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Thomas Kerr Smith and J.A. Rawles


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When I was in Dallas over the 42nd anniversary, I spent some time digging through the JFK collection at the Dallas public library and came across an interesting publication by Anthony Frewin, titled 'The Federal Bureau of Investigation's London File on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy'. It includes correspondance to and from the FBI, some from the legal attache in London and others, officials at the American Embassy in London.

What particularly caught my eye are two stories that I had never heard of, neither had several other 'brits' of my group. I wondered if anyone on here had heard of these people and the events they refer to.

Thomas Kerr Smith and J.A. Rawles were two British sailors who claimed to have foreknowledge of the assassination.

Smith wrote a letter to the American consulate on december 11th 1963 and said that just before he sailed on the 'Pretoria Castle', on the 14th November 14th 1963, he went to a bar in Oxford Street, Southampton and whilst having a drink got into conversation with an American seaman. He said that after discussing ships, they got onto the subject of JFK and Smith says that the seaman told him that 'that playboy Kennedy will be shot soon'.

Does anyone know anything further on this Smith? It appears he was interviewed (presumably by the FBI, doesn't make clear in the book) in 1964 but it appears nothing further was followed up. No clue seems to exist as to the identity of the american seaman.

J.A. Rawles, at the time of writing, sailor on the HMS Astute, wrote a letter to the U.S. Embassy in London on the 7th June, 1964 saying that he had visited Paris in September 1963 and got chatting to a 'rich american' at his hotel, called Thomas Harvey who he says he thinks came from Pennsylvania. He said Harvey was talking to him abut the US government and was critical of them and then told him that he would have JFK killed , that he had the power to do it. Rawles said he thought the man crazy and laughed at him but Harvey said Rawles would see what he meant in a few weeks.

In a following message from Washington to London, it said that the Bureau could find no trace of a Thomas Harvey in its files. It seems that the legal attache in London sent letters to Rawles wanting to question him further but he did not reply.

I can try and scan the original letters in and post them if anyone is interested.

I haven't finished reading the book yet but it seems there are even more stories of british people claiming involvement or foreknowledge of the assassination. Just found it interesting as I had no idea of these stories.

Francesca

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