HMS Amethyst

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 21:16

Famously attacked by the PLA in 1949 while on the Yangtze, before being captured. As wikipedia has it: On 30 July 1949 Amethyst slipped her chain and headed downriver in the dark, beginning a 104-mile (167 km) dash for freedom running the gauntlet of Communist guns on both banks of the river. She followed the merchant ship Kiang Ling Liberation, which showed the way through the shoals and distracted the PLA. At 0500 hours on 31 July, Amethyst approached the PLA forts at Par Shan (Baoshan) and Woosung (Wusong) with their searchlights sweeping the river. The Amethyst, at full speed ahead, broke through the boom at the mouth of the river and made contact with HMS Concord before arriving in Hong Kong on 11 August 1949,[5] the signal transmitted: "Have rejoined the fleet off Woosung...God save the King." I believe the Amethyst building in the now PLA barracks was named after it

Date picture taken


I remember watching the Amethyst steam into HK Harbour after she made her dash for freedom. All the ships in the harbour were tooting their whistles, and there was a great welcome for the crew. My memory of the Amethyst was a lot of rust and obvious damage, but this picture is almost pristine. Was this picture perhaps taken after a refit at the Rotal Naval Dockyard to prepare her for her voyage to the UK? I made all my observations from the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock in Hung Hom.

Henry Ching writes:

IDJ beat me to it. I was about to ask if anyone knew anything about the involvement of Sir Edward Youde in the HMS Amethyst escape?

The story I heard was that there was difficulty in establishing a dialogue with the authorities, so Sir Edward got himself arrested in order to make communication possible.  I don’t know if there is any truth in this.