REG SPENDLOVE (19?? - 2004)
(CNAC 1942 - 1944)
Reg Spendlove was an automotive mechanic at the Dinjin Airport in India.
December 21, 2002
Received the following e-mail from good friends of Reg Spendlove's:
I am Bill Bray (Ex- Airline Pilot) & a close friend of REG SPENDLOVE. Reg is very much alive & well, in his 80's & living in SYDNEY AUSTRALIA.
Reg told me about his exploits in CNAC & his son Les told Reg & I about the Web page.
You will have to E-Mail him & STUR HIM UP to send you his story & some photo's --- I can help him with the scanner.
REG SPENDLOVE - 2002
(Photo Courtesy of Bill Bray)
Regards Bill Bray
January 21, 2003
Well, I guess I got Reg's attention, as I received the following from Reg. Reg - thanks for writing to me. Tom
Thank you for contacting me regarding my time with C.N.A.C. It was from 1942 until the end of 1944, and I think I was the first Auto Mechanic employed for Dinjan.
I remember the day well. All I had was a letter for Captain Woods who was N.A. at the time and the letter was taken by Captain Pottschmidt, that was it! I was left sitting on my box and it was getting late, then out of the blue I heard a voice saying "Reg, what are you doing here?" It was a Chinese friend I knew from Rangoon. He took me to the Chinese Bungalow where there were many Chinese wireless operators who I began talking to about my Brother Walter, who was also a first class wireless operator at Myitkyina. Unfortunately he failed to get a flight out and only managed to get a small case with his dress suit, camera and a pencil, and died in the Hukawng Valley at the age of 29.
The next day I went to the new field four miles north of Dinjan. A small dirt strip, nothing existed, not even a single set of tools of any kind. Some guy had a flat on his 42 Chevy and I remember him saying, "Are you the new mechanic?....then fix it!". We had a few words and I asked him if he had any tools. He replied "No, well looks like your out of luck". This was of course in the middle of the jungle, and if I knew were the railway station was I would of been out of there.
The following day I met Captain Woods. He was a very nice guy and I think he took a liking to me and we got on well. He gave me letters of authority to Planters stores at Dibrugarh where I managed to pick up a few essential tools to get the ball rolling in order to try and fix the ailing transport, which was badly in need of attention, with brakes being the most urgent problem.
The next few days was spent looking for a suitable location to establish our first C.N.A.C. Motor Pool, with the aid of the English Tea Planter, we settled on a few acres of flat, high ground. We built a work-shop, garage to park vehicles, quarters for the staff, drivers and helpers. I put in two tube wells, all by hand, a concrete well around the pumps where the men could bathe and wash their cloths. I also built a brick ramp, with a 19 foot run up and a 20 foot flat top, four feet high, which made servicing more efficient. It got good use when the 32nd army orderence would bring their six by six's for repairs and servicing. It was the only one in the area and was in demand.
The C.N.A.C. Fleet consisted of four Mack 3 ton trucks, four Passenger 42 Chevy, three Jeeps, one Ford V8 car that Captain Woods used, one Ford V8 station wagon for Pilots use, and a few lighting sets, with all refueling done at the Motor Pool.
I also maintained the telephone line from the airport to the motor pool, to my bungalow, and pilots bungalow where Captain Woods had his office. This was some 8 miles. The wires were hung on bamboo poles, which were a constant source of trouble. I was also a paid adviser to the SVOC, regarding the maintenance to their vehicles, as they had no Mechanic.
Tom, I hope I don't bore you. I could go on for hours. Sorry to hear of Captain Woods death. I knew Maj (Woods) before she got married, she was a beautiful lady. We were all younger than Mr. Woods. I was 28, while he was 37 at the time, that's a long time ago, but memories linger.
Tom, I would like to give you my account of what happened on the 10th October, 1942 at Balijan airport. It was a big day, and we had just built a new dining hall, as the one at the Pilots bungalow was too small. The place was packed, and lunch was being served, with Eva Major and Woods busy taking care of the catering. Captain Woods had a keen interest in the food and said it was the best anywhere. I was standing next to him when Bill Bartling approached Woods, and asked if he had time to check him out. Link Laughlin was nearby, so Woods handed him the job, the time being about 1pm. Next we heard a plane had crashed. First on the scene was a Assumes Police man who got the two Pilots out of the craft, next Woods and I arrived and administered first aid. Woods then said "Go to the Pilots bungalow and pick up two beds". So, I proceeded to drive my 3 ton Mack Truck to get the beds, and transported them to hospital. The plane was not demolished or burnt, and was in one piece. It had landed in this little hamlet closely missing the woman and child inside. The aircraft was pointing in the posited direction to take off. The account I heard from witnesses was the plane was air borne, but lacked altitude and made a left bank, with it's left wing clipping the tall tree. I was later told that one of the Pilots returned to C.N.A.C. while the other remained in the U.S.A. Captain Woods was a very strict man, and very well respected.
My brother, Walter Spendlove, was a wireless operator at Myitkyina airport during World War II, and was well known to the C.N.A.C. and the Chinese operators, any information about him will be appreciated.
(NOTE: Please e-mail Reg if you have any information regarding his brother, Walter Spendlove. Reg's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom, if you are interested in the bombing of Rangoon and the fall of Burma, I have a few pictures of that time. I was a Sergeant in the Bomb Disposal Squad (B.A.F.) and served three years on active service. Whenever there were dog fights, I would turn on my radio and listen in to the pilots talking to each other. My wife Connie was very lucky also. A 20mm shell went over the air raid shelter into the house doing a lot of damage, but fortunately no lives were lost.
Sincerely yours, Reg
Reg - We'd like to hear from you anytime. Until then...
January 23, 2003
Here are some more documents and pictures from Reg. Thanks Reg.
Regarding the first radio station at Baljan NDB
This is the last place my brother Walter was seen when he failed to get a flight.
Damage done to Rangoon docks.
Pictures speak for itself.
February 19, 2005
Hello, it is Priscilla Spendlove here, Reg's grand-daughter. It is with great sadness that I must tell you Grandpa passed away on the 9th August last year (2004). My sincere apologies for not contacting you sooner, however, I am sure you can appreciate the overwhelming grief we have been experiencing and this, coupled with tasks such as funeral organisation and taking care of Grandpa's affairs has been extremely stressful.
Grandpa always talked so fondly of you, and was so ecstatic to have contact with CNAC news and communications which he would receive. We have chosen to keep his email address and use it as our own now, however, we have had some difficulty in gainig access and having the account transferred etc.. hence the delay in my response to you. The account has only given us acces to the past 30 days emails, so unfortunately we are unable to access other people who may also be trying to contact Grandpa.
Please pass the news of Grandpa's passing onto the CNAC emailing group and any others whom Grandpa maintained contact with you may know of.
Please feel free to contact me at any time or if you require any information, as I know Grandpa would like to know his memory will be perpetuated and I am now in possession of all his personal affairs. I will also let you know of Bill Brays email address in the near future.
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore, know.