Escape from Hong Kong - The Final Hours

逃離香港

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Through the Nan Mountains to Kukong

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5th January 1942 (Mon)


The trucks supplied for the journey over the mountains to Kukong were conventional petrol driven engines whereas most trucks in China ran on charcoal gas with on board burners due to a chronic shortage of petrol.

A/B Lenny Rann "Trucks provided by the China National Relief Committee arrived to take us on to KuKong." [63]

At 06.00 the convoy left the school in Longchuen for the two hundred and sixty five mile journey north-west through the mountains to Kukong. A car was organised for the Admiral and his staff, Commander Hsu Heng (Henry), and Coxswain Yeung Chuen along with David MacDougall. They crossed over the river and headed north through the Nan Mountains.
The lead truck stopped with suspension problems soon after leaving. Many delays were caused by punctures and running out of fuel as they drove through the mountains where the ground was frozen solid in places.

Ted Ross MoI "They provided five trucks for us and a car for the Admiral and Mac, who were feeling the strain by now, and we set off at four-thirty next morning for a two-day trip along the most mountainous, bumpy, narrow, dangerous road we had yet struck. We were bounced around and covered thick with dust, but it was a hundred per cent better than walking." [28]

There were many abandoned and broken trucks stripped bare en route, tyres were particularly sought after to make soles for coolie footwear.

Sub-Lt Legge HKRNVR "We then had a two-day truck ride over some pretty high mountains, on about the worst roads that could possibly exist and in semi closed vans, without it seemed, any springs. The dust was something awful, though nothing to what the western desert must be; still it wasn't so hot." [18]

Ships Log "Off at 6am in 5 Lorries & a car containing Admiral Chan & MacDougall of the MoI. Very bad roads, extremely jolting ride over mountainous country." [5]

Lt Collingwood RN "We proceeded in trucks to Shaoguan. We were in closed trucks with small windows travelling along a very bumpy road. One truck was having trouble." [8]

Ted Ross MoI "7am Stopped our truck to replace two broken front springs." [28]

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR "We left by truck via Chung Shum where we had breakfast and in addition an American Missionary gave us some excelent coffee." [46]

It was very slow progress, with hairpin bends with sheer drops without barriers, mud slides, break downs, punctures, and constantly running out of fuel. After four hours the convoy was driving through a valley where they stopped for breakfast at Chungshun.

Father William M O'Brien 1901-1971Maj Goring BHQ "The midday halt was brightened by the kindness of Father O'Brien, an American Roman Catholic priest, who insisted on regaling us with American cigarettes, coffee, and biscuits. As these came out of his meager years supply, and there was no prospect of his receiving any more for an indefinite period, this was hospitality indeed." [17]

Left Father William M O'Brien 1901 - 1971.

Ships Log "Stopped at about 10am at Junsing , where had good meal. Then rounded up by Father O’Brien, of the MaryKnoll Mission, who produced coffee, & biscuits." [5]

After an hour they were on the road again, this time the road was not so jolting but more mountainous, rising up steeply then down again via hairpin bends. They soon began to make up for the very slow progress at the beginning.
After crossing three mountain ranges the convoy arrived at the overnight destination.

Ships Log On again after an hour, over less jolting roads but more mountainous country over Chui‐Chun‐Shan (On the nine peaked mountains) climbing steeply to 5,000 feet & down again literally dozens of hairpin bends. Reached Lunping (Lianping) at about 2.30pm, where all were put up in very comfortable Chinese hotels. Dinner‐‐‐ a sumptuous repost‐‐‐at 4pm, with no speeches." [5]

Father O'Brien's extended his hospitality to many escapees including Capt Tony Hewitt, a colleague of Freddie Guest, and Sub-Lt Goodwin HKRNVR late 1st Officer MTB 10, during the years of Japanese occupation.

Capt Hewitt "Solid, and tough-looking, speaking with a slight brogue, a man of obvious courage.
He had for many years shared with the Chinese people the immense hardships of their existence. He had provided a refuge for the people, open to all people, not merely Christians.
He was dedicated to his calling, a truly good man, whose experiences were well worth hearing." [66]

Sub-Lt Goodwin HKRNVR "We drove through a pleasant fertile valley to the outskirts of Chungshun, where there was a Catholic Mission Station. The Mission occupied a large building of two stories, with high airy rooms and large windows, delightfully clean and cool. Someone there was a naturalist, for scattered about the rooms and corridors were cages of birds, animals and reptiles.There were also several baskets of snakes. Down below, on one side of the house was a garden where tall maize, taro, sweet potatoes and beans were growing, while in front of the house bright flowers made a pretty garden round a lawn. Handsome trees spread their sheltering branches." [108]

Capt Hewitt "Leaving the valley, we began a long uphill haul, coming at last to the area known as 'Buffalo's Back', Ngau Bai Chek, a very high mountain ridge. The valiant truck was forced up extraordinary steep gradients, inclined as much as 45 degrees in parts." [66]

Ted Ross MoI "3PM arrived LUN PING & good meal provided by local Bank at 4PM." [28]

With breath-taking scenery, sheer drops and hairpin bends there was no room for mistakes on the mountain tracks. At 14.30 the party arrived at Lianping some eighty odd miles into the journey. Lianping had grown from a typical fortified walled village into a small town where the ratings were billeted in the Middle School and the officers in a hotel for the night.

Maj Goring BHQ "A full day's journey over such roads as those was "carriage exercise" indeed. The hotel where we spent the night, if not of the highest order of comfort, produced something very comforting for the inner man - Wei kwai lo, the remarkable rose-petal wine, which in my opinion is the best wine in China once you have acquired the taste for it." [17]

(Colin McEwan MI9 On returning to collect the heavy weapons in the new year [11]

"After an excellent breakfast 'Old Wolf certainly looks after our bellies — we inquired after our clothing stores. Here was definite evasion, and our efforts to find our suitcase of 'toys' proved just as unavailing. It was fairly clear now that quite a part of our stores had evaporated, but still 'toys' and radios were the important part, and we felt fairly sure of finding the suitcase. There was a peculiar air of suspense that evening — guards had been doubled and mysterious messengers kept coming in and out the whole"

 

Kukong

6th January 1942 (Tues)

Up at 04.00 and on the road by 04.30the convoy pressed on stopping at Loonshing for breakfast at 09.30 for half an hour. On the way they overtook the Chinese Army on the march, mile after mile of them on both sides of the road. They were on their way back to Kukong having been too late to defend Hong Kong. The convoy stopped for lunch at Taihangchow.
Next stop was at Nan-Hua a magnificent Buddhist monastery, which had existed for over a thousand years, where there were three mummies, one of which was Lok Tsu, the sixth incarnation of Buddha, and about 1200 years old.

Ships Log "Up even earlier‐‐‐4am‐‐‐and off in the Lorries half an hour later. En‐route passed some 10,000 Troops & camp followers, withdrawing from Southern part of province; though not first‐line Troops, they were well equipped with Bren’s & Trench Mortars. At about 12.30, stopped for light repost at Taihanchow, & then on to visit a famous Temple/Monastery at Nanhwa, 20 miles from Shaoguan. This Temple, at present being “renovated” by the Monks (under their 93 year old Abbot), is the oldest & most famous in South China, & contains three mummies‐‐‐one, some 1,200 years old of Loktsu or the 6th re‐incarnation of Buddha, the other two being lesser fry of only 400 years vintage‐‐‐all very well preserved." [5]

Adm Chan Chak "At 04.00 we get up and to start our journey at 04.30. At 12.00 we arrived at Taihangchow, at 13.00 we arrived at the Nan-Hua Temple where we took a tour before moving on. At 15.30 we arrive at the suberbs of Shaoguan" [6]

"On either side of the red lacquer entrance-gate stood two enormous stone figures, looking like griffins in their ferocity." [66]

Four of the trucks were ahead of schedule, so stopped for a jolly at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple which was being renovated by the monks under the energetic direction of their 93 year old Lao Yeh, (Venerable Father) with a wrinkled shaved head. Close bye was a beautifully coloured pagoda with a great gong.
The temple is located near Maba Town, Qujiang District, about 22 kilometers (14 miles) south from downtown Shaoguan. With a history of over 1,500 years, the temple contains many national treasures.
Lt Kennedy and his ratings missed out on the Nan Hua Temple jolly due to breaking down, but managed to overtake the others before arriving in Kukong.

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR "Just before reaching Shaoguan we visited an old Chinese Temple at Nan Wah, where the mummy of Lok Chu, the 6th incarnation of Buddha is still preserved. Lok Chu brought Buddhism to China many hundreds of years ago. The temple itself was a magnificent piece of work." [46]

Lt-Col Owen-Hughes now joined Admiral Chan Chak and David MacDougall in the car for the final few miles to Kukong, the war-time capital of Kwangtung Province. They arrived at the Kuomintang Tol post, where a barrier of sand bags placed across the road forced vehicles to stop. There to greet Admiral Chan Chak and his party were a plethora of Kuomintang National Chinese Army Generals, city officials, photographers and press, it was mid afternoon.

Listen to an extract from Adm Chan Chack's journal enrtry 6th January 1942, translated and read by Yang Shanshan of CCTV.Europe

On their arrival at Kukong, girls from the Kuomintang Youth Corps pinned rosette's to the lapels of the weary escape party. These rosette's granted them the freedom of the city.

L/S Les Barker "3.30 arrived at Shaoguan (Kukong) and were met by City Officials and soldiers and girl guides who ran up to us and pinned flowers and emblems on our lapels to the noise of fire crackers and banners across the street which read ‘Welcome to Admiral Chen and the Hong Kong Defenders." [24]

Admiral Chan Chak CN "Allied Personnel and Representatives of the YMCA welcomed [the escapees]
I was wounded in the arm and did not realise the bullet was still inside my arm until I reached Shaoguan” [6

Ted Ross MoI "After two days we arrived in Shiukwan (pronounced Shoo-gwan), quite a large Chinese town, and the first we had struck that had telephones and electric lights, although both were uncertain in the extreme.
We were met a few miles out of the city by the governor, the mayor, and several generals. There were troops drawn up taking the salute, and a line of boy scouts and girl guides and small girls dashing around pinning rosettes on us."
[28]

These (HERO) Rosettes proclaiming "Chung Yung Sat Dik" Loyal Brave Kill Enemy, gave them the freedom of the city as they found out in due course. This was a big moment of celebratory partying, and the subsequent photos show the sheer relief on their faces before marching ceremonially through the huge city gates, for they were now finally out of the war-zone and truly in Free China. Admiral Chan Chak was the man of the moment, a national hero on the verge of being headline news around the globe. Climbing back in the trucks the party were driven the final few miles into the city.
This was their first chance to pick up international news which was not good in the Far East, also Tokyo Rose was broadcasting propaganda forecasting doom for the escape party.
Then they headed for a very large sampan on the East bank of the Mo Sai River about one mile north of the Y junction[45]. This was no ordinary sampan; this was the "Sea Palace," a flower boat, or brothel. Harry Owen-Hughes had arranged with the owner to clear it out and rent it for their stay in Kukong.

This was their first chance to pick up international news which was not good in the Far East, also Tokyo Rose was broadcasting propaganda forecasting doom for the escape party.
Then they headed for a very large sampan on the East bank of the Mo Sai River about one mile north of the Y junction[45]. This was no ordinary sampan; this was the "Sea Palace," a flower boat, or brothel. Harry Owen-Hughes had arranged with the owner to clear it out and rent it for their stay in Kukong.

A/B Jack Thorpe ?? carrying some of the tinned navy rations they had been surviving on arriving in Kukong during the epic journey across China.

Ships Log "On to Shaoguan at 2.45pm, & after short parade on the outskirts, on to a luxurious 2‐deck houseboat, “The Sea Palace”. At 5pm all Officers were guests to a Chinese dinner served "A La European" given by Gen Yu Han Mow & simply studded with Lt‐Generals, Mayor, Generals, Governors, etc. Laudatory speeches, & so to bed at 9pm‐ish." [5]

Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF "The whole company of 60 is now living in a houseboat on the river, overcrowded but otherwise pleasant. I share a cabin with Guest and it is very tolerable." [30]

Ted Ross MoI "We were very comfortably quartered on a huge floating house-boat. The air raid signal sounded without fail every morning, but during the few days stay we never sighted a Jap plane." [28]

Lt Collingwood RN "We had a big reception dinner for officers in the Wang Tong headquarters where we heard our first wireless news. That night there were air raid warnings." [8]

PO Prest "We travelled by cycle, lorry, junks and donkeys, but mostly we walked, walked and kept on walking.It was a case of march or die. The only meat available were the 'chow dogs,' bred and fed for eating, which was certainly more sustaining than the eternal round of rice and cabbage." [84]

His Excellency the Governor of the Province General Li-Hon-Wan laid on a huge reception in the Headquarters of the Provincial Government where it turned out that his ADC had been at Cambridge with one of the R.N.V.R. Officers Lt Kennedy.

 

General Yu Han Mow along with his staff, who had been in command when Canton fell to the Japanese, and now holding office as the Commander-in-Chief of the extensive seventh War Area was also present. Admiral Chan along with Cdr Montague were presented with a shield as well as flowers. The Royal Navy party were so hungry they finished off all the 'Chow Fan', a customary dish of fried rice at the end when etiquette required it only to be toyed with to show the Host had provided more than enough food.

 

Deputy Commander General Jiang Guangnai, David MacDougall, Commander Hugh Montague RN, C-in-C General Yu Hanmou, Admiral Chan Chak, Lt-Colonel Harry Owen-Hughes, and Chief of Staff General Wang Zhun at Kukong [Shaoguan] 6th January 1942.

Photo fron the Chan Chak family collection © 

Some of the party went down with severe stomach bugs and dysentery. . The party stayed here for a week while transport was being arranged further up the line. Gandy was able to procure funds for transport, food, & accommodation, and paid Kuomintang$100 a week to officers and $20 per rating,[15] this gave the party a chance to enjoy the local hospitality and hone their bartering skills. There were air-raid alarms every morning and it was here that Admiral Chan Chak had the photo plate developed and presented each member of the party with a copy of the now iconic Waichow group photo. The Admiral was now in bad shape and was admitted to the infirmary soon after arriving. The Navy party were disappointed not see him again before they departed.

Admiral Chan Chak CN "I was admiring at the photograph of the 68 Chinese/British officers and myself and jokingly remarked, “I see 108 Lo-Hons in this photograph!” [6]

Lt-Cmd Hsu Heng (Henry) CN “Our team of heroes has increased from 8 to 68. I had to explain to MacDougall and others that “Lo-Hons” were famous ancient Chinese fighters, which were respected by all of the Chinese peoples." [7]

(Colin McEwan MI9 On returning to collect the heavy weapons in the new year [11]

"On our way inland which, for the first mile and a half, kept more or less parallel with the sea, we saw a Japanese Cruiser and Destroyer rounding Mirs Point, obviously Namo bound. So evidently the guerillas' intelligence had arrived just in time.
The rain kept coming down steadily and we began to wonder just when we could get back to Namo to collect any stores although on this subject we were beginning to entertain very healthy doubts as to our ultimate success. The landing and the bombing were going to provide an excellent excuse for non-delivery of stores. Already indeed, we had been informed that the Japanese landing party had (a) asked for the two 'Foreigners' who, their information had it, were living in Namo, (b) had ransacked the village and taken all stores in the village (c) had bombed the village of Wong Mei Chi which contained the radio sets and (d) on landing had proceeded directly to the spot where the guns were hidden (This of course, was known only to two men!).
A traitor must have seen them hiding the guns and for this they were, 'Plentee Sorry'. Although, to say the least, we had a feeling that the truth was being handled rather carelessly there was nothing much that we could do about it, since we were for the time being completely dependant upon them for assistance and removal of the stores which had already been 'Lost'!! Hopes of a bed here got a rude shock when we carried on out of the East gate and continued walking— by now on a lovely moonlight night —for a further mile or so to our ultimate shelter — a large Buddhist temple of the usual type, sitting in lovely grounds. Tai and I found beds in front of the main altar and vaguely realizing that the place was packed with armed men, slept the sleep of the just."

7th January 1942(wed)

Ships Log “Typhoon” passed near Shaoguan during night & as a result it was a cold, cloudy day. “Alert” sounded during the morning but nothing happened. 2.30pm marched to a mass meeting presided over by Gen Yu Han Mow. Large hall (Town hall crammed with people & covered with placards ranging all the way from “Welcome to our glorious warriors” to “Crush the axis alliance!” ceremony opened with singing of Chinese & British national anthems, with band accompaniment. Speeches by Gen Yu, Admiral Chan, Commander Montague, & Gen Lee, Governor of the Province. A shield was presented to Admiral Chan & flowers to him & Commander Montague." [5]

Lt Kennedy RNVR "Owing to the disconcerting state of our insides we dared not stray far from the 'Sea Palace.'
On the whole our health had been good until we arrived at Kukong when a case of dysentery and a few milder infections broke out."
[9]

Admiral Chan Chak CN "I promised Leung that I would recommend his gorilla-operation to the government. Later, Leung was appointed as leader of the gorilla-operation under the command of General Heung (Wai-Yang Military). He had received funding and weapon supplies from the government. Leung was very satisfied and returned to his own district." [6]

Leung Wingyuen was decorated with the"King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom" in 1947 for escorting the escape party through enemy lines.

(Colin McEwan MI9 On returning to collect the heavy weapons in the new year [11]

"Today saw us, or rather me, rising in a filthy temper, which was not helped by the group of gaping guerillas who appeared to derive infinite amusement from the sight of a 'Sai Yan [westerner] putting on his pants. Some good hearty cursing, and a wash up, saw me back in good temper again only to fall from grace immediately as, with the sleep washed out of my eyes, I saw some of the Lewis guns which the Japanese had stolen the day before lying here and there throughout the temple.
However our protests met with the usual evasive answer and, on being taken back to Tai Pung Shing [actually Tang Pu Shing] for breakfast we found ourselves the centre of discussion by the staff Evidently they were prepared to stay here for an indefinite period and since it was obvious by now that they had a perfect reason for retaining all the stores their main desire was to see us back on our way to Waichow again, although one day before the hills had been infested with robbers who, we had been assured, were Very bad men. Now as our escort on the return journey we [were] given three men — quite unarmed.
There was nothing for it but to go and so, after mutual expressions of goodwill and polite assurances from them, assurances which we gracefully accepted, that any stores or guns which they 'managed to find' would be sent on speedily under full guard, we took the back trail to the hills via the same route which we previously covered with the Naval party. There was, however, a great difference between this and the previous trip. Then the guerillas pace had been set to ours, whereas now they made the pace and to such good effect that, leaving at 12 o'clock, by 4pm we were in Tung Po a distance which during the former trip had taken us practically a day's walking."
[11]

Following this game of cat and mouse there are no records to show the Lewis guns were ever returned.) [11]

8th January 1942 (Thurs)

Ships Log “Various “alerts” during morning, but no planes sighted. Everyone suffering from lack of money, but those with HK money‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ & nearly all had some‐‐‐‐were able to change it at the Central Trust Bank at 470. Result feverish buying of warm underwear all afternoon." [5]

Two days after arriving in Kukong Holger Christensen showed symptoms of malaria along with Norman Halliday, Frank Penny, Arthur Goring, and Fred Quixall and needed treatment and recuperation at the Methodist Mission infirmary run by Dr Samuel Moore and his wife Jean, with a very able Matron, Constance Green. Kukong was a vibrant, bustling city functioning near to normality apart from the daily air raids each morning. A part time trainee nurse knew Christensen's chum Sub-Lt Legge's mother Alice (Dotsy) in Shanghai and agreed to write to her, in Chinese for added security, informing her that both Christensen and his chum Legge were safe and due to continue westwards. Dotsy, a widower had married a Danish sea captain Jens Elster. [107]

Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF "A pair of H. K. shoes costs Kuomintang$350 (about 70/-), a razor blade 1/-. My total worldly possessions are a pair of flannels, too long and with holes in the seat, 2 pairs of socks, 1 shirt (no collar), a submarine sweater and 1 Chinese vest and a pair of Chinese slippers. Rather different from a month ago with car, flat, radio, gramophone, saddling (?) golf clubs and masses of clothes!
But a cheap price for liberty."
[30]

Ted Ross MoI "Mac and the Admiral went into the Mission Hospital where it was found the Admiral's arm was broken. They removed the bullet and dressed him up but he became quite ill and was still in hospital when we left six days later. They still couldn't find the bullet in Mac's back, but he was feeling much better after a couple of days in bed, and it was decided he should proceed to Chengdu later by plane where is situated the Canadian Mission Hospital - the best equipped in Free China." [28]

Admiral Chan Chak had not realised the bullet was still lodged deep in his wrist. Dr Samuel H Moore, Mooi, as he was known at the Ho Sai (Hexi) infirmary operated on him to remove the bullet. Three days later the Admiral suffered a ruptured stomach ulcer, resulting in a loss of blood. The Rev Peredur Jones aged 28, who taught at the Lingan University in Canton, was staying at the mission with his wife Dora Egwys Jones and was found to have the best blood match. Peredur volunteered to donate blood for the transfusion, it did not go well, taking over an hour to infuse due to congealing. The Admiral kept the bullet and had it mounted on a gold chain which he wore from his left lapel on ceremonial occasions. [113]

 

 

Admiral Chan Chak CN "I then received treatment at the West River (Hexi) Hospital but I lost much blood in the process. Rev. Jones (?) voluntarily donated his blood to me; this episode was a good example of the deep friendship between us and the Allies.” [6

Left members of the YMCA and mission greet Admiral Chan Chak and his party on arrival in Shaoguan (Kukong)
The Rev Peredur W P Jones is standing on the right with his wife Mrs Dora Egwys Jones and possibly Constance Green the infirmary Matron donated his blood for Chan Chak. [6]

Jean Moore "Mooi (Samuel) had removed the bullet from his wrist but he had hemorrhaged from a gastric ulcer which was no longer quiescent due to congratulatory feasts en route to Kukong. He was given a blood transfusion directly from Peredur Jones, our Welsh missionary, whom he later rewarded with a bottle of whisky." [43]

 

 

After his surgery Admiral Chan Chak stayed as a guest in Dr Moore's three year old daughter, Margaret's bedroom decorated with Mother Goose posters. The Admiral would proudly show his distinguished visitors the iconic photograph taken earlier in Waichow, portraying him surrounded by his Royal Navy armed Guard. He referred to them as his “Lo Hon” who had risked their all in assisting his escape from Hong Kong and escorting him through the Japanese lines to Free China.  The Lo Hon were ancient Song Dynasty outlaw warriors respected by all Chinese peoples.

Shaoguan [Kukong]

 

 

 

Left: Lt-Cmd John Yorath RN (Rtrd), Major Arthur Goring Probyns Horse, Commander Hugh M Montague RN [Senior Naval Officer Aberdeen, & the escape] with Mrs Muriel Jones of the "Methodist Mission" wearing a Chinese favour on her  lapel, and Adm Chan Chak's ADC Lt-Cmdr Hsu Heng (Henry) CN. Police Supt Bill Robinson of the Indian Police is behind with the white neck scarf.

Photo from Adm Chan Chak's collection ©

Lt-Cmd Hsu Heng (Henry) CN "When he saw me again in Chungking, he was still in my pair of shoes. He gave me back my bible. All of the things in the coat were lost, including the Jewelry, the diamond tiepin, etc. which my wife gave me when we got married. But saving life was more important at that time. So it doesn‟t really matter. Yu Siu Kee took all of them."


Two days later SK left as mysteriously as he had arrived. He and the Admiral had fallen out over the alleged missing $40.000.

Lt-Cmd Hsu Heng (Henry) CN “Our team of heroes has increased from 8 to 108. I had to explain to MacDougall and others that “Lo-Hons” were famous ancient Chinese fighters, which were respected by all of the Chinese peoples." [7]

Chan Chak started to read the Christian Bible after being introduced to it by Henry while he recuperated in Kukong.
Samuel & Jean had married in Canton in May 1936 before moving to Kukong. A few weeks after the Admiral had left Jean Moore gave birth to a son John.
Dr Samuel Moore joined the BAAG. The women were evakuated to Kunming in 1944. Jean, along with her three children then flew over "The Hump" to India staying with the New Zealand missionaries, in the Himalayan foothills and at Jagadhri in the Punjab.

Lt Kennedy RNVR "While in Kukong we took the opportunity of sending cables home individually, in case the full list of names had not got through from Waichow. During our stay in the "Sea Palace" there was an air - raid almost every morning." [9]

9th January 1942 (Fri)

Ships Log "Little more money arrived from British Embassy, so more purchases were made. In the afternoon our Troops played “small football” with local “Y” team and lost 2‐8‐‐‐ not bad, considering new to game (played in gym shoes) & out of practice. Game watched & enjoyed by crowd 2‐3000 spectators." [5]

Stoker Petty Officer Charlie Moore resting in Kukong.

PO Bob Stonell led a seven-a-side (small) football side against the local YMCA in a local park with a crowd of 2-3000, losing 8-2 the excuse being that the ground, the ball, and opponents were all too small. [5]

10th January 1942 (Sat)

Ships Log "Troops entertained at High Tea by local British community in “Hohsai” local Methodist Mission, while some of the officers were stood tea & music by a former Shai Merchant (Miss Adlam ?)" [5]

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR "In addition to this “bun-fight” two or three others and myself managed to get in a few games of tennis." [46]

11th January 1942 (Sun)

Ships Log "Bitterly cold, most people crowded round charcoal braziers all day. Officers & men attended special service Methodist Mission hall at 4pm." [5]

Admiral Chan Chak and Major Goring along with Penny & Quixall stayed at the Mission run by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church. On the 4th February they were joined by two HKRNVR officers D F Davies & D W Morley who had escaped with Colonel Lindsay Ride from Shamshuipo POW camp on the 9th January.

The party accepted an invite by the Methodist missionary to a high tea. The first western food since leaving Hong Kong was enjoyed by all. [12]

The Mission, an imposing array of two story buildings set in well manicured grounds with lawns and flower beds was located on the West bank just where the Y junction is in the river. By mid-1944 the foreign women and children were evacuated from Kukong. Jean and her three young children travelled to Kunming and were flown over Burma into India where they stayed with the New Zealand missionaries, in the Himalayan foothills and at Jagadhri in the Punjab. Mooi managed a couple of visits from China where he was working with the British Army Aid Group. Dr Moore was finally forced to leave China after the war when the Revolution took hold and settled in Hong Kong looking after the poor and needy along with the many drug addicts. Mooi died of a heart attack shortly before he was due to retire late in 1969 [43]

While the escape party were waiting for papers to continue towards Rangoon the names were published in the British news paper "Daily Express" on the 8 & 9th January.

12th January 1942 (Mon)

Ships Log "Another bitterly cold day. In the afternoon, all officers were guests of British community at tea/conversational held in local Methodist Mission hospital." [5]

13th January 1942 (Tues)

Ships Log "Slightly warmer. Lt Ashby & S/Lt Brewer, left by train to make sure things are ready for us en route to Kunming (we are to leave on Friday)" [5]

General Yu Hanmou the C-in-C of the VIIth war zone issued permits to Lt Ashby for him and Sub-Lt Brewer to carry side-arms while travelling ahead. [5]
Duggy Pethick and Eric Cox-Walker who had remained in hospital in Longchuen arrived to rejoin the escape party.

In the confusion of war various escape members including L/S Les Barker and PO Buddy Hide were reported as missing in action either by official correspondence from the Admiralty, or their local press.

14th January 1942 (Wed)

The remaining escape party were treated for anti typhoid.
After lunch Commander Montague along with six of the 'odds & sods' group, Oxford, Guest, Macmillan, Robinson, MacDougall & Ross as Gandy referred to them left by truck bound for the old walled town of Nanxiong which had an airstrip. They then had a flight to Guilin before flying on to the Nationalist wartime capitol Chungking, landing on the notoriously tricky river island runway. [30] 
The navy were relieved to see the back of the battle HQ officers who had so nearly compromised the escape plan at the outset. One officer in particular was viewed with utter contempt by the navy.

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Ross MoI "It was my first long journey by plane. We took off in pitch darkness at nine PM and landed in equally pitch darkness at about four AM in Chungking. The plane was a peach of a big Douglas DC2, the same type used on the American commercial routes; and the American pilots are tops.
When it became light and we saw where we had landed in the dead of night we were almost bowled over. Towering cliffs on both sides, with high-tension wires strung across the top, and we had slid right under the wires and between the cliffs and landed on a sand bank in the middle of a river.
These pilots do it night in and night out, flying planes that haven't been serviced for thousands of miles."
[28]

 

 

 

 

Due to the eight hour time difference the 'odds & sods' arrival in Chunking made the late editions of the UK press on the 15th January

After debriefing the party went their various ways with Guest, Macmillan, Montague,Oxford, Robinson and Ross flew on to Dum Dum Airport at Calcutta.

The Americans were arriving in Calcutta in ever increasing numbers and Guest shared a room with USAAF staff officer Major C V (Sonny) Whitney.[76]

Max Oxford took a post in the Air Attaché office at the British Embassy back in Chungking, while Robinson resumed his role as a police Superintendent in Delhi. Goring made his way to Calcutta at a later date.

The Coxswain Yeung Chuen made his way back to Hong Kong to make arrangements for the Admiral's wife and family to escape to Free China.

Lt Kennedy RNVR "A week after our arrival in Kukong we split forces and Commander Montague departed for Chungking by air with MacDougall and the army officers. About the same same time a small advance guard left for Kweilin by rail to pave the way for the main party who were to follow two days later." [9]

Ships Log "Troops marched to hospital in morning for anti Typhoid inspection. Cdr Montague, Army, & Air Force Officers, & MI men left soon after noon & thence by plane to Chungking." [5]

Ted Ross MoI "After six days Chungking finally managed to get a plane down for us and seven of us lucky ones climbed aboard, leaving the rest to continue the long, arduous journey by train and truck. One of our original party (Goring) got malaria and had to be left behind. It was my first long journey by plane. We took off in pitch darkness at nine PM and landed in equally pitch darkness at about four AM in Chungking." [28]

Cdr Montague RN (Ret) "At Shaoguan Lieut-Colonel Hughes made arrangements for the party to proceed by rail to Kweilin, starting on the 16th January and thence by trucks to the Burmese frontier. The staff officers and myself were instructed to go by plane to Chunking to report to His Majesty's Ambassador at that place. We reported at the Embassy on the 15th January 1942.
His Excellency Admiral Chan Chak remained in the Methodist Mission in Siukian to recover from his wounds and the hardships of the journey. Throughout our trip His Excellency was most attentive to our welfare and comfort, and in spite of his wound and ill health furnished us a most noble example of fortitude and cheerfulness.
His instructions were zealously executed by his Aide de Camp, Lieutenant Commander Hsu Heng whose character and ability we came to admire extremely.
All our party would be highly gratified if you should see fit to commend the assistance furnished by these officers of the Chinese Navy to the attention and gratitude of Their Lordships
Also I would commend to your notice the generosity of the VII th Army Command in providing us with road transport in spite of their own urgent needs.
Also the generous hospitality of the villagers who provided food for us during our march. It is fervently to be hoped that these good folk will not suffer reprisals from the Japanese. To this end, all members of the party have been instructed to regard details of our route and also the fact that officers of the Special Service were with us, as most secret.
I had known most of the officers a long time, and they all performed their duties to the high expectation I had of them. The conduct and bearing of the men was altogether admirable, and they fully maintained the reputation of His Majesty's Service, and the honour of His Grace. My recommendations for honours and awards are being forwarded separately.
By God's Mercy, we were preserved from accidents and serious illness."
[1]

Gandy had discharged his orders in full with the Admiral now recuperating safely with Dr Moore and was greatly relieved to have separated from the 'odds & sods,' as indeed were the entire ships company. With Admiral Chan Chak safely back in Free China Britain's standing with the Chinese Nationalist Government in Chungking had been preserved.
Gandy immediately began preparing Adm Chan Chak's former body-guard, his ships company, now numbering 50, to proceed to the nearest British naval base some two thousand five hundred miles overland in Rangoon, Burma. Owen-Hughes procured Kuomintang$14,000 to cover their rail fare from Kukong. [80b]

Lt-Cmd Gandy RN (Ret) “As each dollar was worth only about one penny , this sum was more bulky than valuable. The best I could do was wrap it in a towel and sleep on it at night.[80b]

15th January 1942 (Thurs)

Ships Log "Quiet day, spent lazily preparing for next stage of the journey. Troops played Shaoguan Officers Club at 7‐a‐side small football. Latter won 7‐3." [5]

Bud Hide's family were informed by the Commodore, Royal Navy Barracks, Portsmouth, in a letter dated 15th January 1942 that he was "Missing on War Service" after the fall of Hong Kong.

Lt Kennedy RNVR "We said good - bye to Chan Chak's staff with real regret and were each given a copy of the group photograph taken at Waichow. We did not see the Admiral before leaving as he was lying in the Mission Hospital after an operation on his wrist (Dr. S. H. Moore) to remove the bullet which had lodged there sinse Christmas Day. He was very weak but a blood transfusion given by ( Peredur Jones) one of the missionaries was helping to restore his normal vitality." [9]

Gandy had each member of the escape party sign the White Ensign used in the iconic Waichow photo and presented it to the Mission in recognition of their hospitality.

Admiral Chan Chak made a full recovery,  and in due course proceeded to Chungking along with his ADC Henry, where the British awarded the Admiral the the KBE, Yee the MBE, and Henry the OBE. The Guerrilla leader Leung Wingyuen was awarded the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom after the cessation of hostilities in 1945.

Admiral Chan Chak broadcast his greetings to the UK via the BBC on Christmas Day 1942, the anniversary of his dramatic escape from Hong Kong. [83]

Chan Chak converted to Christianity from Buddhism after Henry saved his life prior to boarding the MTB's at Aberdeen Island, and was baptised at the Union Church in Chungking on the anniversary of the Christmas Day escape from Hong Kong, adopting the name "Andrew.[53]

The "British Army Aid Group, BAAG was conceived at the Ho Sai Mission shorty after the Christmas Day escape party moved on.

Jean Moore "After the arrival of the sixty-five men, the next group of escapees from Hong Kong was headed by Colonel Lindsay Ride, Professor of Physiology at Hong Kong University, with two other university lecturers and Francis Lee, one of his Chinese students. Colonel Ride joined Harry Owen Hughes in the spare bedroom and it was there that the British Army Aid Group was born, a type of Ml6 organisation whose first objective was to organise en masse escapes from the prison camps in Hong Kong." [43]

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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