »

It has been suggested that the castaway was one of the seven unaccounted-for casualties from the Norwich City disaster and that Gallagher mistook part of the sole of a Arab engine room worker's sandal for part of a woman's "walking shoe or sandal" because of elaborate stitching on the sole.

  Needless to say, that hypothesis requires many layers of unsubstantiated assumption beginning with what the Yemeni "firemen" aboard Norwich City wore on their feet. The photos we have of them from their seamans' records show them in western attire.
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Don White

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 09:09:34 PM »

Indeed, it doesn't say how many shoe parts, what parts of the shoes, or anything that would shed light on their conclusions about what they found. We are hampered, as so often before, by the lack of detail in the 1940 descriptions and that it does not seem to have occurred to anyone to take any photographs of what was found. Even if that wasn't possible in situ, the bones and artifacts could have been photographed when they got to HQ.

As for the engine room crew's attire, it was hot in an engine room and they most likely wore less than they did in their pictures -- though some research would be needed to find out exactly what.

The possibility the body was of one of these missing crewmen who washed ashore (alive or dead) doesn't make sense to me for any number of reasons.

Has anyone else (besides me) on the Forum ever been in the engine room of a steamship under way?

I've got to learn how to do that quote thing when replying.

Don White
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 09:24:14 PM by Don White »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 12:43:11 AM »

I've got to learn how to do that quote thing when replying.

The "reply with a quotation" button is labeled "Quote."

It is up above this post.

Two tutorials here:

How to post to the Forum

How to trim quoted material from posts
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 08:00:53 AM »

it does not seem to have occurred to anyone to take any photographs of what was found. Even if that wasn't possible in situ, the bones and artifacts could have been photographed when they got to HQ.

We found the remains of a 1930s vintage British flash bulb at the site.  The sunlight is so intense there that you need a "fill-flash" to get good photos.  A camera was among Gallagher's personal effects that were inventoried after he died on the island in 1941.
So it seems likely that Gallagher did take photos of what he found but they are not included in the archive and, despite many attempts in Tarawa, Fiji, and England, we have been unable to locate them.

As for the engine room crew's attire, it was hot in an engine room and they most likely wore less than they did in their pictures -- though some research would be needed to find out exactly what.

They probably didn't wear suits and ties, but neither did they probably look like they just climbed down off a camel.  In an email to me, David Billings suggested that they probably wore "boiler suits" (coveralls).   

The possibility the body was of one of these missing crewmen who washed ashore (alive or dead) doesn't make sense to me for any number of reasons.

We'll look at that possibility as a separate topic.

Has anyone else (besides me) on the Forum ever been in the engine room of a steamship under way?

Steamships are pretty scarce these days, but I've been in engine rooms of the various ships we've taken to the island.  Hot, noisy, dirty, and not someplace I'd choose to wear sandals.
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Matt Revington

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 11:13:31 AM »

This a photo of an engine/boiler room on a British vessel from that era
(from this page
 https://www.ourmigrationstory.org.uk/oms/the-lascars-britains-colonial-era-sailors)

The workers are southeast Asian rather than Yemeni but you can see type of foot wear seems to have varied greatly, of course uniform policies likely varied greatly from ship to ship
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 11:16:24 AM by Matt Revington »
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 01:01:03 PM »


[/quote]

They probably didn't wear suits and ties, but neither did they probably look like they just climbed down off a camel.  In an email to me, David Billings suggested that they probably wore "boiler suits" (coveralls).   
 
[/quote]

Perhaps something like one of these:

Bill Mangus
Researcher #3054SP
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 01:51:27 PM »

you can see type of foot wear seems to have varied greatly

Sheesh, the guy shoveling coal is barefoot. 
Norwich City had been converted to oil.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2018, 03:02:41 PM »

Can we quickly review the shoes that we think she may have worn and how they relate to what was found??

I believe you have identified 3 different pairs of shoes that she had with her during the flight, 2 blucher oxfords and the lighter soled shoes. identified in previous reports as pairs 1, 2 and 3.
pair 1 is a non capped blucher oxford. I have not seen a good image of the bottom of this shoe to view the sole. I would like to see more images of this shoe. it appears more well used than others from what I could tell.


pair 2 has a toe cap. it is easily identifiable in almost every picture because the heal of the shoe is divided down the middle lengthwise into different colors. the instep being much lighter.



pair 3 is completely different, lighter and more ornate.


It has been verified that she is about a size 6.5 by measuring a known set of shoes she had purchased for herself.

general "shoe related information" (modern era, not sure how this applies to 1940)

for american sizing, women's shoe sizing in general is 1.5-2 sizes larger numerically than a mans shoe of the same size. ie a mens 7 is equal to a women's 8.5-9

british shoes seem to use the same or similar size between mens and womens shoes.

a womens shoe in general is narrower than a mans for the same size(length).

US mens sizing and british sizing are different by one shoe size. An American size 6.5 shoe would be a 5.5 in british sizing.

a size 10 shoe as described by galaghar, would equate to a men's size 11 in the US. that would be an extremely large shoe for a woman. my only other though would be that it was possibly very narrow?? with both men's and women's shoe parts being described things get a little fuzzy and hard to pin down. nothing is ever easy. given the bones measurements I think we can assume that the american size 11 shoe was not owned originally by the castaway.

as far as other ways a shoe could have gotten there it's pretty endless. the kiwi's being there for a couple months wrote about wearing out shoes constantly. not surprisingly the coral, sand and salt were all very rough on footwear.

most of the norwich crew kicked off their shoes to swim ashore. very possible they washed ashore.

I don't recall reading much about the bushnell crew and shoes... although I'm sure they went through them as well given the time they spent not only on this island but others. possible that they also had items to maintain them as well, such as replacement heels?? what type of shoes I wouldn't have much knowledge.

as far as I have read or seen in pictures the natives did not wear shoes. if this was a castaway it would certainly not be a native wearing the shoes, but a non-native COULD pick up a discarded worn out shoe from wherever it could be found in a trash pile near an old campsite to make do.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 04:03:52 PM »

I think the estimate of shoe size from part of a sole is the shakiest piece of data Gallagher provided.  The piece of information about the shoe parts, in my opinion, is that Gallagher and Steenson both observed that at least one of the parts was from a woman's shoe.  It's pretty hard to explain a woman's shoe on the island unless it was a random wash-up that was beach-combed by the castaway.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Shoe Parts
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2018, 07:25:46 AM »

unfortunately i don't see how we can make that assumption?? neither he nor Steenson makes any real mention of what the shoe parts are or their real condition. parts of a shoe does not tell us if it is a full/partial sole, the top leather or scraps.... we have his observation of shoe size, which must mean he has enough of the shoe to make some estimation of length. there is some indication to him that it is a woman's shoe, but he does not say what that is.

size 10, is NOT a womans size. what % of the female population has a US men's size 11 shoe??

at this time, a woman's shoe and a men's shoe had a distinct shape to the sole. there was very little variation in mens shoe shape, unlike today. The shape of the sole would have easily identified it as male or female. a womans "walking shoe" at the time really meant anything NOT a small healed pump or boot. there would possibly be large variation here but still easily identified from a mens example. in general it appears that a mens shoe has more of a diamond shape to the sole in front of the heal where it again becomes wider, where a womans shoe is quicker to become narrow at the arch and stay that way to the heal. Most women's shoes of that period also seem to be more assymetrical. interestingly etsy is a great source for doing research of this kind.
here is an example of a 4/1/36 advertisement for women's walking shoes, note the heal that we would not consider as a walking shoe today:


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