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Author Topic: Marie, Maru  (Read 14139 times)

Howard Nelson

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Marie, Maru
« on: December 21, 2013, 01:50:46 PM »

Just doing a little out of the box thinking.
After reading the transcripts of Betty's notebook it struck me that FN may have been saying "Maru" meaning ship in Japanese.  In the transcript AE says "NY, NY" and FN follows up with "Marie, Marie".  AE:"Norwich City, Norwich City" FN: "Maru, Maru".  Probably a product of my over active imagination.  Thoughts?
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 03:03:13 PM »

Possible, but "Marie" happened to be the name of Fred's wife.

And in any case, why would he say "Maru, Maru" instead of, say, "Ship, ship" or "Shipwreck, shipwreck"?
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Jon Romig

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 04:18:04 PM »


And in any case, why would he say "Maru, Maru" instead of, say, "Ship, ship" or "Shipwreck, shipwreck"?

For the obvious reason, he/they thought they were in communication with someone speaking Japanese. Were any of the logged signals in Japan or on Japanese ships? As I recall there is no record of any Japanese ships nearby.

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Tim Mellon

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 05:42:51 PM »


And in any case, why would he say "Maru, Maru" instead of, say, "Ship, ship" or "Shipwreck, shipwreck"?

For the obvious reason, he/they thought they were in communication with someone speaking Japanese. Were any of the logged signals in Japan or on Japanese ships? As I recall there is no record of any Japanese ships nearby.

Jon

Jon, do you have any evidence that either one of them spoke or understood Japanese?

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Jon Romig

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 07:04:35 PM »


And in any case, why would he say "Maru, Maru" instead of, say, "Ship, ship" or "Shipwreck, shipwreck"?

For the obvious reason, he/they thought they were in communication with someone speaking Japanese. Were any of the logged signals in Japan or on Japanese ships? As I recall there is no record of any Japanese ships nearby.

Jon

Jon, do you have any evidence that either one of them spoke or understood Japanese?

Ah, good question.
I don't think one needs to speak Japanese to know that Maru means ship. I believe that all Japanese freighters had Maru in their name- at least they did in the war.
With all Noonan's travels in the Pacific it is more likely than not that he knew that word, IMO.
Jon
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« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 07:10:44 PM by Jon Romig »
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Walter Runck

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 06:45:46 AM »

Maru means circle.  It is still used on Japanese merchant ships, such as the tug Yamagata Maru.
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Jon Romig

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 10:52:19 AM »

So we have a suggestion (not evidence) that AE and FN were trying to communicate with a Japanese speaker(s) during part of the transmission that Betty heard. This is a very low-probability consideration. If the word Maru was spoken, however, that would suggest a few possibilities:

1. They saw a Japanese ship in the distance and were trying to attract that ship's attention by radio. From the radio logs it was morning at the time of the transmission.

2. They heard a transmission in Japanese, from an unknown location, and were trying to communicate their location near the Norfolk City "Maru."

3. They had established communication with a Japanese language operator, but had very little knowledge of the language. Perhaps as a result, this two-way communication has not been found in the record to date. Or the political situation got in the way of it making it into the record.

4. For any of the above, it is possible that more words in Betty's transcriptions are Betty's mis-interpretations of what were actually Japanese words (that were more likely spoken by FN than AE).

It might be interesting for Walter or Howard (or someone else who knows Japanese) to look at more of Betty's transcript for other possible Japanese words, particularly of FN's words.

Jon

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« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 11:31:42 AM by Jon Romig »
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Walter Runck

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 09:37:50 PM »

It might be interesting for Walter or Howard (or someone else who knows Japanese) to look at more of Betty's transcript for other possible Japanese words, particularly of FN's words.





Interesting, perhaps.  But not productive - I don't speak Japanese.  I thought Maru meant sea (we used to call the USS CORAL SEA the "Coral Maru").   Didn't know it meant circle til I looked it up.  Wakarimasu ka?

As far as the theory goes,

1.  Haven't seen record of any Japanese ships near the island.  If it was close enough to determine nationality, why didn't it stop by and do the obligatory "transpac aviation potential" survey that all the other great powers saw as necessary?

2.  If you don't speak Japanese, would you recognize it as such over the air?  I don't know if I could distinguish it from any other oriental language as spoken.

3.  I don't know if English was as prevalent among marine radio ops in 1937, but it strikes me that it would be more likely for the Japanese to be able to understand her language than vice versa.  (added 1/24)  If the receive antenna on the belly was lost on takeoff, they wouldn't have much ability to pull in transmissions unless they were able to repair it on the reef - if they even understood what had happened.  Seems unlikely they would be having two-way comms with anyone, much less a bilingual contact.

For the sake of argument, what do you suppose would have happened on the Japanese side if they knew where AE had ended up?



« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 10:38:59 AM by Walter Runck »
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 03:44:04 PM »

Interesting suggestion, and it definitely pays to expand the word-search a bit, considering we can't hear Betty's "Marie" with our own ears.

As for Maru (or Mary), my guess would be that since Betty recorded the ward as "Marie," she heard the accent as being on the second syllable, i.e. potentially ruling out Maru or Mary.

"Marie" alternated at one point several times with "N.Y. [ostensibly New York]," so one possibility is that "Marie" is a call sign either of a contact or a station. Given where she was when transmitting, I'm not sure the first assumption would be that "Marie" would be a contact actually in New York (tho it's not impossible); I'd be more inclined to look into it being a contact aboard the USS New York, for example, captained at that time by either Leo F. Welch or Guy E. Davis.

Given the pattern (as best we can tell), calling "New York" first, and then adding "Marie," sounds to me as if possibly "New York" is the person Amelia is attempting to contact, and "Marie" is either a call sign for AE (or Noonan); however it's also possible that "Marie" was an agreed-upon distress signal. There was plenty of reason to not transmit information about a mishap in plain English; George Putnam himself liked to control things, and either for publicity reasons or for Earhart's safety over foreign seas might have preferred to use a private code word to indicate distress.

It is interesting though that only Noonan seems to say "Marie." Granted, the sample size is small, but for whatever reason only AE says "N.Y." and only Noonan says "Marie." We also get the sense that it may be AE at the radio helm, with Noonan's vocalizations being in the background, i.e. AE is possibly making more deliberate, official transmissions while Fred is being distraught. The takeaway would be that possibly "Marie" isn't an attempt to transmit a word, but rather something Fred is hollering in the background, whereas Amelia's repeated "New York, New York, New York" sounds purposeful.

Somewhere there's a note in the TIGHAR forums about Amelia's nickname possibly being pronounced "mee-lee;" there is one exchange in Betty's notebook where Fred says "Amelia...Howland take it away...Marie" which makes me wonder whether whatever he called Amelia simply sounded like "Marie."

But in my  mind, at least, the "New York" stands out as fairly deliberate transmission, whereas the "Marie" is not so certain.

Just my thoughts today - been awhile since I was here, so I'm dusting off some brain cells. Apologies for any redundancies/errors.





« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 08:58:04 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Arthur Rypinski

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 07:03:32 PM »

Fred Noonan's wife was Mary Beatrice Martinelli, sometimes called "Bea," and sometimes  "Mary Bea."    "Mary Bea" seems at least as likely as "Maru."
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Marie, Maru
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2016, 10:10:39 AM »

Fred Noonan's wife was Mary Beatrice Martinelli, sometimes called "Bea," and sometimes  "Mary Bea."    "Mary Bea" seems at least as likely as "Maru."

I agree that "Mary Bea" is more likely than "Maru."  The Japanese word has the accent on the second syllable (MaROO) just as "Mary Bea" has the accent at the end (Mary BEE) but the sounds - OO vs EE - are very different.
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