Skip to comments.Amelia Earhart's secret life after 'death' (Spy For Japan, Ends Up in New Hampshire)
Posted on 08/18/2002 3:39:33 PM PDT by Hellmouth
Earhart was already an American heroine when, at midnight on July 2, 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan took off from New Guinea on the final 7000-mile leg of their global circumnavigation attempt. Intending to refuel on Howland Island, a narrow strip of land on the halfway mark, the pair made brief radio contact with a US coastguard cutter before communications were lost six hours into the flight.
History tells that the plane -- a Lockheed Electra -- ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean shortly after losing contact with the coastguard vessel, a theory which has fuelled numerous high-profile yet futile attempts to locate the wreakage.
But veteran director Ken Annakin, now 87, is set to shock the world with Yours Truly, Amelia -- a darker interpretation of the mystery.
Annakin, director of such notable productions as The Longest Day, Three Men In A Boat, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, The Battle Of The Bulge, Swiss Family Robinson, and more than 40 others , has already written the screenplay.
'The world has been led to believe that Amelia Earhart just vanished over the Pacific during her 1937 world flight, but that is definitely not so,' he said. 'The American government wanted to know what the Japanese were up to on the island of Truk and asked her to go on a spying mission.
'Amelia hated the idea of war and refused. She was, however, persuaded to manoeuvre the plane into a position from which her navigator, Fred Noonan, could take pictures of secret fortifications.
'They were detected and shot down by a Japanese plane. The pilot is still alive in Tokyo. Earhart and Noonan survived the crash landing, but he was killed when he refused to co-operate with the Japanese.'
Earhart, it seems, saved her skin by being more helpful and there were photographs of her standing on the wing of a plane that the Japanese were testing. She had had useful experience of a similar plane belonging to the famous Howard Hughes.
When the Japanese were losing the war, they sent her to a camp for priests and nuns in North China, from which she was ultimately rescued by the Americans.
The American government did not want it known that such an inspirational citizen had been spying. The miraculous re-emergence of a national hero who was supposed to have been lost would have been difficult to explain, and the Japanese were ready to expose her as a traitor.
The solution was a new identity. After rehabilitation, she was allowed to settle into life in New Hampshire, attended by a minder, Guy Bolam, a former MI6 man from England who became her husband.
Annakin has had the co-operation of the husband's step-brother, as well as an American officer, James Hannon, who came across Earhart in that Chinese camp at the end of the war. There, she was being referred to as 'the Yank' and 'the female Lindbergh', a reference to Charles Lindbergh, the American pilot who made the first solo transatlantic flight the year before Amelia Earhart.
It is a powerful human drama, the veracity of which Annakin is totally convinced. Born in Yorkshire in 1914, it has taken until his eighties for his name to be recognised in his own homeland. Apart from a doctorate from Hull university, Annakin will soon collect an OBE from the Queen. A close friend of Walt Disney and Darryl Zanuck, he is already installed in that hall of fame known as the Disney Legends.
Childhood memories of the 1920s include visits to 11 Downing Street, where his aunt was married to Philip Snowden, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first Labour government. As a cameraman and director he gained a toe-hold in films during the war, working for the Ministry of Information.
But for his next project will prove to be his most controversial. Annakin's elaborate explanations and research are in stark contrast to the theories about Earhart's disappearance put forth by several research teams and the weight of American history. Rival teams are even now scouring a 2000 square mile expanse of the Pacific Ocean for 'the holy grail of aviation', certain that the pilot did crash into the sea.
Sharing that aim, but hunting 1000 miles away on Nikumaroro, a remote atoll in equatorial Kiribati, is The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (Tighar). The theory championed by Tighar is that Earhart did not lose power until several hours after losing radio contact, ultimately crash landing on uninhabited Nikumaroro and remaining there as a castaway until her eventual death from illness or starvation.
This version of events only emerged after the discovery in 1988 of a clutch of documents relating to the 1940 discovery of a skeleton on the island, believed to be that of a woman, by a British Colonial Service officer.
For whoever solves the riddle, the rewards will be great. Revenues from a touring exhibition of artefacts are expected to run into seven figures, while the proceeds from documentary footage, books and film tie-ins could rival those of most small industries.
©2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved.
Guess moral to story is never hire an alocholic as your navigator...
We have a policy about those who would rewrite history.
Remember that Lindberg was pro-Hitler until the chips fell...
I don't know if he ever served in the European Theater but he was made more famous by his time in the Pacific.
[Which, by the way, suggests a racial bias rather than political.]
What the hell, it's no more absurd than any othe the other theories and it does tie into the lady in NH who many claim to have been Earhart.
Would be most interesting to see any statements from the "ex-MI5 agent...", his step-brother, James Hannon [the American officer], et al.
Most noteworthy failure so far is the lack of reports from all those nuns and nurses supposed to have referred to a fellow internee as 'the Yank' or 'female Lindberg'; seems at least one of them would have talked before now.
And Elvis is still alive and appearing in clubs in Iowa!
The nuns took a vow of silence and the nurses pled guilty to Japanese war crimes and were executed by the allies. Or, they were given new names and protection for knowledge of bacterial/chemical/medical experimentation during the Japanese occupation.
How's THAT for "tinfoil".
Nope, Missouri. :)
That's all right, Amelia. We'll always have Paris.
Amelia landed at the Lawton airport on a scheduled tour of some sort. She was sufficiently famous that a lot of people turned out to see her, including moi.
But alas, she took off and flew away into the wild blue yonder.