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BBC Report About Leslie Howard's Death

[BBC Report of Leslie Howard's Death] On Saturday, July 30, I posted on Facebook the 2014 BBC report on Leslie Howard's Death ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Mission

One of the last photos taken of Leslie Howard
Spain — May, 1943

Welcome and thank you for visiting my Leslie Howard fan page. It warms my heart to know that you see something you like in Mr. Howard, something that makes you want to know more.

I started this page because the well-known classic movie channel, which I love—don't get me wrong—but they didn't show Mr. Howard's movies on
his birthday, or again on the anniversary of his death. I just couldn't stand the thought of Leslie Howard forgotten and fading away into history. My interest in Mr. Howard began as merely being a fan of his movies, but since embarking on this mission I have done quite a bit of research into the man. I didn't know where to look at first but I gradually came upon internet libraries full of information, not to mention books and radio shows and his own writings for newspapers and magazines. I have read hundreds of articles and notices printed in The New York Times alone. And, Mr. Howard was not shy about expressing his opinions in stories he wrote for The New York Times, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

I am telling you this because I want you to know that my site deals in facts, not fiction. As many of you may know, Mr. Howard returned to England after finishing the films Gone With The Wind and Intermezzo, both filmed simultaneously in 1939. He did this because his country was on the brink of war and he wanted to be there to help in any way he could. Many foreign actors, directors and technicians chose to sit out the war in America and did not return home. But not Mr. Howard. Returning to England meant the forfeiture of all his box office receipts from Gone With The Windover $40 million in today's currency. He asked his government to allow him to join any branch of the service but they told him he was much more valuable boosting the morale of his fellow countrymen by continuing to make films. The British Council used Mr. Howard's talent and creativity to create films which demonstrated to the citizens of other nations what it was like to live in a free and peaceful society. Howard also performed in a film, 49th Parallel (1941), for the Ministry of Information. Howard continued to broadcast over the BBC and via short-wave radio for transmission to America explaining why England had declared war on Germany and urging the United States to help with the war effort. He knew this did not win him any fans with Hitler or the Nazis or their henchmen, especially Joseph Goebbels who seemed to take a particular dislike to Howard.

Leslie Howard traveled during the war to a limited number of neutral countries in Europe promoting his films. There are those who knew him that claimed Howard was asked by Winston Churchill to meet with Fransisco Franco on his last fateful trip. I have no reason not to believe this. But what I don't believe is that Leslie Howard knew the civilian plane on which he was traveling would be shot down on his journey back to England. Why? Because knowing Mr. Howard as I do, I do not believe that he would have allowed women and children to board that plane knowing that they were going to their certain deaths, especially a death like that—their plane riddled with bullets, most likely on fire, plunging into the Bay of Biscay. Also, I think Leslie Howard valued his own life more than that. All that is known for sure is that the Nazis shot down Howard's plane, killing all those aboard.

There are also those who believe that Mr. Howard was a spy or secret agent. I don't believe that either. His own children stated in the books they wrote about their father that he didn't have the temperament or the self-sufficiency to do that kind of work. I believe them. I think believing that Howard was a spy lessens the heroism of what he actually accomplished. He was just an ordinary man doing something very brave that he was asked to do.

To all those who continue to believe that Leslie Howard was a spy I would ask: Why do you believe that? Many authors have tried to prove Leslie Howard was a spy. Why have they been unsuccessful? All the WWII spies have been outed already. Do you think Howard was so much brighter than all the other known spies of WWII that he could maintain this secret—even in death? Ask yourself these questions: (1) Where was he supposed to have done this spying? (2) What country did he travel to? (3) When? (4) What act of spying did he perform? (5) What did he accomplish? If you cannot answer one of these questions then I suggest that you are merely engaging in a fantasy you want to believe. And, unfortunately, believing in that fantasy makes it easier to explain away his murder. Don't help those who are responsible for, or complicit in, Leslie Howard's death avoid their condemnation by believing this theory. Leslie Howard was a truly interesting man who accomplished a great deal and was present for so many of the momentous events that occurred in his lifetime. Studying and learning about the actual events of his life and his thoughts and attitudes will fill your hours with amazement and awe without having to make up things about him.

Leslie Howard's death is still very controversial. There are those, such as Tom Hamilton, who are still investigating and, hopefully, his documentaries will shed light on Howard's death. But the fact is until the records are unsealed by the British government in 2056, no one will know the truth for sure. I have my own theories, but they are just that. I have no facts to base them on so I will not state them on my blog. I feel that I owe that to Mr. Howard since I am using his name. I will probably not be alive in 2056. But I hope that my blog creates at least one person who will be—one who will be waiting to see the information the British government finally releases. Someone who will be there to remember the man and celebrate his life and mourn his death, whatever the reason for that turns out to be.

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