‘007’ mystery solved thanks to Channel 103 appeal

The mystery of a James Bond note discovered during restoration work at Elizabeth Castle in Jersey has been solved thanks to an appeal on our radio station Channel 103.

The daughters of Edward Arnold Blampied came forward following a public appeal by Jersey Heritage broadcast on Channel 103 for help to identify the author of the note, which was uncovered when a fireplace was unblocked in the 18th century Officers’ Quarters at the fortress.

Annelise Michel and Debbie Blampied got in touch to say they believed their late father was the person who hid the note in the fireplace nearly 60 years ago.

The note, which was originally in a glass bottle, reads: “007 JAMES BOND, 26th Feb 1966. PS SECRET AGENT. DON’T TELL ANYBODY.”

Edward was working as a carpenter at the Castle in 1966 and constructed the stairways in the Officers’ Quarters.

Bond fan

An ardent James Bond fan, his favourite film was ‘Thunderball’, which was released the previous year. He was also renowned for hiding things in buildings.

Edward also encouraged his daughters to throw messages in bottles into the sea, in the hope that someone would read them and send a reply.

Harvey Doolan, Jersey Heritage’s Historic Buildings Officer, was the archaeologist on-site when the note was discovered at Elizabeth Castle. He said that having spoken at length to Annelis and Debbie, he was convinced their father was the note’s author.

Harvey said: “We are delighted to have solved the mystery of the James Bond note discovered at Elizabeth Castle and very grateful to Annelis and Debbie for coming forward.

“Having spoken at length with them about their father and his life, and checked the note against examples of Edward’s handwriting, we’re sure he was the author.

“He used a very distinctive ‘th’ after the date, which is present on the note and on another letter he wrote that they showed us.

Notes mystery

“In addition, it transpires that Edward was almost as daring as the fictional secret agent whose name was inscribed upon the note, having received a medal for his time in Cyprus with the Royal Signal Corps and he also served in Iraq.

“His period of military service explains why the note was found with pages from the Reville newspaper, which was first published during the Second World War as an ex-servicemen’s newspaper and continued to be published until the 1970s.”

He also revealed that, in a remarkable coincidence, one of Edward’s grandsons is currently working as a Junior Project Manager with Building Renovations on the restoration project at Elizabeth Castle.

Harvey said: “We wonder whether he will carry on his grandfather’s tradition of leaving mysterious notes!”

Future search

Debbie said: “When my sister first heard it on Channel 103, we were both excited and immediately thought of our dad.

“It was something we knew he did and always used to sign his name as ‘E. A. Blampied’.

“When Jersey Heritage asked if anyone recognised the note, we spent a lovely day with our mum looking through old photos and letters, sharing memories.

“We were happy to have had it confirmed and wouldn’t be surprised if other notes are discovered in other locations in future.”

To read the full story of Edward and his mysterious note, please go to www.jerseyheritage.org/research-and-collections/object-in-focus/

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