top of page

Flying "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime"

Shanghai Evacuation

During the spring of 1949, Nelson again received an urgent message from the IRO. This time they were calling upon Transocean to dispatch twenty-five airplanes immediately to Shanghai to evacuate a colony of White Russians and Jews who lacked citizenship and who were fleeing for their lives before the Communist takeover of Shanghai. Inflation was rampant in Shanghai at the time, and flight captains carried their expense money around in suitcases. A cup of coffee cost $1 million in Chinese currency. To stop the black market from flourishing, anyone caught dealing in it would be shot by soldiers. Transocean's pilots more than once witnessed executions in the middle of the street. The operation scheduled four planes out each day and the evacuation to be completed in eight weeks. When the last plane left Shanghai, the Communists were but ten miles from the city.

*From Folded Wings, A History of Transocean Air Lines by Arue Szura

bottom of page