Escape from Hong Kong. Photos from Chan Chak and Hide collections  ©

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Aberdeen Channel where the Cornflower launch was alongside the jetty next to Hope Dock


Cmdr Montague RN (Ret): "I then left the dockyard and went to the pier near Staunton Creek to see how the salvage of C.410 and the scuttling of 'Robin' were progressing. The Japanese battery shelled the pier heavily and I was forced to take cover in a lighter. When the barrage of shells moved west I returned to the dockyard. Meanwhile the motorboat had left, but unfortunately chose to leave by the South East Channel." [1]

Chart showing Aberdeen Harbour & the jetty next to Hope Dock where the Cornflower launch was alongside.

Maj Goring BHQ: "In due course we set off down the East channel (Aberdeen Channel South), giving the West channel as wide a berth as possible, for it was not only full of wrecks but was the beaten zone of the eighteen-pounder guns which were firing down it." [17]

HMS Cornflower 31/3/1934 lent to the Hong Kong Government as the HKNVF Drillship. The Cornflower was sold in 1940 and the SS TAI HING, a former ferry, was loaned for the duration of the war plus three months. . 
The Tai Hing was refitted and renamed HMS Cornflower, sometimes called Cornflower II, and moored south-west of Kellet Island where the RHKYC was based and most of the recruits came 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 Honoury Captain His Excellency Sir Geoffry Alexander Stafford Northcote, K.C.M.G. [106]


HMS Cornflower's launch used for the escape from Aberdeen

The escape launch formally with HMS Cornflower


HMS Cornflower

HMS Cornflower the HKRNVR Depot ship.

HMS Cornflower, an Arabis class mine sweeping sloop was appointed as the Hong Kong Naval Volunteer Force later HKRNVR Headquarters/depot ship moored South West of Kellet Island. The Cornflower was sold to the Chines navy and renamed SSS Tai Hing in late 1940 then bought back in 1941 and re-commissioned with her original name but known locally as HMS Cornflower II, she was scuttled in Deep Water Bay on 19th December 1941. [91]

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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