1931 - Brig. Gen. M.A. “Two Gun” Cohen in ceremonial Chinese military uniform as A.D.C. to the Nationalist Government of China at Canton

Fri, 01/20/2023 - 06:18

Michael Alderton (essarem) notes: In the above image of Brig.Gen. M.A. “Two-Gun” Cohen dressed in ceremonial Chinese military uniform, the general can be seen wearing the Order of the Striped Tiger 文虎勳章, which had been awarded to him by Dr Sun Yat-sen in 1923.

See also: 1923 - Adjutant General "Two Gun" Cohen is awarded the Order of the Striped Tiger | Gwulo

Date picture taken
1 Jun 1931 (day is approximate)


Michael Alderton (essarem) notes: On May 24, 1931, Brig.Gen. M.A. Cohen arrived at Hong Kong from Shanghai by the Asama Maru, and in company with Sun Fo (孫科) and Eugene Chen (陳友仁), disaffected Kuomintang leaders who intended to establish a secessionist government at Canton to rival General Chiang Kai-shek’s in Nanking. For his part, General Cohen would be formally appointed A.D.C. and Military Adviser to the newly established Nationalist Government of China at Canton. During this period, General Cohen became a frequent visitor to Hong Kong in connection with defence procurement purchases on behalf of Canton Military Headquarters.

Extracts from Hong Kong and Singapore newspapers selected by Michael Alderton (essarem):

“May 27, 1931. Recent Ammunition Deal in Hong Kong. Canton Prepares for War. The New Government’s Military Adviser is General Morris Cohen. A meeting was held between leaders of the provincial Government in Canton and the foreign agents of an ammunition manufacturing company, and a contract was signed for the purchase, in gold, of $1,000,000 worth of shells, bombs, grenades and several thousand rounds of ammunition. It is reported that the Canton army is sufficiently provisioned with armaments to hold out for at least six months against the forces of General Chiang Kai-shek”

“June 12, 1931. Two Governments Again. The New Canton Regime. Men Who Matter In the Revolt. General Morris Cohen has been appointed adviser to the new government. He is an able man with a quick mind and is very popular with foreigners in China.”

“June 12, 1931, Canton Prepares For War. Buying Arms and Planes. General Cohen’s Mission. The provisional military government in Canton is concentrating attention upon preparations for a large-scale war with the National Government forces. It is not known what the exact significance is of the visit of General Morris Cohen to Hong Kong. Cohen, who was born in the East End of London, for many years acted as personal bodyguard to Dr Sun Yat Sen. Cohen has held several advisory posts in Nanking. The provisional Government in Canton will include: Military Adviser – General Morris Cohen.”

Extracts from a comprehensive June 26, 1931 Royal Hong Kong Police intelligence report compiled by Inspector Charles Mottram:

Police Headquarters, Hong Kong. Report on Morris Abraham Cohen: “Morris Abraham Cohen was born in London of Jewish parents. He now considers himself to be a Canadian and appears to be acquainted with a large number of politicians in that country. It was in America that he first met the late Dr Sun Yat Sen about the year 1910. Since then, he has been closely connected with the activities of the Kuomintang political party. In 1923, he proceeded to Canton at the insistence of the Kuomintang party in Alberta. On arrival in Canton, he became a personal bodyguard to Dr Sun Yat Sen. Since then, he has visited the U.S.A. several times on Kuomintang business. Dr Sun died in March 1925, and in July 1925 Cohen was acting as a liaison officer for the Commissioner of Police at Canton. Later, under Sun Fo, who was then Commissioner of Reconstruction, he made several trips to Shanghai and the North in connection with projects for extending the Canton-Hankow Railway, and for developing the Canton Harbour. Although he claims to be a patriotic Briton, his views are now entirely Chinese. According to a report received from Shanghai at the end of 1925, Cohen favours the abolition of Extraterritoriality and points to evidence that China is fit to assume judicial control over foreigners. He visited Peking in 1925 for the purpose of finding a formula to enable the Governments of North and South China to co-operate in matters affecting foreigners. In January, 1929, he was appointed A.D.C. to the Military Headquarters at Canton. He is stated to be a linguist and is reported to be able to speak six languages. He holds a Hong Kong arms licence. In October, 1929, he was on a visit to Canton, said to be in connection with the re-establishment of the Central Bank-notes for Kwangtung. He has recently been staying at the Hong Kong Hotel, and as A.D.C. to the Nationalist Government of China at Canton has been negotiating with Hong Kong Government officials for the importation of arms into Canton. (Sgd.) Chas. Mottram. 26.6.1931”

Essarem notes: Charles Mottram was a highly regarded Hong Kong policemen who, by 1951, had risen to the lofty rank of a Superintendent in the Hong Kong Police Force. (page 3094. Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 June 1951).