(Crew Chief)
(CNAC 194? - 194?)

June 5, 2012


I have a new friend, found through the AVG Forum. Name is Pamela and she posted that her Dad, Melvin Woodward had a journal which she had just transcribed and wondered who might be interested in it. I looked Melvin up in Dan Ford's book and saw he went to CNAC in 1942. So I asked Pam, I know her well now, if she could find any mention of CNAC, and she sent me these two pearls. Since he doesn't have a website, I thought you should add him to our group.

Just across the river from our field ( Loi-wing) was the Camco Aircraft Factory. This first day in May, after taking tools and parts (about 300 lbs) and a drum of gasoline (350 lbs), and setting the factory in flames, Jack Overly and I laid out our course in the Ford Jeep for Kunming.

While Bombay was a fascinating place, I could not shake Calcutta out of my mind. Almost without calculation I found a telephone in my hand and Sol Soldinski on the other end. Yes, the job was still open – they would be happy to have me – yes, I should be based in Calcutta with only short periods in the North and in China. Okay! Start work in 10 days – boom!

I checked back into the Great Eastern. In a few days I went to work at DumDum ( yes, the soft nosed or crossed-scarred bullets were named after DumDums) Airport for CNAC – China National Aviation Corporation.

At CNAC we had three weekly scheduled passenger flights leaving Calcutta for China. Their route was: Dinjan ( near Dibugahr), Kunming, Chunking. It shortly became my lot to see they were prepared to go on time. I wandered about in a fog because my social needs were demanding, and three mornings each week required my presence at DumDum at 3am until about 2pm on those days. On the other three work-days of the week I worked from 7am until 6pm (including the hour to transport time from Calcutta – DumDum- return). But the “Three Hundred” Club never shut before 2am. Many is the time I dashed home from the club to change from dinner dress to khaki to work. Sleep? When!

This was hard into the “Quit India!”period. A certain amount of violence flared in the cities. We convoyed our Chinese airline employees through a part of Calcutta, where even they recieved a rain of bricks and stones until our noisy Thompsons brought a temporary respite.

I have a photo of him that is in the 2001 AVG Reunion booklet that shows him in Group HQ Section, but I am sure you have the same booklet. And That's All, Folks.....

RLW (akd Bob Willett)

If you would like to share any information about Melvin Woodward
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore know.

Background music to this page can be controlled here.
"Begin The Beguine".
Top of the chart in 1940.
<bgsound src="beginthebeguine02.wav" loop=infinite>

Back to Operations Personnel
Back to CNAC Home Page