The Liberty Gazette
July 4, 2017Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Four weeks have flown by faster than a light-speed time machine to 1946. We’re wrapping up the final excerpts of Allan Chambers’ Letters Home. He had just quit flying the Hump the last week. Let’s see where he ended up after that.
May 5, 1946 Shanghai I just got back from Chungking. The next time I go out it’ll probably be for a couple of weeks.
May 31, 1946 Shanghai I haven’t flown for a week because everybody’s on strike. We quit flying the Hump about a month ago, I was high enough on the pilots list that I wasn’t sent down there. I got about a hundred trips over the Hump when I was there. The civil war is still going on in North China. Anything can be bought on the black market.
June 7, 1946 Shanghai The Chinese Air Force took over the airline. Now we have about 3 ships flying a day and the Chinese Air Force flies 3 or 4.
June 27, 1946 Shanghai There is supposed to be a truce on the civil war but I think both sides break it each day. People all over the world never had it so good as when the U.S. Army & Navy were there, or any Americans. I will probably go to Chungking or Hong Kong tomorrow.
July 12, 1946 Shanghai I think I’m going to Hong Kong tomorrow. We are about finished moving the government to Nanking. I should be getting a $200 a month increase in pay.
July 23, 1946 Shanghai We are getting men from the U.S. every month. We have about 75 planes now and supposed to get 6 new ones next month. I am going to Hong Kong tomorrow.
August 3, 1946 Shanghai It’s hot here, but not as hot as Calcutta. I’m supposed to go to Chungking tomorrow and be back the next day. The civil war is still going on.
August 16, 1946 Shanghai We are flying passengers now like a regular airline. I flew to Kuling the other day, that is where all the big shots spend the summer months in China.
Sept. 27, 1946 Shanghai I am flying C-46’s and C-47’s and am carrying passengers to Chungking, Canton, Hong Kong, Hankow, Nanking, Tsingtao and Peiping. Summer is over.
Oct. 16, 1946 Shanghai I have transportation on the S.S. Marine Lynx to leave tomorrow for San Francisco by way of Hong Kong and Manila. The shipping company said they had an extra ticket. I better take it because it is a lot of trouble to get out of China.
Allan Chambers arrived in San Francisco in November, 1946. His wife, Billie, met him there. They were together the next 50 years until his death in 1996. After his return from China he lived in Liberty the rest of his life in the house his grandfather built.
These letters are collector’s items, so you may want to cut out this space in your newspaper and stick in your Liberty Scrap Book. When next you see Tommy, thank him for sharing part of his family’s history.