Yangtse River Incident 1949
Updated: Apr 2
HMS Amethyst sailed from Shanghai on 19th April to relieve HMS Consort at Nanking. Fired at on 20th at around 0900, 60 miles from Nanking and grounded on Rose Island with heavy casualties, about 60 crew landed and many made their way to Shanghai with Chinese help.
Consort ordered from Nanking to assist Amethyst; Black Swan ordered from Shanghai to Kiang Yin, 40 miles short of Amethyst. Consort arrived around 1500, but heavily hit (20th) and unable to take Amethyst in tow. Continued downstream. HMS London ordered to proceed up the Yangtse and meet Black Swan and Consort at Kiang Yin around 2000. Consort too damaged and ordered to Shanghai. On the 21st at c0200, Amethyst refloated and anchored two miles above Rose Island. Later in the morning, London and Black Swan tried to close Amethyst but came under heavy fire, which was returned, and there were some casualties. Both ships returned to Kiang Yin where they were fired at again. Damaged and with more casualties, they proceeded to Shanghai. That evening, a naval officer and RAF doctor reached Amethyst by Sunderland flying boat.
On the night of 21st/22nd April Amethyst evacuated more wounded and moved ten miles up river to evacuate more. She now had three naval officers, one RAF doctor, 52 ratings and 8 Chinese on onboard. On the 22nd, in the PM, Lt-Cdr Kerans, Asst Naval Attache at Nankin arrived to assume command. Also on the 22nd, another attempt was made to land by a Sunderland but she was driven off by artillery fire. Amethyst moved a further four miles up river.
She remained there for three months before escaping on the night of 30/31st July. HMS Concord was present at this time.
Royal Marines Roll of Honour
Thursday, 21 April 1949
HMS London, heavy cruiser (Hansard, 13 killed, 15 wounded as of 26th)
JARVIS, Lawrence H V, Marine, CH/X 43488, killed
Thursday, 5 May 1949
HMS London, shore gunfire
FISHER, William, Marine, PO/X 3600, DOW
Honours and Awards
Distinguished Service Medal
Bandmaster Frederick George HARWOOD, R.M.B.X. 368, Royal Marines. HMS London.
Mention in Dispatches
Corporal William Frank HART, Po.X. 2455, Royal Marines, HMS London.
RM Audio and Video Files:
Todd, Raymond (IWM Oral history) (Apects of period as marine aboard HMS Jamaica off China, 1949: reasons for ship being sent to China to replace HMS London; reception for HMS Amethyst.)
Read More/ Web Link: Navy History Net