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Author Topic: Vat 69  (Read 4859 times)

Randy Conrad

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Vat 69
« on: January 05, 2021, 12:15:22 AM »

The recent posting of "sources needed" by Ric and Bill, is quite interesting. As many of us know by research that Fred Noonan had a drinking problem. In the article submitted by Bill Mangus, it talks about how Fred night before the flight from Lae, went down to the hotel bar and asked for "VAT 69". At first, I myself wasnt quite sure what the author was referring to until I put two and two together, a little google search, and wahla! Vat 69 is a form of Scotch, and according to other searches, is a real good scotch to say the least. Anyway, the article was very good, and sorry to say that our beloved Ric was tossed from side to side in one portion of the article. Two things that come to my mind is...if Fred did indeed have a drinking problem, then most likely we would have found remnants of old whiskey or 1937 alcohol bottles laying around. Also, if Fred did indeed survive the landing on Niku...how long could he have managed living on the island with having withdrawals from not having a drink! Plus, in most cases with withdrawals and dry heaves from drinkiing, comes also dehydration. I was also interested in one portion of the article where it talked about Fred and Amelia having a quarrel. In this case, it was about Fred never being invited to go anywhere, when Amelia was invited to social functions. One of the things I'm curious to find out...if anyone knows how much George Putnam and Amelia paid Fred Noonan to be the Navigator of the World Flight? Anyway, here is an ad at Christmas time of Vat 69.....

https://www.periodpaper.com/products/1937-ad-vat-69-blended-scotch-whisky-christmas-gifts-original-advertising-079376-esq1-488
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2021, 07:46:08 AM »

We've found many empty whiskey bottles on Niku, mostly at the ruins of a frame building on Nutiran that apparently dates from the late colonial period. I don't think we ever identified the brand of any of the bottles but there is no reason to think they had anything to do with Earhart or Noonan.
The Benedictine bottle found with the castaway bones, taken to Tarawa by Native Magistrate Koata, seized at Gallagher's request by Acting Administrative Officer David Wernham, and subsequently lost is the only known booze bottle found on Niku that appears to be associated with Earhart  or Noonan.  Whether it arrived on the Electra or was beach-combed by castaway Earhart is a matter of speculation.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2021, 07:43:12 AM »

In the article submitted by Bill Mangus, it talks about how Fred night before the flight from Lae, went down to the hotel bar and asked for "VAT 69".

I don't recall Bill submitting such an article.  Bill??
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2021, 09:44:09 AM »

Nope, not me.  All I did was reference the Wikipedia entry for Harry Manning, pointing out footnote number one which referenced a book by Frank Braynard:

                                      Braynard, Frank O. (2011). The Big Ship - The Story of the S. S. United States. New York, NY: Turner Publishing. ISBN 978-1596527645.

I have no idea what Randy is referring to.

This is from the last section of the Wikipedia article, also footnoted:

While Manning's formal education was limited, he was self-taught on several subjects and could quote lines from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida. He was regarded as an excellent dancer and the ship stewards sent him the best dance partners.[6] He was however uncomfortable in making small talk but did learn the social graces needed to host the captain's table.[12] His passenger receptions tended to be small, formal, and brief and if it dragged on he would say that he had to go to the bridge to cut it short.[6] During his convalescence from his 1938 accident he had learned to play the piano, and even had a grand piano in his quarters on the America.[9]

Manning had a reputation for being hot-tempered and very self-assured. In recalling an altercation with the master of the Leviathan he admitted, "I was an awful son of a bitch in those days." Of his own skills he once remarked, "Navigation in bad weather was my specialty."[1]:99 One passenger remarked, "You don’t always get a glad hand when you sail with Manning, but you feel dammed safe."[12]"

Perhaps not as "gentlemanly" as is mentioned elsewhere.  Wikipedia isn't always the best source but this article seems especially well researched.

This site also turned up in my search:

         http://united-states-lines.org/captains-of-the-united-states/

Interesting but not most flattering bio of Admiral Manning.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2021, 09:48:22 AM »

Randy??  Help us out.  What are you referring to?
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Ricker H Jones

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2021, 10:54:09 AM »


From: https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/in-85-letter-eyewitness-describes-earharts-takeoff-insists-noonan-had-no-drink-before-last-flight/

"We asked Fred if he would join us the first night, and his comment was, “I’ve been 3 parts around the world without a drink and now we are here for a couple of days, I’ll have one.  Have you a Vat 69?”  I did happen to have one so the three of us knocked it off.  He confessed to Amelia next morning he had a bit of a head, and her comment was, “Naughty boy, Freddie.”  That was the only drink session we had, and to suggest he was inebriated before they took off is mischievous nonsense.  I can assure you or anyone he had no drink for at least 24 hours before take-off."
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2021, 11:52:35 AM »

Good work Rick. (For those who might not know, the line to the right of FROM is a link to the article on Mike Campbell's website.)
It's a 1985 letter from Bob Iredale, manager of Socony-Vacuum Corp., to Fred Goerner.  There are a couple of errors in his recollections.
•  He says he "fueled the Lockheed and did it personally," but we have film of the Electra being fueled and it's Iredale's associate Frank Howard who can be seen supervising the fueling.  Iredale may have been present, but it's Howard in the film.
•  He says, "I can assure you all tanks were absolutely full — the wing tanks and those inside the fuselage.  After she had done a test flight, I topped them up again before her final take-off.  I think she took somewhere around 800 gallons all up.  Fred Noonan was with me at the fueling and checked it out.  He was also with me when we changed the engine oil, as was Amelia.  I enclose a much faded photo, me in white, Fred in brown, and Amelia leaning on the trailing edge of the wing.  [Photo not available.]"
That's not what happened.  The test flight was certainly not done with full tanks and the tanks were not "absolutely full" for the Howland flight.  Neither AE nor Noonan is visible in the film of the plane being fueled after the test flight.

We have no way of knowing if his memories of Noonan in the bar are more accurate, but they are in line with "Fuzz" Furman's recollections of being with Noonan for several days in Bandoeng, Java.  I interviewed Furman in 1989.  He said he and Noonan went to out together in the evenings and he (Furman) would have a drink but Noonan wouldn't.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2021, 01:58:26 AM »


From: https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/in-85-letter-eyewitness-describes-earharts-takeoff-insists-noonan-had-no-drink-before-last-flight/


Just replying to your post to put the "From" line in to a larger font.  I'm not sure whether the quirk is in my browser or yours.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Christian Stock

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2021, 01:47:59 PM »

You know, Vat 69 was Lewis Nixon's preferred beverage in "Band of Brothers".

https://youtu.be/_5Ocz04H8EY

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Vat 69
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2021, 01:53:07 PM »

I'll be happy to debate the merits of various brands of scotch whiskey, but we should take it off this thread.
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