faulogo chinese textFAU China Convoy Reunion Group

China Convoy

July 1941 - May 1942
May 1942 - Feb 1945
Feb 1945 - Jan 1951

Transport Work
Medical Services
Recon & Rehab
Wartime China
Lest we forget
May 1942 - February 1945
Following the fall of Burma the Convoy were cut off in “Free China” – the area between the invading Japanese forces in China’s seaboard provinces and in French Indo China and Burma, and the provinces of Northern China controlled by Mao’s 8th Route Army.

This area was controlled by the Nationalist or Kuomintang Government of Chang Kai Shek, based in Chungking in Szechwan Province, whose ongoing conflect with the Communists had been interrupted by the Sino-Japanese War.

The only route in for external supplies was by air from Calcutta to Kunming over “the Hump” as the Himalayas were called by the Convoy. A steady stream of reinforcement personnel began to flow in by this route – although a small group remained in Bengal struggling to provide relief in the wake of the 1942 typhoon and subsequent flooding and famine. The cargo space on the incoming planes was strictly limited and the competing demands for medicines and other medical supplies, for truck spares and human reinforcements had to be carefully and literally weighed and prioritised accordingly.

Their work focused at first on the transportation of medical supplies which arrived by air in Kunming and then by rail to Kutsing and were then carried by truck east and south into Kweichow and north into Szechwan. The FAU was contracted for this work variously by the Chinese National Health Administration, the Army Medical Service, Chinese Red Cross and the International Red Cross. They were paid on a tonne/km basis. This income almost kept step with the rocketing Chinese wartime inflation and enabled them to continue to purchase local supplies, while their Western funding provided for the supplies sent in from Calcutta.

The Convoy learned to be particularly resourceful at recycling and cannibalising equipment, most notably at adapting their vehicles to run on charcoal as petrol and diesel supplies became negligible. They also provided a range of medical services to the Chinese armies and the civilian population. They focused on addressing public health needs as their hoped for field ambulance work was largely limited to activity on the Salween front on the Burmese border.

Eventually in February 1945 Allied forces pushed through Northern Burma and land supplies resumed along the Burma Road.