Feb. 16, 1943
Left Morrison Field (U.S.A.) Florida at 8 a.m. Fine flying weather until almost to our destination, then a rain storm for ½ hr. Arrived same day Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico. Beautiful warm weather. Concrete houses & hangers. R. "J." Purner & I walked down to the ocean & along beach.
Feb. 17, 1943
Still at Borinquen Field, P.R. Expect to be here all day. All the employees speak Spanish or Puerto Rican. Good food at Officer’s Club.
Feb. 18, 1943
Left Puerto Rico. Arrived at Atkinson Field, Georgetown, British New Guinea. All buildings built on 10 or 15 ft. stilts. Whole field 35 miles from Georgetown, in middle of jungle.
Feb. 19, 1943
Left Georgetown. Arrived at Belem, Brazil. Damp & warm. Very, very rough trip along the coast of South America; rain & bad overcast most of way. First horse meat here. Belem Air Base also in jungle.
Saturday Feb. 20, 1943
Took off, had to come back to field because instruments were not working. Stayed here at Belem all day. Went into Belem this afternoon & tonight. Never saw such a dirty, smelly, narrow-streeted town. Barracks nice; mosquito netting, etc. on beds. Food fair. Everything smells musty & wet all the time.
Sunday Feb. 21, 1943
Left Belem. Landed in Natal, Brazil at about 1:30 p.m. 50 hr inspection on ship. Slept in tents for first time. Pretty good food. Officer’s Club nothing; P.X. nothing. No ice anywhere.
Monday Feb. 22, 1943
Left Natal, traveled 1400 miles to Ascension Island in middle of Atlantic. Sleep in tents again, spread all over the hills on the island. G.I. mess hall.
Tuesday Feb. 23, 1943
Left Wideawake Field on Ascension Island at 6 a.m. Arrived in Accra, British West Africa, 3:15 p.m. G.C.T. Accra is best field we’ve hit since Morrison Field, Fla. The food is excellent for Army food. The B.O.Q. is nice as any we’ve stayed in anywhere. Screened in porches – low buildings.
Wed. Feb. 24, 1943
Stayed at Accra because of dust storms east of here. The town of Accra is unbelievably filthy & smelly. The natives have no idea of sanitation or cleanliness. The paved roads & the few British buildings are the only signs of progress. Went to Accra Club tonight in town.
Stayed at Accra Air Base. Bought real cork sun hat in town. The smell is so bad in town that I will not go back unless absolutely necessary. Went to outdoor movie here at the field. Mess is still very good.
Left Accra, West Africa. Arrived Maidgura, British Nigeria, Africa. Best mess hall we’ve hit so far. Food good. Slept on varander of B.O.Q. Cold at night here; hot as hell in day time. Bought a small leather covered knife & a white leather pocket book.
Arrived Air Base at Khartoum, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan on the Nile River. This is best town we’ve hit. Went to the Great Britain Night Club & the Gordon’s Music Hall. Willis, Greene & I spent the night at the Grande Hotel; free room & meal. Bought four small ivory animals.
Feb 28 – Sunday
Still in Khartoum. Wandered around town. Ate supper at the "Great Britain" & went back to field. Good food on the field.
Left Khartoum. Arrived in Aden, Arabia. We’re now out of Africa; in Asia. The Arabians seem to be a friendly people. The town of Aden is only a native town. Saw King Solomans water tanks and cave.
March 2, 1943
Left Aden. Flew to Karachi, India. Lived in the terminal hotel right on the field. Stopped at Salala, Arabia, half way to gas up.
March 3, 1943
Left Karachi. Arrived Agra. The field is very dusty.
Still in Agra. Living in the Imperial Hotel. Having tea served in our rooms every morning & afternoon.
Agra. Sightseeing. Saw the Taj Mahal & the Agra Fort. Saw the big parkway leading to the Taj Mahal.
Agra. Bought an inlaid ivory box & a white shaphire. Bought an evening bag for Janet.
Agra. Bought a couple of carved animals from the old Indian who sits on the porch every evening. Animals carved from goat horns.
Mother’s Birthday. Still in Imperial Hotel in Agra.
March 9 March 10 March 11, 12, 13
Left Agra finally. Spent the last night on the field. Arrived Shakulia Field 100 miles west of Calcutta. Nice barracks. We’re supposed to stay here as our rear base.
Still at Shakulia Field. Rumored that we’ll move on to China.
March 16 March 17
Still at Chakulia Field. Willis & Greene & I have a fairly nice room at the end of the dobby barracks, with grass roof.
Left Chakulia Field. Arrived Yangkai Air Base, China, having stopped to get clearance at Chabua, India, on other side of the "Hump" - Hymalaya Mountains. Yangkai is about 40 miles N.E. of Kunming.
Came back to Chabua, India, to help run the detachment getting gas, bombs & ammunition in the planes. Watson, Monget & I are here together in Chabua. Moved into better barracks today. The three of us have a room together.
April 20, 1943
Started to leave Chabua, India, but the prop. governor went bad, so we returned to field. Watson left for Kunming, China.
April 21, 1943
Finally left Chabua. Arrived Yankai, China this morning. It’s colder and windier here than in India.
May 1, 1943
Stayed in Chabua. Went into Dibregaugh to the Planter’s Club & had several drinks! With G.G. Thompson.
Rode back to Yankai in a C-87.
See also his more detailed story about the episode described next
May 4, 1943
Bombed Hainan Island, Sanya airfield.
May 4th, 1943
Went on my first bombing raid. Raided the island of Hainan, south of Japan. Enemy barracks & airport were targets & seemed to be blown to bits. On way back from 8 hour raid our plane, "Dippy Dave", gave out of gas & we were all forced to bail out.
May 5, 1943
Walked about 50 or 60 miles along the river, after walking all the afternoon before over mountains until I had come to the river. Slept on the bank of river in the cold, pouring down rain. Had 3 small cakes of chocolate all day. Came to very small Chinese town. The people were fine to Howland & me. Gave us a bed, such as it was, & bathed my blistered feet in hot water. They gave us rubbery cakes to eat.
May 6, 1943
Stayed around the Chinese house until we felt like going on, which was about 11:30 a.m. Walked about 20 miles today.
May 7, 1943
Walked about 15 miles today & came to town of Amichow (or Kai Yuen) where the Chinese Military authorities fed us and found a "hotel" room for us. Luckily, ran into Willis, Hull, Greene, Franklin, Johnson & Burgess. Marshall still missing.
May 8, 1943
Truck drove us to Munsaze, where there is an emergency American landing field. A DC-3 took us to Kunming where we were questioned by S-2. DC-3 took us on to Yankai. The bed felt good. O’Brien was so glad to see us that he gave us each a quart of Indian whiskey, which I drank completely. Back is very sore. Feet are "unstepable."
See also his more detailed story about the bailing out episode described above
May 10, 1943
Marshall showed up in Kunming today. I went to Kunming to see the dentist. Had a tooth fixed which was all cracked up when my chute opened. Our plane was completely demolished & burned.
June 13, 1943
Sprained my ankle playing tennis at Yankai. Doc Morgan thought my ankle might be broken, so I went to Kunming to have it xrayed at the hospital. It is just sprained.
July 27, 1943
Coming back from bombing mission over Samoya Bay at Hainan Island, zeros attacked us. One zero came in at the nose, my gun jammed and the "zero" got me. .30 cal. bullet went up in between my legs tearing a big wound in me, completely demolishing one of my two organs, and broke my pelvis bone.
Stopped at emergency landing field at Naning to get gasoline. A Chinese doctor fixed me up temerarily so that I did not bleed so much.
Landed at Kunming where doctor met me & gave me the first of five transfusions in order to keep me alive. Went to the hospital where the doctors worked on me almost all night.
Aug. 8, 1943
Had spinal injections today, so the doctors could try to set my pelvis bone & put cast on me. They couldn’t get the bone set, but put cast on me from my ribs to my toes – only to my knee on my right leg. Cast is pretty bad, but I’ll guess I’ll get used to it.
Aug. 11, 1943
Got orders relieving me of assignment to, and duty with, the 14th Air Force in China; sending me to General Hospital in Karachi, India. There they decide whether I go to U.S.A. or China.
Aug. 20, 1943
Still in hospital, of course. Supposed to be sent to India, Sunday, Aug. 22. Sounds like I’ll be sent on to the U.S.A. I don’t feel that I have been here long enough to do much good.
Aug. 22, 1943
Left Kunming Hospital after lunch & landed at Chabua where ambulance took me to hospital to spend the night. Plane is regular hospital ship with litters in it.
Aug. 23, 1943
Left Chabua hospital at 7 a.m., took off at 8:30. Arrived in Agra, where ambulance again took me to hospital for the night – a very hot night.
Aug. 24, 1943
Left Agra about 10 a.m. Arrived Karachi about 2:30. The hospital here is fine looking & modern. From what I hear, I now just lie here for a month or more waiting for the board of doctors to decide what to do with me. Much cooler here than Agra or Chabua.
Sept. 20, 1943
Met Medical Disposition Board today.
Oct. 11, 1943
Got orders to go to the U.S.A.
Oct. 12, 1943
Left 181st Hospital at Karachi, arrived Bombay at 1:30 by C-54 airliner. Taken to hospital in Bombay in British ambulance with all women drivers & officers in charge. Hospital is apparently ex-apartment building. Hope to catch boat for U.S. Bombay looks fairly modern.
Oct. 15, 1943
I was taken in an ambulance from the Bombay hospital to the ship tied up at the Bombay docks. It’s the "Meraposa," a very large (about 21,000 tons) ship and, in peace time, a beautiful one.
Oct. 16, 1943
Still at the docks. We’re in a small room with 8 bunks & 6 men. Expecting to pull out anytime. Did "pull out" Oct. 16th, but we sat out in the harbor until next noon.
Oct. 17, 1943
Left Bombay by water heading So. & S.W. Weather very calm.
November 1, 1943
Arrived Sydney, Australia this afternoon. Seems to be a very nice place.
November 4, 1943
Left Sydney, Australia at about 10:30 a.m. The harbor is a beautiful set up. New patients on board from New Guinea.
Sunday Nov. 7, 1943
Crossed the International Date line tonight, so tomorrow will be Sunday, Nov. 7th again. Sea has been very calm all alone.
November 18, 1943
Trip is about over. Expected in Frisco tomorrow, Friday. The trip has been long – 33 days – but I’ve enjoyed is it most of the time. Lou Green, Capt. Buckland, Bill Jones, Maj. Hill, Sam Nestings (Navy) have been my roommates since Sidney, Australia. Sea is still very calm. Big Bull session in my room every night after supper.
Nov. 19, 1943
Arrived Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, Cal. at 9 p.m. A very nice hospital. Expect to be moved to Texas.
New cast put on today – Nov. 20 – Capt. Aiken, good doctor.
Nov. 21, 1943
Dad called from Wash., to see how I was, talked to Doctor Aiken.
Nov. 22, 1943
Left Letterman Hospital for Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio.
Nov. 25, 1943
Arrived Brooke Hosp., Fort Sam Houston, by train, in time for fine Thanksgiving dinner at hospital.
Nov. 27, 1943
Cast taken off. Am trying to get enough strength to stand up.
The author of this diary was my father who volunteered in 1942 and became one of the 90-day wonders in the Army Air Corps, trained as a B-24 bombardier. He was married on August 18, 1942 knowing that he’d be leaving soon. As the diary points out, he departed the U.S. on February 16, 1943 leaving behind a pregnant wife, my mother, Janet. I was born on September 4, 1943 as my Dad lay recuperating in a hospital in Karachi in what was then British India. (It is now part of Pakistan.) While continuing his recovery in northern California, he served the war effort training departing military in the Chinese language. He got a disability release after VJ day and lived a full life thereafter having two more children and remaining married for 60 years to my mother until she died in 2002.
My father passed away on January 11, 2003 and this diary was discovered buried deeply among his personal affects. To the best of our collective recollection, he had not told any of his family of its existence.
I have transcribed Dad’s notes as literally as possible, including any variations or mistakes in spelling or grammar. I hope it adds to the body of history of that important time in world history. And, also, I hope it may have meaning to those who had similar experiences and to members of our family.
Christopher H. "Kit" Williams, III
Additional Information Found In The Notepad
His notes listed the members of the crew of his B-24D (serial 41-24143) whose name was "Dippy Dave and his 8 Dippy Diddlers":
Dave L. Willis – Pilot
"Hank" J.G. Hull – Co-Pilot
Russell J. Greene – Navigator
C.H. Williams – Bombardier
S.L. Marshall – Engineer
Burgess – Assistant engineer
Johnson – Radio operator
Franklin – Assistant radio operator
Howland – Tail turret gunner
His notes also lists the following planes (perhaps of the squadron?), with their pilots and short serial numbers, as:
129 - Temptation, Varga
138 - Axis Nightmare, Tooman
218 - Daisy Mae, C - - - y (illegible)
125 - Hell’s Angels, Pearson
143 - Dippy Dave, Willis
124 - Big Dick, Hill
166 - Miss Carriage, Parker
164 - Maxwell House, Sherman
223 - Doodlebug, O’Hara