Click play to hear Bob Farquharson’s complete audio story
Bob Farquharson, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot born in Gleichen, Alta., dropped supplies into mountain-locked Burma, where he contended with the Japanese military, monsoons, and heavy cumulonimbus clouds.
There was no way to get supplies to the Allied army except to fly them to them. To make a drop, you have to fly around, the aircraft “low and slow,” maybe 300 feet above the ground. The kickers in the back piled the doorway with as many sacks of rice, or whatever we were dropping. And we dropped absolutely everything. I even dropped a crate of eggs packed in straw in a wicker basket, a big wicker basket. Now mind you, we always dropped eggs with a parachute. And the gasoline we dropped with a parachute. But rice was free-dropped, called “slack packed-double sacked.” It was packed slack, in a big hessian sack, and another sack over that, so that it didn’t burst immediately when it hit. In fact it bounced and skipped along quite a ways before it came to rest. We flew in everything: ammunition, clothing, rations. If somebody at the front lost his eyeglasses or false teeth, we flew in false teeth and eyeglasses.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.