Inligting

Uitsig oor HMS Smiter


Vlootvliegtuigdraeroorlogvoering, Kev Darling. 'N Volledige geskiedenis van die gebruik van die vlootvliegtuigdraers van die Fleet Air Arm, van die vroegste eksperimente tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog tot die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, waar die draers die belangrikste hoofskepe in die vloot geword het, die Koreaanse Oorlog, wat die vloot gesien het Air Arm was van die begin tot die einde betrokke by die Falklandoorlog, wat die belangrikheid van die draer en tot by die huidige 'superdraers' weer beklemtoon het. [lees die volledige resensie]


Diensgeskiedenis

Nadat sy in diens geneem is, het sy aanvanklik by die Clyde -afdeling van die Royal Naval Reserve gedien tot 11 Oktober 1990. Daarna is sy oorgeplaas na die University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) van Glasgow. In September 2012 word sy die opleidingsvaartuig Oxford University Royal Naval Unit. Sy het HMS vervang Spoorsnyer in hierdie rol, wat oorgedra is na die Faslane Force Protection Squadron.

Die Royal Naval Unit van die Universiteit van Oxford is een van 14 URNU's wat die voorste universiteite in Engeland, Wallis en Skotland ondersteun. Die missie van die organisasie is om ''n wye spektrum van hoë -graad voorgraadse studente op te voed wat potensiaal toon as toekomstige leiers en meningsvormers van die samelewing om hulle beter in te lig oor die behoefte aan en die rol van die Royal Navy, en om bewus te word van loopbaangeleenthede in die Diens. "

Studente van die URNU kry die kans om naweke of seedae aan boord van die skip te ontplooi, waar hulle leer hoe om die vaartuig te hanteer en te navigeer onder opdrag van die permanente RN -bemanning van vyf. Die skip gaan ook twee keer per jaar, tydens Paasfees en in die somer.


HMS Smiter (P272)

HMS Smeer is 'n Boogskutter-klas patrollie en opleidingsvaartuig van die Britse Royal Navy.

Nadat sy in diens geneem is, het sy aanvanklik by die Clyde -afdeling van die Royal Naval Reserve gedien tot 11 Oktober 1990. Daarna het sy na die University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) van Glasgow oorgeplaas. In September 2012 word sy die opleidingsvaartuig Oxford University Royal Naval Unit. Sy het HMS vervang Spoorsnyer in hierdie rol, wat oorgedra is na die Faslane Force Protection Squadron.

Die Royal Naval Unit van die Universiteit van Oxford is een van 14 URNU's wat die voorste universiteite in Engeland, Wallis en Skotland ondersteun. Die missie van die organisasie is om ''n wye spektrum van hoë -graad voorgraadse studente op te voed wat potensiaal toon as toekomstige leiers en meningsvormers van die samelewing om hulle beter in te lig oor die behoefte aan en die rol van die Royal Navy, en om bewus te word van loopbaangeleenthede in die Diens. "

Studente van die URNU kry die kans om naweke of seedae aan boord van die skip te ontplooi, waar hulle leer hoe om die vaartuig te hanteer en te navigeer onder opdrag van die permanente RN -bemanning van vyf. Die skip gaan ook twee keer per jaar, tydens Paasfees en in die somer.


Lêer: 'n Supermarine Seafire neus op die vliegdek van HMS SMITER na 'n landingongeluk, 1944 01.jpg

HMSO het verklaar dat die verstryking van Crown Copyrights wêreldwyd van toepassing is (verwys: HMSO Email Reply)
Meer inligting.

Hierdie etiket is ontwerp vir gebruik waar dit nodig mag wees om te beweer dat enige verbeterings (bv. Helderheid, kontras, kleuraanpassing, skerpmaak) op sigself onvoldoende kreatief is om 'n nuwe outeursreg te genereer. Dit kan gebruik word waar dit onbekend is of verbeterings aangebring is, sowel as wanneer die verbeterings duidelik, maar onvoldoende is. Vir bekende rou, onverbeterde skanderings kan u die toepaslike <> tag in plaas daarvan. Sien Commons vir gebruik: wanneer u die PD-scan-tag moet gebruik.


Inhoud

Nadat sy in diens geneem is, het sy aanvanklik by die Clyde -afdeling van die Royal Naval Reserve gedien tot 11 Oktober 1990. Daarna is sy oorgeplaas na die University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) van Glasgow. In September 2012 word sy die opleidingsvaartuig van die Oxford University Royal Naval Unit. Sy het HMS   vervangSpoorsnyer in hierdie rol, wat oorgedra is na die Faslane Force Protection Squadron.

In Junie 2017, Smeer, in samewerking met HM Ships Boogskutter, Ranger en Ontgin, ontplooi na die Baltiese See om deel te neem aan die NATO BALTOPS -oefening, die eerste keer dat Royal Navy P2000's by so 'n oefening betrokke was. Α ]


'N Geskiedenis van HMS QUEEN

Op 12 Maart 1943 neergelê deur die Seattle-Tacoma-skeepsbou Co. ST. ANDREWS ACV -49 (verander na CVE -49, 15 Julie 1943). Sy is op 31 Julie deur haar borg mev. Robert W. Morse bekendgestel. Terwyl dit nog in aanbou was, is besluit dat CVE 49 geleen sou word na die Admiraliteit wanneer sy as vliegdekskip voltooi is.

Na haar voltooiing is sy as USS by die Amerikaanse vloot afgelewer St. Andrews 7 Desember 1943, en is op daardie datum oorgeplaas na die Royal Navy, in opdrag van RN as HMS KONINGIN (D19), kaptein K.J. D 'Arcy RN in bevel. Sy was die sesde skip wat die naam dra.

Na voltooiing van see proewe Koningin het na Vancouver, Brits Colombia, na Burrard Drydock in Vancouver gegaan om aanpassings te begin om toerusting volgens RN -standaarde te bring en haar as 'n staking/CAP -draer aan te trek. Na voltooiing vaar sy na die Panamakanaal en stop twee weke in Miami voordat sy na Norfolk, Virginia, vaar. Op 6 Mei 1944 het sy die 12 Avenger II -vliegtuie van 855 eskader aangepak om van Norfolk na die Verenigde Koninkryk te vaar. Die eskader is op 31 Mei na RAF Hawkinge vertrek. HMS Koningin het as begeleiding gedien vir die konvooie van Rusland laat in die oorlog, het op 5/1945 deelgeneem aan die staking op Duitse skeepvaart in Noorweë. Word ook as 'n vervoerdraer bedryf.

HMS Koningin is wimpelnommer R320 omstreeks 1945 toegeken vir diens in die Stille Oseaan, maar het saam met die Britse Oos -Indiese vloot gewerk. Sy is later aangestel as een van ses CVE's wat spesiaal na die oorlog na die troepeskiprol oorgeskakel is, en het oud-krygsgevangenes van Europa na Australië en Hong Kong vervoer.

Haar eerste troepe was 'n rondreis deur die Verenigde Koninkryk na Fremantle en Sydney met 'n skip vol Nieu -Seelanders en 'n klein groepie manne uit die Royal Australian Navy. Sy het gebreek kort nadat sy Colombo op 16 Desember 1945 verlaat het en moes terugstap na die hawe vir herstelwerk wat sy die volgende dag weer na Fremantle vertrek het.

HMS QUEEN loading Barracuda -romp in die hawe van Colombo Januarie 1946 lê HMS PATROLLER agter haar vas. Die vliegtuie is bedoel om op see te stort. Foto: Uit die versameling van Leslie Howlett

Met die terugreis na die Verenigde Koninkryk het sy op 25 Januarie 1946 in Colombo (van Fremantle) aangekom om gelaai te word met torpedo's, ongewenste vliegtuie, vliegtuigmotors en ander onderdele om op die see van die Ceylonese kus te sloot. Nadat sy haar beskikkingsaktiwiteite voltooi het en 'n draai in die VK gemaak het, het Queen ' die reis na Australië herhaal, op 26 Maart 1946 in Colombo aangekom en op 1 April gevaar, neem sy weer deel aan die sloot van vliegtuie op see op die terugbeen.

Keer terug na die Amerikaanse vloot in Norfolk. Virginia en HMS 'Koningin' is op 31 Oktober 1946 deur die Royal Navy ontmantel. Sy is op 22 Januarie 1947 ter beskikking gestel en verkoop aan die NV Stoomv, Maats, Nederland Co., Amsterdam, Nederland vir handelaarsdiens as 'Roebiah ' on 29 Julie 1947. in 1967 gekoop deur die Philippine Presidents Line Inc en herdoop tot 'President Marcos '. Later in 1972 herdoop tot 'Lucky One ' vir afleweringsreise na skeepsbrekers. In 1972 in Taiwan geskrap.

'N Vollediger weergawe van die geskiedenis van hierdie skepe sal in die toekoms op 'n stadium bygevoeg word.


HMS SMITER

Die huidige posisie van HMS SMITER is in Bristol Channel met koördinate 51.49069° / -2.75947° soos berig oor 2021-06-22 14:11 deur AIS na ons vaartuigopsporingsprogram. Die vaartuig se huidige spoed is 0 Knope en is tans in die hawe van PORTISHEAD.

Die vaartuig HMS SMITER (MMSI: 235009950) is 'n Militêre ops Dit vaar onder die vlag van [GB] Verenigde Koninkryk.

Op hierdie bladsy vind u inligting oor die huidige posisie van die vaartuie, laas -opgemerkte hawe -oproepe en huidige reisinligting. As die vaartuie nie deur AIS gedek word nie, vind u die nuutste posisie.

Die huidige posisie van HMS SMITER word deur ons AIS -ontvangers opgespoor en ons is nie verantwoordelik vir die betroubaarheid van die data nie. Die laaste posisie is aangeteken terwyl die vaartuig in dekking was deur die Ais -ontvangers van ons vaartuigopsporingsprogram.

Die huidige konsep van HMS SMITER soos deur AIS aangemeld is 1,8 meter


Ontwerp en beskrywing

Hierdie skepe was almal groter en het 'n groter vliegtuigkapasiteit as al die voorafgaande Amerikaanse geboude begeleiers. Hulle is ook almal neergelê as begeleiers en nie omgeskepte handelskepe nie. [1] Al die skepe het 'n aanvulling van 646 man en 'n totale lengte van 492, 160 voet 3 en 160 duim (150,0 en 160 m), 'n balk van 69 en 160 voet 6 en 160 duim (21,2 en 160 m) en 'n diepgang van 25 #160ft ن  in (7,8  m). [1] Aandrywing is verskaf deur een as, twee ketels en 'n stoomturbine wat 9 350 skag perdekrag (SHP) lewer, wat die skip teen 16,5 knope (30,6 en#160km/h 19,0  mph) kan dryf. [2]

Vliegtuigfasiliteite was 'n klein gekombineerde brugvlugbeheer aan stuurboordkant, twee vliegtuie lig 10 voet en 160m, 'n katapult en nege arrestordrade. [1] Vliegtuie kan onder die vliegdek in die 79,2 x 160 m hangaar onder die vliegdek gehuisves word. [1] Bewapening bestaan ​​uit: twee 4  inch dubbeldoelige gewere in enkele houers, sestien 40   mm Bofors-lugafweergewere in tweelinghouers en twintig 20   mm Oerlikon-vliegtuie kanonne in enkele houers. [1] Hulle het 'n maksimum vliegtuigkapasiteit van vier en twintig vliegtuie wat 'n mengsel van Grumman Martlet, Vought F4U Corsair of Hawker Sea Hurricane vegvliegtuie en Fairey Swordfish of Grumman Avenger anti-duikbootvliegtuie kan wees. [1]


Lys van aktiewe Royal Navy -skepe

Die Royal Navy is die belangrikste tak vir vlootoorlogvoering van die Britse weermag. Vanaf September 2019 is daar 75 opdragskepe in die Royal Navy. Van die opdragvaartuie is twee-en-twintig groot oppervlaktestryders (ses geleide missielvernietigers, dertien fregatte, twee amfibiese vervoerdokke en een vliegdekskip), en tien is kern-aangedrewe duikbote (vier ballistiese missiel duikbote en ses vloot duikbote). Boonop beskik die vloot oor dertien vaartuie vir teenmaatreëls vir myne, drie-en-twintig patrollievaartuie, vier opmetingsvaartuie, een ysbreker en twee historiese oorlogskepe, Oorwinning en Bristol.

Die Royal Navy bedryf drie basisse waar skepe in opdrag gebaseer is HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport en HMNB Clyde. Boonop is 'n aantal vaartuie in diens van die Royal Navy Naval Units (URNU) op verskillende plekke in die Verenigde Koninkryk gestasioneer. Die totale verplasing van die Royal Navy is ongeveer 407,000 ton (641,000 ton, insluitend die Royal Fleet Auxiliary en Royal Marines).

Behalwe die Royal Navy, bedryf die Royal Fleet Auxiliary en Royal Marines hul eie vlootvliegtuie, wat die bates van die Royal Navy aanvul, maar dit word nie in hierdie lys of bogenoemde syfers ingesluit nie. Daarbenewens het die marine opleiding vaartuie Brecon en Cromer kan gevind word by die Royal Navy -oewerinstelling HMS  Raleigh en die Britannia Royal Naval College, onderskeidelik, saam met 'n aantal P1000's en motorwalvisse. Ώ ] ΐ ] As 'n ondersteunende kontingent van haar majesteit se vlootdiens bedryf die burgerlike mariene dienste baie hulpskepe (insluitend kuslogistiek, sleepbote en navorsingsvaartuie) ter ondersteuning van Royal Navy en Royal Fleet Auxiliary -operasies. Α ]

Alle skepe en duikbote wat tans in diens van die Royal Navy is, is in die Verenigde Koninkryk gebou, met die uitsondering van ysbreker Beskermer wat in Noorweë en opmetingsvaartuig gebou is Magpie wat wesenlik in Ierland gebou is. Alle vaartuie van die Royal Navy dra die voorvoegsel "HMS" vir die skip van haar majesteit.


Uitsig oor HMS Smiter - Geskiedenis

Na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog - kontemporêre rekeninge

HMS AMETHYST INCIDENT, YANGTSE RIVER, April tot Mei 1949

Dit is 'n kort inleiding tot die HMS Amethyst -voorval in die Yangtse -rivier toe sy deur kommunistiese magte afgevuur is met groot verliese vir haarself en die skepe wat haar probeer red het. Die London Gazette bevat 'n lys van die toekennings wat toegeken is, maar bevat nie 'n amptelike versending nie. In plaas daarvan is die verrigtinge van die Laerhuis soos opgeteken in Hansard aangehaal. Dit dek gebeure in detail tot rondom die aankoms van bevelvoerder Kerans om die bevel oor te neem. Sy eie verslag - uit "The Naval Review" - gaan die verhaal voort totdat sy ontsnap en by die vloot aansluit.

Die bron van die beelde is fotoskeeps, tensy anders in die onderskrif. Die bron van die kaarte word gelys. My dank aan almal.

'N Probleem met hierdie rekening is dat die naam van die plekke wat in die 1940/1950's gebruik is, nie meer gebruik word nie. Die meeste van die hedendaagse Chinese name is geïdentifiseer, met twee uitsonderings en die variasies word op die Google -kaart aangeteken. Daar is nog steeds die vraag oor die naam van die rivier self. Maikel van die Old Weather -projek, wat die logboeke van Britse geweerbote op die Yangtze -lyste byna 20 Engelse variasies geredigeer het. In die geval is beide Yangtse en Yangtze gebruik volgens die aangehaalde bronne.

Hansard Parlementêre Verrigtinge (regs)

HMS Amethyst (luitenant-bevelvoerder Skinner) het op 19 April uit Sjanghai gevaar om HMS-konsort by Nanking te verlig. Ongeveer 0900, omstreeks 0900, 60 myl van Nanking af en op swaar ongevalle op Rose Island gegrond, het ongeveer 60 bemannings geland en baie het met Chinese hulp na Sjanghai gegaan.

Consort het by Nanking beveel om Amethyst te help Swart Swan wat bestel is van Sjanghai na Kiang Yin, 40 myl kort van Amethyst. Die gemeng het omstreeks 1500 aangekom, maar (20ste) swaar getref en kon Amethyst nie sleep nie. Vervolg stroomaf. HMS London het beveel om die Yangtse op te gaan en Black Swan en Consort te ontmoet by Kiang Yin omstreeks 2000. Consort te beskadig en bestel na Shanghai.

Op die 21ste op c0200 het Amethyst twee kilometer bo Rose Island gevlieg en geanker. Later die oggend het Londen en Black Swan probeer om Amethyst toe te maak, maar het sterk vuur gekry, wat teruggekeer is, en daar was 'n paar ongevalle. Beide skepe keer terug na Kiang Yin waar daar weer op hulle afgevuur is. Beskadig en met meer ongevalle, het hulle na Shanghai gegaan. Die aand het 'n vlootbeampte en 'n RAF -dokter Amethyst per Sunderland -vlieënde boot bereik.

In die nag van 21ste/22ste April het Amethyst meer gewondes ontruim en tien myl langs die rivier beweeg om meer te ontruim. Sy het nou drie vlootbeamptes, een RAF -dokter, 52 graderings en 8 Chinese aan boord gehad. Op die 22ste, in die premier, het luitenant-hoof van Kerans, Asst Naval Attache by Nankin aangekom om bevel te neem. Op die 22ste is nog 'n poging aangewend om deur 'n Sunderland te land, maar sy is deur artillerievuur verdryf. Amethyst het nog 'n kilometer ver van die rivier af beweeg.

Sy het drie maande daar gebly voordat sy die nag van 30/31 Julie ontsnap het. HMS Concord was op die oomblik teenwoordig.

Die Yangtze -rivier en China - hierdie kaart is voorberei vir die "Wahnsein -voorval" wat net 30 jaar tevore plaasgevind het. Die verhaal van die Amethyst speel af tussen Nanking en Sjanghai


Yangtse -rivier van Nanking af na Sjanghai en uit na Saddle Islands
(Google)

HOOF SKIPE HEDE EN BEELDE

(met skakels na sommige skeepsgeskiedenis, veral die Tweede Wêreldoorlog)

Heavy cruiser - Londen
Vernietigers - Concord, Consort
Frigates Amethyst, Black Swan


HMS Amethyst (Navy Foto's)


HMS Consort


HMS Londen
die aantreklike drie-trechter-heropbou in die graafskap


HMS -ametis na die 'insident'

Die volgende beelde en hul onderskrifte is met vergunning van Maritime Quest. Klik hier om direk na die volledige versameling te gaan



"27 April 1949: Bemanningslede op HMS Amethyst F-116 gesien terwyl hulle tydens die Yangtze-voorval op Rose Island vasgekeer was. Let op die slagskade aan die vlag." Die name van die bemanning kan gevind word op Maritime Quest.




GIFFORD, Raymond G, Stoker Mechanic, D/KX 134757, vermoor
GURNEY, Maurice J, hoof -onderoffisier, D/JX 126455, vermoor
HUTTON, Christopher N D, Able Seaman, P/SSX 660881, vermoor
IREDALE, Dennis, gewone telegraaf, P/SSX 660921, vermoor
JENKINSON, Sidney, Gewone seeman, D/SSX 840980, DOW
MOIR, William, Leading Seaman, D/JX 150273, DOW
MORTON, Albert, Onderoffisier, D/JX 161232, vermoor
THEAY, Charles V, Gewone seeman, D/SSX 852996, vermoor
TOBIN, John, elektrisiënmaat, D/MX 844428, dood

ARKELL, James H, Leading Seaman, C/JX 804754, vermoor
ELLWOOD, Arthur W, Able Seaman, C/JX 371567, vermoor
FOLEY, James P, Able Seaman, D/JX 552734, vermoor
HARRISON, Edgar G W, Act/Able Seaman, C/JX 174555, vermoor
JARVIS, Lawrence H V, Marine, CH/X 43488, vermoor
JONES, Sidney O, Gewone seeman, C/SSX 818150, vermoor
LANE, John C, Gewone seeman, C/SSX 815537, vermoor
PULLIN, William G, Able Seaman, C/JX 319158, vermoor
ROPER, Alec B, onderoffisier, C/JX 153283, vermoor
SHELTON, Harry, Able Seaman, C/SSX 818928, vermoor
STOWERS, Patrick J, hoofskrywer, P.MX 59958, vermoor
WALSINGHAM, Stanley W A, Gewone seeman, C/SSX 661463, vermoor
(Let wel: bogenoemde lys is altesaam 12 vermoorde plus een seeman DOW op die 23ste nog twee bemannings later DOW)

WINTER, George, Gewone seeman, D/SSX 818706, DOW

WARWICK, Geoffrey G, Gewone seeman, C/JX 820226, DOW

FISHER, William, Marine, PO/X 3600, DOW

GRICE-HUTCHINSON, Charles R, luitenant-bevelvoerder, DOW

BRITSE ERE EN TOEKENNINGS

Opgeneem in The London Gazette, uitgawe 38604 , 6 Mei 1949

Die KONING was genadig om die volgende toekennings ter erkenning van uitstaande dienste toe te keur toe Chinese militêre magte op HMS AMETHYST afgevuur het toe hulle na Nanking gegaan het.

Bar aan die Distinguished Service Cross

Luitenant Geoffrey Lee WESTON, D.S.C., Royal Navy,
vir dapperheid en uitstaande toewyding aan plig. Alhoewel hy gevaarlik gewond was, het hy ná die dood van haar kommandant nog steeds bevel oor HMS AMETHYST uitgeoefen, totdat hy ongeveer 56 uur later in sy bevel verlig is. Hy het geweier om sy skip te verlaat totdat sy verligting beveel is.

Telegraaf Jack Leonard FRENCH, D/JX 671532,
vir uitnemende toewyding aan plig. Na die vroeë oggendure van 21 April was hy die enigste telegraaf in HMS AMETHYST, en van toe af het sy pogings die skip in byna deurlopende kommunikasie met die buitewêreld gehou. Hy het eenhandig voortgegaan, aanhoudend en sonder slaap, vir 'n aansienlike tydperk met belangrike akkurate en vinnige boodskappe ontvang en oorgedra voordat reëlings getref kon word om hom rustyd te gee.

Postume melding in versendings

Luitenant-bevelvoerder Bernard Morland SKINNER, Royal Navy,
vir die grootste dapperheid en toewyding aan plig onder bevel van HMS AMETHYST totdat hy aan sy wonde beswyk het.

Om 'n metgesel van die Distinguished Service Order te wees.

Opgeneem in The London Gazette, uitgawe 38751 , 1 November 1949

Postume melding in versendings


Kommandant Kerens saam met die akteur Richard Todd
(PegasusArchive.org/Mark Hickman)

'N Uitstekende film is in 1957 vrygestel as "The Yangtse Incident", wat deur diegene wat daar was, blykbaar as 'n outentieke weergawe van gebeure aanvaar is. Amethyst is eintlik uit die reservaat gebring om haar eie rol te speel. Volgens Mason is sy tydens 'n verfilming deur 'n plofbare lading getref en moes sy van die gebruik onttrek word. Volgens Wikipedia was haar hoofmotors nie aktief nie en het die slording van HMS Magpie 'n rol gespeel terwyl sy aan die gang was.

Die Britse akteur Richard Todd het die rol van Commander Kerans gespeel met die gewone aplomb wat sy oorlogsrolprente gekenmerk het. Maar dan was dit gebaseer op werklike ervaring. As kaptein in die 7de Valskermbataljon het hy op D-dag naby Pegasus-brug geval om dit te help verdedig teen Duitse teenaanvalle.

Meneer, ek vra dat u heerskappye verlof neem om in te gryp om 'n verklaring af te lê oor die omstandighede waarin op sy skepe in die Yangtse -rivier (Yangtze Kiang) afgevuur is. Die verklaring is soortgelyk aan dié wat die premier nou op 'n ander plek gemaak het.

Die Huis wil 'n volledige uiteensetting gee van die omstandighede waarin op sy skepe in die Yangtse -rivier afgeskiet is, met ernstige ongevalle en skade. Ek sal eers verduidelik wat ons standpunt is ten opsigte van die burgeroorlog in China. Daar is herhaaldelik in hierdie Huis gesê dat ons beleid deur die Moskou-verklaring van Desember 1945 beheer word, waarin die Verenigde Koninkryk, die Verenigde State en die Sowjetunie 'n beleid van nie-ingryping in die binnelandse sake van China verklaar het. Met die oog op die aansienlike Britse belange in China en die teenwoordigheid van groot Britse gemeenskappe, het die regering van sy majesteit 'n paar maande gelede besluit dat die ambassadeur van die majesteit en die konsulêre offisiere van sy majesteit in China op hul poste moet bly, en dit is deur die huis aangekondig deur my regte agbare vriend, die minister van buitelandse sake op 9 Desember. Ons was nie alleen in die besluit om in Nanking (Nanjing) te bly nie. Ander magte wat daar verteenwoordig is, met die uitsondering van die Sowjetunie, het dieselfde besluit geneem, en daar is sedertdien volledige konsultasie tussen die lede van die diplomatieke korps in Nanking.

In die versteurde toestande wat die afgelope maande geheers het, was oorlogskepe van verskillende moondhede in Sjanghai en Nanking, sodat hulle in staat sou wees om te help met die ontruiming van hul onderdane in die geval van 'n ineenstorting van wet en orde as gevolg van vyandighede . Toe die Chinese regering besluit om na Canton te verhuis, is dit waar dat 'n waarskuwing uitgereik is oor oorlogskepe in die Yangtse. Tog is dit 'n feit dat die bewegings van ons oorlogskepe in die Yangtse sedertdien met die volle kennis en toestemming van die nasionale regering van China plaasgevind het. Ek wil derhalwe daarop wys dat H.M.S., toe die voorval plaasgevind het waarna ek gaan verwys. "Amethyst" het by haar wettige geleenthede voortgegaan en dat daar geen ander behoorlik saamgestelde gesag was aan wie die regering van sy majesteit verplig was om haar bewegings in kennis te stel nie, selfs al sou hulle dit kon doen.

Die Huis sal wil weet of enige stappe deur ons owerhede in China geneem is om kontak te maak met die Kommunistiese owerhede. Daar het 'n geruime tyd verloop sedert Kommunistiese magte Mukden, Peking en Tientsin oorrompel het waar ons konsulêre poste het. Konsulêre offisiere van sy majesteit by hierdie poste probeer al geruime tyd om daaglikse werksreëlings met die plaaslike owerhede te bereik. Hulle benaderings is egter by elke geleentheid verwerp, sonder dat daar 'n rede vir so 'n verwerping was. Dieselfde beleid is gevolg deur die verwerping van 'n brief van die konsul van Sy Majesteit in Peking oor die "Amethyst" toe die voorval plaasgevind het.

In ooreenstemming met die besluit om in Nanking te bly, het die skepe van sy majesteit mekaar al 'n paar maande met gereelde tussenposes by die hawe verlig. By hierdie geleentheid het die voorwerp van die gang van H.M.S. 'Ametis' sou H.M.S. "Consort" by Nanking. Teenoor die Chinese magte is 'n geruime tyd langs die oewers van die Yangtse versamel en daar was gerugte dat die kommuniste die rivier oorsteek vir 'n paar weke. H.M.S. 'Consort' was reeds te laat vir verligting, maar hierdie verligting is uitgestel met die oog op 'n kommunistiese ultimatum wat op 12 April sou verval en wat moontlik sou gevolg het deur die kruising van die Yangtse. Op 12 April het sy majesteit se ambassadeur verneem dat die ultimatum tot 15 April verleng is. Die verligting moet dus nog uitgestel word. Eers op 18 April is verneem dat die finale verstryking van die ultimatum kan lei tot die kruising van die Yangtse deur die Kommunistiese magte op 21 April. Die noodsaaklikheid om H.M.S. 'Consort' het so vroeg as moontlik oorgebly. Sy het 'n tekort gehad na 'n lang verblyf in Nanking, en 'n fregat was in elk geval meer geskik as 'n vernietiger om by die hawe gestasioneer te word.

Die vlagoffisier besluit daarom, met die toestemming van sy majesteit se ambassadeur, dat die gedeelte betyds moet wees sodat "Amethyst" Nanking 'n duidelike vier-en-twintig uur voor die verstryking van die laaste kommunistiese ultimatum kan bereik. As daar geen voorval was nie, sou "Amethyst" Nanking op 20 April bereik het. Dit was in die lig van hierdie bekende feite dat die besluit geneem is om "Amethyst" te vaar, en hierdie besluit was na my mening korrek.

So vroeg op Dinsdag 19 April het die fregat H.M.S. "Amethyst" (luitenant-bevelvoerder Skinner) vaar uit Sjanghai na Nanking, met die White Ensign en die Union Jack en die Union Jack op haar romp geverf. Toe 'Amethyst' 'n punt aan die Yangtse -rivier ongeveer 60 myl van Nanking bereik, omstreeks nege -uur, Chinese tyd, in die oggend van die 20ste, het sy onder groot vuur geraak deur batterye op die noordoewer, het sy groot skade aangerig en slagoffers en uiteindelik gegrond op Rose Island (Leigong Dao). Daarna het die kaptein besluit om ongeveer sestig van haar bemanning, insluitend haar gewondes, wat aan wal gekom het deur te swem of in sampans, te laat land terwyl hulle dit doen. Ons weet dat 'n groot deel met Chinese hulp by Sjanghai aangekom het.

Viseadmiraal Madden, die vlagoffisier tweede in kommando Verre Ooste-stasie, beveel die vernietiger H.M.S. "Consort" (bevelvoerder Robertson) van Nanking om "Amethyst" te hulp te gaan, en die fregat H.M.S. "Black Swan" (kaptein Jay) van Sjanghai na Kiang Yin, veertig myl langs die rivier van die "Amethyst." "Consort" het omstreeks drieuur die middag by "Amethyst" gekom en was onmiddellik sterk verloof. Sy het gevind dat die vuur te swaar was om by 'Amethyst' te kom en het haar dus vinnig verby die rivier verbygesteek. Sy draai twee myl onder en sluit weer 'Amethyst' om haar te sleep. Maar sy het weer onder so 'n groot vuur gekom dat sy verplig was om die poging te laat vaar, alhoewel sy die batterye met haar volle bewapening beantwoord en beduie dat sy die grootste deel van die opposisie stilgemaak het. 'N Halfuur later het haar seine opgehou, hoewel sy eintlik 'n tweede poging aangewend het om "Amethyst" op sleeptou te neem, nadat sy weer stroomaf gedraai het. Hierdie poging misluk ook en sy het verdere skade en ongevalle opgedoen waartydens haar stuurstelsel geraak is. Sy moes dus stroomaf uit die vuurgebied bly.

Intussen het die kruiser H.M.S. "Londen" (kaptein Cazalet), wat die vlag van die vlagoffisier tweede in bevel gedra het, ry ook teen die beste spoed die Yangtse op. Die drie skepe "Londen", "Black Swan" en "Consort" het omstreeks agtuur die aand by Kiang Yin (vermoedelik Jiangyin) vergader. Daar is gevind dat 'Consort' groot skade aangerig het. Omstreeks twee uur die oggend van die 21ste het die "Amethyst" daarin geslaag om haarself deur haar eie pogings te hervul en twee kilometer bo Rose Island geanker. Sy kon nie verder gaan nie, want haar kaart is vernietig. Haar romp was op verskeie plekke vasgemaak, haar kaptein ernstig gewond, haar eerste luitenant gewond en haar dokter dood. Daar was nog net vier afgeweerde beamptes oor, en een telegraaf om alle draadlose kommunikasie uit te voer.

Later dieselfde oggend het die "Londen" en die "Swart Swaan" probeer om die "Amethyst" te sluit, maar 'n hewige vuur veroorsaak en 'n paar ongevalle veroorsaak. Die vuur is natuurlik teruggekeer, maar die vlagoffisier besluit toe dat dit nie moontlik sou wees om die beskadigde "Amethyst" rivier af te bring sonder verdere ernstige lewensverlies in alle skepe wat hy dus die "London" en "Black Swan" bestel het "om terug te keer na Kiang Yin. By Kiang Yin is hulle deur batterye aangevuur en het hulle aansienlike ongevalle en skade gely. Beide skepe het daarna na Sjanghai gegaan om hul dooies en gewondes te land en om herstelwerk te doen.

Die middag is 'n vloot en 'n dokter van die Royal Air Force, met mediese voorrade en kaartjies, met 'n Sunderland -vliegtuig van die Royal Air Force na die "Amethyst" gevlieg. Sowel die vliegtuig as die "Amethyst" is afgevuur. Die skip is getref, maar die Sunderland het daarin geslaag om die R.A.F. dokter en 'n paar mediese voorrade voordat hulle gedwing word om op te styg. Die "Amethyst" het toe skuiling geneem in 'n spruit.

Gedurende die nag van die 21-22 het 'Amethyst' daarin geslaag om 'n verdere groep van haar gewondes na 'n nabygeleë stad te ontruim. Nadat sy dit gedoen het, het sy tien myl teen die rivier beweeg onder die dekmantel van die duisternis, alhoewel onder geweer van die oewers af, en weer geanker, voltooi sy die landing van al haar ernstiger gewonde, insluitend haar kaptein. Ek is jammer om te sê dat hierdie baie dapper offisier, wat tot op hierdie tydstip aangedring het om by sy skip te bly, kort daarna aan sy wonde beswyk het. Drie offisiere van die Royal Navy het aan boord gebly, een dokter van die Royal Air Force, twee en vyftig graderings en agt Chinese. Omtrent hierdie tyd bereik luitenant-kommandant Kerans, die assistent-vlootaanhanger by Nanking, die skip en neem bevel.

Nog 'n moedige poging om "Amethyst" te bereik, is deur die R.A.F. in die middag van die 22 in 'n Sunderland, maar die vliegtuig is deur artillerievuur weggery sonder om daarin geslaag om kontak te maak. Die "Amethyst" beweeg toe 'n verdere vier kilometer langs die rivier. Sy was in noue kontak met die vlagbeampte, en nadat 'n aantal kursusse oorweeg is, is besluit dat sy moet bly waar sy is.

Miskien kan ek op hierdie stadium twee vrae verwag wat moontlik gevra kan word: eerstens, hoe het die skepe van sy majesteit so groot skade en ongevalle opgedoen, en tweedens waarom hulle nie die teenoorgestelde batterye kon stilmaak en daardeur kon veg nie. In antwoord op die eerste, sou ek net sê dat oorlogskepe nie ontwerp is om in riviere te werk teen massale artillerie en infanterie beskut deur riete en modderbanke. Dit lyk asof die kommunistiese magte in aansienlike sterkte gekonsentreer is en dat hulle weelderig toegerus is met houwitsers, medium artillerie en veldgewere. Bogenoemde feite bied ook 'n groot deel van die antwoord op die tweede vraag, maar ek wil dit byvoeg. Die beleid van die vlagoffisier was deurgaans slegs bedoel om H.M.S. 'Ametis' en om onnodige ongevalle te vermy. Daar was geen sprake van 'n strafekspedisie nie en die skepe van sy majesteit het slegs geskiet om die magte wat teen hulle losgebrand het, stil te maak.

Ek sal op hierdie stadium die verliese en skade wat daaruit voortspruit kortliks opsom. Die slagoffers was: H.M.S. "Londen," 13 vermoor, 15 gewonde H.M.S. "Gemors", 10 dood, 4 ernstig gewond, H.M.S. "Ametis," 19 vermoor, 27 gewonde H.M.S. "Black Swan," 7 gewondes. Boonop ontbreek nog 12 graderings. Van die skade aan die skepe het die "Londen" die ergste gely, nadat hulle herhaaldelik in haar romp en boonste werke gesteek is. Die skade aan die "Consort" en die "Black Swan" was minder ernstig. "London" en die "Black Swan" het reeds hul noodherstelwerk voltooi. Die "Amethyst" het ernstige skade opgedoen, maar is herstel deur die pogings van haar eie bemanning om 'n snelheid van sewentien knope te bereik.

Toe H.M.S. Die kommunistiese magte het op 'Amethist' afgestuur, die ambassadeur van sy majesteit het die konsulêre offisier van Peking opdrag gegee om 'n boodskap aan die hoogste bevoegde Chinese kommunistiese owerheid te kommunikeer, wat hulle hieroor inlig en onmiddellike instruksies soek deur hulle na hul militêre bevelvoerders langs die Yangtse om van hierdie vuur af te sien. 'N Volgende boodskap beklemtoon die dringende behoefte aan mediese aandag van die ongevalle en herhaal die versoek om instruksies om te verhoed dat die skepe van die Royal Navy wat vreedsame en humanitêre take verrig, verder afvuur. Die plaaslike kommunistiese owerhede het egter geweier om die konsul se briewe te aanvaar.

At this time Mr. Edward Youde, a Third Secretary in His Majesty's Foreign Service who has a good knowledge of Chinese, volunteered to try and contact the Communist forces north of Pukou in the hope of reaching some commanding officer with sufficient authority to stop the firing. His Majesty's Ambassador agreed to this attempt, and Mr. Youde passed through the Nationalist lines on the night of April 21. Thanks to his courage and determination, Mr. Youde succeeded in reaching the forward headquarters of the People's Liberation Army in the Pukou area on April 23. He described the situation as he knew it when he left Nanking on April 21, and pointed out to them the peaceful and humanitarian nature of the mission of H.M.S. "Amethyst," and requested that she be allowed to proceed to Nanking or Shanghai without further molestation.

Their headquarters took the line that clearance had not been obtained from the People's Liberation Army, and that she had entered the war area. They also complained of heavy casualties incurred by their troops as a result of fire from His Majesty's ships. They refused to admit justification of self-defence. After consulting higher authority, the headquarters stated that in the circumstances they would be prepared to allow the ship 29 to proceed to Nanking, but only on condition that she should assist the People's Liberation Army to cross the Yangtse. Such a condition was obviously unacceptable.

My attention has been drawn to a communiqu broadcast by the Communists which said that on the date in question warships on the Yangtse opened fire to prevent its crossing by Communist forces. It further stated that it was not until the following day that they learned that these ships were not all Chinese but that four British ships were among them. The Communists state that their forces suffered 252 casualties as a result of this firing, and claim that His Majesty's Government have directly participated in the Chinese civil war by firing on Communist positions. These claims are, of course, so far as they relate to His Majesty's Government or the Royal Navy, as fantastic as they are unfounded.

If there was any initial misunderstanding as to the nationality of H.M.S. "Amethyst." this would have been speedily resolved had the authorities in Peking acted on His Majesty's Ambassador's message. Moreover, had the Communist authorities objected in the past to the movement of British ships on the Yangtse, it was always open to them to raise these through our consular authorities in North China. It is the fact that for reasons best known to themselves the Communists have failed to notify any foreign authority present in areas which they have occupied of the channels through which contact can be maintained, and that they have rejected all communications made to them. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government can only reserve their position.

The House will wish to join me in expressing sympathy with the relatives of all those who have been killed or wounded in this action, and in expressing admiration of the courage of all those who took part in it. Five names deserve special tribute. Lieutenant-Commander Skinner, R.N., the captain of the "Amethyst," behaved with the utmost gallantry till he succumbed to his wounds. The first lieutenant, Lieutenant J. C. Weston, refused to leave the "Amethyst," although dangerously wounded, until relieved in command by Lieutenant-Commander Kerans fifty-six hours later. Telegraphist J. L. French showed superlative devotion to duty. He was the only telegraphist left in the "Amethyst" after the early hours of April 21 and from then onwards his efforts kept the ship in almost continuous communication with Shanghai. The name should also be mentioned of Flight-Lieutenant K. H. Letford, D.S.O., D.F.C., who landed a Sunderland aircraft under fire to convey the naval and R.A.F. doctors to "Amethyst." The fifth name is that of Mr. Youde, whose one-man mission through the Communist armies I have already mentioned.

Without a doubt many other cases of bravery and devotion will be revealed when all the facts are known. But we already have ample evidence that the conduct of the whole ship's company of H.M.S. "Amethyst" was beyond all praise, though a considerable proportion were young sailors under fire for the first time. We have had reports of seamen and marines remaining at their task for up to twenty-four hours, though badly wounded, and of men declining to have their wounds treated until cases they considered more urgent had been dealt with. I have heard too that in H.M.S. "London" and "Black Swan," when there was a possibility of volunteers being flown to "Amethyst," there was almost acrimonious rivalry for selection to take on this heroic task.

I should mention that the United States naval authorities at Shanghai placed their resources unstintingly at our disposal, and the kindness and help of the British communities at Shanghai have been beyond all praise. Finally, the Chinese Nationalist forces in the Chinkiang area were most helpful in providing medical aid and stores which they could ill afford. The House will join with me in expressing our gratitude to all of these. I should like, in concluding this statement, to pay a tribute to the British communities in China, who have shown such steadfast behaviour in the difficult conditions in which they find themselves, and whose decision to remain in China in spite of the uncertainties created by the civil war is in accordance with the best British tradition.

The House is now in full possession of the facts known to His Majesty's Government, and we shall, of course, continue to keep the House informed of developments as they occur. It will be realised that the situation is at present very fluid, but if, at a later stage, there is a general desire for a debate on this matter, I am sure that this can be considered through the usual channels.

THE NAVAL REVIEW
1950 edition, Part 1
with permission of Roger Welby-Everard, Assistant Editor (On-Line)

by Commander J. S. Kerans. , R.N


Commander Kerans
(enlargement includes actor Richard Todd)

Much has already been written concerning H.M.S. Amethyst and her detention by the Communists' People's Liberation Army in the Yangtse Kiang, not only in the Press but in official documents a detailed account would now be redundant. Political considerations debar certain details and, in addition, publication of other matter might be prejudicial to the safety of certain people still in Communist-occupied China.

It is intended to attempt, in the following paragraphs, to try and elaborate on some of the less publicized points and bring out certain salutary lessons learnt. There will, therefore, be no co-ordinated and co-related "story" in the strict sense.

This was in evidence right from the start when the Embassy in Nanking became aware of the disaster which had overtaken one of H.M. ships whilst in pursuit of "their lawful occasions" No crossings of the Yangtse River had up to this time taken place, and uncertainty had prevailed for some weeks as to Communist intentions and ultimatums which so far had meant little in a war of "nerves." The Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Nationalists' Navy, Admiral Kwei Yung-chin (now in Formosa) offered every facility and help that he could to assist in succouring Amethyst's wounded his orders were quickly conveyed to the Nationalist Army authorities in the immediate neighbourhood of Rose Island, where the ship had grounded.

Based on a Reuter's report that a number of wounded had reached a hospital in Chingkiang (subsequently found to be incorrect) I reached there by jeep (loaned by the Australian Military Attache) with our Assistant Military Attache on the 21st of April, 1949, with medical supplies. The Chinese Naval Headquarters offered us all assistance possible in the circumstances, and before dark that day we were at the village of Tachiang, the headquarters of the local Regional Commander here stretcher-bearers and coolie carriers were organized, since the roads to the banks of the Yangtse petered out as far as vehicular traffic was concerned.

We had by now the Medical Officer (United States Navy) from the American Embassy at Nanking and his sick berth assistant with us, and the Chinese Naval Chief of Staff from Chingkiang with this heterogeneous "team" we moved off to reach the nearest point to the Amethyst. After many and various tracks and considerable delays we intercepted some wounded shortly after midnight not far from the coast. It was here that it was learned that a Chinese National Army medical officer with two orderlies had been onboard the Amethyst that day to render first aid. In spite of language difficulties and intermittent sniping he stuck to his job and did invaluable work. After evacuating her wounded, except her first lieutenant, the Amethyst moved upstream during the night towards Chingkiang (Zhenjiang) it was impossible to reach her and by dawn the following day the dead and wounded were embarked for Chingkiang from Tachiang (modern location not identifed) .

It is here at Chingkiang that Admiral Kwei Yung-chin's authorization to myself worked wonders and after some hesitations we managed to solicit a sleeping coach on the last train to Shanghai. Every assistance to the wounded was given by the American-run Stevenson Mission Hospital at Chingkiang. The matron in charge was an United States subject - one of the many gallant women who devote the greater part of their lives endeavouring to improve the well-being of the Chinese for so little in return.

These brief words show that many people were concerned in the evacuation of the Amethyst's wounded from her difficult position. Later in Shanghai the U.S. authorities placed the United States naval hospital ship Repose from Tsingtao at the Royal Navy's disposal. By this time the Chinese Nationalist Army had successfully evacuated by train from Changchow (about fifteen miles due south of Rose Island - modern location not identifed ) some sixty ratings who had been ordered to evacuate the ship when under fire to avoid further loss of life due to minefields they could not rejoin her. Thus it can be seen that co-operation was much in evidence in the very early stages this continued in all the ways that were practicable throughout our enforced immobility.

The very ready assistance of the Royal Air Force in Sunderlands from Hongkong was of the highest order. The Yangtse is not an easy place to land in, and Communist gunfire did not assist matters the help of the R.A.F. medical officer was invaluable and things might well have been difficult without his presence (but see later). It is perhaps not generally known that the first R.A.F. Sunderland to close the Amethyst had two army ranks on board they were trained "droppers " and if all else failed it was intended to parachute medical supplies to as close to the Amethyst as was possible.

There is no doubt that this was the most important point of all to consider from the word "go" an incident of this nature which came with such suddenness is bound to affect those concerned in various ways. From all the evidence that I have gathered, there is everything to show that morale was of a high order, in spite of the extreme youth of many ratings. When I joined eventually p.m. on the 22nd of April, 1949, though, it was near breaking point after three days under fire and with little rest, this was not surprising in addition the presence of seventeen dead onboard for over fifty-six hours was a depressing influence. In spite of all, they were prepared for the last rites by a valiant team of petty officers and a few junior ratings. Eventually, when the ship's company realized the situation and the hopelessness of movement either way, there was a distinct hardening of determination to stick it out and face the future with equanimity and confidence.

It was thus from the very start that orders were given to sandbag the habitable messdecks and vital spaces such as the W/T office and bridge. This did much to help. Early on I decided that a strict Service routine must, and would be, adhered to from the beginning. This continued throughout and with watchkeeping every day and night on the bridge as well as considerable damage repairs being necessitated, this kept men fit and physically tired.

Non-working hours were hard to fill there was little to find to do. We were lucky to have had an unbroken S.R.E. (sound recording equipment?) except of course when power was shut down) and a fairly plentiful supply of gramophone records. No attempt by officers was ever made to institute recreational games for ratings. This bore fruit and it was not long before they made their own entertainment I have felt that there is nothing more a sailor dislikes than being "organized" into whist drives or other such ideas which eventually finish up as a dismal " flop".

The ship's company were always kept fully informed (as far as was possible) of the outcome of all my meetings with the C.P.L.A. (China People's Liberation Army) I did, however, never at any time give them any assurance that events would be speedy - it was a personal opinion, which became truer as time unfortunately wore on. Certain selected chief and petty officers were given access to the ship's signal log each day this did much to help morale and gave petty officers a clearer knowledge of the issues at stake, and acted as a deterrent to the proverbial false "buzzes."

In addition, the knowledge that everything possible was being done by all authorities elsewhere to extricate the Amethyst gave the ship's company added assurance and confidence. The ability to receive and send telegrams helped immeasurably (265 were despatched during our 101 days internment). Inability to send an outgoing mail was unfortunate but we did receive three bags towards the end of June for reasons best known to the C.P.L.A. it was well censored and pilfered. The presence of two domestics, and a cat and a dog onboard who had somehow survived the shelling, tended to produce an air of normalcy in messdeck life.

VICTUALLING - This was an important problem from the beginning and needed much care and attention as it was considered essential to provide a balanced diet, with as much additional variety as stocks permitted, to give some compensatory advantage in the circumstances we had found ourselves. Fortuitously the Amethyst was well stocked, having just left Hongkong, and in addition was carrying flour and frying-oil and other provisions for the Embassy at Nanking to replace their emergency stocks which the lengthened stay of the Consort up-river had depleted.

Mercifully the forward galley remained intact and was in constant use throughout there was thus no difficulty in baking bread and the provision of hot meals. Casualties amongst the cooks (whites as well as Chinese) were nil, which was salutary. By bartering with surplus flour, frying-oil, soap, duffel coats, seaboots and other articles we were able to augment our fare with eggs and potatoes (albeit small, but better than dehydrated). Later on we were able to obtain Communist money (Jen Min Piao, which translated means People's Money) and increase our purchases.

For large amounts I was able on occasions to use Hongkong currency. Whichever way one looks at it we lost heavily on the rate of exchange, and their prices were as the opposition wished perhaps I reached the limit when after three months I discovered Shanghai-brewed beer was available in Chingkiang, by paying approximately 12s. 6d. per bottle I was determined that the ship's company would have some amenities, leaving final payment until later. The Commander-in-Chief kindly allowed public money to be used and eventually the Station Central Amenities Fund re-imbursed the Crown. This gave morale a great boost. The daily issue of rum continued as usual - stocks of this were sufficient for many months ahead this is not surprising when 25 out of the 68 eligible were under twenty years of age.

When I went on to half rations at the beginning of July the seriousness of the situation was very quickly brought home to many ratings. This mainly concerned conservation of cold room stocks and butter, milk, sugar and tea. Looking back on it now there was sufficient calorific value at each meal not to cause undue anxiety the main trouble was lack of variety. A careful tally was kept on every item each week and the limiting dates of each article were re-assessed. By the end of August it was estimated that starvation would have been very close. Still I was preparing to go on quarter rations early in August it would have been then that difficulty in maintaining morale might have been hard. In view of this contingency, lack of food was one of my reasons for the "breakout."

I take this item next as everything ultimately depended on damage control and refitting and maintenance of all machinery. Amongst the wounded who were evacuated were the Amethyst's engineer officer and chief E.R.A. in addition the chief stoker was drowned and others were killed, wounded or evacuated. It was a depleted engine room staff that remained, but mercifully the majority were petty officer stoker mechanics backed up with sufficient hands to run machinery. Considerable credit is due to the senior E.R.A. who kept up the efficiency of his department, with the electrical officer in over-all command. It is interesting to note that this E.R.A. had been a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese for three and a half years in Sumatra.

Without going into details here I cannot stress too highly how important knowledge of damage control is when disasters such as this occur especially ship knowledge. It was unfortunate that large drafting changes had taken place in the Amethyst only a few days previously. The important points which come to my mind here are accurate damage control markings and dispersion of lockers and fire-fighting equipment. A more simplified form of markings on doors and fans should, I feel, be introduced. Young ratings are inevitably going to forget what the various letterings stand for in time of emergency. The dangers of ratings painting over rubber on hatches and doors is still too evident wherever one looks and in spite of all that has been said in training. Only time and constant supervision will eradicate this very important detail. There is no doubt that our peace-time damage control must be maintained as near to the war-time scale as habitability allows.

The vital factor throughout our detention was over fuel, on which everything depended. The Amethyst left Shanghai on her fateful journey with full tanks. A small amount was lost by pumping to refloat after grounding by the time I joined her on the 22nd of April approximately 270 tons remained on board. No attempt was made in the early days at conservation since the situation was dangerous and fluid. On April 28th contact had been made with the Communists ashore, and with the realization that time meant little to the C.P.L.A., steps were initiated to curtail consumption. As time wore on the hours without power became greater - at the end we were shut down for as long as 59 hours without steam.

This was grim and was accentuated by the extreme heat which the Yangtse experiences in July. The limiting factors were (a) the cold rooms and (b) the magazines: the former temperatures rose very little, and the latter had some way to go before danger point was reached. I consider we could have exceeded this period and existed shut down for 72 hours at a time with strict rationing of fresh water.

The only power available during these periods was a 24-volt battery supply from the lower power room for the emergency W/T set and a few pin-points of lights in my cabin and on the messdecks. To live in a "dead ship" is an experience which none of us are likely to forget. Our lowest average daily consumption of fuel for the week was a ton a day. Isolation of one side of the engine room helped considerably, and at the same time allowed refitting to continue. Employment of engine room ratings when shut down was difficult, but eventually sufficient items on the upper-deck with departmental affinity were found to keep them fully employed in chipping. From the health point of view this was beneficial in the case of some of the younger ratings.

The outstanding success perhaps of all our time in the River was the receipt of 54 tons of Admiralty oil fuel in 294 drums from Hogee Wharf, Nanking. I shall never know why the Communist authorities were so ready to accede to the entry of this invaluable oil fuel. I should explain here that this was a reserve of fuel built up at Hogee (where H.M. ships lie alongside) in the event of a prolonged stay being necessary at Nanking due to the Civil War. Over the months each ship had filled up so many drums before departure. The Naval Attache's foresight paid handsome dividends in the end. This was the one mistake of Colonel Kang Mao-Chao (the Political Commissioner and chief negotiator against me) for a long time he thought we burned coal!

Embarkation of this fuel in drums was an interesting, though strenuous, operation. Due to shortage of man-power no steam was possible. All this fuel was pumped and poured into the three fuelling connections. No pumps being available and the fuel line being on the port side an excessive list to port was necessitated fortunately the weather was fine, but I experienced a few anxious moments until steam was raised and we could level off.

The other miracle was the evaporator, which never let us down (only one in this class of ship). One amusing incident I recall was when an extremely harassed and worried E.R.A. reported that the rocker arm on the evaporator was fractured. Inspection by myself and the electrical officer left no doubt at the time. Signals were made and Hongkong Dockyard over a week-end was quickly at work making another some time later the E.R.A. reported that this fracture had now developed into a very thin streak of cotton waste heavily impregnated in lubricants! Relief was great.

Stability had some interesting problems and a close study of the Ship's Book was made. When the light condition was reached it was approved to flood the forward ballast tank and X magazine (X gun was destroyed, anyway) instead of flooding oil fuel tanks the two after ones were flooded earlier on. I hoped to keep as many tanks free of Yangtse water and its large amount of sand whilst there was any hope of fuel replenishment. For the passage out of the Yangtse Nos. 1, 2, 7 and 8 O.F.T. and the ballast tank and magazine previously mentioned were flooded. All fuel remaining for the break-out was previously transferred to Nos. 3 and 4 O.F. Tanks to avoid losing too much by loss of suction.

Training in damage control was not overlooked and the boys were put through a course the many weeks spent in shoring and cutting away damage provided a useful instruction for the great majority.

The world has never seen a good deal of the damage caused to the Amethyst's upperworks since all that was practicable was cut away. To increase stability many heavy weights were struck below - the best examples of this were the damaged Bofors and certain radar equipment (but more of this later).

A blackboard was kept in my cabin throughout with details of fuel of all types remaining in each tank, fresh water, main items of food and limits of endurance in each case.

In all, nineteen meetings took place with the Communist military authorities of this number eight were preliminary "skirmishes" with the opposition ashore near the Amethyst or onboard. The remainder were all on shore and for the most part held in Chingkiang at the General's headquarters.

These meetings were held with a very thin veil of amicability and rigid formality. The convening authority was the Area Commander, General Yuan Chung-hsien, whose appearances at the table were few and always of short duration. In spite of everything that was said the negotiating powers on his behalf were handed over to the Political Commissioner, Colonel Kang Mao-Chao he also is alleged to have been the Battery Commander at Sang Chiang Ying who originally fired on the Amethyst.

Kang had two interpreters who were both former students and well indoctrinated in Communist ideologies. It is of interest that everything I have ever said at all these meetings has been religiously taken down in full, in English as well as in Chinese. At some meetings I had the attention of the Press and propaganda section of the C.P.L.A. thus I am well documented. The keenest photographer was a female who one day actually ventured out in a sampan from the local village nearby to photograph the Amethyst at all angles. The local garrison commander, Captain Tai Kuo-liang, who acted as my personal bodyguard, also attended each meeting but apart from writing reams he was never allowed to say a word. Funnily enough we used to converse in French.

The progress of the meetings can fairly be summed up as representing a sine curve at one meeting some hope for safe conduct was given, but the next would speedily dash it to the ground. By July it was evident that the Communists were deliberately protracting the course of proceedings and that safe conduct would only be given provided H.M. Government acceded to damaging admissions which were, of course, quite unacceptable. At no time was any assistance to aid me allowed to enter the area by the C.P.L.A. every excuse, artifice and device was made to put pressure on myself to assume high-level responsibility to negotiate as a pre-requisite to safe conduct assertion.

That the main W/T office was undamaged in the initial shelling was indeed fortunate and even more so that an electrical officer was onboard. This officer belonged to the senior officer's frigate at Shanghai and was on passage to Nanking in order to repair the Amethyst's radar. (No sooner had he done this than circumstances were such that destruction of classified radar equipment was ordered for security reasons). Some while after many ratings had been ordered to evacuate the Amethyst this officer, having reason to believe that the emergency transmitter was again working, found there were no W/T ratings left onboard. It is coincidence, or perhaps chance, that Telegraphist French was a volunteer to man the whaler ferrying wounded and others to the mainland. He was quickly hauled out of this and thus it was that this rating became the sole wireless operator left in the Amethyst. He did well, and it speaks highly of West Country physique and guts that he stood up to continuous watchkeeping for so long.

Two electrical ratings were eventually trained to read our call-sign and simple procedure. By special arrangements with the flagship or Hongkong continuous watch was always maintained, and the telegraphist rested accordingly. The Type 60 W/T was used when without power and proved itself reliable the last valve went, however, soon after the Hogee fuel arrived at the beginning of July. This necessitated raising steam for transmission and was therefore costly in fuel. We were able to maintain continuous listening watch with a B.28 receiver.

Having to resort to plain language or other insecure means severely limited the reporting of the outcome of my meetings and imparting my intentions to my Commander-in-Chief. The net result was that we nearly succeeded in deceiving each other as to our ideas. In the end, all was clear.

The volume of traffic throughout our period up-river was fairly high and of necessity signals were extremely lengthy. Excellent co-operation at Stonecutters reduced repetitions to a minimum. It is fairly certain that the opposition were eventually reading our messages and considering we were on the same wavelength for many months, it is perhaps not surprising. The need for caution was paramount. Lack of codes and cyphers was undoubtedly my severest handicap, and in the end a reasonably secure but limited method was adopted.

Rising temperatures in July began to tell on the telegraphist, and there is no shadow of doubt that physically his mental capacity in reading traffic was falling rapidly. There was unfortunately little we could do when shut down to alleviate conditions. This was one of my paramount reasons that escape was the only solution.

The most difficult aspect of this operation was to make the decision having obtained political clearance for such an eventuality the final move was left to me, which of course it had to be in the circumstances. It was clear that Colonel Kang had little intention of allowing entry of fuel from Shanghai for a long time, if at all. Moon conditions at the end of July were favourable and I could not risk awaiting another opportunity, since the time was drawing near when operational immobility to get out of the Yangtse would have been reached, even with further very drastic curtailment of fuel consumption.

The climate was at its worst and though the physical condition of all onboard was reasonably high, no one could have expected such a state of affairs to continue. The Yangtse was at its highest peak so the risk navigationally was worth taking, and if I was hard pressed or badly damaged the channel out to the open sea north of Tsungming Island had hopes of success there was plenty of river water to pump overboard from the oil fuel tanks and ammunition to jettison to reduce our draught.

As early as May, 1949, I had always considered in my mind that escape would have to be faced eventually. How this could be achieved without disaster I was unable to fathom - but while negotiations gave some hope of eventual agreement I considered it my duty to continue at them to the best of my ability. One thing I felt essential was to reduce the Amethyst's silhouette and increase stability by reducing top-weight. Accordingly a systematic reduction of damaged superstructure and equipment was put in hand. No officer or rating was ever aware of the real object my "cover" was occupation for the hands and increase of stability by striking below. I was considered somewhat "eccentric" on this score by many! In this way the mast was stripped of many items, radar aerials, aids to gunnery and a host of other items on the upper deck. It was hoped to reduce splinter damage in addition. As could be seen in Hongkong, this was excessive in the initial shelling and caused many casualties, especially electrically.

My object finally was to build up the Amethyst's silhouette to simulate an L.S.T., a number of which had been seen plying the Yangtse commercially. These were former U.S. landing craft which still retained a radar set. For this reason I left an aerial intact and partly because of the risk due to shelling in dismantling it. Black canvas suitably positioned heightened the silhouette and in addition a quantity of dark paint was thrown on to paintwork to gloss it over.

The only armament available that could be fought was one 4-inch gun and an Oerlikon (port side). X gun was destroyed and A gun was intact. The starboard Bofors was also destroyed and most of it had been dismantled and struck below. The port Bofors was never onboard, being in Hongkong dockyard for modifications. The starboard Oerlikon was completely shot away. Bren guns and Lanchesters made up the available armament. In the weeks prior to the break-out all R.U. (ready use) ammunition was ditched to reduce fire risk certain fireworks and "dangerous" ammunition were also thrown overboard for this reason. Sufficient detonators were, however, held back for eventual destruction of the ship if disaster had necessitated it.

The only aid to navigation was the echo-sounder which proved itself reliable and accurate throughout. Experienced Yangtse pilots had, I later learnt, stated that an echo-sounder in the Yangtse could not give a true and accurate sounding due to the fast flow of the river in spate. From this experience it seems that soundings gave me sufficient warning in time to sheer over to deeper water. Lowest recorded reading on the passage out was three fathoms.

We had no charts of the area from where we started to just beyond Rose Island but a Chinese Admiralty Chart Folio which the Nanking Chinese naval authorities had lent me gave sufficient indication of the courses. The remaining charts we had but of course over four months out of date. It was found later that about fifty per cent, of the buoys were roughly in place and the remainder non-existent.

My "intention" signal was passed to the Commander-in-Chief and the Concord at the Saddle Islands in the dog watches on the 30th of July, 1949, and at dusk certain selected ratings were briefed in my cabin. The ship's company were later told by word of mouth in view of possible Chinese reaction onboard. It was planned to slip the cable at 2200 but I decided to wait a few minutes to allow the moon (moon set 2315) to disappear behind a bank of clouds. At this precise moment a fully-lighted merchant ship appeared ahead coming down river from Chingkiang. This was fortuitous, and I decided to follow astern of her hoping that I should not be observed by the control points and that in following her I should be navigationally assisted over a difficult portion of the river of which I had no knowledge. What happened later makes it quite certain that the presence of this passenger ship completely confused the Communist batteries.

This ship, now known to be the Kiangling Liberation, was quickly challenged by flares, and rightly replied with the appropriate siren signals. Almost immediately the Amethyst likewise was challenged but made no reply. An H.D.M.L. or L.C.I.(L.) on our port bow, obviously part of the "set-up" waiting for such an eventuality, for reasons best known to herself opened fire at their own batteries across our bows. My immediate impression was that she was endeavouring to stop us and would board if she could. In a matter of seconds the Amethyst came under heavy and reasonably accurate fire from four well placed batteries (three to starboard and one to port). We were quickly hit on the waterline amidships just forward of the bridge by this time full ahead both had been rung on for reasons I cannot yet explain the Amethyst took an unaccountable list to starboard and steering was well nigh impossible - nor, of course, would B gun bear.

(I remember vividly feeling sure that we had been badly hit and that one shaft was out of action in my mind I was making initial plans to beach in a suitable place if I could get clear of the batteries to evacuate my ship's company and then blow up the ship. I prayed that the Commander-in-Chief would have received my initial "under fire" signal it was with extreme relief we received his reply some minutes later. By then we had passed the first hurdle.)

The Kiangling Liberation soon lost his head and turned to port, switched off his lights, and blew his siren vociferously. The Amethyst began to gather headway at speed and made black smoke weaving heavily we finally slipped past the Kiangling Liberation with about two feet to spare. On looking astern later it was somewhat surprising to see her on fire and the batteries pounding away in all directions. The use of smoke was advantageous (and again at Kiangyin) and seemed to provide a good aiming mark for the opposition.

The remainder of the passage has been fully told but I should make it clear that the "boom" which the Press continue even now to make much of did not exist. (This was a relic of Press stories in April, 1949, and no Intelligence has ever found anything to support any pontoons or obstructions being "strung across." In that current it would be beyond the capabilities of Chinese from either side). The Kiangyin Boom (or Kiang Yin = Jiangyin) is a relic of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and was a line of sunken merchant ships across the river all are now below the surface. There is a narrow gap cleared at present and it was normally marked by two flashing buoys. Only one was in place when I passed by and the area was covered by Oerlikon batteries and a small patrol craft fire from both was ineffectual.

The greatest danger on the passage down was my leaking tiller flat by strenuous efforts the pumps held and all was well. I might mention here that the initial damage very nearly put paid to the telemotor steering leads running through the depth charge store rust was so bad that a sharp pencil would nearly penetrate them and there were no spares held onboard.

The sheer guts of those onboard below decks speaks highly for all, especially the youngsters. Engine room temperatures were extremely high and of course there were no reliefs it was difficult in the circumstances to pass round a steady flow of information from the bridge. Those whose action station was below decks in the early part of the last war will know the strain of waiting only too well.

One small but important point was fully borne out by this tragic incident. There is absolutely nothing wrong in the leadership of the chief and petty officer of to-day. A good many had undertaken disciplinary courses (exact proportion I do not now know - January, 1950) and the merit of these is most fully justified. Chief and petty officers are the important "link in the chain," and no stone should be left unturned to encourage these men to remain on in the Service so many excellent "types" fail to continue after their "Twelve" that a greater pecuniary incentive should be offered.

Considerable publicity was given to our "escape" and eventual passage to the United Kingdom, and again at Plymouth and London. Some quarters have voiced disapproval of this course - especially as the Black Swan and Consort did not come home too. However, it took place, and we had to face it taking an over-all view it has really done the Royal Navy little harm, and perhaps our recruiting figures may show an increase.

I have received between 700 and 800 letters and cables from all parts of the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth and many foreign countries. Many and diverse peoples have written, and in this country of ours it evinces an unswerving loyalty and faith in the hope for a resurgence of more amenable times. This in itself gives much encouragement for the future.

The final honour we were accorded was to appear in Buckingham Palace before His Majesty the King and the Royal Family. Each rating had one friend or relation present (those with gongs, two). Two comments by parents which appeared in the Press are a fair summing up: "The Queen smiled at me, it was all I wanted," and the other: - "Our .. joined up just two years ago. I never could have dreamed that he would get us inside the Palace in that time."

The last nine months have been difficult but unforgettable times. It was a situation which has had no parallel in history and, it is hoped, will not occur again. From the youngest to the oldest the situation was faced with poise and confidence, which was indeed salutary. This was my greatest asset. The spirit of leadership and devotion to duty by those under my command was fully exemplified throughout this after all is the fundamental basis of all our training and everything that the Royal Navy has stood for in the past and stands for in the present and the future.

Co-operation was predominant from the start to the finish and that no link in the "chain" was broken augurs well for the future, and speaks much for the Royal Navy's basic training.

Prayers to Almighty God were not overlooked in our routine during those weary and trying days last summer. There is an ingrained sense of religion deep down in most of us, apparent more in some than in others how easy it could have been as the empty days wore on to be discouraged and adopt a fatalistic outlook.

In conclusion I quote the final paragraph of my covering letter to the Report on The Yangtse Incident of 1949:

"Our prayers were answered, and escape was achieved without loss of life and serious damage. FAITH is not the least of the lessons to be learnt when in adversity."