MTB Crest. Caudae Spiculum Caveo
(Beware the sting in the tail)MTB 07 Lewis gunner   
  Click here to read more ©Al Rutter, Buddy Hide &  Guerilla Leader Leung Wingyuen arriving in Kukong. Photos from the Ashby & Ross collections © MTB 07 crew  
  Click here to
  Photo from the Hide collection ©.MTB 07 Crest. Caudae Spiculum Caveo
(Beware the sting in the tail)

Escape from Hong Kong - The Final Hours

Reginald Barker of MTB 07 Coastal Forces, Hong Kong

Leading Stoker Reg Barker P/KX87575 [ Walkley, Sheflield ]

??/??/1916 - 19/12/1941

L/Stoker Reg Barker on MTB 07  
    Photo from Lt Ron Ashby's collection ©Leading Stoker Reg Barker was killed in action on 19th December 1941 when MTB 07 was raked across the stern with cannon fire from IJA aircraft while leading what is arguably the most daring daylight MTB raid of all time, dubbedThe Balaclava of the Sea.
Tel Duckworth had been sent to the engine-room to administer first aid to Barker, and suffered the same fate and both died of their wounds, and all three engines were knocked out.

Remembered with Honour

Photo from Lt Ron Ashby's collection ©

MTB 07 with Lt R R W Ashby HKRNVR

MTB 07, with PO's John Prest and Buddy Hide at the controls, under fire.  
	Photo from Hong Kong 1941-45 published by Osprey Publishing. 
	Illustration by Giuseppe Rava. 
	Click here for more information

The flotilla took a beating during the battle for Hong Kong.
When the Japanese invaded Hong Kong Island, the 2nd MTB Flotilla was ordered to attack and expend all ammunition shooting up everything in sight. Unbeknown to the flotilla, the Japanese had already established a beach head on the Island west of the Sugar Refinery at North Point.
Guns to the left, guns to the right, guns to the front and cannon from above, on they sped into the fiery jaws of the oriental dragon itself. This was the maritime equivalent of the charge of the light brigade in the Crimea.
Lt Ronnie Ashby whose family motto was "Be Just and Fear Naught" led the flotilla with Jix Prest & Buddy Hide at the controls of MTB 07. Pressing home the attack under withering fire from land, sea, and air, they suffered heavy losses in the process. Only three MTB's survived to limp back and come alongside HMS Robin in Aberdeen. Lt Kennedy on MTB "09" towed the stricken "07", peppered with 97 holes and two dead bodies in the engine room, back to base. The flotilla had lost 40% of its attacking force. The attack was arguably the most daring daylight MTB attack of all time, and was referred to as The Balaclava of the Coastal Forces world wide. They were hailed "The bravest of the brave."

Lt Kennedy RNVR: "MTB 11 returned alone from the harbour with her coxswain wounded. There was a long silent pause as we strained our ears to catch the sound of distant engines, but none came. It was a dark day for the flotilla, and for the whole island." [9]




Reg Barker RIP  
    Click here to read more  
    Photo from Russell Joyce collection ©

Reg Barker was buried in Stanley Military cemetary, Hong Kong.

Photo from Russell Joyce collection ©

Remembered with Honour








MTB's 12 and 26 were lost with just two survivors from 12, Tel PO Alf Hunt woke up tied up with barbed wire and taken POW and the infamous Lisbon Maru, and A/B Arthur Bartlett who swam ashore on Hong Kong Island and taken to the Queen Mary hospital suffering immersion.


Reg Barker and crew on patrol on MTB 07  
    Run the curser over to identify individuals  
    Photo from the Hide collection ©

MTB 07 led the daylight attack at full speed with 09 one cable astern on the Japanese landing craft crossing from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, Lewis gunning and overturning the LCs with her wake. 07 returned and attacked a second time under heavy fire from Kowloon, sunken ships, Hong Kong Island as well as being machine cannoned by IJA aircraft losing two personel and all three engines in the process. 09 came back and took 07 in tow with the two engine room fatalities onboard. The action was dubbed "The balaclava of the sea"

Lt Ron Ashby HKRNVR with the crew of MTB 07

Photo from the Hide collection ©


The crew of MTB 07 in Kowloon 1940

MTB 07 crew in Kowloon 1941
      Run the curser over to identify individuals
      Photo from Budyy Hide's collection ©

Photo from the Hide collection ©




Research and web publication by Buddy Hide Jnr ©

The contents of this web site led to a considerable number of escapee families contacting me and now each other, and remains the principle source of contact and private information for the spin off projects that have followed. The personal accounts enabled me to record the complete and true account of this remarkable episode of Sino-British war time co-operation. The information compiled here has directly resulted in a museum exhibition in Hong Kong, a re-enactment of the escape in Hong Kong and China, with a movie drama and documentary in the making.

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