Y. C. LIANG (aka BAAG No. 538 / BAAG codename "PL" / Run Chang / 梁潤昌) [1918-1979] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Y. C. LIANG (aka BAAG No. 538 / BAAG codename "PL" / Run Chang / 梁潤昌) [1918-1979]

Names
Given: 
Y. C.
Family: 
Liang
Alias / nickname: 
BAAG No. 538 / BAAG codename "PL" / Run Chang / 梁潤昌
Sex: 
Male
Status: 
Deceased
Birth
Date: 
c.1918-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)
Birthplace (town, state): 
Shanghai
Birthplace (country): 
Death
Date: 
c.1979-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

He was an agent (codename "PL") for the British Army Aid Group (BAAG) in WW2. There is more information about him below, and in this thread.

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Photos that show this person

1970

Comments

does anyone have any info about john reeve (beyond what is written in edwin ride's BAAG history)? reeve was british consul in macao during the war and the point man for  allied intelligence operatives such as liang.

jeremy

Liang Yun-chang, usually referred to as Liang Chang, was an outstanding agent of the BAAG in Macao during the War.  His code name was 'PL' (not 'PHOENIX' who was Dr. Gosano).  According to the citation given by the Commnadant of the BAAG, Col. (later Sir) Lindsay Ride, for the award of the King's Medal for Courage in the course of Freedom (usually awarded to outstanding members who were not British national), Liang was first recruited into the BAAG in Dec 1942 and served until 1945 when the War ended.  The grounds for the recommendation of award was based on 'valuable service in command of escape & intelligence operation in enemy-held territories' which were Macao & SW Guangdong.   He was a trader in Macao at the time. 

He came to the notice of the British when he was especially kind to the HK British refugees through providing provisions to them on credits from his shop Wang Tai in Macao.  He was also known to have very good connections in the surrounding territories which was valuable to the escape & intelligence operations of the BAAG.   He was interviewed by Ride in Kweilin in early 1943 whence he was tasked & returned to Macao.  He proved himself extremely efficient & effective.  He was able to set up safe escape & communication routes in Forward Area 2 via Samfou (Kaiping) to Kweilin.

By October 1943, PHOENIX (Dr. Gosano) & Mrs. Joy Wilson (who operated out of the British Consulate) could no longer function under Japanese surveillance.  The BCG John Reeves had been instructed by the Chungking Embassy to cease his private 'I' operations which were based on his own initiatives, but unwittingly compromising the BAAG operations, indeed suspected to be the cause of many purges of BAAG operatives in Hong Kong who came into contact with the BCG on innocent matters.  PHOENIX was asked to handover his team to PL (Liang) who was described by Ride to be completely trustworthy.  Eventually in May 1944, PHOENIX was withdrawn & PL took over as head of the small BAAG unit in Macao which included 'NITRAM' (Nelson MA Nai-kwong).  His team also operated radio communications onboard a moving junk in the harbour; bought airtime in the Macao radio station to broadcast encrypted messages; generally doing outrageous things right under the nose of the Japanese.   

On 17th Aug, after the Japanese surrender on 15th, BAAG received message from the Embassy in Chungking that HM Government directed F. Gimson to assume authority to restore British soveringnty over HK under the Letter Patent pending the arrival of British or Allied forces. This message was delivered by PL (Liang) who travelled to HK (still under Japanese rule) on 22 Aug with Wireless Radio & operator Fung Bei.  PL delivered the message personally to Gimson at Stanley, offering Gimson four Soverigns of his own money for his expenses in establishing Provisional Government (which was set up at the French Foreign Mission - today's Highest Court of Appeal).  PL continued to shuttle between HK & Macao for relief supplies using ferry boat 'Fat Shan'.   (Ref: the series of telegrams concerning the liberation of HK has been deposited by Paul Tsui at the PRO HK MS30)

After the War, Y.C. Liang became a rich businessmen of HK & Macao.  He was the substantial shareholder of the HK & Shanghai Hotels Group (The Penninsular Hotel & other assets) as well as operator of one of two HK-Macao ferry & jetfoil services.  Anonymously, he was a big charitable donor - apart from donations to universities, he also donated TV sets to HK prisons & public parks.  He was awarded CBE in the 70s.

  

Hi Lawrence, thanks very much for the extra information. I've corrected the code name.

Regards, David

hello lawrence.

it was interesting to read your comments above. are you related to paul tsui by any chance? i am researching the wartime period in macao and am always interested to get any info about life at that time, japanese military activities there, anti japanese resistance activities or any other information involving the consul john reeves or baag agents.

thanks again and best wishes

jeremy

From the entry for Y C Liang in the BAAG Personnel Register, Ride Collection:

Nationality Chinese, born Shanghai 1918, Trader, BAAG Dec. 42 - Dec 45.

“In 1942, the BAAG contacted this man in Macao, and in view of his business connections he was put in charge of an escape and intelligence group there.  Early in 1943, he made the dangerous trip out of Macao through enemy territory to Kweilin and set up safe escape routes. At Kweilin he was fully briefed and returned to set up his organisation. Throughout all his service, he was operating under the very noses of the Japanese, and in spite of that he was able to maintain weekly contacts with our post without loss.  Through his channels, over 50 European and 4 American evaders were smuggled out of Macao to safety and important messages passed into Hongkong.  In all this work, he not only showed organising ability of a high order but he displayed outstanding bravery and extreme devotion to our cause.”

(signed) L T Ride, Colonel.  1946.