Thank you for taking the time to talk. with me aboul our mutual interest in Amelia Earhart. Despite the urgings of my family and other P.T. boaters, this letter represents the first time: I have committed this story to writing.
During World War 11, I was the first
engineer on PT. 184 in Squadron II. At the time of this incident, we had been
operating throughout most of the
On March l8 I 944 we were briefed on our new
orders by our Skipper, Lt. Bill Josey, from Hounton
Lt. Josey emphasnied that we were to be vigilant for evidence of Amelia Eahart. this was of great interest to me. As a young man not even of age when the war began, I had grown up with Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindburg and Wiley Post as heros
On March 20 we invaded Emirau and anchored
ID: AUG 24’OO No.001 P.03
Ms. Joan Hubbard
By March 22, I had become curious about the
natives in the village that ran along the
I was an outdoorsman and, naturally, wanted to learn more about the villagers and their way of life. Alter obtaining permission to go ashore, I swam into the reef and over it onto the Beach. It was then that I discovered the breakers were too large for me to swim during the return to the boat.
The end native hut on the left had several outrigger canoes nearby. One was small, about a two-man size, and would safely carry me back to our boat. So, I set out to buy it. For some reason I had a penny and a nickel in the pocket of my cut-offs. I polished them in the sand and, using “Pigeon English" and drawings in the sand, negotiated with the young man in the hut for the canoe. It was at this point that I noticed a board with several photographs on it hanging from the center post of the young man's hut.
The second photograph [from the leftj was of
Amelia Earhart. Three other people posed with her in the photo. From left to
right they were the native from whom I had purchased the canoe, a Japanese
naval officer replete with Samurai sword and Imperial Marine hat, Amelia
Earhart and the local Missionary. Amelia was dressed as we all knew her--with a
white blouse, dark slacks and white scarf. The young man from whom I had
purchased the canoe was the helper to the Missionary. In the background was a
building the native identified as the school on
I asked the native about Amelia, and he said
she had come to Mussau with the
With that, I paddled back to my boat. After mulling over what I had seen for a couple of hours, I told Lt. Josey about the photo. Naturally, he wanted to see it for himself, so I paddled Lt. Josey to the beach, He, too determined the photo to be real and asked that I return him to our boat.
ID: AUG 24’OO No.001 P.04
Ms. Joan Hubbard
At the time, we were under radio silence,
and this status was to be broken only for true emergencies or matters of urgent
importance. Upon returning to our boat, Lt. Josey went directly to the Squadron
office on base, where he spoke with our Squadron Commander, Leroy Taylor. They
then broke radio Silence and reported the information to the appropriate
At sunrise two days later, a PBY (Black Cat) flying boat landed in the bay, anchored and an aircraft rearming boat picked up its passenger. He came to our boat, where he asked for Lt. Josey and me. Identifying himself as Naval Intelligence, the officer was attired in dress blues, which seemed out of place in our equatorial setting. The officer instructed us to show him the photo of Amelia. I took Lt. Josey and the officer to the beach in the Rearming boat.
The officer questioned the native, asking about other pictures or negatives. He knew of none, said the Missionary wss dead, and responded that he knew nothing about the Japanese officer. With that, the Naval Intelligence Officer took the photograph from its mount, put it into a piece of paper and. inserted the package into an envelope, which he placed in his coat pocket. When the native objected, the officer grabbed the native with one hand, placed his other hand on his side arm, and let the native know his life was in jeopardy.
Then, we returned to the PBY. Before hIs departure, I asked the officer many questions, which he simply did not respond to. He said only that he was from Naval Intelligence, but would not tell us where he was based. However, the officer did tell me he would soon let us know the outcome of this incident. With that, the officer took off. We never heard from him again.
A few days later the Sea Bees completed our new base, and we moved our operation on to the northeast side of Emirau in Homestead Lagoon.
When our radio blackout was lifted, Lt. Josey contacted our Naval Intelligence operation in the rear area asking what they had learned about the photo of Amelia. Their reply came a few days later; they knew nothing of what we were inquIring about.
ID: AUG 24’OO No001 P
Ms. Joan Hubbard
Lt. Josey and I discussed the situation and
concluded that the photo had been taken after Amelia left
On this second occasion, he inquired about the Naval Intelligence Officer we met on Emirau A couple of patrols later we received a message stating that no Naval Intelligence had been in the area.
Lt. Josey's famiy owned the Housion Post at that time, This background caused him to believe our story deserved further investigation and he made other contacts,
Upon returning from patrol a few days later, our base contacted. us and ordered Lt. Josey to be dropped off there for debriefing. This did not seem unusual, and Josey thought he would be reporting on the previous nights patrol. We took the boat on to fuel up and re-supply our ammunition.
Later, when we returned to the dock for Lt. Josey, he appeared almost in shock, He was pale and agitated. The Lieutenant handed me a dispatch and. ordered me to read It, which I did. The message which bore an original signature, was from the Commander of’ the South Pacific (COMSOPAC) and read as foflows
Lt Jg. Josey
Com. PT. 184
Concerning your inquiry.
CEASE AND DESIST.
In my naivete, I asked Lt. Josey what the message really meant in Navy terms. He told me we were never to discuss this matter again and that it never happened. We never mentioned it between us again..
ID AUG 24’OO No P
Ms. Joaxi Hubbard
In the past few years, I have become associated with an organization of former World War II PT boaters, which allowed me to research the whereabouts of the three other individuals I served with who knew about the Amelia photograph. All(listed below) are deceased, and I do not know to this day the identity of the Naval Intelligence Officer.
Lt. Bill Josey
Commander P.T. 184
Many years went by with this experience on
my mind as I tried to understand it In May 1999 my wife and I had the
opportunity to visit the Admiral.
The last item in the display was a statement
by Nimitz that appeared to me to be an official Naval
dispatch signed by the Admiral. I recall that it said, “It is time the American
people know that Amelia arhart was I fact an agent of the Ilnited States on
mission. She was apprehended by the Japanese in the Pacific and executed in the
The photograph that I found on Emirau and. that was reported by P.T. 184 seems to support this statement.