1923 - Col. M.A. Two Gun Cohen arrives in H.K. as A.D.C. to Dr Sun Yat-sen.jpg

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 11:35

Michael Alderton (essarem) notes: Sailing from Vancouver on 12 December 1922, Mr Morris Abraham Cohen, prominent Edmonton businessman and long-time executive member of the Chinese Nationalist League (Dr Sun Yat-sen’s representative organization in Canada), sets out for Shanghai to join his embattled leader who is living in exile there in the French Concession. Some two months later, on 15 February 1923, Colonel Morris Cohen, as a member of Dr Sun’s entourage, leaves Shanghai for Hong Kong, on route to Canton.

Date picture taken
1 Feb 1923 (day is approximate)


22 Dec 1922. Shanghai. Senior British East Asia intelligence operative and respected multiple biographer, Commander Charles Drage, provides a personal, revealing and insightful character sketch of his good friend Morris A. Cohen: Morris landed in China a few weeks after his thirty-third birthday, at an age, therefore, when the physical and mental make-up of most men has been finally settled for life. In appearance he was not greatly changed from the handsome, tough young fellow of those vigorous, bustling days before the Great War. In the face he certainly looked a full ten years older. His glossy black hair had begun to retreat up the massive brow, but the widow’s peak was still in evidence and, if anything, emphasized by the recession around it. His features had been harshly marked by harsh experiences – in France as well as Western Canada – and a year of pain from his head wound and discomfort from the damaged jaw had drawn deep lines from mouth to nostril, without in any way diminishing the cheerful good-nature of his normal expression. For Morris was a man of singularly happy disposition; throughout the years of our friendship I have seldom seen him worried and never seriously angry. Possessed of inexhaustible vitality, he was never bored or depressed; he genuinely and unaffectedly liked his fellow men and could never have too much of their society. The end of a long night at the card-table or in a stuffy, smoky, and crowded conference room found him as cheerful and good-tempered as had the morning. He could be patient with the aggrieved, tactful with the quarrelsome and was ever ready to out-talk the most garrulous. Canada had taught him much. He had met the hard cases – and he knew how to handle them. He had met the professional politicians. Over a poker hand, and over an office desk, he had met a slice of mankind clean across the social structure of the Dominion. To earn his bread and butter he had been forced to study all of them and he had applied his logical, orderly brain, his excellent memory, and his natural intuition to good effect. His greatest asset was his personal prestige among the Chinese, of which such extraordinary proof had been given when he was chosen to guard Dr Sun during his Canadian tour. Although, as matters turned out, the trip had proved uneventful; his post had been no sinecure. The Doctor’s enemies were numerous, powerful, and unscrupulous. That his safety could be entrusted to a man of alien race was a truly astonishing witness to the reputation for absolute integrity which Morris had acquired and which he was ever after to enjoy among the Sons of Han. Morris was well known to the Chinese in Canada, and about the Chinese race he knew a great deal.

Michael Alderton (essarem) notes: 27 Jan 1923. French Concession, Shanghai. Morris A. Cohen, a leading figure in Dr Sun’s representative organization in Canada, has been summoned to China to serve once again as devoted bodyguard and genial companion to the now famous Chinese leader, Doctor Sun Yat-sen. Reports coming out of Canton confirmed that the situation there was extremely tense. But despite the very real threat of assassination, and ignoring the pleas of his closest advisers to call off so risky a venture, the Doctor, with Colonel Morris Cohen by his side, remained intent on returning to his Canton toe-hold in a desperate do-or-die attempt to restore order in that southern metropolis. (Colonel Cohen in his own words): It was one of those ‘stop-go-stop’ affairs. On January 27th we were all set to sail (from Shanghai) that same day; then our departure was postponed; on February 10th the whole show was off for good; on the 15th we actually sailed for South China. We steamed under the big batteries that commanded the Lyemun Pass into that lovely harbour, and tied up at Kowloon where deputations on the wharf welcomed us. (Extracts from: Commander Charles H. Drage, Two-Gun Cohen, Jonathan Cape, London 1954)

Michael Alderton (essaren) notes: It was at Hong Kong, during February 1923, that the larger-than-life, heroic figure of Colonel M.A. Cohen, principal aide-de-camp to the Chinese nationalist leader Dr Sun Yat-sen, first stepped out onto the world’s stage. The well-informed hometown press in Edmonton reported, on page one, his noteworthy arrival at Hong Kong in the following considered terms: Prominent With Dr Sun Yat Sen. Edmonton War Veteran Is With Chinese Leader At Hong Kong. Is Right At Home Among Cantonese. During Great War Went Overseas With Canadian Battalion And Was Wounded In France. Edmonton. Morris A. Cohen, a former well-known resident, is now a member of the suite of the veteran Chinese leader, Dr Sun Yat Sen, and is perfectly at home among the circle of Cantonese members who comprise the inner guard around the famous leader, and is the only member of the entourage not a Chinese. Dr Sun Yat Sen reached Hong Kong recently from Shanghai, and was a figure of considerable interest aboard the American boat on which he made the trip. While the leader and his Chinese suite did not mix to any extent with the other passengers, Cohen became a great favorite on board ship, though he declined to gratify the curiosity of passengers who wanted to know just why a man from Edmonton, Alberta should be so closely concerned in the intricate politics of modern China. Cohen is known to a large number of Edmontonians, and conducted a real estate business in this city. During the war he enlisted in a Canadian battalion. He served overseas, and was one of the senior sergeants in the battalion. Returning to Edmonton after the war, be became prominent in Great War Veteran circles, but left for China some months ago.

21 Feb 1923. Hong Kong. (Colonel Cohen in his own words): In the morning the cars came round to take us down to the river steamer for Canton. We had a good send-off from crowds carrying banners on the waterfront, and plenty of fire-crackers from the sampan folk in the harbour. We steamed out into the Pearl River estuary and turned north for the Chinese Bocca Tigris Forts. I’ve done the Hong Kong to Canton run more times than I can remember, but that first trip I’ll never forget. There was every kind of queer craft to be seen. On the bank you’d see a big black water-buffalo, and on its back a little nipper steering the great beast with a bit of string threaded through one nostril. When we came into the last reach leading up to the Canton Bund the excitement began with swarms of sampans to welcome us, and when we tied up the whole place went raving mad. There’s just one skyscraper in Canton, and at every window on every story of it there was a Chinese throwing down fire-crackers. It was like a continuous cascade of fire from on high. We got Dr Sun through the mob and into his motor boat and made our way over to Honam Island, where his headquarters had been fixed up in the house formerly belonging to the manager of the Cement Works. (extracts from: 1954 - Drage, Charles, "Two-Gun Cohen", Jonathan Cape, London, March 1954 | Gwulo )

kwok Ming-Tang or Kuo Ming Tang is not a society. It is just Chinese romanization of Kwok Ming which means citizen. Tang means party. It is just Citizen Party or Nationalist Party. After Sun's death, Chiang Kai shek eventually took over the party as its head and succeeded in sort of unifying the country by defeating all the warlords in 1928. After WWII, civil war broke out and he was defeated by Mao. He relocated the government to Taiwan.