HMS Amethyst U-16 / F-116
Message Board
Messages 125-149

149.
Aug. 6, 2015

My father, Raymond McCullough, and Andrew Bannister's father, Sammy, along with many other brave men served on HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze incident. Unfortunately both my father and Andrew's father passed away not really having any recognition at home of their suffering, not only during that horrific time on the Yangtze, but also during all the long years afterwards. I can only re-enforce Andrew's kind words regarding all the great work he is doing in trying to get deserved support for a lasting memorial for the families. I am sure that they, like myself and Andrew would like our children and grandchildren to be able to visit a lasting memorial to their grandfathers which will preserve their memories and their shipmates for generations to come.

Kind Regards,
Raymond McCullough
Proud son of Raymond C. McCullough


148.
Aug. 4, 2015

I would like anyone who had a family member originally from N. Ireland and was involved in the Yangtze Incident to contact me. Myself and Raymond McCullough are trying to secure funding for an exhibition and permanent memorial to all those who were involved. I have an opportunity to make sure the brave men are not forgot for generations to come and the more relatives we can get involved the better. My Dad and Raymond's Dad were on board HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident and we are both collectively trying to achieve this memorial. If anyone is interested, please contact me at sammysmedals@googlemail.com

Kind regards,
Andrew Bannister


147.
May 9, 2015

Keran and Glynis Holloway are happy to announce the birth of Travis Eric Holloway, born in Melbourne 29th April. Named after His Great grandfather. Eric Pearson Holloway, survivor of the Yangtze Incident in HMS Amethyst.

Glynis Holloway


146.
Apr. 29, 2015

The 2015 reunion will be held on the 18th to 20th September 2015 at the Mercure Swindon Hotel South Marston, South Marston, Swindon SN3 4SH. We have a carvery meal arranged for the Friday and our Gala meal on the Saturday. Dinner, bed and breakfast for a double works out at £244 and single at £191 (Sat nav SN3 4SH). All welcome!

Booking: rooms can be booked now, phone no 01793 833700 and please say you are with the Amethyst Association.

Trudy is sending information by letter to members on her list.

Best wishes,
Gilly O'Reilly
Amethyst Association Newsletter officer
and daughter of Lt. Cdr, Stewart Hett, M.B.E., R.N. (Ret.)


145.
Apr. 25, 2015

I have received and read the book "Yangtze Showdown". It is well written and reminds me of many incidents I had forgotten about. It gives a vivid account of Consort, London and Black Swan's action which is good. He makes some comments about Kerans, which though true, seems a bit unkind to me. But people feel that it is better to give the facts rather than hide them.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


144.
Apr. 25, 2015

New book about the Yangtze Incident, Yangtze Showdown by Brian Izzard.

A new narrative of one of the most famous ships in the Royal Navy, HMS Amethyst. Brian has done yeomans work collecting information, from both official and private sources and has put together a very good look at the Yangtze Incident. It includes profiles of all the ships involved, the crew roster of Amethyst and the awards and honours given to the men involved. It also includes the true story of HMS Concord, the ship officially written out of the history of the Yangtze Incident. Not all the details are flattering, but he has included them to be true to the history of the story. Well researched and well written, it is well worth adding this book to your library.

2015 Seaforth Publishing (www.seaforthpublishing.com)
276 pages, hardback

Click here to order in the U.K.
www.amazon.co.uk/yangtze_showdown

Click here to order in the U.S.A.
www.amazon.com/yangtze_showdown

*MaritimeQuest contributed to the material in this book.


143.
Mar. 20, 2015

My grandfathers cousin was George Strain. My grandfather, who is now aged 90, last saw him in Portsmouth during the Second World War when he was on leave and has always wondered what he went on to do after the Yangtze incident. I just wondered if you had known him or had any information on what he did after the navy as my grandfather would be grateful to know. I recently printed off a photo from your website of George Strain and my grandfather was delighted to receive this.

Regards,
Joshua Blackstock

Reply 1
Mar. 21, 2015

Jock Strain was a fellow Officer with me when AMETHYST was trapped in the Yangtze in 1949, so I know him well. Jock was the Squadron Electrical Officer in the squadron leader, HMS BLACK SWAN and was loaned to AMETHYST to repair her electrical equipment. After AMETHYST escaped, Jock returned to BLACK SWAN, he could have returned to UK in AMETHYST, but he decided to stay in BLACK SWAN. As he had only recently arrived on the Far East Station, he felt it was better to complete his time there otherwise he was likely to be sent abroad again soon after returning to UK.

After returning to UK I visited his wife who was then living in Portsmouth. She was a bit upset because Kerans had not been very tactful in explaining why Jock had not returned to UK in AMETHYST. I do not think Jock got on very well with Kerans, and this could have been another reason why he did not remain in AMETHYST. I did not remain in touch with Jock. In the Navy when you leave a ship you generally switch your contacts to your new shipmates. I saw Jock again in about 1960. He was then working with the Reserve Ships in Rosyth.  As a Scotsman he enjoyed living North of the boarder. I spent an evening with him at his home. Some years later I learnt that he had died.

Regards,
Stewart Hett

Reply 2
Feb. 27, 2017

I have a slightly unusual connections with the late "Jock" Strain and his brother.

My first acquaintance with George/Jock was when he joined the GEC Marconi Company on the former RNAS Donibristle - HMS Merlin, as a Technical Author in the 1970s. He happened to move into a house near me, so I occasionally gave him lifts to and from work, when his own car was having problems.

Unfortunately in the intervening years, his hands had become allergic to typical engine oils and greases, so that he could no longer repair them himself, although his garage was packed out with tools - resulting in his giving me a socket spanner set, which is now in the possession of a grandson. Later he moved "down south" to the then BMC Car company Oxford, at which point I lost contact with him.

In 1980, I read of a car crash near Oban in which about 3 persons died; but no names were given. Shortly after that when visiting my mother in Edinburgh, she said that a "new" family had moved in to a house across the street, the first change after 45 years; the name was "Strain" and that the "man of the house" was Alex Strain, who happened to also be an Elder of the local kirk.

Because of the coincidence of names, we went across to have a blether; it transpiring that he was George/Jock's brother. This was when I became aware that one of the victims of the Oban crash was George! Alex was able to inform me of more of the family background.

Almost incredibly, George and Alex with a rather peregrinations upbringing, must have known me "in passing" in the late 1930s, when I was "a wee bairn" in my pram, outside the front of our family home. They had been in lodgings in a flat about 25 yards along the street; and had probably passed me most days, as they went up to the Edinburgh Corporation Tramways Head Office, where they worked.

Here is a link to the Naval Historical Society of Australia, which has a 3 page story about HMS Amethyst. The last paragraph of page 3 describes Jock in some detail.

www.navyhistory.org.au/hms-amethyst-the-yangtse-incident-1948


Alex Dow
Cowdenbeath
FIFE, U.K.

Left to right: Jock Strain, Franks and Stewart Hett.


Jock Strain and Fearnley.


142.
Jan. 7, 2015

My Grandfather, Mr. James "Jimmy" Johnston was a crew member on the Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident. But the the only information I have was that he received shrapnel wounds to his legs. Any information you may know at all would be amazing. I don't even know his rank, but it would have been low as he was very young at the time. Many Thanks in advance.

Stuart Walker

Reply 1
Jan. 9, 2015

Your Grandfather, James Johnston, was an Able Seaman in HMS AMETHYST in April 1949. He was one of the men who were evacuated from the ship on 20 April to save lives when the ship was under fire from the Chinese guns and was aground and unable to return the fire. His party were met by a team from the British Embassy in Nanking who put them on a train to Shanghai were they joined Naval units and returned to Hong Kong. I have no details of his wounds, but it was not serious enough for him to be listed as one of the wounded. I am sure he rejoined AMETHYST after she escaped and returned to Plymouth in the ship.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


141.
Jan. 2, 2015

My uncle, Albert Anthony J. "Tony" Vincent, was killed on H.M.S. Amethyst during The Yangtze incident. My father told me that uncle Tony had been injured and was sent below, but had disobeyed orders and gone back up to fight. He died just before my Mum and Dad got married. My father never really came to terms with the loss of his big brother. My father has now passed away.

Kind regards,
Maxine Farrimond nee Vincent
North Bucks, England, UK

Reply 1
Jan. 3, 2015

I served with your Uncle in HMS AMETHYST, and sadly was present when he was Buried at Sea. At the Dinner in Plymouth to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Incident I met your Uncle's daughter, presumably your cousin. We had a little chat.

Sincerely,
Stewart Hett


140.
Nov. 11, 2014

Last Sunday I was watching the Cenotaph commemorations and the voice over mentioned the Yangtze Incident. I was immediately taken back to my childhood in Belfast N. Ireland. I grew up in Rainey Street and Stoker Samuel Bannister lived in the same street. When he returned from hospital he and his girlfriend attended my junior school assembly. Also I remember the street celebrations with buntings across the road. My name is Denis Calderwood and I grew up with my grandparents, William and Jane Morrow and my uncle William in the lower part of Rainey Street. Hopefully these observations will be of interest to his family and your association.

Dennis Calderwood


139.
Oct. 24, 2014

You might be interested to know that the book “Simon Ships Out: A Heroic Cat at Sea” by Jacky Donovan is now out. Jacky spent some time with me looking at my archives and questioning me about Naval matters. Yesterday I had a long telephone interview with the Sunday Express and one of their photographers spent hours copying my photographs for the piece that will appear in the Sunday Express on 26 Oct, publicising this book, I doubt if they will use many of these photos!! By chance, yesterday another author, (An ex Wren) spent a few hours browsing my archives as she also wants to write a book about Simon.

And also a TV producer spent around 2 hrs making a TV film of me describing the Yangtze Incident. He is making a series of TV interviews with people about a whole host of Incidents. He has no particular plans to run these interviews, but may lend them to Schools etc. He tells me any money received would be given to Forces Charities.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


138.
Oct. 13, 2014

Does anyone remember the name Cyril Loxton Wride from Bristol? He was one of the crew on the Amethyst ship. He was my grandad and I want to know more about his life as he has passed away now.

Thank you,
Marsha Wride

Reply 1
Oct. 15, 2014

Your Grandfather's name does not appear on any of my lists. I do not think he was onboard during the Yangtze Incident and probably not during the Korean War. He was probably onboard during World War II or just after the war. The names of people loaned to the ship do not always get on official lists so it is possible he was onboard after the Yangtze Incident when AMETHYST returned to UK.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


137.
Sept. 28, 2014

Ena Dobson joined the War Crimes Commission in September 1945, only because they were short of staff and most of the internees were returning to England and elsewhere. This organization folded up in December of the same year and she transferred to the Assistant Naval Attaché's Office in Shanghai and was a private secretary there for six years. During that time Ena Dobson took an active part in the rescue of HMS Amethyst, working closely with senior naval staff and was decoding messages from the trapped HMS Amethyst.

In February 1951 the Naval Attaché staff were all prepared to be arrested by the Communists. The Communists soldiers came into the office in an orderly manner and shut down the naval transmitters. Hence the Naval Office in Shanghai was forced to close and all the staff transferred to Hong Kong. My mother remained in Shanghai and married my father Ewen MacNab who was an accountant with the Shanghai dockyards. When the dockyards were taken over by the Communists both applied for exit permits to leave China. Ena MacNab had a lot of problems leaving because she worked for the Naval Attaché's Office. She was continually searched and questioned by the Communists. In one instance she had the high heels knocked off her shoes and face powder emptied onto a piece of newspaper. Finally both of them  made it to Hong Kong where they immigrated to Australia in 1953.

Regards,
Ron MacNab
Boronia, Victoria, Australia

Group photo of the Naval Attaché in Shanghai, China. Ena MacNab is seen front row, second from right.

Members of the Naval Attaché in Shanghai celebrate the escape of HMS Amethyst from the Yangtze River. Ena MacNab is seen at right.


136.
July 12, 2014

I am a relative of John Murphy who served as a gunner on the Amethyst during the 1949 Yangtze incident. He's in good health and resides in Northern Ireland. He would like to know how many surviving crew members there are today.

Ciaran Murphy
 
Reply 1
July 14, 2014

So pleased to learn that John Murphy is still with us. There are still 17 Veterans from 1949 on the AMETHYST Association list, but not all of them are able to get to our annual Reunion. Our next Reunion is in Plymouth at the end of September, it would be wonderful if John could join us, but I expect travel from NI would be too difficult for him. He could join the AMETHYST Association. We would be pleased to have his name on our list even if he cannot get to our Reunions.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


135.
June 24, 2014

What a wonderful site. Thank you that our children and grandchildren can share this part of a generation the know so little of. My husband is Keran Holloway. His father was Eric Holloway. I have few photos of his taken in 1949. Some of the Amethyst crew, and some on his return to England.

Glynis Holloway

Reply 1
June 27, 2014

I served with your Father in Law in HMS AMETHYST in 1949. He was one of the few who remained onboard whilst we were trapped in the Yangtze and was onboard when we escaped. He features in the pictures of “
People” in the MaritimeQuest website I am fairly certain he is on the right of the man in Plain clothes (The Canteen Manager) in the second picture of us marching through the streets of Plymouth. I have other
pictures of him, but they are probably in your family collection.

I have a pencil drawing of him in the engine room, drawn by the well known artist John Worsley, who was onboard AMETHYST during one leg of our return to Plymouth. He will have received the Yangtze Bar to the
Naval General Service Medal. It is a valuable medal which should be treasured.

The Amethyst Association has an annual Reunion, this year in Plymouth in September. We always welcome people with links to the Yangtze Veterans. If you are interested in attending let me know and I will
send you details.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


134.
May 25, 2014

With great sadness I have to inform you of the passing of Kate Kirkcaldy who was an honorary member of the Amethyst Association. She was WREN Nurse in Hong Kong in 1949 and nursed many member of the Amethyst back to health. The funeral will be held at 11am on 27th May 2014 at St Andrew's Scottish Episcopal Church, Prestonpans, East Lothian. Please accept apologies for the lateness of this notice.

Gavin Marshall
Lay Representative and friend


133.
May 1, 2014

I'm the nephew of Edmund “Teddy” Tattersall (writer, seen below), who was killed on HMS Amethyst on 20 April 1949 at age 21. My mother, Teddy's little sister, was always very proud of him (she has also passed away now), but knew very little about the circumstances of Teddy's death.  I wonder if anyone in the association may remember Teddy and perhaps give me some detail that may assist in piecing together what happened to him on the day, or any recollections of him at all.

I have a couple of photographs of him alone and with some shipmates from around that time that I will post, although I'm not absolutely sure they were taken during his service with Amethyst. Having served 21 years with the Australian Army (some of that on active service) myself, I take great pride in my uncle Teddy's service and that of his shipmates and those from the other ships and services involved in the incident. I sincerely hope that those who served on HMS Consort during the incident, soon receive the recognition they deserve. Thank you for maintaining this site and thus the memory of and for those who served.

Doug Melville
Melbourne, Australia

Reply 1
May 2, 2014

I served onboard HMS AMETHYST with your Uncle Writer Edmund Tattersall in 1949. Sadly he was killed on 20 April when AMETHYST came under fire from the Chinese Communists. He was buried "at Sea" in the River
Yangtze with full Naval Honours, except we considered it was not possible to a fire gun salute, which might have been misinterpreted by the Chinese.

He worked in AMETHYST's Ships Office under Lieut Richard Mirehouse. Richard was wounded in the Incident and passed away several years ago. I am fairly certain that Edmund started work in the Ship's office as a Seaman. He enjoyed work in the office and wanted to become a naval Writer. Mirehouse was well satisfied with his work and he was made a Probationary Writer a few months before the April Incident.

We held a Ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum last Sunday (27 April) to Remember on the 65th anniversary of the Incident, those who lost their lives in April 1949. During the ceremony I read the names of the AMETHYST Casualties, including of course Edmund Tattersall, in the “Yangtze Grove” at the Arboretum.

I will certainly check with the few Yangtze Veterans who attend our annual AMETHYST Association Reunion to see if anyone can remember your Uncle.

I have 2 sons living in New Zealand, so I pass through Australia occasionally, though I have not visited Melbourne since 1945!!

Regards,
Stewart Hett


Edmund “Teddy” Tattersall seen in uniform.

Edmund “Teddy” Tattersall (right) and two shipmates, date and location unknown.
 

132.
Apr. 24, 2014

I don't know if you can help as i have very sketchy detail as to dates etc, but can you tell me anything about my Dad's time aboard Amethyst during the war. I know he wasn't on board during the Yangtze Incident but was 1943-45 thereabouts. Able Seaman Francis (Frank) Connelly (Connolly depending on spelling) he was from Glasgow.

Dad never spoke about his war time but i do have his medals. The family used to have a couple of photos of him one on board with some mates, unfortunately i don't even have those any longer.
If you can tell me his name was on crew list, and what activity he may have done during his time- or point me in the right direction id be grateful.

Thank you,
Julie Edwards (nee Connelly)


131.
Apr. 15, 2014

I'm looking for any information or pictures of my dad's uncle, who was killed on board Amethyst, his name was David Glyn Thomas. My dad has a picture of himself and David, but he's really interested in finding out more.

Regards,
Wendy McCarthy

Reply 1.
Apr. 18, 2014

Your Uncle David Thomas was serving with me onboard HMS AMETHYST in 1949. Sadly he was killed on 20 April when AMETHYST came under fire from the Chinese Communists. He was buried "at Sea" in the River
Yangtze with full Naval Honours, except we considered it was not possible to a fire gun salute, which might have been misinterpreted by
the Chinese.

I will certainly check with the few Yangtze Veterans who attend our annual AMETHYST Association Reunion to see if anyone can remember your Uncle. At every Reunion we have an Act of Remembrance at which the names of all the AMETHYST Casualties are read out and Remembered.

On 27 April, next Sunday, we are holding an Act of Remembrance at the National memorial Arboretum in Memory of the 65th anniversary of the Incident. You and your father would be very welcome to attend, though the notice is a bit short.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


130.
Apr. 14, 2014

My father was a serving member of the crew on the Amethyst and has been a loyal member of the society. He passed away peacefully today, four days before his 87th birthday. His name was Ewart Henry Chivers, but known to his friends as Charlie. He will be sadly missed, but was proud to have served on the Amethyst.

Dave Chivers


Apr. 16, 2014

With sadness we announce the death of Charlie Chivers. He died on 14 April 2014. Charlie served on board HMS AMETHYST in 1947. He was a member and active supporter of the AMETHYST Association and the Royal British Legion. His funeral is at 1300 on Thursday 24 April in St. Peter's Church, Portishead.

Stewart Hett
HMS Amethyst Association

Apr. 14, 2014

I was informed of Charlie's passing early this morning. Charlie was a great friend to this site and provided much needed information and material when ever he was asked. It was most kind of him to take the time to respond to my repeated requests. He will be missed by me and anyone who reads these pages. Fair winds Charlie.

Michael W. Pocock
Webmaster


129.
Mar. 29, 2014

With sadness we announce the death of Robert Stone. He died on 26 March 2014. Bob Stone served on board HMS AMETHYST in 1949 during the Yangtze Incident. He was a member of
the AMETHYST Association Committee and an active supporter of the Association. His funeral
is at 1200 on Friday 11 March at Cheltenham Crematorium, Bouncer Lane, Cheltenham, GL52 5JT.

Stewart Hett
HMS Amethyst Association


128.
Mar. 27, 2014

I am trying to ascertain whether a Boy Seaman named Bernard Shaw served on the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I have come across the box shown below. I would be very interested to confirm if the information is correct.
The inscription reads:
"this box was carried on The Amethyst during the Yangtzy (sic) River Incident by boy seaman BERNARD SHAW"


Now that Stewart has confirmed Bernard Shaw was in fact on the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, I feel very lucky to have come across this wonderful box that relates to an amazing piece of history. Thank you so much for passing my message on to Stewart.

Regards,
Vanessa

Reply 1
Mar. 28, 2014

Boy Seaman Bernard Shaw was onboard AMETHYST in 1949 and was in the ship whilst she was trapped in the Yangtze River.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


127.
Mar. 26, 2014

I am the granddaughter of ‘Bob' Stone a crew member of HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze incident and former committee member of the Yangtze Association. I am currently studying BA Hons Interior Architecture at The Arts University Bournemouth. As my final degree project I am proposing to tell the Amethyst story through the medium of an immersive digital installation. This will also act as a memorial/tribute to all those who were onboard during the incident. Whilst I will be talking to my Grandfather about his accounts I am interested in gathering further accounts/information from Amethyst Crew members and their families as this will be vital to my research.

My grandfather has informed me that he was one of the crew that were sent overboard to Rose Island, but has not disclosed what happened. I am currently struggling with gathering the details of what occurred to those men and what they went through, before rejoining the crew in Shanghai. I also found, from the IWM London records that the men sent overboard were never recorded in official documents, thus appear to not exist. I found this interesting, and any information suggesting otherwise would be greatly appreciated. I would appreciate any contacts you may be able to provide me with.

Yours sincerely in anticipation,
Rebecca Stone

Reply 1
Mar. 27, 2014

I know your Grandfather and Grandmother very well, and it is sad that you Grandfather is so ill; I hope he is being looked after well in his Nursing Home. I have got a large collection of material, newspaper cuttings,
photographs and stories about the 1949 Yangtze Incident. In particular I have about 30 different accounts of the Incident as seen told by a whole range of people, including the Chinese battery commander who fired at the ships, though his account is a bit confused.

In the particular area you are interested in, Ray Calcott landed with the wounded. He went ashore about a day after Bob but the wounded joined up with Bob's party. I have Ray's account of his experience. I also have the story by the Assistant Military Attache in Nanking, who went down with a party from the Embassy to meet and help those landed from AMETHYST. The Military Attache has died, but Ray is still alive living in Coventry.

I live in Northwood, and you are very welcome to come and look at my material. There is a lot of paper, so it would take some time if you wanted to study everything. I am sure Ray Calcott would be pleased to
talk to you.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


126.
Mar. 26, 2014

I was wondering if you would kindly check the crew list for HMS Amethyst for the Yangtze Incident in 1949
for a crew member - 127701 A. E. WALL, A.B. R.N. Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide.

Regards,
John Jarratt
www.lostmedals.co.uk

Reply 1
Feb. 27, 2014

Wall was not serving in HMS AMETHYST in April 1949. If he was awarded the Yangtze bar to the Naval General Service Medal, he was probably serving in one of HM Ships CONSORT, LONDON or BLACK SWAN.

Regards,
Stewart Hett


125.
Mar. 20, 2014

I am the son of Mr. Kieth Cantrill Martin. Dad served on the Amethyst during the "Yangtze Incident" , his rank was "sick birth attendant second class" he helped an officer swim to an island and was captured by the Chinese. Dad never talked about his time in the Navy. I have seen the movie, in the first minutes he was referred to as "Boy Martin". While he was captured he learnt to speak Mandarin quite well. Can you tell me anything more of his time as a P.O.W and how he got out of the P.O.W camp? My father passed away some time ago, he suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and turned to the bottle. My father was violent towards me as a child, but not my sister, I can't understand why.

Kind regards,
Bruce Martin

Reply 1
Mar. 22, 2014

I am sorry to hear about your childhood problems with your Father. I was serving onboard HMS AMETHYST with your Father, in 1949. At this time he was a Boy Seaman, hence he was referred to as Boy Martin.
He must have transferred to the Sick Berth Branch sometime after he left AMETHYST.

After HMS AMETHYST had been hit by Chinese gunfire and driven aground, the batteries continued to fire at the ship. The only gun that could now fire at the Chinese had been hit and was out of action. There was nothing we could do, we were stuck aground and none of our guns would bear on the batteries; casualties were steadily mounting. To save lives we decided to send ashore, to the bank on which we were aground, all those who could be spared. Some were landed by boat, including walking wounded, some swam ashore.
Your Father would have been one of the swimmers; I do not know who he helped ashore, it would have been one of the Chief or Petty Officers. The following day the seriously wounded men were landed aided by the Chinese Nationalists. The wounded plus the men evacuated from the ship with your Father, were eventually found by a party from the British Embassy in Nanking and put on a train to Shanghai were they joined up with other RN Ships. Your Father was with Stoker Mechanic Bannister who was a walking wounded. Somehow they became detached from the rest of the party and were eventually taken in by the Chinese Nationalists. For the record, when the men were landed they were in Nationalist territory. A few days later the People's Liberation Army swept across the river and the Nationalists were driven away to the South. I do not have any details of your Fathers actions thereafter except we know he and Bannister finished up in the hands of the Chinese Communists.

During the night AMETHYST refloated and moved to an anchorage, whenever she moved the guns fired at her so we quickly dropped the anchor; our complement was down from about 180 to 60 and we would have been quite unable to take on the Communist batteries. After a few days the Communists made contact with the ship. This led to around 100 days of negotiations to try to arrange a safe passage down the Yangtze for AMETHYST. Eventually negotiations failed and AMETHYST made her dramatic night escape down the river. During our negotiations we were able to establish that your Father and Bannister were in the Chinese hands and we were able to negotiate their return to the ship. I well remember their return to AMETHYST and I know their story did not reflect any unfair treatment. I cannot recall any details of their account of the time they were ashore, though it is possible it may be recorded some where in the Yangtze Archive. Their
period in captivity is shown dramatically in the film "The Yangtze Incident" The film departs from the real life story in several places to add dramatic effect, I cannot say how much, if any, your Father's
experience has been dramatised in the film.

Bannister died a few years ago. His Son had difficulty in obtaining his Father's medals After he recovered the medals, he and a museum decided to mount a "Yangtze Incident" display. Bannister's Son lives in Northern Island and I could put you in touch with him if you wish. That is about all I can tell you about your Father. The whole story is well documented in the various books about the Incident.

Regards,
Stewart Hett



Messages 125-149
     
Page published Mar. 22, 2014