|Indian train 1944
One of the things that amazed Roy about the trains was that the track was laid by different groups of people, so they weren’t built to the same gauge. Apparently the Army Transport Command had purchased the railroads from several small railroad companies, who had used different track gauges when they originally built the tracks. The track would simply end and they would have to change trains. Because of this, a trip that could have been accomplished in one day ended up taking several. However, Roy said the scenery was beautiful on the trip.
Following six weeks of training, Roy flew to Chabua, India, which is located in the district of Dibrugarh in the state of Assam. Chabua is in the northeastern part of India. During WWII, the Chabua Airfield was constructed in the Assam Valley outside the small town of Chabua. The Himalayas rise to a height of 10,000 feet around the area. Planes taking off essentially had to fly circles around the immediate area in order to get the height needed to clear the mountains. The flight over and through the Himalayas was known as “flying the Hump.”
|actresses on base
One of diversions on the Chabua base was the Bamboo Music Hall. Roy had always enjoyed music and entertainment, so he likely passed quite a bit of his free time here. Stars of many USO shows appeared in this hall, such as Joe E. Brown, Noël Coward, and Paulette Goddard. From late October through early December 1944, Pat O’Brien, Jinx Falkenburg, Harry Brown, Betty Yeaton, Jimmie Dodd, and Ruth Carrell Dodd performed more than a hundred shows in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. Dixie Walker and his troupe, made up of major league baseball players, also entertained. What a thrill that must have been for the men on the base to be able to have a taste of home in India!
|Bernie Downey, Bill Penney, Roy