Dan Ford's books
For print editions of Dan's books, go here      For the e-books, go here

HOME > CAF > TIGERS > MEMORIES

Memories of the Flying Tigers

Bob Bergin, who often writes fiction and non-fiction based on the American experience in China during World War II, recently returned from a visit to Yunnan province. I earlier posted a page of his photographs of Hostel Number One and Chennault's house in Kunming. Here are more, relating less to the American Volunteer Group than the Sino-American alliance that helped defeat the Empire of Japan.

Madame Gao

As deputy chairman of the Kunming Aviators Association, Madame Gao Li Liang helped obtain protected status for the building the AVG knew as Hostel Number One. She is shown holding a model of the Hawk III biplane fighter-bomber flown by her father, Gao Chi Han, on August 14, 1937, when he was credited with being the first CAF airman to shoot down a Japanese warplane. "Although he flew for Chiang Kai-shek's Air Force," Bob writes, "he was well-respected by the Communists. In a major speech, Chou En-Lai said that he belonged not only to the Kuomintang, but to the whole Chinese nation."

roller to smooth runway

Here's one of the stone rollers used to smooth the crushed-stone runways built to support American fighter and bomber planes. Though it weighs five tons, it is small compared to the gargantuan rollers shown in 1940s photographs. I'm guessing that its purpose was to repair holes made by Japanese bombs rather than base construction.

Flying Tigers billet

"In the Cheng Gung area, about 35 kilometers south[east] of Kumming," Bob writes, he found "a former Flying Tiger billet on the grounds of a company that manufatures natural pharmaceuticals. It has been restored and is used to house some of the company's workers. A plaque identifies it as ... protected as part of China's national heritage."

Flying Tigers compound

And here's part of "a U-shaped compound that Chinese historians recently identifed as housing one of Chennault's intelligence units. It's located on what was once a Fourteenth Air Force base, but now a People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) air field at Cheng Gung.... The PLAAF rented the compound to local farmers, who had been using it to house pigs."

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford