The Liberty Gazette
June 13, 2017Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Allan Chambers was born in Liberty, Texas in 1920. He graduated from Liberty High School and then Schreiner Institute in Kerrville where he became a flight instructor for the Army Air Corps. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in October, 1944 and then joined the China National Aviation Corp. He spent 18 months flying Douglas C-47’s and C-46’s in India and China – including almost 100 trips over the “Hump” – the air route over the eastern Himalaya Mountains, an unprecedented, difficult and dangerous way to supply China during and after WWII.
With gratitude to his son, Tommy Chambers, we have the honor of sharing the following excerpts from letters Allan sent to his mother in Liberty during his time in India and China. Allan Chambers’ Letters Home has been written as a four-part series, so be sure you don’t skip a beat. We expect you’ll relish these as much as we do. We recommend reading them out loud.
May 5, 1945 Karachi, India We left New York and went to Newfoundland, Azores, Casablanca, Tripoli, Cairo, Abadan and here, Karachi, India. I saw Will Partlow for a few minutes in Cairo.
May 6, 1945 Calcutta, India Arrived here in Calcutta. It is a big place, but very dirty and hot. I received $100 pay in rupees, and it filled up my pockets. I went to church this morning.
May 8, 1945 Calcutta We heard Germany surrendered, so today was declared a holiday.
May 12, 1945 Calcutta You can sure see a lot of queer sights here. Everyone drives on the left side of the road and there are cars, horse carts, ox carts and hand carts. They use brahma cattle and water buffalo to do work.
June 11, 1945 Dinjan, India I have been flying with the Chinese fellow that brought Doolittle out of China.1
June 20, 1945 Dinjan That big shot in China came down here yesterday, I won’t attempt to spell his name but he’s the President and everything else.2
July 20, 1945 Dinjan I did quite a bit of flying this month. I put in 21 round trips. Some of the snow-capped mountains look like Colorado, except they are higher here. I am sorry to hear about Nolan and Glynn. That is too bad.3
July 22, 1945 Dinjan We have to fly on a different type of airplane than we have been flying…got a haircut in a regular barbershop in town, it had chairs and electric clippers.
August 1, 1945 Dinjan I am glad to hear the cattle are fat, and it seems like now would be a good time to sell some calves and all of the old cows. I am sorry for the Miles and the Picketts.
August 12, 1945 Calcutta I hear the Japs are about to quit the war.
August 15, 1945 Calcutta I just heard the war is over…since that new bomb came out, it must be a very powerful thing.
Time out for a week-long station break. These excerpts are too good to leave any entries out, so we’ll pick up here next week with more.
1. Moon Fun Chin – a Chinese pilot who flew Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle out of China after his aerial raid on Japan in 1942
2. Believed to be Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
3. Nolan Pickett and Glynn Miles, both from Liberty, were killed in WWII