Harry D. Holmes
In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald perched on the 6th floor of the old book depository in Dallas, Texas. As President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade approached the crowd, shots were fired at the president. He was hit and died after being transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Once Oswald was arrested for the assassination, Postal Inspector Harry Holmes was called to investigate how he had purchased the weapon through the mail.
Harry Holmes' Early Life
Harry D. Holmes was born in 1905 in Indian Territory. At the age of 12, his family moved to Kansas City. Holmes worked at a toy factory and bakery to put himself through school. He eventually became a mail handler while studying to be a CPA.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Holmes decided to take the Postal Inspector examination and passed. he was stationed first in Louisiana and was later transferred to Dallas, Texas, in 1948. Harry Holmes worked tirelessly to become one of the top Inspectors of the Texas and Louisiana regions.
Harry Holmes and the JFK Assassination
Harry Holmes' office was in the Terminal Annex Office Building, facing Dealey Plaza. Holmes and several other Inspectors were watching the presidential motorcade when they heard the ringing of gunshots in the air. According to Holmes, the scene was so chaotic that no one peered just across their building to see Oswald escaping. Instead, eyes were glued to the First Lady and the bloody scene below them.
Immediately, all federal agencies located in Dallas banded together to assist the FBI and secret Service. Holmes had previously worked with Captain Fritz of the Dallas PD and volunteered his services. As the manhunt ensued for Oswald, information trickled in to the Post Office Department about his local postal connections. It turned out that Oswald had a PO Box located in the Terminal Annex, and he had used it with the last few weeks.
Lee Harvey Oswald was on the Postal Inspectors' radar.
Lee Harvey Oswald's Postal Investigation
The first official act taken by Holmes was to place a 24-hour security watch on Oswald's box. For days after the assassination, all mail delivered to Oswald was given directly to Holmes and the FBI.
Fritz asked Holmes to sit in on the interview that would be taking place. This would end up being Oswald's final interview. Harry Holmes delved deep into questions pertaining to Oswald's access to the murder weapon, which he bough through the mail from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago.
When the interview was over, Holmes exited to his car. As the FBI was transporting Oswald, Jack Ruby, a prominent Dallas nightclub owner, pulled out a handgun and shot Lee Harvey Oswald point blank. Oswald was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m. on November 24, 1963.
HISTORY SPOTLIGHT HOMEPAGE
Explore the history of the United States Postal Inspection Service.Learn More