HMS Amethyst U-16 / F-116
Message Board
Messages 1 to 25

Sept. 1, 2009

THE GLORIOUS STORY OF H.M.S. AMETHYST, The Official Report Produced By The Navy League In Co-operation With The Admiralty. Entry concerning HMS Concord;

'Two and a half hours later she reported " Woosung in sight" and shortly afterwards she made contact with HMS Concord, who was waiting for her just off the mouth of the river. Here she made her last and most famous signal 'Have rejoined fleet no damage or casualties'.

Thus is the insulting and mythical story of the event continued by those believing the lies put out by the government and naval spokesmen of the day. It has now been admitted by the present day authorities that HMS Concord proceeded forty miles up the dangerous waters of the Yangtze river in order to help protect HMS Amethyst from the known guns at Woosung and possibly elsewhere. Action stations continued for a further hour and fifty minutes before it was considered safe to stand down.

The story of the Amethyst is indeed glorious but please also let the full true story be known.

Derek Hodgson

Aug. 28, 2009

I am trying to ascertain if Derek Arthur Cook served on HMS Amethyst. I am led to believe by one of his RN friends that Derek joined HMS Ganges in November 1945 and was in the Drake 201 class. Later, in 1948, he is said to have arrived in Shanghai on HMS Amethyst and was one of the ship's company to reach safety overland.

When I made his acquaintance in the 1970s' he was employed as a radio operator at the Scarborough Admiralty Wireless Station, later known as CSOS Irton Moor. He never talked about HMS Amethyst but certainly had a lot to say about early days as a boy at HMS Ganges! He did present me with a First Day Cover dated 20th April 1989 commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Yangtze Incident (see below).

Your web site carries a Roll of Honour for the crew of HMS Amethyst and they deserve prominence in our thoughts. But I am surprised that I can't find a FULL list of the crew. Surely this must be well documented. Derek A. Cook died here in Scarborough on the 7th March 1999. I attended his funeral. I would be grateful if you could tell me if Derek was on the Amethyst or where I can find a complete list of  the ship's crew members.

Yours sincerely,
Kenneth Carling,
Scarborough, England
Aug. 30, 2009

Your friend D.A. Cook served on board AMETHYST in 1949 and was one of those put ashore on 20 April when AMETHYST lay aground and under fire from the Communists. We landed men then to save lives. I am sure Bob Stone and Jack French both Telegraphist on board AMETHYST will remember Mr Cook. If you give me your address I will send them your details. I do not think either of them are on the internet.

Stewart Hett

Aug. 1, 2009

Could anyone kindly advise me whether C/KX 101699 Sto. Mech. T. Main (who received the Yangtze 1949 clasp to his NGS Medal) served on HMS Amethyst?

Many thanks in anticipation,
Steven J. Hopkins
Worcestershire, England

Reply 1
Aug. 4, 2009

He is not on my list, but with a C/KX number he would be a Chatham rating probably from London. I will pass your message to the LONDON Association.

Stewart Hett

July 16, 2009

I am trying to obtain more information regarding my father Albert Rimmington who I think served on the Amethyst as a gunner during the Yangtze incident. I have various photos of my father during this time and would be glad to share with anyone who is interested. I would love to make contact with any surviving crewmen who served with my father at this time.

Unfortunately Albert Rimmington died of a heart attack whilst playing hockey in 1968, I was 13 yrs old so my knowledge of him is brief and I would like to find out as much as possible about what he was like when he served on the Amethyst. I would be grateful of any contacts who may help.

Kind regards,
Rob Rimmington

Reply 1
July 29, 2009

I served with your Father on board HMS AMETHYST in 1949, though I do not now remember him very well.  I have lots of pictures taken in 1949, but I am afraid I would not be able to pick out your Father. I will pass your message to some other members of the AMETHYST Association who might have good memories of Albert Rimmington.

Stewart Hett

July 9, 2009

My Uncle's brother was George Winter (D/SSX 818706) who served on the Amethyst. He sustained wounds and died on the 22nd April. I know my Uncle was distraught when the UK Government dropped its investigation into the 'missing' graves. Although I have learnt that this information is now wrong and the graves are situated within Pan-Yu Park. I have however offered to see if I could find out any information concerning his brother. If anyone knew him and could offer any memories or pictures they can share I would very much appreciate it.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen Bailey

Reply 1,
Aug. 12, 2013

I've just been watching Yangtze Incident for the umpteenth time and have been captivated by the story since I was a boy. Whilst working in Blackpool in the late 1960's I met the mother of George Winter. She described in detail how she had a premonition of Georges death. I don't think she ever got over it.

Mike Coyle

June 7, 2009

My daughter works in a local nursing home where one of the residents she is extremely friendly with is one Ernest Crossman. She has become firm friends with Ernie and he has recently shown her a plaque of the ships crest and a photograph of the ship and crew. She would like to do something for him and we are thinking of printing as many photographs and such information as we can find and would like to know if his name is on the crew list for the period of the Yangtze incident and if so, would you please give us permission to take copies of some of the crew photographs from your website? Also, as he is having speech trouble, she in particular would be grateful for any memories your members would have about him.

Thanking you in anticipation,
Mr S A Shortland (RN Retired)(P/099200)
Wellington, Somerset, England

May 18, 2009

An open letter to the survivors of the of HMS Amethyst during the 'Yangtze Incident'.

Unfortunately, we the remaining crew of HMS Concord during the above period, like yourselves are becoming fewer and fewer and it was made the more obvious by the numbers attending our reunion in Bridlington recently. The recent publicity outlined in an  issue of The Portsmouth News concerning the Concords' participation in assisting in the escape of Amethyst during the night of the 30th/31st July 1949 gave rise to a great deal summarizing and discussion and sorrow, yes sorrow that we do not appear to have the support of some of the crew of Amethyst serving at the time. 

A certain gentleman still insists that the two ships met up with each other at the mouth and not 40 miles up river at Woosung. It surely is now proved by the many official documents that your captain at the time Lt. Cdr. Kerans, right from the beginning, requested that Concord should be placed at Woosung ready to open fire on the Fort should the heavy guns fire at Amethyst. This operation was carried out to the letter and the two ships passed each other above Woosung much to the great relief of all due to the obvious fact the the Concord had not been attacked and the fear that this would be the critical point of the escape was lessened. 

However, Concord was facing the wrong way and had to turn round in order to catch up with Amethyst so as to shelter her when passing the Fort. This was no easy matter as there was, according to the chart, considerable shoaling around the area and both captains and navigators are to be congratulated for there handling of the ships. The Yangtze was notorious for the silting up at it's lower reaches and it is unlikely that there had been any dredging of the shipping lane at that time of civil war.

All was not yet safe and both crews remained at action stations for a further hour and a half until reaching the safety of the estuary. When finally reaching a place of safety the two ships went alongside and the crew of Concord did their very best to cater for the needs of the crew of Amethyst and indeed were proud so to do.  Much later, we thought we would escort Amethyst to Hong Kong but no, along came Cossack who, not only took away our Ship's Log, but told us to go on patrol off northern China, well out of the way!

Fifty years later it was discovered that a veil of secrecy had been placed over the part Concord played in the affair. Firstly, it turned out that the Admiralty had refused Kerans permission to make the attempt but it was too late, Amethyst had already left. Then, after the escape, the British Ambassador in Nanking sent a confidential telegram to all concerned that "No, repeat No publicity should be given to the fact that H.M. Ship Concord entered Chinese territorial waters"

The Admiralty issued a press release that Concord had been waiting at the mouth of the river ready to proceed up river only if Amethyst was fired upon. However, Admiral Brind inadvertently gave a press conference on the 6th August 1949 as follows "The Navy was ready to fight for Amethyst, Concord had trained it's big guns on the Woosung forts guarding the Yangtze and a whole flotilla of destroyers was closing in to join her and if necessary go up river between the sand banks and blast a passage for the sloop which had been bottled up for 101 days".

He later confirmed that the assembled journalists at his press conference had not kept this information off the record as they should have done. We finally have the untrue statement of Bob Ainsworth at the M.O.D to a fellow M.P. that "By the time HMS Amethyst reached HMS Concord's position at the mouth of the Yangtze on the morning of 31 July 1949, she had succeeded in making her escape." We hope, you the remaining crew of Amethyst who know the truth, will at this late stage join us in our attempt to obtain just recognition for the part we played. 

There can be no doubt that we risked our lives that morning in the river. You, together with all concerned such as Admirals Brind and Madden, the staff of the Flag Officer afloat and yes, even the government of the time know full well of the very real danger both ships were in that morning. It could well have been an absolute disaster.  The current attitude of Bob Ainsworth and his like when advocating the lack Risk and Rigour in our case and the suggestion that the risk was potential and not actual should study the meaning of the word 'Risk' i.e. 'chance of loss or injury, degree of probability of loss, factor likely to cause loss or damage' I think our case meets this criteria very well, don't you?

Derek Hodgson
HMS Concord 1948/50

Reply 1
Sept. 26, 2010

I refer to Derek Hodgson's open letter dated 18 May 2009 to the survivors of HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident concerning the role of HMS Concord in the operation. My father, John Gordon Roe, was Jimmy of Concord during the incident, (serving at the same time as Mr Hodgson). I, and my three brothers are therefore no strangers to the actual part Concord played in going up river to meet Amethyst, turning and escorting her out of the Yangtze river. My father told of the pride he and the rest of Concord's ship's company felt at being tasked to meet the Amethyst, and successfully doing so. Clearly at the time there were political considerations (official secrets/a bit of gun-boat diplomacy), that he could not talk to us about but the basic facts were as told. 

Now Mr Hodgson - who was also there - and other members of Concord have unearthed details of all the subsequent actions taken to suppress all record of Concord's role. One of my brothers and I had the honour of attending the Concord Association's decommissioning ceremonies in Portsmouth in May. Two things really impressed me when meeting and talking to the old ship mates, one was that they all said that Concord had always been a very happy ship. The second was the sadness that was felt about the continuing lack of recognition of the task that Concord had been set and successfully accomplished in July 1949. Yesterday by chance I read Mr Hodgson's letter seeking some support from Amethyst veterans. I was very surprised to find that there was not one single reply or comment. Is there really no-one who can remember, or is willing to help put the record straight before it is too late? We would be very grateful to hear from you.

Thank you,
Kirstie Gordon Roe
Trebes, France

Apr. 17, 2009

My wife and I have been trying to find information regarding my Father, Leslie Harrison, who was an Able Seaman on board HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze incident in 1949. We have been unable to find confirmation that he was on board. Leslie died 13 years ago and since my mother died this year we have been looking further into this piece of history in our family. Leslie's Official No. was JX398554, Port Division, Devonport.  

We have copy papers to show he boarded HMS Amethyst on 19 August 1948 and was on board until 6 July 1949. He told us the story of what happened to him and that he was on board until the end when they flew the remaining crew off. Any information regarding Leslie would be much appreciated.  All the servicemen who died during this incident will be in our thoughts this 60th anniversary year.

Many thanks,
Glynn Harrison
Cheshire, England

Mar. 18, 2009

The 60th Anniversary of the Yangtze Incident

Dear friends, This is a very significant year for the Amethyst Association, and as such there are a number of
things happening through 2009. Firstly on Sunday April 19th at 11:30 a.m. a Commemorative Service will be
held at the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas near Lichfield.

On Thursday April 23rd a small number of Members are being invited to a special reception being held at
Collingwood Centre, at Fareham, near Plymouth.

Our 60th Celebration will be held in Plymouth on Friday 18th September 2009 to Sunday 20th September
2009, at the Novotel.

I have been able to secure a very good price for the weekend with the hotel which will include everything but
your drinks (ha ha). The problem now is I need to know numbers urgently for the above events, please let me
know as soon as possible if any of you are interested in any of the above, so I may plan the days for you all.

Best regards,

Trudy Sampson
Telephone  01827 830334

Mar. 5, 2009

I have just acquired the medals of D/SSX 818663 R. T. Davies Ordinary Seaman RN. His group comprises NGS Medal with Bar Yangtze 1949, Korea Named to R. T. DAVIES and the UN Korea Medal unnamed. The medals are genuine as Seaman Davies is listed in the book "The Glorious Seven HMS Amethysts 1793 - 1956" by George Hickingbottom who I understand was a member of the crew.

I am a collector of Medals (not a dealer) and I am truly honored  that I have this group in my collection. What I am endeavoring to do is put a file together on R. T. Davies and I wonder if there is any where I can find out what his job was on the ship and any other information.

My thanks,
John  Ferguson

Feb. 22, 2009

My Uncle was on the Amethyst. His name is Thomas Aldridge and he was on board during the Yangtze Incident. Until recently he has been in contact with a Jack Bryson but his mail is now being returned and my Uncle doesn't know what has happened to him. 

Is there anyway I can put him in touch with others who served on the Amethyst? Alternatively is there anyway I could contact the person who arranged the reunions to see if I could get any photos that I could forward to him. I look forward to your response.

Lynn Hughes

Feb. 22, 2009

I enjoyed reading this site - it recalled the stories my step grandfather used to tell me about the Yangtze incident as a boy. He was Evan Jones (from Tottenham) and was either an Artificer or may have been a Petty Officer. He had a number of apocryphal (?) tales of getting his majesty's vessels back up and running by such means as splicing foil from the crews' cigarette packs to make replace fuses. Whether he was part of the crew or not, following the affair he was rather against sausages on account of the chinese suggesting they were made of rats and dogs during their enforced stay on the river.

M. J. Hornby

Feb. 22, 2009

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Jack Day. He Crossed the Bar ten days ago. Jack assisted Jim Bryson on the Echo-sounder during their escape down the Yangtze River July 1949.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association

Feb. 1, 2009

My father, Ronald George Richards, was a member of the Amethyst association and served on the Amethyst at the time of the Yangtze Incident. Sadly he passed away in July 2006.

I cannot seem to find his name in any Information about the event or on the Navy Site. Yet he was in a photograph in the Navy News Saturday 24th. April 1999 the 50th  Anniversary of the event returning to Devonport on the Amethyst where the injured were leaving the ship.

I am trying to put together a catalogue of pictures and and text showing his name. I would really appreciate if you could find some for me or direct me to where I can get.

Thank you,
David Richard

Feb. 2, 2009

Richards was wounded in April 1949 and was amongst those landed from the ship and taken to Shanghai for treatment and evacuation to Hong Kong. Richards was a member of the AMETHYST Association and attended some of our Reunions.

K. Stewart Hett RN (ret.)

Jan. 18, 2009

I have just read the true story of HMS Concord by William Leitch RN (HMS Consort) and the true story it played in escorting HMS Amethyst. My father served on HMS Concord at the time of the incident, he was a radar operator. His name was R.C.R CATT JX760425.

What I have just read is the story he told me time and time over again. Although didn't know about the ships
log. When the Yangtze Incident film was on TV he always watched it but got so cross every time at the end, as he always said that's not what happened they have got it wrong. Do you think they may posthumously award a medal to the sailors that were aboard the Concord? If so I would like to accept it on his behalf.

Christine Giles

Nov. 15, 2008

RE: message dated January 31, 2008 by Steven Nicholls. Where it states; "The PM T. Blaire, was given misleading information in the year 2002 and he believed what the Chinese told him that a factory was built on top of the graves." Michael, do yourself a favour and delete that item from your site. The people that brought that story back to Britain, were members of the Amethyst Association, that went out to Shanghai, where they visited the British Embassy, and that's where they got the story that they brought back. I am sending to you two links from my website, acquaint yourself with the material in both links, then if you so wish put your own story together.
(The listening Prime Minister)

(Firm evidence to the contrary)

Yours Aye,
Willie Leitch RN

Sept. 18, 2008

Please can anyone help me. As far as I know my father was a member of the crew of the Amethyst during the Yangtze incident but I cannot confirm this, I would appreciate any help or input regarding my fathers service during this incident. His Name was Albert Ernest Stephen Mepstead, known as Bert I believe. My thoughts are with all the crew members who served on the Amethyst during this time. Thank you for any help you can give

Colin Mepstead

Reply 1
Sept. 19, 2008

The quick answer is that Mepstead's name does not appear on the list of names of those serving on board AMETHYST in 1949, nor in the list of names serving on board during the Korean War.  I do not have any list of the ship's company in 1943 to 1947, he may have been on board then.

It is possible that he served on board as an extra crew member during AMETHYST's return to UK when numbers were augmented to bring the complement up to strength. My list is based on those serving in March 1949. He might have been loaned for a short period when his name would not be on any list.

I leave this morning for the Annual AMETHYST Reunion. I will check if anyone has heard of A E S Mepstead, and also see if I can get names for those in the MacClean picture,

Best wishes,
K. Stewart Hett RN (ret.)

Reply 2
Sept. 22, 2008

Now back from our Annual Reunion. I was unable to identify the people in the photo. One person thought that
the man on the right of the picture might have been Ord Sea A E Driscoll, who was killed in the Incident, but this was not a definite identification. The HMS cap tally produced some comment that the picture was taken during
or soon after WW2. 

MacLean was an Ordinary Seaman in 1949, so would be most unlikely to have served in WW2. I suspect the man in the middle had not yet received his ship's cap tally, and the picture was taken in '48 or '49. No one recognized the name Mepstead. He may well have served in AMETHYST before or after the Incident, but I am fairly certain he was not in the ship in April 1949.

Best wishes,
K. Stewart Hett RN (ret.)

Aug. 29, 2008

I am writing on behalf of the Quirindi and District Historical Society. We have been shown the attached piece of work for identification. The woman knows nothing about it except that it has been in her Mothers possession for some time. We have identified the flags as Royal Navy flags and the coat of arms as the Royal Coat of Arms.  She knows of an uncle, her mother's brother, who served on HMS Amethyst and his surname was Tanner, but doesn't know when he served on the ship and we are wondering if he was involved in the Yangtze incident and if this patchwork was made during this time. 

Do you have any lists of crew members? The patchwork has been done rather crudely and the backing is a sheet of paper or parchment full of either Chinese or Japanese writing on it. The red marking on the backing is the stitching. Any help by you or your members would be greatly appreciated.

Anita Appleby

Reply 1
Sept. 4, 2008

The name "Tanner" does not appear on our crew list for the Yangtze Incident. In all probabilities he was a wartime member of the crew. You could check his service records, M.O.D .site.

Best Wishes,
Charlie Chivers RN
Amethyst Association

July 16, 2008

Amethyst Reunion Announcement

July 3, 2008

My Father, now in his late 70's, says that he served on the Amethyst as a junior seaman and swam ashore under fire from the Chinese..dads mind is starting to go through a mixture of old age and alcohol. I have in my possession his certificate of qualification for Auxiliary Machinery Course for Stoker Mechanics signed on Jan. 6th 1942 and I cannot make out the signatures. It looks like J S EAST /LAST or even J B. The commanding officers name is B ???L/CMDR. Dads number was D/KX 778123 I also have various other papers including the History Sheet for Stoker Ratings confirming he was on Amethyst on 6/1/49. Again I cannot make out the signature. Are you able to shed any light on this subject as we the family would like to know if he is/was eligible for any award.

Many thanks,
Andrew Hustler

Reply 1
Oct. 3, 2008

The name HUSTLER does not appear on the Amethyst crew list during the Yangtze Incident. His Official Number indicates that he joined the RN after WW2. The "D" means his Port Division was Devonport, and the K/X that he was a Stoker. If you write to the address below they can supply more information.

R.N Disclosures Cell
Room 48
West Battery
Whale Island

Best Wishes,
Charlie Chivers RN
Amethyst Association

June 22, 2008

My grandfather James McClean served on the HMS Amethyst in 1949, he was only 17yrs
old when he was trapped on the Yangtze river. He lost his best friend in this battle, he later
married Nora and they had 3 sons, 9 grandchildren and 16 greatgrand children. His wife
Nora passed away in May 2002 and my granddad Jimmy passed away on Friday 13th June,
2008, may he rest in peace.

Love his granddaughter,
Alison, X X

Apr. 26, 2008

My mother in law has recently been taken into hospital in east London, after being very ill and unable to understand what was going on. She has told us that she was awoke one night to find a seamen standing in her room. The hat the man had on had H.M.S Amethyst on it, strange I know, but would you know if any of those brave souls came from this area.


Feb. 22, 2008

Amethyst Reunion 19-21 September 2008 at Coventry, contact Eric Mustoe Tel 01213 784618.

Charlie Chivers RN
Amethyst Association

Jan. 31, 2008

My father was CPO R. Nicholls seriously wounded at the helm of Amethyst and taken ashore off Rose Island with many other wounded. Many had to swim ashore under sniper fire some did not make it.

Amethyst was under fire by the Liberation Army on April 20th 1949. Most of the men killed on board Amethyst were interred into the Yangtze River; two were buried within Hung-jao cemetery a British cemetery on the mainland not far from Shanghai. All those killed from HMS Consort, HMS London were also interred within the Hung-jao cemetery. It is now called Panyu Greenland a wonderful parkland and a site for sore eyes.

I have created a documentary honouring the Four Ships who were involved in the Yangtze Incident when the Liberation army was making their well informed crossing to take Shanghai on the 20th April 1949. The hung-jao cemetery deserves a Memorial and “The Friends of the Four ships” is trying to make this possible with the financial help from the British Government. The PM T. Blaire was given misleading information in the year 2000 and he believed what the Chinese told him that a factory was built on top of the graves of our hero’s.

I have been talking with crew members of USS AH-16 Repose hospital ship, the USS LCI-989 who did a great job transferring the wounded and stunned crew of all ships to the Repose. I just finished talking with a Dr. James Packard who is now a young 94 and lives independently in a retirement village in the USA. Dr. J. Packard served one year in Shanghai and he spent one day with our wounded and helped them make the overland journey through rice paddies to the waiting train to take the men to Shanghai. A wonderful man, he even works out in a gym three times a week. I gave him much gratitude from the Friends of the Four Ships and the Amethyst Association. He was delighted and could remember everyone.

Yours Sincerely,
Steven Nicholls
son of the late CPO R. Nicholls wounded at the helm of HMS Amethyst April 20th 1949

Jan. 15, 2008

I must express my gratitude and thanks to Lt. Commander Hett, for publishing the photographs of "Simons" grave and my wreath (I am Bob), placed there on the day of the re dedication of the PDSA Animal Cemetery at Ilford, on December 13th 2007. The existence of the "MaritimeQuest" site was, until recently an unknown
to me, that is prior to attempting to research some history of my relatives who were also in the Royal Navy. I will post the results of this work on the site later.

The discovery of "Able Seacat Simon" on "MQ" was a very pleasurable surprise. My Dad was in the RAF posted in Aden in 1949 and apparently made the acquaintance of Commander Kerans. Dad was in the habit of sending home little snippets for me, in his letters to my Mum and on this occasion, it was about "Simon" who by that time had already become a household name.

When the "Amethyst" came home, my Grandad (ex RN), took me to see her and specifically Simon, about whom, I apparently never stopped talking. My fondness of Simon, must have been quite significant, as it was something both my family and I, were always reminded of whenever we had a get together, in particular at Christmas.

In respect of this, I am indebted to Lt. Commander Hett for enabling me to re-live these precious memories of long ago and indeed the honour of having met him on the day of the rededication. Our pen for the Rescue Cats at home, is a shrine to "Simon". His picture there is a reminder of a very special cat and of the important place animals have in our lives.

Thank you so much,
Robert (Bob) W. Green

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Page published Oct. 5, 2007