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Author Topic: The Jaluit Photo  (Read 593 times)

Christian Stock

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The Jaluit Photo
« on: September 10, 2019, 04:03:31 PM »

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the theory that Earhart and Noonan wound up in Japanese custody, posed for some tourist photos on Jaluit, and were then executed on Saipan, Mili, and some other places. The Government of the RMI has bought into this as well, to the point that they tried to debunk the debunking of the famous 1937 photo of Fred and Amelia that was published in 1935, stating that the rickety old dock in the photo was not built until 1936. Well, I am here to debunk the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by providing a photo of said dock, from December, 1928. It was taken during William K. Vanderbilt II’s 1928-29 around the world voyage, on his private yacht the Ara. In fact, I believe one can see the Ara out in the lagoon.

The ONI giveth, and the ONI taketh away.

https://text-message.blogs.archives.gov/2017/07/20/captain-alfred-parker-on-jaluit-atoll-march-april-1937/

« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 04:28:37 PM by Christian Stock »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 07:25:28 AM »

Thanks Christian.  Note that the only sources cited by the Ministry are the recollections "of our eldest citizens."  Someone old enough (say, 10 years old) to remember the construction of a dock built in 1936 would be 91 years old in 2017.
The photo you cite proves their recollections to be in error.
This is a great illustration of a basic rule in historical investigation.  Anecdotal recollections are not reliable unless corroborated by contemporaneous written documentation or datable photographs. When that rule is applied, the entire Japanese Capture theory falls apart.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 07:57:39 AM »

Christian,

Not bad for a first post!  Impressive bit of research, you certainly know your way around the Archives.

Perhaps you could take a look for the USCG Cutter Bushnell's deck log for November - December 1939 and see if there is any mention of a missing sextant and/or sextant box.

Just a thought.
Bill Mangus
Researcher #3054SP
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 08:01:00 AM »

Perhaps you could take a look for the USCG Cutter Bushnell's deck log for November - December 1939 and see if there is any mention of a missing sextant and/or sextant box.

USS Bushnell was not a Coast Guard cutter.  It was a U.S. Navy survey ship.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2019, 08:13:52 AM »

Oops!!  You're right of course.  I was thinking of something else.  Note the re-naming and re-designating.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/36/3602.htm
Bill Mangus
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« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 08:15:53 AM by Bill Mangus »
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Christian Stock

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2019, 08:09:02 AM »

Deck log archives seem to start after WWII. I'm not seeing much of anything from the first USS Bushnell. Lots from the second one, launched during the war.

Has anyone looked for records of Navy sales of surplus WWI equipment, from which Noonan may have bought a lot? Would he have had his sextants checked at the USNO, or a local University? There's one on ebay right now with USNO #889, along with a Northwestern University asset tag. Did they own it, or were they just performing the same function as the USNO?


Christian,

Not bad for a first post!  Impressive bit of research, you certainly know your way around the Archives.

Perhaps you could take a look for the USCG Cutter Bushnell's deck log for November - December 1939 and see if there is any mention of a missing sextant and/or sextant box.

Just a thought.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2019, 08:15:44 AM »

Has anyone looked for records of Navy sales of surplus WWI equipment, from which Noonan may have bought a lot?

At least in some cases, surplus Navy sextants were sold to wholesalers, presumably in quantity, who then retailed them to individuals.
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Christian Stock

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2019, 02:49:28 PM »

The photo (and the capture theory) falls apart whether or not the recollections of the elders were correct. The press release says that the dock was built in 1936. It does not say that the dock was built in 1936, then rebuilt in 1964 or 1988. The current Jabor dock is a concrete structure, and not the same dock seen in the "Earhart" photo (a coral and wood jetty). If the elders remembered correctly, the press release confirms that the photo was taken before the dock was built in 1936. If the elders remembered incorrectly, there is nothing to contradict the date of the book in which the photo appeared.

The Japanese built up the base at Emidj with a pier and 2 seaplane aprons, just a few miles away, before the war. It's likely that they built the concrete pier at Jabor at the same time. With no ice or snow, the pier will probably last a hundred years or more.

To recap, we are talking about 3 docks in this location.

1. The old German "coal pier", which was destroyed in the Typhoon of 1905.
2. The rebuilt pier (presumably rebuilt in 1906), photographed in 1928 and circa 1935.
3. The concrete pier, built in 1936, per the government of the Marshall Islands.



Thanks Christian.  Note that the only sources cited by the Ministry are the recollections "of our eldest citizens."  Someone old enough (say, 10 years old) to remember the construction of a dock built in 1936 would be 91 years old in 2017.
The photo you cite proves their recollections to be in error.
This is a great illustration of a basic rule in historical investigation.  Anecdotal recollections are not reliable unless corroborated by contemporaneous written documentation or datable photographs. When that rule is applied, the entire Japanese Capture theory falls apart.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 10:44:21 PM by Christian Stock »
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Christian Stock

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Re: The Jaluit Photo
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 04:40:21 PM »

I just found the Tighar discussion of the 2017 History Channel show at https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,1943.60.html in which Matt Revington and others debunked the show and the Marshall Islands press release dating the dock to 1936. Matt posted an image of the dock from 1911, and it's certain that the two large iron pilings on the end of the dock, which seemed to have survived the 1905 typhoon, are present in the 1905, 1911, 1928 and 1935 photos.

One of the Japanese Capture bloggers specifically calls out these pilings as a feature of the new dock in 1936, specifically for docking large capital warships and such. He also claims the wooden dock is "fortified", and a pre-1905 image (with a German caption no less) of the coal pier is from 1947.

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