John Boldero - Hong Kong

 

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Lt-Cdr Boldero DSC RN (Rtrd) in Hong Kong  
    Photo from Lt C.J. Collingwood collection ©

Lieutennant Commander John Christian Boldero DSC RN (Retrd)

1899 - 1984

Born 28th December 1899 in Caterham Valley, Surrey, UK, John was educated in Margate, Kent.

As a young Sub-Lt, Boldero, serving on CMB-31 as No 1 gained a DSC for his part in torpedoing the the Bolshevik battleship Andrei Pervozanni under heavy fire in the famous CMB attack on the Bolshevik Fleet in Kronstadt harbour 18th Aug1919

He retired in 1922 taking a position as assistant secretary with the Shanghai Water Company. John was mobilised in 1939 as once again the clouds of war began to darken. He began in the Shanghai Navy Control Station. That was followed with an appointment on HMS Scorpion, followed by HMS Durban, a cruiser in the Eastern Fleet based in Singapore.

1912 Sept, Cadet, RN College, Osborne House IOW.

1913 Cadet, Dartmouth

1915 8th Sept, Midshipman.

1917 15th Sept Acting Sub-Lt

1918 15th May Sub-Lieut.

1919 18th Aug, Gained DSC while serving as No 1 on CMB 31 in the torpedo attack under heavy fire against the the Bolshevik battleship Andrei Pervozanni.

1919 11th Nov, DSC.

1920 May Acting Lieut.

1920 April Lieutenant.

1921 2nd July, Married

1922 1st Oct, Placed on Retired List at own request

1924 15th Aug, Issued Masters Certificate by Board of Trade.

1928 April Lieut Commander (Rtrd)

1931 Sept, Sailed with his wife & two daughters to Shanghai where he took the position of assistant secreatary to the Sganghai Water Company.

1939, Mobilised, Shanghai Navy Control Station

1940 HMS Scorpion, HMS Durban

1940 Dec O/C MTB 10 & Senior Officer 2nd MTB Flotilla Hong Kong

1941 April 3rd, MTB 26 in collision with HMS Thanet, upper body crushed resulting in amputation of right arm. Board of Enquiry found Boldero very much to blame.

1941 Jun 24 O/C HMS Cicala

1941 Dec 21 HMS Cicala bombed & crippled by IJA, scuttled by depth charges from MTB 09.

1941 Dec 25 POW

1945 Liberated from POW

1946 July Bar to DSC

1946 prosthetic arm fitted at Queen Mary Hospital, Roehampton.

1946 May, Commander (Rtrd)

1947 13th July, Reverted to Retired List, Medically unfit.

1984 Passed away in Weymouth, Dorset, UK



 

HMS Cicala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HMS Cicala one of the twelve Insect Class River Gunboats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 10

 

 

 

Left: MTB 10 proceeding out of the Kowloon camber.
Royal Navy etiquette of the day required the flotilla leader to wear a darker colour without a Pennant number on the hull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 10 on patrol

Photo from Lt C. J. Collingwood's collection©

 


















 

 

MTB 10 laying off Stonecutters Island

Photo from Lt Ashby's collection©

 

 

 

 

 

Lt-Cdr D G (Nobby) Clarke RN the first S/O of the flotilla ;  
    Photo from Lt C.J. Collingwood collection ©Lt-Cdr Boldero DSC RN (Rtrd) in Hong Kong  
    Photo from Lt C.J. Collingwood collection ©Lt-Cmdr G H Gandy RN (Rtrd)  
    Photo from Lt-Cmdr Gandy's collection ©

The 2nd MTB Flotilla was commissioned into the China Station in 1938 under the command of Lt-Cmd D G (Nobby) Clark RN. Nobby, along with most of the younger Imperial RN officers were recalled for action in the European theatre of war.

Lt-Cdr John Christian Boldero RN (Rtrd) replaced Nobby Clark as S/O of the flotilla. Boldero was a Coastal Forces veteran from WWI where he had served with distinction in the famous CMB attack on the Bolshevik Fleet in Kronstadt harbour in 1919. A young Sub-Lt Boldero was awarded a DSC while serving as No 1 on CMB 31 which torpedoed the Bolshevik battleship Andrei Pervozanni under heavy fire on 18th Aug 1919. He retired in 1922 taking a position as assistant secretary with the Shanghai Water Company. After twelve years John was mobilised as once again the clouds of war began to darken in 1939. That was followed with an appointment on HMS Scorpion, followed by HMS Durban, a cruiser in the Eastern Fleet based in Singapore.
During an exercise on the night of 1st April 1941, Boldero, on the bridge of MTB 26, collided with HMS Thanet, severely injuring his upper body. His right arm was amputated close to his shoulder and his left arm severely damaged requiring much continued surgery. Boldero later took over as commander of the 645 ton Insect class River Gun Boat HMS Cicala from Lt-Cmd Gandy and referred to himself as a "one-armed dug-out." [86] Boldero gained a bar to his DSC for his spirited actions defending Hong Kong, surviving over sixty bomb attacks before the Cicala finally succumbed. He subsequently spent nearly four years as a Japanese POW. [102]


Lt-Cmd G H Gandy RN (Rtrd) then took command of MTB 10 as S/O of the flotilla.


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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