Diary While In China & India

Mr. C.W. Umphlett
1380th EPD Co.

January 21, 1945 at Badapur, India this begins my first diary. I have planned to start one for six years. I hope it may be of some value to me in the future. I arose at 08:30 hours ate and drove to Silchar. Brought a few souviners and a roll of film. On the return trip I colided with an English truck no body was hurt the jeep was damaged some. Ate at 1500 hours, rested, and loaded 4 sections of pipe at 1730 hours. Wrote a few letters and went to bed at 2300 hours.

January 22, Monday. Arose as usual, loaded pipe on cars, dropped crew at tunnel # 1, sent Sharkey Spieles for victualic pipe. It is now 900 hours and he has not returned. I walked from Damchari to _____ and back a total of nine miles, enjoyed a swim on the returned trip. Waited at Damchari until 1700 then caught a train to Chanranajhpur, ate supper, checked on engine. The engine is still at Badapur. Shaved, and expect mail in tonight. I saw one pheasant today. So far nothing unusual has happened today.

January 23, Arose as usual went into Silchar to see Houston (labor contractor) about labor. I found a place to get ice. I returned to Chanranathpur, picked up water trailer and brought it to Damchri. Moved work train to Damchari, Toth's crew worked at tunnel # 1, Melton worked in the yard welding, Sharkey hauled some pipe. Arrived at Damchari at 1500. Went to the market and brought tangerines afterwards walked 4 miles to Chanranathpur checking bridges. The Dr came up tonight. Matyuch stuck in Chanranathpur. Wrote letters to home and Ida Nan.

January 24, Arose as usual Toth helped welders in the yard. Melton went to tunnel # 1, it is still not finished. Was not able to get any blocks on rail line so did not drop any pipe. Saw tea garden manager about water, got 1/2 trailer full, returned 3/4 ton truck to Bourqui. Walked from Chanranathpur to Damchari checking ditch and bridges. Ditch is bad in places, caught a small mouse. Air compressor arrived. Smithers showed two shows tonight, Minstral Man was one of the shows. Beer ration came in last night no one drunk so far. Pacillio connected the phone. Wrote letters to home, Florence. Lt. Lyons and got a hair cut.

January 25, Caught train and went to Command Post to get supplies and jeep. Had to walk the last half mile to CP. Ate dinner at CP and returned to camp. Also, went to Silchar and got shoes and papers for Matuch. Destination Tokyo was shown last night. Mr. and Mrs. Stark attended and invited me to their home Saturday night and went to bed at 2300 hours.

January 26, Dropped off pipe at bridge and got welder. Came back to Damchari and then got line block to drop off pipe and welder between Damchari and Barndakhar. Walked from Barndakhar to Ditokcherra checking bridges. Waited there for train but finally began walking towards camp arrived at 1800. Clark and Long still not in. Wrote 7 letters tonight and got 6 letters and 2 boxes. Three letters from Florence Davenport, 3 from home, 1 from Lila, and one from Imogene. Went to bed at 2300.

January 27, Kolte welded one tunnel. Spieles pulled pipe into 2 tunnels. Melton worked in the yard. Got basket for papers and letters. Havner returned with his truck, sent Matuch into CP this morning for supplies, loaded a few sections of pipe on train to be taken out Monday morning. Walked down pipeline towards Chranrhpur for a mile and returned. Ditch bad in a few places. Leaving in a few minutes for Stark's. Water tank and trailer filled today.

January 28, Slept to 0900, ate breakfast and cleaned up compartment, sprayed to get rid of cock roaches. Ate dinner at 1500 spent most of the day resting.

January 29. Got crews to work and caught train to Chranrhpur saw Bowsher and contractor about ditch Met Lt. Warton from 777 EPD Co. Walked four miles back to Met work train and put holes for braces in tunnel #1. Also, installed braces on bridge near tunnell. Picked up car of victaulic pipe at Chranrhpu about 1700 when I got to camp. Missed dinner and wrote letters home.

January 30, Pacillo woke me at 061 5 at breakfast loaded welded section on train and dropped them at tunnel #5. Also, installed braces on one bridge. Kolle forgot his hood so could not weld on second bridge. Had alot of line blocks for a change got back to camp about 1500. bored holes in tunnel #2. Clark installed braces in tunnel #1 and has not returned. Expect some mail tonight.

February 1, Went to CP for supplies and returned at 1730. Ate supper and returned to CP to see Capt. Shaw and get mail. Returned to camp about 2300. Small storm during the night.

February 2. Sent Matuch to CP to get rations. Melton hauled pipe to bridges. Toth worked in the yard. Went to Ditokcher and then walked to Harangajao and counted lengths of welded sections for bridges. Caught engine back to camp and arrived at 1730 hours. Ate supper and wrote letters home and one to Florence.

February 3, Got crews to work, went up the line to drop pipe and move welder. Left here at 1400 and went to the CP with Fila to correct his pay. Picked up supplies and mail, returned to camp 2200, received 4 Christmas boxes from home. Ate some of the cake and stomach ache later in the night. Russell Cox was killed instantly this morning in Holland or just across the line and was buried in a marked grave.

February 4, Arose at 0800 with upset stomach tried to eat breakfast but couldn't. Went to Chranrhpur about 1000 hours to get coolies, returned them to Kalechie and returned to camp. Ate dinner about 1500. Fixed place to keep rifles expect Colonel tomorrow, read a while and went to bed.

February 5, Toth worked in the yard, Melton on train. Clark and Rojas worked at tunnel, tea planter came over and invited me to his home tomorrow night. Went to tunnel #1 this afternoon and returned at 1800. Had had fried chicken for supper the best I have ever had in India. Forgot to turn lights off last night, wrote 6 letters and read a while. The Colonel did not arrive.

February 6, The Colonel came up about noon on an inspection trip. He was pretty well pleased but ate my ass out for not having plugs in the pipe I went up the line with them as far as Jatinga. Jeep jumped off the rails into ash pit at Miliandesa. Capt Shaw jumped off some how Colonel Britton fell all over Colonel Kinsoling trying to jump off, nobody hurt. Jeep jumped off the rails once more no damage done. I caught train and arrived at camp about 1900.

February 7, Toth worked in yard, Melton on train. Made a rabbit to clean out pipe, works pretty well, cleaned all pipe in the yard. Capt Shaw arrived about 1200 and sent Matuch to CP he returned about 1600 hours and I left about 1700 to go to officers meeting to decide on promotions, it was 2400 hours when I returned.

February 8, Sent train to Kalchie to get coolies. Sharkey moved pipe out on line with Toth's crew. Melton put in line at Damchara. Strung 2 miles of couplings, was delayed on rail road line and returned at 1900. Wrote Florence. Melton put in yard at Damchara 300 feet of welded pipe and installed under track through the drain, 130 feet on the North end and 170 feet on the South end. Sent welders with Toth on train.

February 9, Sent Young to tunnel #1 to swedge pipe, worked 2 hours at tunnel #1 welding braces, returned to Damchara. Carried welded pipe to long bridge and dropped it off, went to Ditokcherra, could not get line clearance for train and returned at 1900. Bathed and went to tea manager for supper and returned at 2300.

February 10, Arose at 0600, train was late as usual, when to Kalecelwee and picked up natives. Henderson and Young swedged pipe, returned to camp and picked up welder, dropped Toth's crew at tunnel #6, dropped Green at long bridge to weld sections. Train went to Ditocherra for coal for fuel. Tried out scooter today had trouble at first but it worked OK this PM. Saw Mrs. Skeffefton tonight. Heard from Kessler.

February 11, After breakfast when to Silchar hospital to get ear checked. Ate at a Chinese cafe, returned at 1500 and ate dinner. Bowsher came up and looked at some rocks. I worked all afternoon on scooter, viewed movies tonight, collected salvage and expect to go to work at 0700 in the morning.

February 12, Both crews coupled pipe today. Melton coupled 214 to Toth's 85. Sent Matuch to the CP for supplies. Green finished tunnel and bridge, Sharky blew out some pipe. I sign payroll tonight, scooter still broke, sent Havener for drinking water. I wrote home and think I am catching a cold. Toth S 267.7 and F 267.0 85 joints with 53 coolies. Melton S266.14 F 265.17 221 joints with 43 coolies.

February 13, Rained during the night, coolies would not work, went by Chanrapthpur and loaded pipe for welding, picked up tar for roof, rain continued, and returned to camp and had the rest of the day off. Sharky cut up some skids. Went over to the tea garden last night and returned at 2300 and had water trailer filled.

February 14, Train was late and we did not leave for work until 0745. Picked up coolies at Kalinga. Dropped Toth to string pipe, carried Melton past tunnel #1 and he began coupling and finished at noon. Toth began coupling at 1300 hours. Melton caught train at Damcharra and began stringing pipe south of yard, Kolte began welding braces on bridge south of Kalinga, Spieles blew out pipe between Bhan and Ditokecherra and installed British conversion rail kit on my jeep, blew out gasket on scooter and wrote 6 letters. Melton S 265.17 F 265.9 12 joints with 58 coolies, also, strung 135 joints of pipe. Toth coupled 115 joints with 50 coolies and, also, strung pipe.

February 15, Both crews coupled today, tunnel #1 still not completed, scooter piston broken, Capt Shaw came up tonight. Melton coupled 184 joints of pipe with 54 coolies. Toth coupled 171 joints with 43 coolies and strung 20 joints of pipe.

February 16, Melton started 267.20 and finished at 268.7 coupled 123 joints with 62 coolies. Toth started at 268.23 and finished at 268.7 coupled 157 joints with 44 coolies.

February 17, Went to Kalinga to pick up coolies. Both crews strung pipe, bent one 45 degree pipe, some salvage came in. Melton strung 123 joints. Toth strung 123 joints.

February 18, Went to Kalinga to move coolies, waited for them for 2 hours and moved them to Bhar _____ and installed new block and head on scooter and it runs fine now. Matuch was riding the scooter, ran through a switch and it jumped the tracks and threw him in the fire pit, he wasn't injured seriously. Went up the rail line to Jatinga, Hutch came up and fished, I read a while and read.

February 19, 1 forgot to make entry, I think this was the day the scooter threw me flat on my can and hurt my back. Melton strung 309 joints and Toth 196 joints.

February 20, Forgot to make entry.

February 21, Toth coupled in the morning and worked on gate valves in the afternoon. Melton installed take off valve in the morning and coupled in the afternoon. Melton put 43 joints and Toth 91 joints of pipe. Long cleaned 35 joints.

February 22, Toth installed suction intake at station 40, Melton coupled pipe. Havener arrived at 0400 hours without jeep. Jeep broke down in tunnef north of Jatinga. He went back for it this AM. Matuch brought check valves with no bolts. Melton coupled 98 joints. Melton installed dam suction intake and welded 11 joints.

February 23, Toth coupled on ditch bank for the first time about to run out of ditch. I went up to Haranjoa to look at ditch, sent Matuch to the CP. Jeep has railroad wheels on it now and works fine. Moved crew to Ditokchara. Have a nice sight for the train. I still haven't heard anything else from Clyde. Havener arrived 0100, Melton coupled 140 joints, Toth 175 joints.

February 24, Both crews coupled, Spieles installed two gate valves and one check valve but didn't quite finish. I went up to Wiolandesa to check bridges and ditch. After work took a bath and went to Badrapur to a party. Got pissed and still don't know how I got jeep out of Badapur rail yard. Arrived at camp about 0200 in morning and went to bed. Melton coupled 126 joints Toth 85 joints.

February 25, Arose at 0830 with a hangover. Ate breakfast and went to Damchara some of the men went to CP. I ate lunch about 1530 got some explosives in and went to Damchara to get some of the men.

February 26, Toth coupled 116 joints. Melton worked on the trail and welded 223 feet of pipe.

February 27, Melton hauled welded pipe on train. Toth worked with welders at Har_____. Spieles made tie-ins. We welded 860 feet of pipe.

February 28, Toth helped Melton haul pipe. Spieles and I went to Jatinga to determine length of welded pipe for bridges and tunnel and checked condition of ditch. The locomotive driver got drunk, the railroad inspector caught him and finally had to get a relief driver, late as hell getting back to camp. Nick punched driver in the nose. Melton worked with train and Toth worked with welders and welded 1370 feet.

March 1, I could not get a relief driver for engine, the train was late to pick up coolies. Melton coupled below Ditokchara, Toth worked in Ditokchara, yard. The ditch is still in a terrible shape. Went to Chranrhp to see Bouqui and about getting gas from bulk plant.

March 2, Rained all last night, sent train for coolies but they would not work. Rained most of the day. Sent jeep into Badarpur this morning, mail came in tonight. Installed two welded sections in the afternoon, went to Damchara to get some couplings. Hodge started filling pipe line today. Mosquitoes are every where tonight.

March 3, Took Matuch to Damchara in jeep. Train was late getting coolies. Melton coupled through drain, Toth coupled north of Ditokchara. Spieles unloaded welded pipe at bridges, I got a small wagon to pull behind jeep and made coupling for it. Went to Har_____ and picked up welding machines in the afternoon. Sent train to Damchara to unload water trailer and get Matuch.

March 4, Slept to 0830, ate breakfast and read for a while, went two miles up railroad and returned. Nice sunny day, wrote letters in the afternoon. Melton went to Badarpur in jeep, sent train to _____ to move coolies. Scrubbed my compartment.

March 5 no entry

March 6, Sent train with pipe to Miol_____ and also filled gap. Did not couple pipe today. Went to Damchara to test line found two leaks, blew out pipe north of Damchara, picked up Matuch 1900 hours.

March 7, Melton coupled 145 joints, Toth 142 joints and welder 1180 feet.

March 8, Melton coupled 132 joints of pipe, Toth 130 joints, welded 1160 feet.

March 9, Melton coupled 216 joints. Toth 190 joints, welded 110 feet pipe.

March 10, Toth coupled 180 joints. Melton 208 joints, all welders worked on the pipe line.

March 11, Toth coupled 101 joints. Melton 150 joints.

March 12, Toth coupled 65 joints. Melton 82 joints and welders worked on the pipeline.

March 13, Toth coupled 215 joints. Melton 246 and welders worked on the pipeline.

March 14, Toth coupled 170 joints. Melton coupled 208 joints. Welded 900 feet of pipe.

March 15, Toth coupled 176 joints. Melton coupled 165 joints north of tunnel #13 and welded 613 feet of pipe.

March 16, Toth coupled 46 joints. Melton installed suctionand discharge takeoff at Miol_____. Welded 80 feet of pipe.

March 17, Welded 1220 feet. Melton jnstalled crossover and pipeline between Har_____ and Miol_____.

March 18, Welded 360 feet. My crew started at Chandranahpur and finished at Jatinga. Gas was put in line on or about 26th of March, 1945.

March 18-April 13 no entry

April 14, Went into the CP and Zimmerman and I went to Silchar. I brought a hooker pipe and we had our picture taken and then returned to camp. Tarzan left.

April 15, Arose at 0630 with GIs and relaxed around train until dinner. After dinner Zimmerman and I rode over to Krimenganga and through the market. Two catholic priests came over to the train in the afternoon. At 1700 Zim and I went to Majorbunter for supper Had a few drinks returned to camp at 0200. Received a letter from Florence.

April 16 no entry

April 17, Ate breakfast and took Bill Noland to get haircut and sent a box home. Afterwards returned to train spent the rest of day reading a western novel. Creager came out last night and told me to load stone in the AM.

April 18, Took truck and some men and loaded stone and 20 joints of 2" pipe. Pacillo drove truck and ran out of gas. Creager left this morning for Ledo by convoy. We expect to leave in the morning. We left Banya for China at 1738 hours. Stopped in Badapur and am scheduled at 2300 hours.

April 19, Left Badapur at 0105 for China, crossed Baraks bridge at 0110 passed through Haranjoa, Jatinga. Loaded scooter in _____ and picked up phone in Haranjoa passed through Mahur, Maibong, Mupa, Dith. Sent a few letters and read another book. Americans are running the railroad now.

April 20, Passed through Hijijuri, Tinsukia, Chaboa and reached Dikom at 0830. Moved men from train to tent area and saw a picture.

April 21, Unloaded equipment on train.

April 22, Rode around in jeep and went to Tinsukia, tank farm.

April 23, Rode 80 miles in afternoon for coke but no luck did get a cold beer. I got my new jeep in the afternoon and it had 271 I miles on it.

April 24, Left 0617 hours for Ledo road, dusty as hell, arrived in Ledo about 1200 hours. Mileage at initial point 22.4. Left IP at 1026 rained some at 1200 hours, first halt at 1200 hours, ate K rations, left at 1300 hours. Reached Pangsau Pass at 1403, finished 7 1/2 miles up grade. Reached Logoli about 1500 hours, gased up at POL, arrived at bivouac area at 1900 hours. Took bath on the way in a creek.

April 25, Arose at 0500. ate breakfast, and left parking area at 0733. jeep used on quart of oil. Spent last night in the open, crossed India Burma border at first halt.

April 26, Left camp at 0901 hours crossed hill section at 1130 hours, got gas at wrong place. Trucks got mixed up crossing the hills, saw Joe Robbins and other 1382 EPD officers Took two baths today, flushed out radiator and greased jeep. Phillips turned over his jeep, five trucks dropped out of order.

April 27, Laid over at a camp by a river all day Spent part of the morning greasing jeep, walked over some battle ground, rode up with Bowsher over a road looking for a battle ground. Ran across a soldier with a shotgun and he killed two squirrels, missed a chicken, got a box of shotgun shells. Dunker dropped by and saw a movie Flame of Barbary Coast. Camped by a branch of Majaung river.

April 28, Departed camp about 0850 Movers truck still not getting any speed, ate lunch about 1330, still in the plaint section, gased up in afternoon, camp is on the Irrawaddy river. Had steak for supper, expect to see a show tonight, slept outside and started raining about 0200 and rained for two hours.

April 29, Departed Mit _____ about 0900, saw Ward from 1381 EPD, crossed the Irrawaddy bridge on a pontoon bridge, made slow time in the morning but good time in the afternoon, road was black top part of the way, arrived at Bhamo about 1600 hours, went swimming at camp, passed through the first native village since the trip began.

April 30, Departed at 0800, completed hill section about 1130 hours. Maitland ran off the road, we passed Seagraves hospital but did not see it. Passed through more bombed villages, changed oil in jeep, mileage is 986, rained a little in the afternoon, then passed through some of the most beautiful hills I have ever seen. Camped in a valley at the foot of the hills, passed over a suspension bridge, saw a beautiful Buddha statue.

May 1, Hutch went hunting and stayed out all night. Saw a movie last night, departed camp at 0850, reached Burma road 0851, crossed Burma China border at 1033. Vehicles were inspected there, we had to run coolies off the trucks, crossed river, reached top of one hill at 1500 hours, saw a few Buddha temples, seen quite a few natives now, we reached plains at 1530. All the native villages are practically destroyed from fighting, bridges all blown up. We were out of the plains at 1630, reached Command Post at 1950, 6000 feet elevation, slept in truck, pretty cool last night.

May 2, Departed CP at 0825. crossed Salween river bridge at 1243, making poor time so far We reached the divide at 1427, reached camp at 1700, ate supper at a Chinese cafe and got sick.

May 3, Set watch ahead 1 1/2 hours, we left Golden's truck, pulled out and started climbing at 1350. We crossed river at 1353, saw some pine trees the first we had seen, saw a small forest fire. Reached at 1530. Dunn got drunk and Wright drove his truck, spent the night at Lt. Rice detachment ate supper there. We are supposed to stop at 1381 EPD Co. headquarters tomorrow.

May 4, Departed 0955 hours, crossed another divide at 1050, started climbing again at 1205, reached valley at 1420, Yangpi river at 1424, started climbing at 1450, reached Siakwan at 1545, parked trucks there and spent the night with 1381 EPD and saw all their officers, attended a banquet at Chinese cafe, cost $13, which was $25,000 Chinese dollars. Went to a Chinese theater afterwards, cost $600 per ticket Chinese money. Brown got drunk.

May 5, Departed at 0850, reached the valley at 1015, left valley at 1030, spent the night at Yangpi, five trucks went on.

May 6, We entered the valley at 1130, crossed under an arch at 1310, started climbing at 1530, crossed the divide at 1605, passed Sooyoung. saw a salt mill, and ate there, camped at Duffy's slept in his hut.

May 7, Arose at 0730, greased and washed the jeep, departed for Kunming at 1430, arrived in Kunming at 1930, slept at 1756, got letter from, 3 from Florence, one from Ida Nan, one from sister, one Hinnants, one Luis Mansau, two from the Clemson YMCA.

May 8, Arose and ate at 1756, went down to trucks, ate dinner at Chinese cafe costs $1400 Chinese dollars, went to a meeting at 1330, departed and camped where the new CP would be, slept outside all night and almost froze. Got 2 letters from Florence.

May 9, Arose 0630 and ate, went to pick out a site for my camp, spent all morning doing that, finally found a site with no water, saw two wild ducks, killed a crow, went to CP in PM and got a few things. The men moved out in the afternoon. Patterson is with crew. Hutchinson now has a crew. Capt Shaw still has not come out, got a letter from Florence, returned to camp after dark. I am having to censor mail now.

May 10- 15 no entry

May 16, Shanulus went into ChooChing for garlic, got drunk and marched a Chinese at pistol point through town, later Thorndill tried to take wine from a shop, was hit side of his head and Chinese took his carbine from him. Two shots were fired at Thorndill and Shamulus. Shamulus ran up two floors in a building scared to death. Creager came by just as it started.

May 17, Went into CP this morning, picked up Shamulus, got a few supplies and came back to camp.

May 18, Saw a wolf this morning, chased it for 4 miles but couldn't get a shot. Toth coupled 296, Melton 196. We had trouble bending pipe, went into ChooChing for money, had trouble getting coolies this morning, returned from work at 1830. I wrote 3 letters tonight. Welders are working tonight and we had to load up some pipe for them. Padget had a flat on his pipe trailer.

May 19, took Fila to LuLiang to catch plane to Kunming hospital. Kolte and Soliz got one pipe weld last night. Saw Zimmerman in the afternoon, had flat tire on jeep and had no wrench. Gerber and Antel missed the truck so I made them work during the dinner hour. Garret welded during the day, put in the best day's work so far. Have not turned in his report.

May 20, Arose at 0600 hours, poured 3 gallons of water in jeep gas tank and had to drain it, went in to the CP to see about ratings, Toth, Dennis, Clark, Yungk, I ate with Lynn, Chinese interpreter, in ChooChing. Picked up 300 couplings from Lt Brown, the lack of couplings held up production. Went to Zimmerman's crew and got laundry, saw Gus and Long, arrived at camp at 1800 hours. Melton hunted in the afternoon with no luck. Men were issued extra clothing including British hat, most of them looked like hell, turned report into Hutch.

May 21 - August 18 no entries

August 19, I wrote first letter to Muddy that didn't have to be answered. The war was over and I would return home soon. Censored the last letter this morning written by H.B. Ingrams. Last censored letter I wrote yesterday was to Lt. Kessler.

August 20 - November 11 no entry

November 12, Had Bass turn in two jeeps and one trailer to the Chinese. Waited to 11:00 am for Chinese general to sign for gas. Transferred 56,299.2 barrels of 80 octane gas to Chinese. Received orders to go home on November 12 and reported to Hostel 19.

November 13, Went through initial processing in the am and finished in the afternoon.

November 14, Waiting for the plane from Kunming to India.

November 15, Still waiting.

November 16, I was called out to leave at noon. Left Kunming at 1335 China time arrived in _____ India at 1925, a smooth ride over and clear skies. Had initial processing and was assigned a tent.

November 17, Finished processing at noon spent rest of the day loafing.

Last entry, From memory I boarded the SS Hayes on November 28th bound for New York via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. Calm sailing till we passed through the Straits of Gibraltar then hit storm waters and waves from a terrible storm in the North Atlantic. The bow of the ship was pitching up and down about 50 feet. Spent Christmas on the Atlantic. Red Cross gave us a sewing kit and a steel mirror. But there is one spot in the Atlantic Ocean that has two to four thousands steel mirrors in it. Arrived in New York on December 28 and reported to Camp Kilmer and was processed and reported to Fort Bragg, NC for further processing given some leave time and then reported to Fort Belvoir, Va. Was assigned to a troop training company until I was discharged.




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