Fly to BurmaGo to Burma
and the BBC - WW2 National warfare
I and my mom stayed at the small Worthing overnight stop before Christmas to go to Poole Harbour to The Haven and the next morning to Rangoon, Burma on the Imperial Airways Flying ship, which should take at least four nights.
While we had breakfasts or shortly afterwards we found out that we were gone this mornings. There were only about seventeen people, as far as I can recall, because, as the captain later said to us, the airplane was transporting a large cargo of mail. The motors began with a great booming sound and we crossed the sea at high speeds and finally a soft start in the sky, I liked it!
Aircraft windowing was "blanked out" until we were free of any naval or army facilities, pretty exaggerated safety as we thought! It was a very harsh day, the airplane rose and fell with monotone frequency, a terrible feeling and it didn't take long until Mom (among others) felt sick and became sick!
Finally we ended up in Biscarosse just outside Bordeaux on the local reservoir for refueling. Usually we were taken off the airplane for this reason, but I don't remember it happened here. We passed Toulouse and on to the Marisnane reservoir outside Marseille. Darkness was coming ashore, the winds were strong and the sea was quite strong.
It took us half to three-quarters of an hours to tie the aircraft to the beacon, usually a thing of a few moments and we were throwing around all the while and I was finally seasick!
So, how was that for the first passengers? Finally we took the coach to Hotel Splendide in Marseille and were happy to arrive there! All of us were sitting for a while in a pretty common cafe and then we were informed that there was a fueling issue and we would not leave until after dinner, our goal and an overnight stay in Rome.
We all realized that the heater in the airplane was not working. Every metallic fitting on the airplane was matted and the jar of rain I had on my desk turned to freez! It was a great relief to be able to reach Lake Bracciano a few leagues outside Rome.
Mom was quite tired at the moment and our RAF girlfriend was kind enough to buy her a whiskey for the cup of whiskey we all got before we left for Rome. Whiskey was a very precious piece in Mussolini's Italy at that period, so he was very kind and generouse of the young man.
When we were leaving Poole, I failed to tell you that another trip to Durban took off and we were meeting the airplane's guests in the evening. When we returned to the hotel to find a very scared mother, after we had gone, she realized that she didn't really know these guys very well and asked if she would see me again!
We returned to Lake Bracciano after having had our breakfasts and after some delays we continued to the airplane for a brief trip to Brindisi to refuel. This was a very small motel and as far as I remember, there were no other passengers except the passengers. We came to Heraklion, Cyprus, to refuel before we landed in Alexandria.
There was a pretty big motel with gorgeously dressed Egyptans all over. We' ve come and gone in the darkness, so we didn't see much of the town. It was a rather interesting today, as the first refueling stop after the departure from Alexandria took place at Lake Galilee.
We started to have a much warm feeling when we were leaving England. In the early evenings we reached Karachi and spent the night in a lodging place (The Carlton), which certainly had souvenirs for Mom (She had gotten to know Dad in Karachi on November 7, 1921, after she had traveled all alone to India, she was directly from the boat and did not know anyone but Dad at her marriage and she had not seen him for over a year!
I called out an alert in this motel as I unplugged for a dip and the waters whirled around the muddy area. Thought I' d submerged the place, but there was actually a pedestal to stop the flow of ground level ground level and it finally went through a pit in the walls and through a tube, I suppose!
A huge castle owned by a maharajah in the center of the pond was a spectacle. Finally we arrived in Calcutta and ended up on the Hooghli River. The trip to the Great Eastern Hotel in the center of the town was a big shocker for me. All the rapturous humankind and its unbelievable penniles were shocking and I recall saying to Mom that if Rangoon were like that, I would fly home on the next airplane!
There was a telegram from Dad when we got to the hotel: "Up brave hearts, it' s the last lap", which entertained and encouraged us. We had another coach trip this mornings through the overcrowded roads to the river and then on the last round of the trip.
Once the pass and other paperwork was done, we took the road (we had a Myanmar rider on the team) to travel the twelve or fifteen leagues to Insein, where the Burma Railways Works were located and where our magnificent home was waiting for us. I had a nice picnic after a quick meal and a good break (I recall that for a few long hrs I felt that I would still be able to move!