Nicholas Clinch

Hon. Local Secretary, USA

The Himalayan Club

2nd February 2008

Dear Harish,

Interesting to learn about you visit to the Loliit valley. My father was involved in flying over the Burma Hump, which is to the southeast of the Loliit valley, during the Second World war.

The American planes that flew 'the Hump' from northern India to China were in the Air Transport Command. My father was in the US 10th Air Force stationed in north India which was supporting the allied effort to recapture Burma and open the road the China. He was Assistant Deputy for Operations and was in charge of all the American air supply to the American. British, and Indian troops involved in that campaign. At one point I believe he had a 1000 planes under his command. He ended the war as Deputy Chief of Staff of the 10th, the third highest ranking officer.

He went on many missions in Burma, some in bombers, but most of them supply. When the war was over he flew to China to supervise the transportation of the Chinese soldiers to that country. Any planes lost in the area of the Salween would have been in the Air Transport Command. When I went to Deqen I heard about villagers visiting a downed American plane. It could have been flying the hump. But while possible the region was pretty far north. I also wondered if it might have been a downed CIA plane that was supporting guerrillas in Kham.

I let the Chinese know about my father and how he helped support the Chinese in World War II which was a big help because they attach so much importance to family. This may have led to the story circulating around Deqen that the reason I returned so many times was that I was really looking for my father. I got this from a Japanese friend, Kizu Hirai, who was told that story when he was in the area. He was confused because he had met my father in Dallas, Texas, well after the war. I believe Jack Young told me that there were some flights to bases north of Kunming such as Lijiang and so it could have been a hump plane. One plane was so far north that when they parachuted out they were relatively near Lhasa. If you can find it, see Jump to the Land of God which is the story of that crew.


Nicholas Clinch


The author of the note on page 114, in the HJ vol. 63 ('The Alpine Club 150th Anniversary Celebrations in the Swiss Alps') is Mandip Singh Soin. Illustrations are by George Band.