Leftover suggestions for Bones III

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Fiji Bones II Odds 'n' Ends


  • Ask to see the Government dispatches to the Colonial Office. National Archives of Fiji or Hanslope Park.
  • We might ask to look at Government dispatches to the Colonial Office.
  • Try the University of New South Wales archives. They may have some Kiribati files.
  • New Zealand archives--Wellington? They have superb indexing. First inquiry free, user pays after that.
  • Write an article for PARBICA about the search? Read PARBICA to get better history of the WPHC archives?
  • Has anyone contacted Honiara? The Niku materials may have moved there with the WPHC.
  • When the WPHC pulled out of Fiji, some other British entity must have come into existence to act as a consulate. British High Commission? We contacted the British consulate, but they wanted to have nothing to do with us. It's conceivable that some material went from the WPHC to the new entity. Stuff from Niku is not likely to have been in that transfer. It's a very long shot. Then again, if the bones were where we expected them to be, we'd've found them already.

The most interesting reading was this:

WPHC 27 1227571 Item 44 General Letters Outward
2 January 1941 to 30 June 1941
WPHC 27 1227572 Item 45 General Letters Outward
1 July 1941 to 30 December 1941
WPHC 27 1227573 Item 46
2 January 1942 to 30 June 1942
WPHC 27 1227574 Item 47
1 July 1942 to 30 December 1942

These volumes preserve a lot of material that has been otherwise deleted from the Archives. I don't know whether there are more such volumes or whether this is all that they have from the period that interests us. The attention to detail in these letters is staggering. At the same time, it is very mundane. There may be other registers with higher-level outgoing mail in them.

Conversation with Joan Teiawa

  • Joan recommends contacting Gordon Groves, who is now in Virginia. He was an oceanographer from U. Hawaii who has written books about the Kiribati language. "A very interesting man." Married to Taribata by Vaskess. Tried contacting him via e-mail. No reply.
  • Joan will try to find Ashley Wickham's e-mail for me, too. He is a Kiribati journalist who stays in touch with Groves. Worked with him on a newsletter in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.
  • He may have an e-mail address for Gordon Grove (no joy).
  • We should talk with Peter Emberson, a journalist and student at USP. He edits a newsletter and was a student of her daughter at USP.
  • Bernadette Rounds Ganilau ('nganilau' or 'gnanilau'?). She is a knowledgeable media personality.
  • Try to find Paddy MacDonald's daughters? Veronica ("Ronnie")? In England? Hillary? Sally?

Michael Benefield

  • Claringbold, who has published three volumes on the lost warbirds of Papua New Guinea
  • Dr. George and Shirley Hennings in Auckland. He was in private practice, but knew all the doctors in the colonial service.
  • Get an introduction to the British Ambassador through the Parkinsons.
  • Prof Ron Crocombe at Auckland.

Bruce T. Burne

  • Have we checked the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau? Hewitt? The file lists for Kiribati may have been microfilmed. [I seem to remember that there was a microfilm machine listed in the discussion of the Central Archives.]
  • Some records may even be in Vanuatu. Paddy wanted to share the wealth.
  • Richard Overy, Wellington, Nat'l Archives?
    • He is an archivist and should be known by the folks in Auckland.

Other tips, suggestions

  • Sir Arthur Grimble wrote Pattern of Islands.
  • Write an article for PABICA about the search?
  • Jimi Samisoni, one of Gilchrist's students.
  • Michael Field, Auckland reporter.
  • Contact Gilchrist's nephew?
  • Has anyone ever tried to locate Sir Harry's full diary? Published From a South Seas Diary.
  • Where are Gallagher's diaries? Any WPHC diaries?
  • Have we checked Colonial Office files in Britain? (Suggested by archivist in Suva.)
  • Bruce T. Burne: We should look for the Resident Commissioner's files, probably in Kiribati (I think people have already found the RC's bones file).
  • American representation in Fiji in 1940?
    • Any chance that the British consulted with American diplomats (if any)?
    • When the WPHC was split in 1953, mightn't they have sent the bones, box, shoe parts and corks to Tarawa police?
    • Would the Tarawa police have kept "cold case files"? (The "Tarawa police" may not have been distinguishable from the WPHC in 1953).

1228414 WPHC 4/IV 4192/40-4510/40

  • Bones file.
  • Ballpoint pen under "Other Connected Papers":
    • R39
    • B946
  • Looks careless. But who knows?
  • Steve Innes doesn't recognize it as a call number.
  • Natalie says the last note from Sir Harry looks like: "Seen. Pa." That matches the instruction from 1945 to use B.U. and P.A. for "bring up" and "put away."

Nikumaroro Anecdotes

Ene Edward Etuati

Ene Edward Etuati from Tuvalu worked on the police force in the 1960s. He was stationed on Canton for 3-4 months in 1967. They would check the other Phoenix islands by ship. They saw some Americans there--probably the rocket group? Perhaps four were in the party.

One time, they landed on Nikumaroro and found a pistol and a pocket knife. They took them to Canton. There was an officer in charge of the group. Edward does not remember what kind of pistol it was. He will come tomorrow to show us where they were found on the island.

Edward transfered to Christmas Island later in 1967. One night in a bar, he met some Americans who were looking for the wreck of AE's airplane in the Line Islands and the Phoenix islands. Many planes had crashed on Christmas Island. He only saw them the one time and didn't hear of them again. He does not remember their names.

Ene Etuati came to visit this afternoon. He is a close relative of Tofiga from the same home island, Vaitupu in Tuvalu.

Eni Etuati
Alapi Side
Tuvalu Is.

He was on Nikumaroro only once. As the ships approached from Tarawa, they would send a boat ashore and also send a boat around the island. It was on his single visit that an old gun and knife were found on the beach somewhere between the blasted channel and the village. He thinks the gun may have been a .38 revolver. Both the gun and the knife were"all rotten." Some of the men thought the gun was just a toy.

Roger says that EE spoke about WG-20, WG-21, WH-21 and WH-22 as the likely area for the gun and knife to have been found.

Some stayed in the village and ate coconuts. Some walked around the island on foot (distance uncertain).

There were many footprints on the beach. No one should have been there. The fishing boats are prohibited from coming ashore on the islands. But whenever anything was out of the ordinary on the uninhabited islands,"We just blame the fishing boats."

Then they went to another island where there was only an airstrip and a beacon (Hull?).

Pan Am and the Americans were at one end of Canton; he and the British were at the other end.

EE was in the police from 1959 to 1972.

There was a native woman, Nane Afu, from Tarawa on the same boat that brought him out to Christmas Island. She had worked as a house girl in Tarawa and wanted to find Amelia Earhart's plane because there was "big money" to be made. "Maybe her father was offering a reward."

There were lots of wreck sites on Christmas Island. There were many people on the island in the early 60s for the bomb tests.

When EE met the American in the bar, the American was surprised that EE already knew about the possibility of Earhart coming down in the Line Islands or in the Phoenix Islands. EE introduced the American to the native woman who had told him the whole story.

EE was born in 1940. He was 27 in 1967. He thinks the woman may have been 40 or so at the time. She was a tomboy who went out all alone with her dog on Christmas Island and would search for two or three days at a time. She returned to her home island and disappeared one night when she went fishing by herself.

Susan Parkinson

Susan Parkinson says that the Gardner had a higher ratio of poisonous fish than other islands, especially during the hot season.

When the coral breaks up, either naturally or because of military activity, a different kind of algae grows on it. The fish that feed on the algae become toxic to those who eat the fish. Deep water fish are OK, as a rule.

There is no way to tell the difference between a poisonous reef fish and one that is not poisonous, except by eating the fish.

Hanlon's Razor

"Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by ignorance."