70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Yangtze Incident
St. Peter's Churchyard, Tandridge, Surrey, U.K.
July 21, 2019

Buglers from Redhill Sea Cadets, based at TS Ark Royal.

The buglers sounding ‘Last Post' before the minutes silence.

Members from Reigate Branch of the Royal Naval Association Parade in St. Peter's Churchyard, Tandridge.

The Branch Standard is lowered in salute to Commander Kerans, DSO, RN, HMS Amethyst and the ship's companies of HM Ships Consort, Black Swan and London.

The Parade comes to attention.

Commander William Eevershed, RN from the Amethyst Association pays his respects.

The Chairman of Reigate Branch of the RNA, Iain Page, pays his respects after laying a wreath.

Commander Kerans' grave after the parade.
(All photos © 2019 Dawn Kerr)
Courtesy of Bruce Rowling

(Article that appeared in The Semaphore Circular, August 2019 issue.)

30 July 2019 sees the 70th anniversary of HMS Amethyst's legendary escape down the River Yangtze to rejoin the fleet. On Sunday 21 July Reigate Branch commemorated this event and the life of her Captain, Commander John Kerans, DSO, RN at a ceremony at St. Peter's Church, Tandridge, where Cdr. Kerans is buried.

Members of the Branch with buglers from TS Ark Royal, friends, families and representatives from the Amethyst Association gathered at Cdr. Kerans' graveside where prayers for the fallen and for reconciliation were followed by the last post, a minutes silence, the exhortation and reveille. The Branch standard was paraded and the Chairman laid a wreath.

Commander Kerans' daughters, Charm ian and Melanie, his grand-daughter Leonie and great grand-daughter Eliza Kerans were present, together with Gilly O'Reilly from the Amethyst Association, who was also representing her father Lt. Commander K. Stewart Hett, MBE, RN (Ret.) who was an officer on board Amethyst during her escape and who currently serves as President of the Association.

Reigate Branch continues its tradition of commemorating notable events and service and the Amethyst anniversary will now become part of their annual calendar of events. After the commemoration members moved to the Barley Mow in Tandridge where the Secretary presented the landlord with a print of HMS Amethyst and an accompanying account of the incident which is now displayed in the bar.

The previous evening the Branch held a film night, preceded by a curry supper, where a showing of the ‘Yangtze Incident,' starring Richard Todd, helped to prepare members for the following day's events.
-Bruce Rowling
Royal Navy Historical Ships & Sites Representative
RNA Reigate Branch

Programmes from the 70th Anniversary Commemoration. (All courtesy of Bruce Rowling.)

Orders and Prayers (PDF)

Parade Programme (PDF)

History (PDF)

Semaphore Circular (PDF)

Page published Aug. 4, 2019