The Battle for Hong Kong Lt Colls HKRNVR MTB 12

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Lt John Baxter Colls H.K.R.N.V.R. 2nd MTB Flotilla, Hong Kong Coastal Forces

??/07/1910 - 19/12/1941

Remembered with Honour

Lt John Colls HKRNVR with (V2) Cmdr Boldero RN the flotilla C/O
   Photo from Alex Kennedy's collection ©

John Colls enlisted with the rank of Probationary Cadet in the Hong Kong Naval Volunteer Force, HKNVF on 7th February 1939. HMS Cornflower the HKNVF headquarters was moored south-west of Kellet Island where the RHKYC transferred to in October 1940 and most of the recruits had come from. There was also a shore-based office in the York Building on the north side of Chater Rd by Pedder St. As the clouds of war began to darken the HKNVF was mobilized into the Hong Kong Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, HKRNVR in August 1939 with just one hundred and ten officers including their Honorary Captain His Excellency Sir Geoffry Alexander Stafford Northcote, K.C.M.G. [106]

Lt John Colls HKRNVR with Lt-Cmd Boldero R.N. (Rtrd) (V2 Nov 1940 - March 1941)

Photo from Alex Kennedye's collection ©

Click here for more information on Lt Coll HKRNVR

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 07 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 Sea.by 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]

Remembered with Honour

Lt John B Colls H.K.R.N.V.R. [MTB 12]

MTB 12 crew

Sub-Lt G S McGill HKRNVR killed on MTB 12. 
	Click here to read more. 
	Photo from the Hide collection ©

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Sub-Lt George Spedding McGill HKRNVR MTB 12

Remembered with Honour

Photo from the Hide collection ©

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 on the rocks. 
    Photo from the Hide collection ©

 

 

MTB 12 under the command of Lt R.G.H.G. Eyre RN ran aground at Crooked harbour, Hong Kong, June 1939 & was eventually towed off by HMS Cicala

Run the cursor over this photo to see more.

Photos from the Hide collection ©

 

 

 

 

Tel P.O. Alf D Hunt was on the bridge with Colls when hit & woke up on the beach tied up with barbed wire by the Japanese. A/B Bartlett managed to swim ashore and was taken to the Queen Mary hospital suffering immersion.

 

MTB 12 on the rocks 
    Photo from the Hide collection ©

 

 

MTB 12 on the rocks

Run the cursor over this photo to see more.

 

Photo from the Hide collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 on the rocks

 

MTB 12 on the rocks 1939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 on patrol. 
    Photo from the Hide collection ©

 

 

 

MTB 12 on patrol with 07

Photo from the Hide collection ©

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 sea trials 1938.  
    Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

 

 

 

MTB 12 on sea trials at HMS Vernon 1938

Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©.

 

 

MTB 12 in the camber, Kowloon ; 
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 in the camber at Kowloon.

Photo from the Ross family collection ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12.  
    Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

 

 

 

MTB 12 at HMS Vernon 1938

Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 being hoisted.  
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©

 

 

 

MTB 12 being hoisted

Photo from the Ross family collection ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB 12 alongside HMS Vernon 1938.  
    Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

 

 

MTB 12 at HMS Vernon 1938

Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

 

Caudae Spiculum Cave
(Beware the sting in the tail)

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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