(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 CNAC.org 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)
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