Harry Dean Holmes was born in Oklahoma on 2nd July 1905 (then this was still regarded as Indian territory). He started to go to dental college but around the age of 18 he ended up at the United States Postal Service and he remained in that profession until his retirement in 1966. He was stationed in Dallas in 1948 and was there on the day JFK got murdered.
At the time of the assassination he was positioned on the fifth floor of the Post Office Terminal Annex Building opposite the TSBD and Elm St. He had perhaps the best vantage point, witnessing the assassination through binoculars along with a few colleagues.
Holmes was responsible for much of the investigative work in tracking down the money order used to purchase the rifle which was allegedly used in the assassination. He was also a central figure in the last interrogation of Oswald shortly before he was murdered in the basement of the Dallas City Hall and this is where our attention is focused on,
Harry Dean Holmes was on his way to church with his wife but decided to return to the police station where he walked in and saw Captain Fritz. He stated that Fritz said:
“We are getting ready to have a last interrogation with Oswald before we transfer him to the county jail. Would you like to join us?”
To which Holmes replied: “I would.”
It takes him more than three weeks to put pen to paper and actually ‘recollect’ the happenings from the period Nov 22-24th 1963. let’s have a closer look at this memorandum.
page 4 ” the commotion surrounding the assassination took place and when he went downstairs, a policeman questioned him as to his identification and his boss stated “he is one of our employees” whereupon the policeman had him step aside momentarily”.
Step aside momentarily? To get inside the building or inside the lunchroom? A heavy indicator that Holmes gives the fugezi lunchroom story away…. He repeated this during his WC testimony, see further below.
In his Warren Commission testimony he told Mr. Belin: “I never quit. I didn’t get to bed for two days”
It gets better: The following exchange Harry Dean Holmes has with David Belin during his Warren Commission testimony is all too revealing and Belin moves the discussion off the record, quell surprise…
BELIN: “All right, what was the next thing you did in connection with the investigation of the assassination?”
HOLMES: “Well, throughout the entire period I was feeding change of addresses as bits of information to the FBI and the Secret Service, and sort of a coordinating deal on it, but then about Sunday morning about 9:20”
BELIN: “Pardon me a second (Discussion off record) Anything else now, Mr. Holmes?”
HOLMES: “I might cover the record of his rental of the post office box in New Orleans. Do you want me to go into that?”
With regards him helping other agencies, from the beginning there was great suspicion about Harry Dean Holmes being an FBI informant. In Sylvia Meagher’s Accessories After The Fact (page 50) where is referred to as T-7 in CE1152, there is however no real evidence pointing T-7 as being Harry Dean Holmes. It turns out that Holmes was referred to as T-2 and T-10, you can see this in the two pages below. Greg Parker has been kind enough to point out that the T stands for ‘temporary’ and this is explained in the final report by the ARRB on page 70. I quote: “…in longer formal FBI reports from field offices to headquarters, where many informants were used, the FBI added yet another layer of security to the informant’s identity by assigning temporary symbol numbers (T1, T2. etc…)”
There are some more interesting passages by Harry Dean Holmes with regards Oswald’s interrogation in his Warren Commission testimony.
Mr. BELIN. All right, now. Let me ask you this. Just what was the occasion of your joining this interrogation? How did you happen to be there?
Mr. HOLMES. I had been in and out of Captain Fritz’ office on numerous occasions during this 2 1/2-day period.
On this morning I had no appointment. I actually started to church with my wife. I got to church and I said, “You get out, I am going down and see if I can do something for Captain Fritz. I imagine he is as sleepy as I am.”
So I drove directly on down to the police station and walked in, and as I did, Captain Fritz motioned to me and said, “We are getting ready to have a last interrogation with Oswald before we transfer him to the county jail. Would you like to join us?” I said, “I would.”
We went into his private room and closed the door, and those present were Captain Will Fritz, of the Dallas Police Department, Forrest V. Sorrels, local agent in charge of Secret Service, and Thomas J. Kelley, inspector, Secret Service, from Washington, and also about three detectives who were not identified to me, but simply were guarding Oswald who was handcuffed and seated at Will Fritz’ desk.
Mr. BELIN. All right, now. Will you state if you remember–do you have a written memorandum there of that interview?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. I wonder if you would just let me ask you: When did you make your written memorandum?
Mr. HOLMES. On December 17, 1963.
Holmes told the Warren Commission (Hearings, Volume VII, p. 297) that he “had a few notes” to go on when writing his interrogation report, but there is no indication at all of what has happened to them.
Mr. BELIN. I wonder if, using your memorandum to refresh your recollection, you would just say what was said by any of the people there and just cover the whole thing? I will take it up section by section. Just start out. This started around 9:30, is that it, on Sunday morning?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes, sir. Now, this is my impression, not what he said.
Mr. BELIN. I notice the first paragraph, you have an impression on that? I wonder perhaps what we might do is, I am going to see if I have a copy of this, and if I can, to attach just as a–is this an extra copy that you have here?
Mr. HOLMES. Yes; I guess you can. Let me tear that top off.
Mr. BELIN. I am going to mark this as “Holmes Deposition Exhibit No. 4.” This is a memorandum of your interview?
Mr. HOLMES. That I dictated on December 17, 1963.
Mr. BELIN. That is about 4 weeks after the interview took place; is that correct?
Mr. HOLMES. That’s correct.
Mr. BELIN. Do you have any notes from which you dictated this interview?
Mr. HOLMES. I had a few notes. I had no reason for such a statement except that about that time the FBI asked me they learned that I had been in on this interrogation, and asked me if I would object to giving them a statement as to what went on in that room, and this is my statement. Part of it was from notes and part of it was from memory.
Mr. BELIN. Now, I notice–well, you might just, without even looking at the memorandum, first just give us your general impression of what went on there.
Mr. HOLMES. There was no formality, to the interrogation. One man would question Oswald. Another would interrupt with a different trend of thought, or something in connection, and it was sort of an informal questioning or interrogation.
Oswald was quite composed. He answered readily those questions that he wanted to answer. He could cut off just like with a knife anything that he didn’t want to answer.
Mr. BELIN. Did anyone say anything about Oswald saying anything about his leaving the Texas School Book Depository after the shooting?
Mr. HOLMES. He said, as I remember, actually, in answer to questions there, he mentioned that when lunchtime came, one of the Negro employees asked him if. he would like to sit and each lunch with him, and he said, “Yes, but I can’t go right now.” He said, “You go and take the elevator on down.” No, he said, “You go ahead, but send the elevator back up.” He didn’t say up where, and he didn’t mention what floor he was on. Nobody seemed to ask him.
You see, I assumed that obvious questions like that had been asked in previous interrogation. So I didn’t interrupt too much, but he said, “Send the elevator back up to me.” Then he said when all this commotion started, “I just went on downstairs.” And he didn’t say whether he took the elevator or not. He said, “I went down, and as I started to go out and see what it was all about, a police officer stopped me just before I got to the front door, and started to ask me some questions, and my superintendent of the place stepped up and told the officers that I am one of the employees of the building, so he told me to step aside for a little bit and we will get to you later. Then I just went on out in the crowd to see what it was all about.”
And he wouldn’t tell what happened then.
Mr. BELIN. Did he say where he was at the time of the shooting?
Mr. HOLMES. He just said he was still up in the building when the commotion– he kind of—-
Mr. BELIN. Did he gesture with his hands, do you remember?
Mr. HOLMES. He talked with his hands all the time. He was handcuffed, but he was quiet–well, he was not what you call a stoic phlegmatic person. He is very definite with his talk and his eyes and his head, and he goes like that, you see.
Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say anything about seeing a man with a crew cut in front of the building as he was about to leave it? Do you remember anything about that?
Mr. HOLMES. No.
Mr. BELIN. You don’t remember anything about that. Did he say anything about telling a man about going to a pay phone in the building?
Mr. HOLMES. Policeman rushed–I take it back—I don’t know whether he said a policeman or not–a man came rushing by and said, “Where’s your telephone?”
And the man showed him some kind of credential and I don’t know that he identified the credential, so he might not have been a police officer, and said I am so and so, and shoved something at me which I didn’t look at and said, “Where is the telephone?”
And I said, “Right there,” and just pointed in to the phone, and I went on out.
Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say why he left the building?
Mr. HOLMES. No; other than just said he talked about this commotion and went out to see what it was about.
Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say how he got home, if he did get home?
Mr. HOLMES. They didn’t–we didn’t go into that. I just assumed that they had covered all that. Nobody asked him about from the minute he walked out the door as to what happened to him, except somebody asked him about the shooting of Tippit, and he said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Mr. BELIN. By the way, where did this policeman stop him when he was coming down the stairs at the Book Depository on the day of the shooting? Mr. HOLMES. He said it was in the vestibule.
Mr. BELIN. He said he was in the vestibule?
Mr. HOLMES. Or approaching the door to the vestibule. He was just coming, apparently, and I have never been in there myself. Apparently there is two sets of doors, and he had come out to this front part.
Mr. BELIN. Did he state it was on what floor?
Mr. HOLMES. First floor. The front entrance to the first floor.
Mr. BELIN. Did he say anything about a Coca Cola or anything like that, if you remember?
Mr. HOLMES. Seems like he said he was drinking a Coca Cola, standing there by the Coca Cola machine drinking a Coca Cola.
Mr. BELIN. Anything else?
Mr. HOLMES. Nothing more than what I have already told you on it.
Mr. BELIN. Now, Mr. Holmes, I wonder if you could try and think if there is anything else that you remember Oswald saying about where he was during the period prior or shortly prior to, and then at the time of the assassination?
Mr. HOLMES. Nothing more than I have already said. If you want me to repeat that?
Mr. BELIN. Go ahead and repeat it.
Mr. HOLMES. See if I say it the same way?
Mr. BELIN. Yes.
Mr. HOLMES. He said when lunchtime came he was working in one of the upper floors with a Negro.
The Negro said, “Come on and let’s eat lunch together.” Apparently both of them having a sack lunch. And he said, “You go ahead, send the elevator back up to me and I will come down just as soon as I am finished.” And he didn’t say what he was doing. There was a commotion outside, which he later rushed downstairs to go out to see what was going on. He didn’t say whether he took the stairs down. He didn’t say whether he took the elevator down.
But he went downstairs, and as he went out the front, it seems as though he did have a coke with him, or he stopped at the coke machine, or somebody else was trying to get a coke, but there was a coke involved. He mentioned something about a coke. But a police officer asked him who he was, and just as he started to identify himself, his superintendent came up and said, “He is one of our men.” And the policeman said, “Well, you step aside for a little bit.”
Then another man rushed in past him as he started out the door, in this vestibule part of it, and flashed some kind of credential and he said, “Where is your telephone, where is your telephone, and said I am so and so, where is your telephone.”
And he said, “I didn’t look at the credential. I don’t know who he said he was, and I just pointed to the phone and said, ‘there it is,’ and went on out the door.”
If you go to Holmes’ summary as printed in the Warren Report, it does not say Oswald was on the sixth floor. It specifically says he did not indicate the floor he was on at the time of the shooting. (WR, p. 636) And then comes the clincher. When one reads this section of the Holmes report, it becomes clear that the FBI informant is embroidering his story to jibe with the evolving tale of the infamous Charles Givens. For the whole thing about “You go on down and send the elevator back up…” is there in Holmes’ summary. This whole Givens flip-flopping charade was exposed by Sylvia Meagher back in 1971 in the Texas Observer. (8/13/71) On the day of the assassination, the TSBD worker said he had seen Oswald around 11:50 in the so-called domino room on the first floor. Ten days later, on December 2nd, he changed his story for the Secret Service. He now said he saw Oswald upstairs with a clipboard on the sixth floor at around 11:45. As Givens left, Oswald told him to send an elevator back up for him. After that, he never saw Oswald again. Both stories cannot be true. But clearly, Holmes heard about the second story through his FBI grapevine. And he is now trying to create posthumous corroboration by Oswald, which again, no one else heard.
According to footnotes in Gerald Posner’s Case Closed, Harry Dean Holmes did an interview in 1989 with Postal Inspector David McDermott, no transcript of this has ever been seen besides the mention by Posner. I have contacted Gerald Posner 3 times for a copy to no avail.
Holmes died in 1999.