HMS Amethyst U-16 / F-116
Message Board
Messages 51 to 75

Nov. 1, 2011

Regrettably we have to announce the death of Stephanie Kerans, the wife of the late Commander Kerans DSO. Commander Kerans was the Captain of H.M.S. Amethyst during her daring escape down the Yangtze River July 1949 (Yangtze Incident). The funeral and thanksgiving service will be at St. Peter's Tandridge, Oxted RH 9NJ at 1130 AM on Thursday 17th November followed by a reception at the Royal British Legion 42 Church Lane, Oxted, RH 8 9LB, Everyone will be welcome.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association

Oct. 26, 2011

My uncle was on HMS Amethyst and sadly lost his life in1949, his name was David Glyn Thomas. My father who has passed away had only photographs of Glyn as he was known to his family from his school days. I would be grateful if anybody who new Glyn had any photos or could tell me a little about him.

Mike Thomas

Oct. 5, 2011

I served on the army landing craft out of Portsmouth, HM Gunwharf. One of my ship mates was Called Joe Buckley, he served in the navy before joining the army fleet. We were told that Joe served on the Amethyst while he was in the navy, Joe never told us of his time in the navy only that he did serve in the navy. So is there any where we could look up the crew list for the time of the Yangtze incident? 31st of july 1949.

Ken Winter

Reply 1
Oct. 5, 2011

I served in HMS AMETHYST in 1948/49. There is no Buckley in the list of the ship's company names that I hold, nor does his name appear in the Complement during the Korean war. It is possible he served in AMETHYST before April 1949 (the date of my complement list) or he might have been loaned to the ship for the return from Hong Kong in 1949 to replace men killed in the Incident. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Best wishes,
Stewart Hett

Sept. 28, 2011

I have recently learned from my mother that my late father was involved in the Yangtze Incident. I did not manage to get a great deal more useful information from her, and my father never spoke of his time in the RN, but have managed to get some more details from my father's younger brother (my uncle). As a consequence of recently finding this out, I have read and looked through your website (and quite a few others) but specific details are scare.

As I understand it, my father accompanied the surgeon (and medical supplies) onboard the Sunderland from Hong Kong. None of the reports mention anything beyond the surgeon/doctor and medical supplies arriving on the Sunderland but assume that is largely due to the fact that a mere SBA wasn't significant enough to report on?

Was there anyone onboard at the time who can recall the medical staff arriving and corroborate this or otherwise? My father was Terry C Preece. If he did indeed arrive onboard with the surgeon to provide medical support to those injured, did he remain onboard during the time Amethyst was trapped or did he subsequently assist the evacuation of the injured to Shanghai?

I would imagine that the crew lists that Stewart has would not show my father as he was not technically crew, but I am hopeful that perhaps someone can throw some light on this for me and advise what part he played during this incident. Would appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Best regards,
Les Preece

Reply 1
Sept. 29, 2011

I served onboard HMS AMETHYST throughout the 1949 Incident and I can confirm that your Father never joined the ship. When the Sunderland landed near AMETHYST, "our" sampan went alongside with one of our officers, who climbed into the aircraft to brief the Captain. An RAF Medical officer climbed into the sampan with a medical bag, the aircraft was fired on so it took off with our officer onboard and the RAF doctor left in the sampan and he joined AMETHYST.

I have a copy of Flt. Lt. Moreby's account of the sortie, which names the crew and some of the passengers, your Father is not named or mentioned by rank. I know Moreby's list is not complete. An unnamed RN Medical Officer is listed and I am sure he would have been accompanied by an SBA, so your Father was probably in the aircraft.

A Sub Lieut, from HMS LONDON, was in the aircraft, presumably boarding in Shanghai. He is not named nor are any details of the aircraft's stop in Shanghai. A Mr. Ron Chadband was an Army Loadmaster onboard the Sunderland. He was tracked down to Namboor in Queensland in 1987, but I doubt if he is still alive. Lieut. Cdr. Williams, the Sub lieut in the aircraft was alive and well in Plymouth (UK) in 1999. He might be able to add to the story. All the crew of the Sunderland were awarded the Yangtze Clasp to the Naval General Service Medal, so your Father should have this medal.

Stewart Hett

Sept. 24, 2011

Next years venue for the Amethyst Association dinner/dance will be at the Mercure Swindon South Marston Hotel & Spa. Date 14th - 16th Sept 2012. Cost for a single person £184 and for two £228. This includes a three course carvery on Friday evening, Breakfast Saturday & Sunday morning and gala meal on Saturday evening. Bookings to be made with the Hotel Direct 01793 833700 Quote Amet 140912 as Ref: There are no lifts to the second floor but they will try to accommodate all disabled on the ground floor (30 rooms) you can book now, and cancel up to a week before.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association

Sept. 19, 2011

The below poem was read out at our Annual Dinner Dance 17 Sept 2011.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association


Sept. 5, 2011

I am a nephew of Sydney Powell Hicks Electricians Mate 1st class who was killed in HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident in April 1949. I would like to know more about his life in the RN and would be most grateful to hear from any of his shipmates and any photographs of him would be very welcome.

Kind regards,
Peter Jones

Reply 1
Sept. 7, 2011

Maritimequest has passed me your message about Sydney Hicks. I served onboard HMS AMETHYST in 1949 and was there when your Uncle was killed. I was a Seaman Officer and I was not involved in technical matters so I cannot really tell you much about your Uncle Syd. Electrical Artificer Lionel Chare knew Syd Hicks well. In the late 1970s the BBC made a documentary in their "Distant Gun" series about the 1949 Yangtze Incident. Lionel Chare was one of the talking heads in this documentary and he paid an eloquent tribute to your Uncle in the documentary. I wonder if you saw it? If the programme was shown before your time, I believe it is possible to obtain copies of old programmes from the BBC. I will try to find a shipmate who knew your Uncle; sadly we are all now in our 80s which limits the chances of finding a friend of your Uncle.

Stewart Hett

May 30, 2011

My Great Grand Father was a Joseph Cuthbert Patrick MacNamara. It has always been said that he had served on the Amethyst. I can see pictures of him in the Crew Photo's. If there is anyone that can remember him or have any information on him good or bad I would love to hear it. Unfortunately he lost contact with the family and we do not have much in the way of information on him.

Many thanks,
Chris Wheeler

Reply 1
May 31, 2011

I was serving onboard HMS AMETHYST in 1949, with Canteen Manager John J. S. MacNamara.  He is the man who appears in my pictures of the groups onboard HMS AMETHYST.  There was no other Macnamara in my records as having served onboard at that time.  As the initials of JJS Macnamara are different to those of your Great Grandfather, it seems unlikely that your Great Grandfather was serving onboard AMETHYST in 1949.

Stewart Hett

Reply 2
June 2, 2011

Regarding a query on the HMS Amethyst message board regarding a chap called MacNamara. He was the Canteen Manager on board and on the escape down the Yangtze he assisted me along with another lad on the Echo Sounder, giving the depth of the water on the way down. I hope this is helpful.                       

Jim Bryson Ex A/B

Joseph and Dorothy MacNamara seen before 1935.

May 17, 2011

The H.M.S. Concord Association (especially the 1949 Commission) would like to place on record their condolences to the family of Telegraphist Jack French. Jack French and the late Don Redman (former Chairman of the H.M.S. Amethyst Association) had been supporters of the H.M.S. Concord 1949 Commission's quest to obtain recognition for H.M.S. Concord's part in the escape of H.M.S. Amethyst on the 31st July 1949 since the attendance of some of the survivors of the 1949 Crew at the Annual Reunion of the H.M.S. Concord Association in Bridlington in May of 2000 where they met members of Concord's 1949 crew for the first time in 51 Years.

The then Chairman of the Amethyst Association Don Redman addressing the Concord Association said "I can never understand why you were never awarded the Yangtze Medal. You were in a war zone and you were ready to risk your lives for us if we were in trouble at the last hurdle. The people who make these decisions most probably work behind desks and don't know much about the sea".

Shipmate Jack French will be sadly missed.

Peter Lee-Hale
Chairman H.M.S. Concord Association

May 14, 2011

It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce the death of Jack French, D.S.M. Jack Crossed The Bar on the 4/5/11. Jack was the Telegraphist on board Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, he was awarded the D.S.M. (Distinguish Service Medal) for his devotion to duty. His funeral will be held at the South Chapel, Cheltenham, Crematorium. At 1345hrs on Tuesday the 24th of May.

Charlie Chivers
H.M.S. Amethyst Association

May 12, 2011

H.M.S. Amethyst Reunion 2011 The 2011 reunion will be held at the Legacy Plymouth International Hotel in Plymouth on the weekend of the 16th/17th September. The price if pre paid rooms with no cancellation or amendment works out at £37.40 per room per night with the evening meal Friday costing £20 each and Saturday meal £25 each for two people. This will cost £164.80 or if you book normal with amendment rooms will cost £54 per night, total for two £198. The number to book is 01752 221422 Or contact Trudy 01827 830335.

Charlie Chivers
H.M.S. Amethyst Association

May 1, 2011

My Dad had two brothers, one whose name was “Harry Green”. Toward the middle of 1949, Harry came to visit us where we lived at the time, in Plumstead Common, London, possibly expecting to see my Dad, who was then posted out in Aden (RAF Kormaksa). However, Harry came, chest bandaged up, arm in a sling etc.

I am of the belief that he may have been in the RN! But, looking back, there were no Naval actions at the time, save that of the Yangtze Incident during April. Harry, wasn't on the Amethyst, as her crew list and casualties are well documented, but may have served on one of the other ships that were fired upon, “Consort”, “London” or “Black Swan”? I can not find any definitive casualty lists for these ships either.

My Granddad AB William Thomas Clegg, left all his ships cap Tallys from the first Great War, to me in his Will, including two from HMS Amethyst? It is obvious from the condition of the Tallys that Amethyst's is more recent.
Added to which I have my Granddads Service record which match the Tallys, with the exception of the Amethyst.

The reason for this message is that, I have never found out how Amethyst's Tallys came to be in his possession? The answer may be as simple as that, he was given them by one of the crew when he took me down to Devonport in November of 1949, I can`t say? However, if “Harry” was involved in the Yangtze Incident, this may be the connection!

Could he have given them to my Granddad?, but then I ask myself if he was involved, why Amethyst's tallys and not those of the ship he was on? My brother has put forward another theory that Dad may have been given them
in Aden? this due to my own interest in Simon the ships cat, as recorded elsewhere on this website. As far as I am aware, none of my dads family are alive, although, his other brother “Peter Green”, is said to be in Australia.

Does anyone have knowledge of “Harry Green” as a casualty associated with ships other than the Amethyst, that were involved in the Incident please? Incidentally my dad’s name was Robert Kitchener Green, his family lived in Palmerston Crescent, Plumstead Common. This is very much a long shot as “Green” is a common enough name, any information would be appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation,
Bob William Green

Mar. 30, 2011

I am hoping somebody may be able to help. My Uncle Albert Anthony Vincent (known as Tony) was killed on HMS Amethyst when it was bombed on the Yangtze River - my mother left me a few medals and I have out of the blue been offered £5,000 for the one issued to the people who lost their lives. I am in quite a quandary of what to do. Can anybody shed any light on this for me. Would this be a genuine offer?  It would be nice to hear from anybody who may have known him.  Look forward to hearing from you and thank you for any help you may be able to give.

Lynne Williams-North


Mar. 30, 2011

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Connie Mustoe, Wife of the Amethyst Association Chairman Eric Mustoe. Connie Crossed the Bar 27th March. Funeral Service will be held at Noon, April the 8th, at St Ann's Church, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association

Dec. 27, 2010

Just to say that I was one of 8 Seamen drafted in l956 to HMS Sea Eagle (shore base) Northern Ireland to destore HMS Amethyst in "Lisahally" (phonetic -I can't remember or find correct place spelling) and worked on her for some weeks, using a special diesel mini-locomotive engine and drawn "carriages" to convey the stores along the rail track to a lorry on the jetty. It was eerie to be alone and below in the stripped-down vessel and to stand in the wheelhouse and give a silent Salute. Other ships (adjacent) and worked on by us few were HMS Stork, HMS Bramble and HMS Black Swan. I think that we were the last serving RN personnel to see these ships before their last journey.

Sincerely,  Tanzy Lee
Whitstable, Kent, U.K.

Nov. 26, 2010

I am the great grandniece of Frank Rowley (originally from Northern Ireland) who served on the Amethyst during the Yangtze incident. I wonder do you have any memories or documents mentioning him. My beloved grandfather, brother of the above, passed away this year and is like to honour both their memories by researching more into this area of my family's history.

Lisa Rowley

Reply 1
Nov. 29, 2010

I served in HMS AMETHYST during the Yangtze Incident. Your Uncle's name, Frank Rowley, does not appear in any of the lists that I have of the Ships company in 1949. I am fairly certain he was not onboard during the 1949 Incident. His name is not in the list of men who served in AMETHYST during the Korean War. It is possible he joined AMETHYST for the trip back to UK in the autumn of 49, and I do not have a list of these men. He may have served in AMETHYST before 1949. I am sorry I cannot help more.

Stewart Hett

Reply 2
Nov. 30, 2010

I have no record yet of Frank Rowley if you can send me more details the better---dates etc.

George Hickinbottom
Ex-HMS Amethyst

Nov. 2, 2010

I have recently had the pleasure of a visit of an evacuee who lived with our family at Tregavethan, Truro with my Grandfather, Grandmother and my father. Although he is in his eighties he is full of information and he has twice told me that he remembers my Grandfather William Henry BAIN writing to "a relative" to congratulate him on the escape of the Yangtze. To my knowledge our small family had no one on board and think it must have been a friend. There was a distant family member by the surname of Owen and he lived near Bristol/South Wales connection. My Grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Navy but died in 1949 just before I was born. Is there a web site I can log into to peruse surnames of those on board? All help appreciated.

Yours faithfully,
Joyce Trevail (nee BAIN)
Redruth, Cornwall, UK

Oct. 29, 2010

I have just recently come across your website and was very interested to read all the messages. My father was Henry (Harry or Chats) Harris from Portsoy, Scotland, he served on board HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident.  I would be very interested to get in touch with Tony Harris who recently posted a message. My father did not talk much about his time on board HMS Amethyst, and I was quite young when he passed away, nevertheless I and my family, including my mother and two sisters are very proud of him.

Fiona Yorkston

Aug. 18, 2010

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Capt. Leigh Mason who Crossed the Bar 10/8/2010. Captain Leigh Mason served on board H.M.S Amethyst during the Korean war as a Radar operator. He came up through  the Ranks and attained the rank of Captain RN. Because of her shallow draft, Amethyst was able to venture close to shore and at times up river using her 6x4" QF Guns to support British and American Troops.

Charlie Chivers
Amethyst Association

Aug. 17, 2010

My father, Capt. Douglas Harris MN (retired), had an old newspaper article, which is now lost, relating to the crew of HMS Amethyst being paraded after their return from the Yangtze. There may have been a relative of his in the crew. I am wondering if there was a crew member from Portsoy, Scotland named Harris or Cook. Possibly Henry Harris or Willie Cook?

Tony Harris

Reply 1
Aug. 17, 2010

There is an Ordinary Seaman Henry Harris listed as a crewman on Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, no Willie Cook on my list, but my list may not be complete.

Michael W. Pocock

Reply 2
Aug. 19, 2010

We had a Henry Harris onboard HMS AMETHYST whilst she was trapped in the Yangtze in 1949. He was an Ordinary Seaman at the time.  There was also a Telegraphist Derick A Cook on the the ship, though he was one of the men landed on 20 April, and he did not rejoin the ship until after her escape.

Stewart Hett

Reply 3
Sept. 5, 2010

The lad he was asking about was a very good mate of mine on the ship so I would be grateful if you could give me, either his address or e-mail address so that I can get in touch as I have photos he might like to have.

All the best,
Jim Bryson (EX-AB)

Aug. 12, 2010

I refer to Derek Hodgsons' open letter dated 18 May 2009 (message #19) 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

Aug. 5, 2010

I was raised in Dr. Barnardo's Homes. I was in Ifield Hall, Sussex and we had a lady who came to work in the home called Audrey the surname was I believe Whiddon (the spelling might be wrong). She had two young sons with and she was from Eastbourne. Audrey told me her husband and been on the Amethyst during the incident and I believe he survived only to die shortly after. I would appreciate it if you tell me my memory is correct. The time Audrey was at Ifield Hall would have been between 1954 -57.

Kind regards,
Eric Hasnip

June 5, 2010

I am the daughter of the late PO Gordon Hunt who served on the Amethyst during the Korean War. He was I believe a paymaster/scribe at some time of his career onboard. I remember reading a book (given to crew members I believe) called FROM STEM TO STERN Does anybody have a copy of it?

Kind regards,
Chantelle Hunt

Reply 1
Dec. 16, 2011

I do have a copy of "From Stem to Stern" 1950-1952, the Captain at that time was Commander A. R. L. Butler.  I also have various newspaper articles relating to the Amethyst which I will try and post at another time [some relate to "Sparks" Jack French]. These were left to me by my late father, Richard [Dick] Wells who served aboard HMS Amethyst 8/7/1948-11/5/1950 and helped as I understand man the guns during the Yangtze Incident. Mum and Dad emigrated to New Zealand in 1960 [where I was born] sadly Dad passed away 2003 from cancer followed by mum some 18 months later. Dad didn't talk much about his RN days even to mum who used to quiz her two brothers who both served in the RN during WWII.

Peter Wells

June 4, 2010

My grandfather Clifford Comer served on HMS AMETHYEST in 1949, do you have any information or photos of him?

Thank you,
Graham Comer

May 5, 2010

Amethyst  Reunion 2010 Date 17 to 19 September  Venue,  The George Hotel, Litchfield. Staff.  With a visit to the NMA on Saturday morning. Contact, Trudy Sampson 01827 830334   E-mail

The Reunion this year will be held at The George Hotel, Litchfield, Staffordshire WA13 6PR on Friday 17th September till Sunday 19th September. The phone number of the Hotel is 01543 414822 people can book direct or contact Trudy 01827 830334. The cost for a double for the week-end is £250 for two. Single room for the week-end is £145, The trip to the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday the 18th September is £10 per head including light refreshments.

Charlie Chivers,
Amethyst Association

Messages 51-75
Page published Apr. 14, 2010