In Kunming are there memories of WWII AVG & CNAC?
Jan 22, 2006 14:05
  • RLWILLETT
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I will be in Kunming in March 2006 and am interested in seeing any sites that might be related to WWII fliers, particularly Americans. My cousin James S. Brown was killed on a CNAC flight from Kunming to Dinjan, India in Nov 1942.
If anyone has any ideas they would be most welcome.

Bob Willett
Merritt Island, FL, USA
bellsouth.net|willettr
Jan 22, 2006 15:28
#1  
  • ROGERINCA
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Hi Bob, I do not have specific info on the Kunming base, but I have attached a link (below)that may provide you with some leads, absent more info from others on this site. This is a topic that has always fascinated me too !! Most Americans today, do not realize all the effort and sacrafice by so many young American men in the ealy efforts to quell the Japanese advance in China and in the Pacific. As the Japanese army advanced from the east coastal areas of China to the inland areas, they overran many of our bases/airfields in the east of China. At near war's end, the last great set of three airfields were in Sichuan Province in the outskirts of Chengdu (then called Chengtu) where the large B-29 bombers were based. Over an 18 month period, daily bombing raids were conducted out of Chengdu against Japanese supply lines and fortifications near Shanghai and other cities near the Yangtze River, within eastern China. Moreover, many raids were conducted against industrial targets in mainland Japan. In fact, the first bombing of Japan, after the famous Doolittle raid of 1942, was made in 1943 from Chengdu China. I am sure that your brave relative not only flew into Kunming, but most likely also to the large nearby airfields in Chengtu, which became the primary China base before all bases in China were abandoned for Guam and the Marianna Is. near war's end in 1945.

I hope this link helps you and you may be aware, there is a wealth of info on the internet about the history of American operations in China and all the help provided in the defense of China against the Japanese military incursion. Best wishes, to you and the memory of your relative and all the others who so sacraficed their youth for this great endeavor to aid the Chinese people !! Roger (rogerinca)

Link to page: http://www.china.org.cn/english/2005/Aug/138517.htm


Jan 23, 2006 03:21
#2  
  • MAY001
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Yes, there is a monument in Jiaoye Park (郊野公园), to the west of Kunming. The monument is used to commemorate those who died during the Hump Course.

Peace!!
Jan 30, 2006 22:11
#3  
  • JABAROOTOO
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This may of some interest to you too. I've done a lot of reading up about the Flying Tigers since I first came to China and yes the Americans, many of them civilians did a great deal to enable China to survive the Japanese invasion.

General Stillwell was stationed in Chongqing (Chungking) for the duration of the war and there is a memorial and a Museum at the location of his former residence.

The CCTV9 aired a programme recently where they had a group of American aviators who flew in several spheres of China service and they also talked about what they have done since the war. Very interesting group of men and stories. The focus was on one chap called 'Ross' or 'Rossey' who commanded a group of flyers and made the most trips over the 'Hump'. I don't have the notes I took on hand

If you search long enough online you may come up with some more snippets of information to piece together.

Good luck and enjoy your trip to China.
Feb 1, 2006 19:15
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  • FWDUNN
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Hi Bob, I also travelled to Kunming at request of my Mom whose brother served in Flying Tigers. I located two memorials - though there may be more. Best by far is Jiaoye Park mentioned in reply from other member. But be prepared for approx. one hour long taxi ride to far western outskirts of Kunming. Best to hook-up with honest helpful local to help with the language and taxi fare negotiation. Recommend you negotiate fixed taxi fare and have driver wait for you at park to ensure ride back. Contact me via this forum if you want more details. Good luck Frank
Feb 1, 2006 20:28
#5  
  • JABAROOTOO
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Hi Bob,
As this is something that interests me I browse around every now and again and read some of the stories. Today I came across J Richard Rossi's account in a three part series ' A flying Tiger's Story' He flew both cargo and combat.

series 'Afhttp://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/index.html


and another register/roster of AVG a CNAC pilots but your cousins name wasn't listed but it's probably a very incomplete list as there were thousands of pilots and crew.

http://www.warbirdforum.com/roster5.htm

perhaps you've seen these but if not you may find them interesting along with some photos.
Feb 2, 2006 00:17
#6  
  • ROGERINCA
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Regarding JABAROOTOO's post this date, about reading an account of the AVG and CNAC by
J Richard Rossi.

It amazes me at the 'connections' in life and how small our world really is. I have been aware of the role of Rossi for some time now. I live in a very historical California Gold Rush era town called Placerville, which is half-way between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. In this regard, John Richard Rossi was born and raised in Placerville, California and is a part of the history of my city. He went on to become one of the founders of the famous Flying Tiger Airline.

(See attached text and photo below)

(John Richard Rossi)

John Richard Rossi was born on April 19, 1915 in Placerville, California. Rossi attended the University of California at Berkeley. He entered the Navy for flight training in the fall of 1939. Upon receiving his wings and commission in 1940, he was assigned as Flight Instructor at Pensacola, Florida.
"Dick" Rossi resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) under the command of Colonel Claire Chennault. He arrived in Rangoon on November 12, 1941 with a group of thirty volunteers on the Dutch ship M.S. Bosch Fontein. He was undergoing a training program in P-40 aircraft at Toungoo, Burma, when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.

He attained Ace status with a confirmed 6-1/4 victories in air-to-air combat against Japanese aircraft.

When the AVG, better known as the "Flying Tigers," was disbanded in 1942, Rossi joined the China National Aviation Corporation, flying supplies from India to China. By the time the war was over he had flown more than 735 trips across the "Hump." After the war, Rossi, a founder of the freight carrier, the Flying Tiger Line, returned to California where he flew as a captain for 25 years, logging a lifetime of over 25,000 flying hours. He has served as president of the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers Association for fifty-five years and is a member of the American Fighter Aces Association.
The Chinese government awarded Rossi the White Cloud Banner (Yun Mo) V Grade, China Air Force Wings (5 Stars) and the China War Memorial (Kang Chan Chi-nien Chang) Decoration. He has also earned and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal, and two Presidential Unit Citations.....


Feb 2, 2006 10:57
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  • ROGERINCA
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And for those of you who live in and near Chengdu in Sichuan Province, you can also be very proud of the contribution of the people, and the historical relevance of Chengdu.......


Operation Matterhorn at Chengdu (Chengtu) China

From June of 1944 through January of 1945, four groups (sixteen squadrons) of U.S. Army Air Force, B-29 bombers were deployed through airfields built by tens of thousands of hard working Chinese laborers in the area of Chengdu –at Guanghan, Qionglai, Pengshan, and Xinjin. They comprised a Wing of the new Twentieth Air Force. On some days, the sky over Chengdu would be filled with the sound and sight of over one hundred large B-29’s departing on a single mission against invading Japanese units and supply lines.

The strategic plan for “Operation Matterhorn,” was: gather a force of the new long-range Boeing B-29s, then advance the loaded bombers to the bases at Chengdu (Sichuan Province) where they would refuel, and launch long distance raids from within China against mainland Japan and also Japanese forces within China.

The first raid against Japan -- a 3200-mile mission -- was conducted from Chengdu, China the night of June 14-15, 1944. By the end of 1944 the Command had lost 147 bombers and crews. (Note: not only due to enemy action, but also due to the - winter fog (landing approaches) and summer heat (engine failures) - at Chengdu). It was evident that the attacks against Japan mounted from Chengdu were too costly in men, aircraft, and material to continue. The last attack from the airfields at Chengdu -- against Japanese targets -- was conducted on January 15, 1945, and the bombers were thereafter, deployed to the Marianas Islands in February 1945.

---As a tribute and remembrance to the sacrifices of these brave young airmen, and also the bravery and commitment of the people of China, who suffered and endured so much---
Feb 4, 2006 00:34
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  • ROGERINCA
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To MAY001 ......do you happen to have a photo of the monument at Kunming ?? If not, maybe Bob will take a photo and share it with us on his return from his trip to Kunming, in March ?? :) :)

Thank you !!!
Feb 4, 2006 18:49
#9  
  • MAY001
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Sorry, I don't have a photo about the monument. Hoping I can find them on internet.
Feb 6, 2006 22:11
#10  
  • JABAROOTOO
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I read somewhere that the airstrip in Chengdu was built by hand in six months in ghastly weather conditions by all those hundreds of thousands of men women in the district. What an effort.

Thanks Roger for the extra info. on Rossi
I do hope Bob finds it as interesting as we do and useful in his research before coming over.
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