Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ian Fleming and the Murder of Sir Harry Oakes

As has been recounted here before - the mystery of the murder of Sir Harry Oakes on the night of July 7th 1943 is one of the most celebrated unsolved murders of all time. A new suspect has now emerged onto the scene - none other than James Bond Creator and Second World War Naval Intelligence Officer Ian Lancaster Fleming.
We now have evidence that Fleming was in the Bahamas Region at the time of the Oakes Murder and that he may well along with his OSS/SOE Colleague Ivar Bryce have had good motive to take action against Oakes. Fleming arrived in New York from Bermuda with his new Director of Naval Intelligence Edmund Rushbrooke on the 19th  May 1943 on board Pan Am clipper 18611, he then in July 1943 attended an Anglo-American Naval Conference at the Mrytle Bank Hotel in Kingston Jamaica.

It would have been perfectly possible for Fleming and Bryce to meet in secret with Harry Oakes either prior or after the conference or to command a team of operatives to carry out a murder.The motive for such action would have been the purpose of the conference, namely to counter Axis U-Boat activity in the Caribbean, which both the US and British Governments suspected was being aided by Swedish Pro-Nazi Axel Wenner Gren, business associate and personal friend of Oakes, and the Duke of Windsor - a known pro-Nazi who was also a close personal friend of Oakes. Both Bryce and Fleming had the background and credentials for such a visit. Whatever happened at the meeting, the feisty Oakes brought a revolver and was accidentially killed. The resulting cover-up first involved coercing his business partner Harold Christie to take Oakes body along with some muscle to the Westborne residence and place Oakes back in his bed and set it on fire. Perhaps it was hoped that the fire would make it look like an accident and disguise signs of violent death. A fan put out the flames and Christie "finding" the body in the morning ran the police. The Duke of Windsor to avert suspicion from his unsavoury connections with Oakes, enlisted the Miami Police to frame Oakes erstwhile son in Law Maringy.
Why has it taken so long for Fleming to emerge as a suspect? - Until the publication this year of Matthew Parkers' book Goldeneye- where Bond was born, biographers have wrongly placed the year of Fleming's first visit to Jamaica to the autumn of 1944 . How very convenient.