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Author Topic: Who was Bob Wemple?  (Read 21981 times)

Sheila Shigley

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Who was Bob Wemple?
« on: October 19, 2011, 02:04:50 PM »

American publisher and former CQ editor Wayne Green makes repeated mention in his blog of a Bob Wemple:

In 1936 Bob Wemple, a good friend of my dad’s and Amelia's chief mechanic, came out to dinner at our house and explained that he had just outfitted her Lockheed with larger engines and extra gas tanks so she could, on her around-the-world flight make the hop from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island by way of Truk Island so she could take spy pictures of the Japanese installation there for President Roosevelt, who had earlier been the Secretary of the Navy. The Navy wanted to know what the Japanese were doing there.  With the more powerful engines she would be able to make the trip to Howland Island via Truk in about the same time as she would have been able to do it flying direct with her standard engines. Bob said these pictures were the whole reason for her flight.

There are immediate problems with some aspects of this statement; Ric has pointed out (http://goo.gl/QGSEP) that in 1936, the plan was to fly from Howland to Lae, not Lae to Howland, for example. 

I remained curious about this alleged Wemple, but hadn't been able to find hide nor hair of him.

Yesterday the fates relented, and I found a smallish trove of pictures, stories and genealogical entries relating to a Robert G. Wemple, who did indeed marry Miss Philadelphia 1928 as Wayne remembers, who was indeed a friend/colleague of Wayne's father (W. Sanger Green) at Central Airport, Camden, NJ, and who turns out to have had extensive aviation background, including work in aircraft design and aerial photography.  (The details are in the "Government Surveillance Flight Theories" thread, so I'll avoid repeating them unless people would like all the Bob Wemple stuff in one place.)


Robert G. Wemple and Miss Philadelphia 1928, Florence Bogar (taken 1930)

So who was this man?  What was his connection, if any, to AE?  Mr. Wayne Green strikes me as a very eccentric gentleman, and I, too, have taken his AE recollections with a grain of salt.  But much of Green's Wemple story has now checked out.

I make no assumptions that Wemple modified or even worked on AE's aircraft, but I would like to find out more about this colorful and enigmatic character.

Here are the links to everything I've found on Bob Wemple--I apologize for the url thing, but haven't been able to make the hyperlinks function since rejoining the forum (any help appreciated).

Wayne Green's mention (one of several): http://goo.gl/u17XI
Genealogy and short bio: http://goo.gl/OkIry
Wedding photo w/Miss Philadelphia: http://goo.gl/046Dk
W. Sanger Green, Camden Airport General Mgr, in Wemple's wedding: http://goo.gl/cbRyT
Wemple is Op Mgr of Camden Airport: http://goo.gl/cbRyT (same as above)
Reports on CAA hearing: http://goo.gl/PJHyQ
In Roscoe Turner Papers: http://goo.gl/Rvb3I
Mentioned as aerial survey pilot: http://goo.gl/gG400

I have to race outta here so won't be able to proofread this links before posting--will do so when I get home.




« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 05:21:20 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 05:12:06 PM »

Sadly I do not have a subscription to NYT, but the Feb 5, 1930 issue gives:

WEDDING IN AIR PLANNED.; Miss Philadelphia of 1928 to Be Married in Monoplane.

Miss Florence Bogar, daughter of Mr. and . James Downey of Frankford, who won the title of Miss Philadelphia in 1928, will be married to Robert G. Wemple ...


http://goo.gl/L8nuo
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 05:41:58 PM »

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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 06:19:53 PM »



"October 05, 1932. Original caption:  Amelia Guest of Philadelphia. Amelia Earhart Putnam, famous aviatrix, waves at crowds on her arrival at Camden, N.J., airport enroute to Philadelphia where she was guest of the city. She received the Gimble Award given to the outstanding woman of the year."

Nice touch with "Central Airport" so visible.  There's a 40MB version available if ya got the dough; maybe we can spot a "short, sandy-haired man with a waxed mustache and a limp," lol.

http://goo.gl/fK9F3
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 06:21:55 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 11:35:03 PM »

One more for the night--note the cane, in left hand, and hat similar to the hat in Bob Wemple's wedding day photo:



"24th June 1928: American aviatrix Amelia Earhart (1898 – 1937) talking to friends from the cockpit of her Moth on the day of her trip to Northolt. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)"

http://wjez.com/scientists-want-amelia-earharts-dna/amelia-earhart/

« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 11:40:11 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Alfred Hendrickson

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 06:30:45 PM »

Nice work!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 06:33:01 PM by Alfred Hendrickson »
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 05:22:20 PM »

Folks - I had given a much-less interesting link for Bob's bio above. Have changed it to the correct one, and here's the salient bit - the timeline is not included, but I'm starting on that:

He attended Brooklyn Polytechnic College Brooklyn, NY. Over the years, he also attended the following schools and courses:

• Northeast Airlines School
• CAA Standardizing Center
• Advanced Aerobatics Course
• Army Air Corps Basic Training Center, Randolf Field, TX
• CAA Standardizing Center for Instrument & Multi-Engine Course.

Among his many pursuits in earning a livelihood, he was a

• barnstormer pilot
• plantation manager in Jamaica, British West Indies
• Manager of the Flight Training Division, Pitcairn Aviation Inc.
• Survey Pilot for Pitcairn and assisted in the design of the Pitcairn Mailwing airplane
• Operation Manager, Central Airport, Camden, NJ
• associated with Wood Aerial Surveys, Philadelphia
• Director of Aviation, Ocala, FL; District Flight Supervisor, Florida
• with CAA - Regional Principal Flight Supervisor, CAA Fort Worth, TX
• Civilian Pilot Training and War Training Service flight training Schools
• associated with J.M. West, Houston capitalist, in forming West Central Airlines, Inc.
• Field Representative & Technical Correspondent, Air Review Publishing Company, Dallas, TX
• Personal pilot for E.B. Fletcher, independent oil producer, Dallas, TX.


http://goo.gl/OkIry
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 05:27:38 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 11:04:08 AM »


In Betty's notebook there is a notation of a "Bob", almost as if AE has connected with someone during her post loss transmission that Betty was hearing.  Perhaps that "Bob" was Wemple.
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 11:45:16 PM »


In Betty's notebook there is a notation of a "Bob", almost as if AE has connected with someone during her post loss transmission that Betty was hearing.  Perhaps that "Bob" was Wemple.

Yes...that one has raised the hair on the back of my neck several times.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2011, 05:44:28 PM »

Yes...that one has raised the hair on the back of my neck several times.

Spooky.  After all, how many people are named "Bob."
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Rich Ramsey

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2011, 09:05:28 AM »

Yes...that one has raised the hair on the back of my neck several times.

Spooky.  After all, how many people are named "Bob."

Sarcasm usually doesn't work in Text. But you have found success.

I do however love what you have done here Sheila, nice work in tracking down all this information.  I wonder if you have asked more questions in your search than found answers.
"Hang Tough"
Rich
 
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Sheila Shigley

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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2011, 09:54:18 PM »

Well...at least we found him.  Put a face to the name.  And what a face!

Just watched the A&E bio on Earhart.  Not the best, but...well, it was better'n nothing, I guess.  And no mention of Wemple ;)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 09:58:55 PM by Sheila Shigley »
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Re: Who was Bob Wemple?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 09:59:36 AM »

This is amazing that I stumbled upon this post.

I can tell you much about Bob Wemple!

I have known his son for many years. I'd be happy to put you in touch with him. Bob Wemple's full name was Robert Gardiner Wemple, Jr. His son is Robert G. Wemple III.

I have for many years heard Bob's stories about his father's aviation career and his friendship with not only Amelia Earhart, but also Howard Hughes.

Please contact me directly at sonesta@nol.net and I'll give you Bob III's contact info. I am in Houston, Texas. Bob III lives in Garland, Texas.
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