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According to an article published by Stars and Stripes on June 15th, 2017, a 70 year old message in a bottle has been discovered in the Hotel New Grand in Japan’s Yokohama Harbor during renovations. The message dates to the years after the war when the US occupied Japan. Now, the hotel is searching for McNamara’s surviving descendants, if he has any, to connect them with this piece of their family history.

McNamara Message in a Bottle - Stars and Stripes

Whiskey bottle with McNamara’s name on the front, and his business card within. Photo credit: Erik Slavin / Stars and Stripes.

The front of the business card simply lists McNamara’s name and rank. The brief note written on the back of the business card is pretty straightforward:

Lived at Grand Hotel Yokohama from 1946-1948 Room 316-317.

And yet, simple as the note is, it reveals a whole world. As Erik Slavin, author of the Stars and Stripes article, points out, “McNamara’s next door neighbor in Room 315 was Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of Allied powers and de facto ruler of Japan shortly after the war.”

The Hotel New Grand - Erik Slavin : Stars and Stripes

The Hotel New Grand in Yokohama Harbor. Photo credit: Erik Slavin / Stars and Stripes.

Slavin goes on to explain that “McNamara was an infantry officer working at the Second Major Port headquarters at Shinko Pier, which is now the site of the city’s Red Brick Warehouse shopping area. McNamara would have helped manage a vast amount of cargo and personnel coming into the port.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this message in a bottle was how it was concealed: In a wooden ceiling 20 feet from the floor. Wild!

The Ceiling Where McNamara's MIB Was Hidden - Erik Slavin : Stars and Stripes

The 20 foot high ceiling inside the Hotel New Grand in Yokohama Harbor where Lt. Col. Eugene J. McNamara hid a message in a bottle in the 1940s. Photo Credit: Erik Slavin / Stars and Stripes.

Of course, old buildings around the world are often renovated or torn down, and it’s always interesting to discover the secrets concealed in their walls. The phrase “If these walls could talk” comes to mind. Messages in bottles are one way people have given walls the ability to do just that!

There was this story, about a century old message in a bottle, discovered under the floorboards of a house in Connecticut, USA.

Then there was this story about an 87 year old message in a bottle miraculously found in the rubble of a building that had been torn down in Indiana, USA. I was honored to help find the living relatives of the author 🙂

This 50 year old message in a bottle survived being jackhammered out of a slab of concrete in Australia.

And recently, this 83 year old message in a bottle was found in the walls of an old building in Edinburgh, Scotland. Then, a 90 year old local man saw it and realized it was from his father.

All of this gives me hope that we can find the living relatives of Lt. Col. Eugene J. McNamara–we’ve done it before!

So my question is: Can you help? Do you know how to find information on this man and his family? Maybe you know his children or grandchildren? If not, you can always help by sharing this story!

Help spread the word, and I’m sure we can find McNamara’s descendants! Cheers! 🙂

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Yokohama City today. Photo credit: Wikipedia user Antomattei.