Flying over the Himalayan “Hump”


A Commando C-46 flies over “the Hump” during the second world war.

John Vassiliou, Online Managing Editor

This is a continuation of a series that I started writing in my sophomore year. It consists of journal entries from my great grandfather’s journal as he traveled overseas during the second world war. I wanted to finish these as the last few articles that I’d post during my time in high school, but given the current circumstances, I thought it’d be best to start releasing them now.

Over eight months had passed between entries, but eventually, James began to write in his journal again. Why James stopped writing during this period could most likely be explained by his first combat missions. He may not have wanted to think about going up on another mission or wanted to reflect the ones he had returned from. Whatever the case was, his entries picked back up.

Dec. 30th, 1944 – Boarded plane about 11:00 P.M. – landed at Jorhat on India side of Huang – stopped there overnight left in morning – arriving in Hsingshing, China or A-1 about 2:00 in afternoon. 

Chinese very amiable and humorous people – like to trade or barter – smart businessmen. Field close to Blue River of the Yangtze River – Large city 35 miles away by the name of Chengtu many interesting sights.

Once again, there was another break in James’ entries spanning four months while he was at his new base. The most likely explanation for this is that time spent on airbases was stressful; there were a lot of things that kept your mind occupied that you’d rather not put down on paper.

By this point James had already been shot down once, getting back into the plane knowing that could happen again must have taken every bit of strength and wherewithal for every mission after that. Writing that feeling down wasn’t likely high on his list of things to do with all other things considered.

However, after a while, James and his unit were ready to move out yet again. He once again took to his journal to jot down what was next on the road ahead.

April 10th, 1945 – boarded plane at China flew over to India ran into severe storm. Had to but down at Jorhat – left next morning arriving at Dudkundi, India about 1:00 in afternoon. Piradoba original destination – before 70 miles away, Dudkundi much better base than Piradoba.

May 29th – Boarded one of our ships at Dudkundi, flew over the “hump” into airfield southwest of Kansing. Gassed up, ate, boarded plane at 5:00 p.m. on same day and headed for China coast flying over 900 miles of enemy territory – reached coast about 10 – flew out over the China Sea and over the Pacific – flew all night and arrived at Tuana or Zuana. 

May 30th, 1945 – Around 7 o’clock in morning quite a paradise compared to other places!

By this point in the war, the Japanese war machine had become a shell of its former self. Its armies were running out of supplies, and its ships were sunk or low on fuel. As for their air force, there were more planes in the ocean than in the sky.

With the war shifting more and more drastically in the favor of the Allies, countless units were re-established and moved to accommodate the changes in frontlines and logistics. James’ unit was no exception, and for one final time, James would embark over the sea for his unit to once again be re-organized.

Stay tuned for the next entry!