Make your own free website on
April '42
April 1, 1942                                                                                                                        Kunming

Wednesday -- A new month and probably some new excitement of one kind or another.  Was on alert all day but most of my efforts were directed toward playing Acey-Deucey with Bond, Fish and Bent.  Came out ahead for a change.  After work Neale had tickets for the show and seven of us went.  It was Hollywood Cavalcade with Alice Faye and Don Ameche and was the most enjoyable thing I've seen since leaving the States.  Technicolor and all.  After we got home Neale, Bart, Little, CRB and myself spent a couple of hours talking about and planning our night raid on Rangoon.  I am taking John Haig, the auxiliary field, and returning to Magwe by myself.  Neale must have some faith in me.  Golly I hope it works well.


April 2, 1942                                                                                                                         Kunming

Thursday -- No action or undue excitement all day.  CRB and myself made some dental appointments and then lazed around.  Tonight was a big night, though.  The Governor of Yunnan province gave a dinner in honor of the A.V.G. at his mansion.  It was a typical Chinese dinner with all the vile Chinese wines I have come to detest.  The old boy broke out some champagne and absinthe late in the meal and then things got better.  Two Chinese plays went on all during the dinner.  The robes the players wore were gorgeous, but the plays stunk.  Got pretty well lit up and enjoyed myself greatly.  Red Foster our nurse, who comes from State College, told me she knew Helen H. there.  Home late and almost out of control.  


P40-E  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Gunnery in P40-E - six 50's  1:00

April 3, 1942                                                                                                                         Kunming

Friday -- Early to rise for work this morning but felt very little like it.  Partially hung over and very very sleepy.  Nothing doing all day except the usual cribbage and Acey-Deucey games at which they liked to have taken my shirt.  After work we played a little basketball, then a late shower and supper.  The days are getting very long but the rainy season is almost here and it is constantly hazy.  It would be very difficult for the Japs to hit us here now, but the Colonel is expecting them every day.  Listened to the news from the U.S. and they told about a Lt. who is the Ace of his squadron with three Japs.  Wonder what they would think of Neale, Little and myself with 15, 10 and 9 respectively.


April 4, 1942                                                                                                                    Kunming

Saturday -- Today was another on of those infrequent exciting days.  Johnny Robinson of the 52nd Sq. at MacDill, who is on the Pan-Am African division, ferried in one of our P40-E's along with a couple of other fellows.  It was really wonderful to see him.  He told me the news that Veve married some new A.C. officer at MacDill.  That's that.  Johnny gave us lots of news.  Bill Brockman, Pat Passage, John Lanning, Heffner and two other boys from the 21st Recon. outfit are also on the Pan-Am outfit in Africa.  Hennessy is supposed to have a batch of mail in Loi-Wing which he is bring in for us.  Too much good news for one day.  Wonder if we can stand all this prosperity.


April 5, 1942                                                                                                                    Kunming

Sunday -- Easter -- Was supposed to be on alert today but got Bob Little to stand by for me while I went to early morning service at the other Hostel.  Padre held the service which was really excellent.  Five of us from this Hostel and Maj. Gentry were the only one who went.  That should please Carrie.  Hennessy came in this afternoon in the Beechcraft from Loi-Wing and brought a huge batch of mail.  I had two wonderful letters from home, one from Dr. Todd at the church and two from Veve -- before she was married.  After reading them I came to the conclusion that the kid wasn't very stable.  Sent a wire home tonight and feel great.  Work tomorrow again, so to bed.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local patrol mission  1:20

April 6, 1942                                                                                                                         Kunming

Monday -- On alert all day and it was probably one of the most miserable days of the year.  Rained almost steadily and there was a low overcast.  Still we stayed on alert till the last dog was hung.  Tonight we had Pete and Red over to dinner and prefaced the gathering with a few snorts.  Turned out to be very pleasant, the before and after both.  Neale and Little are both thinking of going home and it makes the rest of us homesick.  Tomorrow I lead the blue Flight which is my first assignment as Flight Commander.  It is an accomplishment, in a way, but I can't get excited too much for some reason.  I hear the US calling me.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Engineering hops in 40's  :50

April 7, 1942                                                                                                                     Kunming

Tuesday -- Alert again today and did some test hopping on our airplanes.  We have ten, all in good shape.  Three of them are the new P40-E's which I would very much like to try out in a scrap to see how the six fifties work.  Got another letter from Mother this afternoon and it was really wonderful.  It had the news about both Romayne and Veve getting married.  Must be a busy place back there in the states maybe they are not sure this war is in earnest.  Three observation ships were fooling around Mengtsze late this evening and they anticipate a dawn raid tomorrow.  Neale asked Bond and I to come out early even thought it was to be our day off.  Evidently we both rate well with him.  He has faith in us.


April 8, 1942                                                                                                                      Kunming

Wednesday -- Up and at them at 4 bells this morning.  We had 20 ships on the line and ready to go at 4:30 but there was nothing stirring.  Around seven o'clock CRB and I took off and I slept the rest of the morning.  Went crow hunting this afternoon with Robby and Kirk.  Had a good time although my shooting was pretty bad.  The Col. called a special meeting tonight to quell rumors that we may be inducted into the Army against our wish over here.  He says everyone will have the option of staying or leaving, as they wish.  "Call of the Wild" with Loretta Young and Clark Gable was shown afterwards.  Man what a good picture.  One's appreciation of entertainment is certainly sharpened over here.


April 9, 1942                                                                                                                       Kunming

Thursday -- Big news today.  Oley's squadron at Loi-Wing shot down 12 of 20 model "0's" when the Japs tried to strafe Loi-wing yesterday.  We lost two airplanes on the ground but the 12 that they shot down compensated well for the loss.  Little had gone to Loi-Wing for some engineering dope and got in on the fight.  He got one of the zeros and claims that the Kittyhawk is all airplane.  Tonight we took Robby down for a Chinese dinner.  Red, Jo, Padre, Neale, Little, CRB and myself were in the party.  We took three bottles of our own wine along and got pretty well on the ball.  Afterwards we came out to the Hostel and continued the party.  Some fun.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local flying  1:05

April 10, 1942                                                                                                                       Kunming

Friday -- Day off today so slept late.  Had a dental appointment after dinner and on the way home and elderly Chinese woman ran into the side of the car and got two bad cuts on the head.  I took her to a hospital and did my best to have her taken care of -- but the colossal rottenness of the Chinese and their complete disregard for human life sickened me.  I had to threaten violence to have the woman's injuries treated.  The rest of the afternoon was spent getting things adjusted with the authorities.  Oley's outfit got caught on the ground at dawn this morning by six model "0's" and had ten ships shot up.  Five were E's but they can be fixed up quickly.  Japs gave us a dose of the same thing we have been giving them.


April 11, 1942                                                                                                                         Kunming

Saturday -- Today was a bitter one.  In addition to coming up with a bad cold which acts as though it might be a return of that miserable sinus trouble, a trip to Karachi , India, came up and neither Jim or I got to go.  Seven went with Bond and Little in charge.  Neale wanted me to stay here as second in command and take over Group Engineering while they were gone.  Yesterday I was in command of the men on alert as it was Neale's day off.  I'm certainly not very happy about it, nor the fact that India is completely refusing the British proposals for cooperation.  If India goes to the Japs, we are damned well stranded here.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Routine hops   1:30

April 12, 1942                                                                                                                    Kunming

Sunday -- Day off and so -- I spent it pleasantly and painlessly (?) at the dentist.  Finally, though, my teeth are in supposedly perfect shape.  They should last now until I get back to the states.  McMillan was going to send me to Loi-Wing in the morning with an "E" and I was to bring back a "40".  The thing fell through temporarily though, and I won't be going till the following day.  Tonight we went to a movie at the First Hostel and afterwards heard that the Japs started for Kunming from Hanoi this morning but turned back due to weather.  They may be up in the morning so we are making special preparations to greet them.  You can't ever tell.


April 13, 1942                                                                                                                       Kunming

Monday -- Had a comparatively quiet day after my trip to Loi-Wing was called off by Group Operations.  We went to work an hour early because of an anticipated air raid that never materialized.  Last night I saw a good show over at the First Hostel and walked home with Red after it was over.  Her husband is down at Loi-Wing with his Sq. and she seemed pretty lonesome.  Late in the afternoon Neale told me I would take that ship down to Loi-Wing in the morning.  I am taking a number of supplies as well.  Perhaps there may be a little action.  A few drinks at the bar tonight and then to bed.


April 14, 1942                                                                                                     Kunming to Loi Wing

Tuesday -- Left for Loi-Wing at 9:00 AM with a batch of mail, baggage and other items.  It was one of the worst trip I have ever made due to the weather.  I kept pretty close on the ball and finally came into Loi-Wing under a 200 foot ceiling.  The Colonel had been sweating me out.  Stayed over because of the weather and got the surprise of my life at supper when in walked Pat Passage and George Lanning who had just brought up some freight for PAA.  We talked until two bells, and Pat said we were assured a job with Pan-Am as soon as we could leave the A.V.G.  Wonderful news.  Lanning gave me a carton of P.M.'s.  What a world.  We -- Jim, CRB, and myself are undoubtedly destined for PAA in Africa.


P40-E  F.A.V.G. Kunming - Loi-Wing  Ferry ship to Loi-Wing, bad weather  2:15

April 15, 1942                                                                                                       Loi-Wing - Kunming

Wednesday -- Was up early to see Pat and Lanning off for Calcutta and then collected the stuff I was to bring back to Kunming and got ready to shove off.  The Colonel entrusted me with a lot of important stuff as well as giving me some cigarettes and candy to bring back.  The trip was fair and uneventful, although the weather was bad.  I got in around two o'clock and after distributing the mail, etc., attending staff meetings and turning over the airplane, I knocked off for the day.  We had a pleasant time talking tonight and Jim is all pepped up.  The news about Pat and Pan-Am was just what he wanted to hear.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing - Kunming  Slow time ship back from Loi-Wing  1:50

April 16, 1942                                                                                                      Kunming

Thursday -- The day was dull, as usual, on the alert but I spent most of it preparing a consolidated map of this area which is the best one in the group.  Neale, also fixed one up.  We used the excellent Kunming sections which I got from Pat and Lanning and they are the only ones in the country.  I sounded out about six of the ground crew which I am going to take along to Pan-Am when this outfit breaks up, and they all are willing.  All of them are top notch men and will really be of value to PAA I'm sure.  Early to bed tonight because 4:00 AM comes around very early.  As yet we have no word from the outfit that went to Karachi.  Probably having a big time.


April 17, 1942                                                                                                                 Kunming

Friday -- Today started off normally enough with the usual dopey morning alert but by midmorning things were moving.  Yarbery and Metasavage, who were fired for their assault on Staff Officers, left and with them went McDowell, Gp Chief Mech., and a guy named Blaylock.  The Col. refused the resignations but they got paid off and beat it out of here anyway.  Now they are listed as deserters.  Graham, my line chief, also quit and so Neale and I were busy all day getting things organized.  Gove is acting line chief with Harrington as Chief when he comes back from Karachi.  Sahaper is to be new Gp Mech. and things look pretty good although Adair is rather worried.


April 18, 1942                                                                                                                   Kunming

Saturday -- Spent most all of today trying to get things reorganized after the more or less titanic upheaval yesterday when the four men resigned and took off.  In the staff meeting Adair was quite perturbed and told us that the Col. was completely and thoroughly disgusted about the whole thing.  Just what he is going to do about it, however, remains to be seen.  Neale and I were feeling rather low and after work we stopped in the bar for a few and wound up getting pretty nearly under the table.  Late in the evening we turned on the radio to listen to Bing Crosby and got homesick as hell.  What a day.


April 19, 1942                                                                                                                  Kunming

Sunday -- This drag is getting thoroughly monotonous, with day after day of alerts!  Today would have been very dull except for two things.  First of all, I traded my rifle for a Kodak "35" with a range finder, and secondly, Gil Bright came in this afternoon leading a flight of 3 Chinese flying the new P-43's from Karachi.  I spent most of the day fooling with the gadgets on my camera and looking at the P-43's after they arrived.  The 43's would be fine planes except that they have no self sealing gas tanks -- which makes them a death trap.  Lost my butt playing cribbage with Bob Neale.  Ought to quit that game.


P40-E  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Testing E's off hill.  1:20

April 20, 1042                                                                                                               Kunming

Monday -- This place is getting a little more excitement every day.  This afternoon Alax Baumler came in with three fresh Second Lieutenants who graduated from flying school in January this year.  They looked green -- and are green, but they will learn quickly here or won't be around to enjoy it.  Neale and I ate together and talked a lot.  The main item of information was that induction into the Army for this Group will take place on July 4th.  Neale heard that from the Colonel today while he was talking over the strained situation at Loi-Wing.  I hope that means I can go home then -- or with Pan-Am, which is my current idea.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Engineering hop in "33"  :30

April 21, 1942                                                                                                                  Kunming

Tuesday -- Today slipped by quite rapidly when I made three gunnery hops this morning and then polished off the day by taking Blackie and going on a "recco" mission to Lao Kay, for the express purpose of shooting the place up.  We found it perfectly, despite the nearly solid overcast, but there wasn't a thing on it but dirt.  It was a tingly sort of mission but served no real good.  Late this afternoon Bond came in with his flight of 7 P40-E's and the rest of the day passed in a whirl.  Charlie had much dope to tell us and we gabbed until late.  He spent one night with Colonel Caldwell at New Delhi, and one night with Maj. (Lt.Col. now) Old, at Dun Jam in India.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Lao Kay-Kunming  Recco over Jap field 2:05

April 22, 1942                                                                                                                  Kunming

Wednesday -- With the rest of the boys back from their trip today proved to be my long awaited day off.  Slept late, then eased around all afternoon just loafing and having a couple of short ones.  Had a long gab session with  Herb Davis and L.W. Goddard, both out of 40-D, who are Captains in the Air Corps, and who arrived here yesterday via DC-3 to become attached to Gen. Stillwell's staff.  Got quite a load on during the afternoon so declined an invitation to the show over at the other Hostel.  Big news of the day was Boyington's resigning.  This made most everybody happy, including Neale.  Bond is the new Vice-Squadron Leader.  Good for the old boy.


Ed. note:  Dad was in the Cadet Class of 40-E.

April 23, 1942                                                                                                                   Kunming

Thursday -- The old early morning call and one of those dreary days with not much doing.  Except to get another trip to Loi-Wing tomorrow or the next day, but it will be just down and back, probably the same day.  Skip Adair called me in and asked me to continue on as Ass't Gp. Engineering Officer.  Not much to do in that job but it doesn't much matter to me.  I'm mainly interested in getting off on a Ferry trip to break the monotony.  Jo. Padre and Williams came over for dinner tonight and we all had a pleasant chat.  Bond and I knocked off early due to the fact we are both on the schedule -- me somewhat unjustly, I think.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Slow time on two new engines  1:45

April 24, 1942                                                                                                                 Kunming

Friday -- The morning's quietness was disturbed by several factors, i.e., a Chinese boy spun in the first of their new P-43's in sight of the field and was very definitely killed; McMillan is going to send me to Loi-Wing tomorrow with a P40-E; and a ferry trip to Karachi is coming up which tells me I am not going to get to go on, despite my expectations.  Very cheerful outlook, I must say.  Will have to wait and see what happens, although my present feeling urges me to quit this outfit if I am gypped out of this trip.  Damn everything.  Going down to see a show in town tonight.  Maybe that will cheer things up somewhat around here.  Tomorrow is a day off.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Gunnery in "49" in Lake  1:00

April 25, 1942                                                                                                               Kunming

Saturday -- While we were in the show last night an air raid alarm came off and it furnished the sight of the most spectacular theater emptying I've ever in my life seen.  I don't know how the word got around but it was practically instantaneous.  It proved a dud, eventually, but we all went out early this morning to make sure.  Came home about 6:30 and went back to bed until noon.  Neale wouldn't let me go to Loi-Wing so spent the day loafing around.  The new camera Neale, R. J., turned out to be all screwed up, so I'm going to give it back.  Can't afford to pay $100 for a camera that is no good.  Offered to sell a China man my moving picture camera for $10,000 but don't know if he will pay that much.


April 26, 1942                                                                                                                        Kunming

Sunday -- This day started out very normally with a 4:30 early morning rising but about 11 bells Willie Fish came tearing over to the alert shack and told me to get ready to leave for Karachi with Jim and Dick Rossi.  A wild scramble, but we made it by 12:30 and headed out for Myintykinia via CNAC.  The weather turned terrible so we had to turn around at RaoShan and go back to Kunming -- a terrible disappointment.  Spent the evening eating with Bob Angle, the CNAC pilot, and then went to a show in town.  After the show we came back to the Hostel and turned in.  We expect to leave in the morning at 6 AM.  Hoping for good weather.


P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local Flying   1:10

April 27, 1942                                                                                           From Kunming to Calcutta

Monday -- The weather double X-ed us this morning and we didn't leave until 10:00.  The trip was one of the worst I have ever taken in the air so far as weather was concerned.  Angle asked me to co-pilot for him so I gladly consented.  It was the first I've done in a 2-engine job since MacDill Field.  We went through hail, snow and storm for six hours and 45 minutes and I was a busy boy, navigating and taking care of the engines.  Made it through -- and earned my trip.  Calcutta is wonderful compared to Kunming.  We are staying at the Great Eastern Hotel -- on the A.V.G.  Tonight a big splurge to make up for those quiet months in China.


C-53  C.N.A.C.  Mytinia - Calcutta  Co-pilot for Angle, weather awful  6:35

April 28, 1942                                                                                                 Not Kunming -- Calcutta

Tuesday -- For a day after the night before this isn't half as bad as it might be.  Slept late, mainly because we didn't get in until about five bells.  Dick and I took a moonlight ride about the city before retiring.  Jim was crocked all out of shape but I'm hardly one to talk.  Went to the movies today and saw a late show with Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Burgen.  It was great.  We met Bob Angle, the CNAC pilot, and went out to his house for a spaghetti dinner.  Had a wonderful time there and then went to the "300" club.  Rossi said it is very appropo -- 300 men and no women.  DeWolf has fixed us up to leave via BOAC on Thursday morning.  Too bad.  Hate to leave this spot.


April 29, 1942                                                                                                                         Calcutta

Wednesday -- A big day.  Bill Brockman, Pan-Am, came in last night late and we had a regular old bull session until all hours.  He gave us lots of dope about things and is greatly in favor of our joining the African division of Pan-Am, which we are too.  He left early this morning, but we will see him in Karachi again tomorrow night.  Fiddled around all day, saw a show and then in the evening we went to the Winter Garden at the Brand Hotel to hear the orchestra.  Met some of the New Zealand pilots there and spent the night with them -- winging up at the Puerto Rican Club.  Bought a Leica camera today for 800 R's and an Eastman movie Kodak with a very good lens.  Spending money like water for gosh sakes.


April 30, 1942                                                                                           Calcutta - Gwalior - Karachi

Thursday -- Up at 3:45 this morning to catch the British Overseas Airways Flying Boat.  Left from the Hoogly River in Calcutta and mad it to Karachi by six in the evening.  We stopped only at Gwalior, a big dammed up lake south of New Delhi.  The trip was slow but quite comfortable.  Col. Logg, a swell old gent who is C.O. of the Ferry Command in India, met us when we arrived.  After a couple of drinks at the Gymkhana Club he took us out to the Airport Hotel and arranged a room for us.  The P-43's are still grounded so we will not do any flying for at least a couple of days.  Went in town with the Col. and Jim Keenam and met Marge Shaper and the Van Deusens.  Spent the evening drinking with them.