#IWM100Years – HMS Belfast and the Yangtse River incident

#IWM100Years – HMS Belfast and the Yangtse River incident


In the summer of 1949 HMS Amethyst was involved in an incident on the Yangtze River when she was engaged by the
People’s Liberation Army of communist China, during the Chinese Civil War. The shot is armour-piercing, which would have been fired by a Chinese operated type 94 anti-tank gun. The gun itself would have been Japanese and captured by the Chinese Communists during the Second World War and used afterwards. On April the 20th HMS Amethyst, a modified Black Swan class frigate, was sailing up the Yangtze River to replace HMS Consort as the Nanking guard ship. The Nanking embassy was being protected by the guard ship during the Chinese Civil War. As she proceeded up the river, she was fired upon by gun batteries operated by the People’s Liberation Army of communist China. She was struck on the bridge, mortally wounding the commanding officer, and also the wheelhouse where the Coxon was injured. The ship, unable to steer, was ran aground. Further shots took her guns out of action and she was essentially helpless, moored on a bank in the middle of the Yangtse River under fire from the Communist Chinese. On the 22nd the British naval attache in Nanking man called commander
Karan’s came to the ship and assumed command he began negotiations with the
People’s Liberation Army to allow the ship to proceed out of the incident area
but he was thought it on many occasions by the Chinese insisting that the
British had acted illegally and that they had fired first several attempts to
rescue the ship had failed HMS London and HMS Black Swan both came
under fire and had to retreat the situation is being monitored very
closely by the commander-in-chief of the Far East station Sir Patrick Bryn’s who
was stationed on his flagship HMS Belfast in Hong Kong and he gave the
instructions to Karen to get underway at all costs on the 30th of July 1949 a
hundred days after the ship had been placed at anchor on the Yangtze River
she slipped her cable and floated down in the middle of the night under
darkness and masks by a Chinese passenger
there she proceeded downriver and rejoined fleet an assist later returned
to Hong Kong where the crew were allowed to leave and replacements placed from
other ships at the fire station and she sailed home the 57 million shot was
retrieved from amethyst and presented to the museum a few years later

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

10 Comments

  1. I wish they would not say things like " in the summer" as for half the globe it is winter. Just say the date or month.

  2. Belfast was indeed the HQ ship in Kong Kong at the time of the incident but took no active part in the incident herself… So perhaps it could be said that she was present in the general area. But that is all.

  3. I WAS INVOLVED IN THE AMETHYST YANGTZE INCIDENT *I DON'T RECALL THE HMS BELFAST BEING INVOLVED I WAS ON THE USS DIACHENKO APD 123.WITCH TRANSFERRED FOOD AND REPAIR TOOLS TO THE GROUNDED SHIP.. THE SHIPS I REMEMBER BEING INVOLVED WERE . HMS BLACK SWAN,***HMS LONDON ****HMS CONSORT* THE HMS LONDON WAS TO LARGE TO OPERATE IN THE RIVER**IT RETURNED TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER***DR KEL

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