Around the World in 175 Days, 1924: Department of State Contributions to the U.S. Army Flight Around the World: Part VI: Calcutta, India

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, archivist in Research Services at the National Archives at College Park, MD.

This is the sixth in a series of occasional blog posts.

When we last left the Army Around the World Flight, the planes were departing Amoy, China on June 8 heading for Hong Kong.  From Hong Kong they flew on, making official stops at Haiphong, Tourane, Saigon, Bangkok, Rangoon, Akyab, and Chittagong before arriving in Calcutta, now Kolkata, India, on June 26.  In some cases, the planes made intermediate stops for refueling from U.S. Navy destroyers sent out for that purpose.  By the time they arrived in Calcutta, the team had covered 11,185 miles in 149 hours of flight.

The stop in Calcutta lasted several days.  The main objective was to reconfigure the planes from pontoon floats to wheeled landing gear.  After completing that change and other maintenance work on the aircraft, the planes took off on July 1, heading for Allahabad, now Prayagraj, India.

William Jenkins, the head of the U.S. consulate in Calcutta, sent this short report about the layover in that city.

Jenkins also forwarded an editorial from a local newspaper, noting with surprise its positive comments given the newspaper’s reputation for being anti-American.

Report from William Jenkins regarding Editorial from “The Statesman” favorable to Americans, July 3, 1924 (NAID 302021)

While there is no evidence that he was formally informed about the misbehavior of the sailors in Japan noted in part 3, Jenkins may have heard about it through the grapevine.  Regardless, he sent the following despatch about the conduct of the fliers and naval personnel during the visit.

Sources:  All the documents mentioned above come from file “811.2300” in the 1910-29 Central Decimal File, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  A listing of those documents will be found in the Purport List for that file, which is available online, beginning at frame 510.

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