Escape from Hong Kong the true story


Escape party in Waichow: Photos from the Barker, Hide, & Ross collections Click here to enlarge ©

| Contact | National Archives | Hong Kong War Diary | HERO Face book | Mwadui | Guest Book | Site Map | The Author | Site Map | Contact|



A definitive Account

from over twenty five first hand accounts incluing Chan Chaks journal


Britain had adopted double summer time so even in winter Britain was GMT +1 hour. Hong Kong War-time was GMT+7.5 hours. Seven and a half hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour the Imperial Japanese Army attacked Hong Kong. Within days Churchill, with a party numbering eighty, including all his Chiefs of Staff, was racing across the North Atlantic onboard the battleship HMS Duke of York to North America. Most of the staffers were constantly seasick as the battleship steamed at full speed pitching and rolling through the turbulent winter waters. Churchill was not and he kept his staff busy keeping in contact with all the battle fronts using his portable war room. What followed was a most remarkable chain of events culminating in East meeting West. I have no doubts in believing that this story started with the summit, code-named Arcadia, between Churchill and Roosevelt in the White House which started three days before Hong Kong capitulated. The Arcadia agreements remained secret, the main thing was Churchill had persuaded FDR to concentrate on Europe first. Appeasing Chiang Kai‐shek in his battle with the Japanese was crucial.

The story of this epic escape has been written about many times, but the reason for the escape has remained a mystery. Just what did invoke this epic escape, those involved were sworn to secrecy. Never in the annuls of the Royal Navy have they willingly handed over a ship to a foreign native, now the order came through to hand an entire flotilla over to a Chinese Admiral. Why was it so important to risk the lives of British crews on the far side of the world and on whose orders. Following years of research I think I have found the answer and it will surprise all who read it about it.

This story of daring-do was told to me and my siblings many times by our father, Petty Officer Bud Hide late of MTB 07. We lived in Gosport, across the water from Portsmouth, close to the MTB base HMS Hornet, where dad used to take us on regular trips, often meeting his former Hong Kong escapee colleagues. Many years later, long after father's untimely death, I was invited out to Hong Kong by Admiral Chan Chak's twin sons, Donald and Duncan. They knew every detail of their father's escape from the island and duly showed me all the points of interest, from his private office on the 4th floor of the Pedder Building and the site of his official office on the corner of Queens Road and Pedder Street to the crevasse where he sheltered alone on a deserted island at the end of Aberdeen Channel. That same year I was also given the Fair Log of MTB 07, my father's boat, covering the second half of 1941 including the battle for Hong Kong and subsequent escape. The Chan twins gave me access to their father's journal covering the same period.

I have now acquired more than 25 first-hand accounts of the escape, the most comprehensive collection of this most daring of wartime escape.

Sub-Lieutenant Lewis Bush HKRNVR Lt-Com Gandy RN (Rtrd) Commanding Officer of the 2nd MTB Flotilla, ordered preparation of the remaining boats for a long voyage and provisions were to be made for scuttling them if necessary and for long marches across country and mountain climbing. [91]

The 2nd MTB Flotilla evaded capture, and escaped from Hong Kong, engaging in secret negotiations with Chinese guerrillas before scuttling their boats deep behind enemy lines. The crew of the 2nd MTB Flotilla were to be the armed guard of the legendry one legged Chinese Admiral Chan Chak as they marched overland through the Japanese occupied mountains to Free China. Later the Navy party were aided by allied special forces as they crossed into Burma.
They were feted at every city they passed through and at one stage were entertained for three days by Dr Robert Kho Seng Lim, Surgeon-General of the Republic of China.
In Rangoon they fought insurgents and fifth columnists alongside the elite volunteer Force Viper Marines before escaping on the last merchantman out.
Sworn to secrecy most took their secrets to the grave, leaving their diaries and accounts to whom it may concern. It is an epic tale of East meets West with consequences that reverberate around the world and across time.
It is their story in their words. Hong Kong could not be held but had to be defended.

Research compiled by Buddy Hide Jr

The Chinese had been at war with Japan since 1937 and following the invasion of Hong Kong on 8th December 1941 the IJA pushed the British back to Hong Kong Island where they established a bridgehead in just ten days. HMS Duke of York was nearing Norfolk, Virginia and Churchill was making plans for his meeting with FDR. The Hong Kong situation was a huge embarrassment and it was obvious that they could not hold out for long. Churchill was seeking to gain something positive from the situation. In Hong Kong orders were received stating that the Chinese delegation led by Admiral Chan Chak, must be returned to Free China at all costs in the event of a surrender. The mission was delegated to the Senior Service with their flotilla of high speed low profile motor torpedo boats. On Christmas Day as the Colony succumbed to the overwhelming force of the Imperial Japanese Army the planned escape was put into action. Of the seventy two men who set out and attempted to escape, sixty eight landed on the beach at Nanao behind enemy lines the following morning.

I grew up with this incredible story, for my father was one of those men. In 1959 I joined my elder brother, David, at the Royal Hospital School where I met other sons of the Christmas Day Hong Kong escape party.
To me and my siblings the green and white Gosport ferry was the 'Star Ferry' and Portsmouth was 'Hong Kong Island'. The MTB base, HMS Hornet, in Gosport just added spice to our fertile minds.
One of those was Pony Moore who was later asked by HRH Prince Philip to regale the escape several times in after dinner stories at the estate in Anglesey where HMS Conway, a naval college was based. HRH came for an annual shoot on the estate. With my father keeping his copy of the iconic Waichow photo hanging in the family home I was never going to forget this amazing event.
To me and my siblings growing up in Gosport before we emigrated the green and white Gosport to Portsmouth ferry was the 'Star Ferry' and Portsmouth was 'Hong Kong Island'. The MTB base, HMS Hornet, in Gosport just added spice to our fertile minds.

After my father's untimely death, and the first stirrings of a public internet system I decided to see if I could utilize it to bring the iconic Waichow photo to life and trace my father's former colleagues in Hong Kong, or their descendants. I published a one page web site back in 1997/8, and, to my amazement I got some response. An early contact was from the son of Admiral Chan Chak. This was the start of a lifelong friendship with the Admiral's twin sons Donald and Duncan.
The Chan family gave me exclusive access to their fathers journals, meticulously written up by Admiral Chan Chak. In 1999 we spent an entire afternoon and evening discussing the escape and our plans to retrace the early stages of the escape. Chan Chak had a copy of the iconic 'Waichow Photo' with all the names and under the gaze of a large portrait of Chan Chak we vowed to bring the photo to life and retrace the route to Waichow now Huizhou. This we achieved ten years later in 2009 along with over eighty other descendants. We had also arranged an exhibition entitled 'Escape from Hong Kong the road to Waichow' which was on display at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence attracting just under 500,000 paying visitors over three years.

Some of my other very early contacts included Alex Kennedy’s widow Joy, David MacDougall’s family, Ted Ross’s son Warwick, and Lawrence Kilbee, late O/C MTB 08 who lived local to me here in Sussex. Although Lawrence was put ashore by Gandy just as the Chan Chak party turned up, he was a mine of information on the build-up to the MTB departure.
Another very early contact was Tony Banham of Hongkongwardiary dot com. Even though Tony held a degree in computing he had not thought of utilizing the world wide net for his research. It was not long before he followed my example, reaping the benefits of people coming to him rather than him chasing them. I was able to supply the MTB information for his first publication “Not the Slightest Chance”.

Over the years I have tracked down and obtained every known first-hand account of this most ordacious of escapes. In 2003 a Professor at the University of Minnesota faxed me a first-hand account held in the archives of the escape party arriving in Guiyang after one of their Lorries had overturned. Yet more came from church archives in New Zealand. I passed on some of those accounts to others who went on to publish their interpretation of the events.
With the many first-hand accounts I have obtained I believe this is the closest that can be achieved after such a long gap from the time of those most extraordinary events on Christmas Day 1941 in Hong Kong.
This is the written words of those who escaped.

When in Hong Kong, I, of course prefer to cross over to Kowloon on the "Star ferry," rather than the newer road tunnels, or the MTR. There is something about it that reminds me of my innocent youth in Gosport dreaming of Hong Kong.
Lieutenant-Commander Gerard H Gandy RN (Ret) pulled off this most audacious escape right under the noses of the Japanese. Prevailing against all the odds, he marched his ships company three thousand miles overland through the mountains of southern China and Burma to freedom without serious loss or injury.

Several books have been published extolling the virtues of the staff officers from Battle HQ, who volunteered to look after the Admiral, and escort him to the rendezvous with the Motor Torpedo Boats. But were they team players and heroes, or were they just a bunch of self-opinionated "Hooray Henry's" whose only concern was saving themselves!
Read the most comprehensive account ever written at and judge for yourself.

This is the words of those who escaped, you decide.

Lieutenant-Commander Gerard H Gandy was undoubtedly the hero in pulling off this most audacious escape right under the noses of the Japanese.  Prevailing against all the odds, Gandy escaped and marched his ships company three thousand miles overland through the mountainous terrain of southern China to freedom without serious loss or injury.

Nobody has lived with, and researched this episode in the battle for Hong Kong for as long, or as passionately as I have.

Planning the Admiral's Escape

F W Kendall SOE Returned to Hong Kong after his mining consultancy in southern China was interrupted by the Japanese occupation. Mike, as he was known was recruited by Jim Gaven when he visited the Colony. In July 1941 Mike, along with Eddie Teesdale went on an STS101 course in Singapore. On their return to Hong Kong they recruited ten operatives to join the newly formed Reconnaissance Unit. In August 1941 Christopher Hudson was appointed as the first head of the SOE Far East branch in London. [67]

Maj-Gen S. Woodburn Kirby (Author) "The Far Eastern situation was examined in 1921 by the Committee of Imperial Defence which came to the conclusion that there was no possibility of making Hong Kong sufficiently secure against attack. Thus it could no longer be considered an adequate base for British naval forces in the Far East." [96]

The Admiralty telegram declaring war arrived at 05.12 local time on the 8th December 1941. Just under three hours later the first air raid from Canton was bombing Kai Tak airport destroying the old RAF fleet along with the Pan Am Clipper preparing for take-off from Kowloon Bay.
All shipping had been cleared by 02.00 with 39 scuttled, 13 seized, 1 sunk by air attack, and 3 captured at sea, with 6 unknown.
An estimated 15,000 Sampans and Junks had collected in Yaumati Typhoon Anchorage between Stonecutters Island and the Mainland. With River Steamers scuttled across the entrance and the outer approaches mined.

All but one of the SOE were behind enemy lines when the Japanese invaded. He, Mike Kendall, reported to Colonel L A Newnham, GOC1 at Battle HK. Newnham was later executed while POW. [11]
After just twelve days of hostilities the Japanese were swarming over Hong Kong Island. Following Germany and Japan both declaring war on the United Staes Churchill telegramed Roosevelt with an offer to meet him in Washington. Churchill, with all his Chiefs of Staff, was greeted by President Roosevelt at Washington airport on 22nd December and stayed with the President as a guest at the White House where they worked very closely together and dined together every night for almost three weeks discussing the war against Germany and Japan.

F W Kendall SOE "About a week before Hong Kong fell I was asked to prepare an escape route. We had five MTB’s there, all fully equipped and what not and the night of the surrender we took off these, I was the leader of that group which had got these MTB’s with about seventy odd people on board. Key personnel from Government and key military personnel, people who could tell the story of Hong Kong outside." [67]

Staffies in the Battle-Box HQ soon got wind of the navy's intended mission, prompting a few to start scheming how to tag along.

Maj Goring BHQ "One night I found myself alone with the General [Maltby]. I told him that, In the event of surrender, I intended to attempt an escape. How do you propose to do it?" he asked. Take a sampan and sail away I suppose. I replied.
The General informed me that there was a plan afoot for a small Naval party to smuggle out a very important Chinese naval officer, a certain Admiral Chan Chak, provided there was a suitable boat left un-sunk. If I cared to see the organizer [Mike Kendall] there might be room for me; and, since I knew Admiral Chan Chak personally, I might be given the task of escorting him to the rendezvous when the moment came." [17]

The General and his commanding officers told the staffies who requested to flee the Colony that they could go when the end came, not before. They would have to make their own arrangements if they wished to join the official escape party.
Those who knew Mike Kendall cotacted him to make arrangements to join the escape party, others apparently just tagged along.

George Wright-Nooth (Author) "It was about this time that I had an offer to join an escape bid to get out of Hong Kong at the eleventh hour, which we could all see was fast approaching. It was Robinson, the fellow policeman whom I had got to know quite well, who offered me a passage on one of the boats." [42]

George Wright-Nooth failed to join the escape party in the end.

Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF "One of the queer organizations we had for operating behind the enemy lines was led by a Canadian adventurer [Kendall] I had known for some time and he asked me if I would care to join him in a break for freedom when the end came." [85]

Capt Freddie Guest BHQ "Captain Peter Macmillan, a staff officer like myself, and I decided to to take our chance and contact the Chinese Admiral, Chan Chak, with the object of trying to make an escape.
After some difficulty we managed to find him with his ADC Henry Hsu and told them that although we had no set plans we were prepared to try to escape with them to the Chinese mainland."

Ted Ross MoI "We contacted some daring Chinese junkmen and made tentative plans to have them smuggle us out at a thousand dollars a head. This plan failed because we couldn't leave until after the surrender. The junks couldn't hang around waiting indefinitely as the Jap's were capturing one place after another along the coastline, and we could give them no indication when or where we'd be when the white flag went up." [28]

Philip Snow (Author) "In Hong Kong itself a close link was developed with Chan Chak, a Nationalist Admiral raised in the Colony who hobbles onto the stage like a Chinese Long John Silver with a wooden leg and prominent, pugnacious jaw.
Shortly after Canton fell in 1938 this picturesque figure had been sent to Hong Kong by Chiang-Kai-Shek to take charge of the Nationalist underground there."

Oliver Lindsay (Author) "The Admiral was a flamboyant and ruthless character. He had lost a leg in a naval action against the Japanese on the Yangtze River. The mission’s second-in-command, Major-General S K Yee, represented the Chinese Secret Service. During the fighting for Hong Kong both these officers assisted the British with counter-espionage measures and in the liquidation of Chinese fifth-columnists." [80]

Adm Chan Chak ROROC Had earned a fearsome reputation defending Sun Yat Sen, the Father of the Nation and was known locally as the Nelson of the East. In the early 20th century Chan Chak had been incarcerated in Ap Chau Prison in Macau by the Portuguese. Sun Yat-sen's first wife lived at No1 Bastilles Street and brought meals and canned fruit to him on a regular basis. Sun Yet-san sent a representative, Sun Ke, with a 5000 Yuan guarantee to have Chan released but it was turned down. Sun Yet-san's negotiator spent six months negotiating his release before Chan and his twenty two colleagues were designated political prisoners and finally released. [6]

He had enjoyed a guided tour of his hero's flag-ship, HMS Victory during an official visit to England in August 1933. From then on he made it his business to be close to the British in Hong Kong. [6] [90]

Chan Chack had been the Chairman of the Kuomintang in Hong Kong and Macau since June 1941 with offices on the 2nd floor in the Asiatic Building in Queens Road under two cover companies, Wah Kee Hong and Wing Kee Hong trade companies. In reality they were the cover for the General Party Branch of the Kuomintang. They represented both the Party and the ROC government. Through this office Chan Chak kept close liasons with theBritish political and military authorities. Much of his dealings were with David MacDogall, head of the Ministry of Information.

Colin McEwan S.O.E. "They were the Nationalist government's representatives in HK trying to establish contact with the guerrillas in the HK border area, whom we would supply with arms in turn for their interfering in the Japanese lines of communication." [11]

Thirty seven old David MacDougall was on his second posting to Hong Kong with the Colonial Service, having first arrived in 1928 as a cadet after graduating with an M. A, from St Andrews University in Scotland. When hostilities erupted in Europe he returned to Hong Kong as Secretary to the Far Eastern Bureau of the Ministry of Information (MoI). Mac was answerable to John Galvin, Deputy Head of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Ministry of Information, based in Chungking. [26]
Mac had offices on the 1st floor of the Hong Kong Bank building. Along with many others he was forced to evacuate to the Gloucester Hotel in Des Voeux Road on the corner with Pedder Street.

Chan Chak had been wounded while defending Canton from the Japanese and came to Hong Kong in the Spring of 1938 for medical treatment. Chan was treated in the French Hospital, St Pauls, where his left leg was amputated below the knee.. He soon recovered and worked on his fitness. Chan Chack was appointed Chairman of the Kuomintang in Hong Kong and Macau since June 1941.

Two stock-broker trading companies, Wah Kee Hong & Wing Kee Hong, with offices registered in Shell House, formerly the APC building at 24-32 Queen's Road Central, were set up as covers for the Chinese political parties. The General Party Branch of the Kuomintang representing and the ROC central government. Chan Chak was appointed overall commander of both. Much of Chan's dealings were with David MacDogall, head of the Ministry of Information. His mission consisted of 37 year old Colonel S. K. Yee, known as S.K, posing as an insurance salesman from Shanghai who spoke perfect English without an accent. Twenty nine year old Flag Lt-Commander Heng Hsu ROC, ADC to Chan and known as Henry, along with 45 year old Coxswain Yeung Chuen his bodyguard and martial arts expert.
The wily Admiral controlled a network of informers, spies, as well as pirate-come-smugglers from the Dapeng Peninsula on the far side of Mirs Bay. They operated in and around Hong Kong waters and the Pearl Delta. Western commodities especially petrol were highly sought after in what was predominantly a chaotic and lawless part of China.
When the Japanese invaded Chan secured a residence on the 4th floor of the Pedder Building, close to the Gloucester Hotel. Under British Colonial law, no natives of the empire could overnight in a European hotel.
A keen sportsman Chan was not deterred by his disability. He enjoyed prolonged swimming sessions in the numerous bays around Hong Kong, as well as regular knockabouts on the tennis court with David MacDougall amongst others. [6]

Kendall the leader of "S.O.E." only had two of his team in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded, Colin McEwan as his 'runner' and John Talan his undercover man in HK. The remainder were trapped behind enemy lines. [11] Their tasks were many and varied.

Colin McEwan SOE "Frances Woodley Kendall, Mike, as he was generally known, came from Vancouver although he had lived in Hong Kong for several years. He was originally a mining engineer with a knowledge of explosives. His wife was Chinese and he was also a Cantonese speaker with some knowledge of other dialects.
Kendall, who was not a member of the Volunteers, was in Hong Kong officially to advise on refugee camps and that was said to have been his 'cover'. As officer commanding S.O.E., Kendall reported directly to Colonel Newnham (Chief of Staff and GOC1) at military headquarters." [11]

Kendall and his team engaged in the art of "ungentlemanly warfare" and were known as the 'Recce Unit'.

With the planes now destroyed the Governor and C-in-C of Hong Kong, Sir Marc Young was going through the options to facilitate extracting the Chinese Military Council headed by Admiral Chan Chak out of Hong Kong and safely back to Free China in order for Britain to save face with the Nationalist Chinese Government.

When Christmas Day dawned none had any idea of the events that lay ahead. These events would be etched in their minds for the rest of their natural lives. With all Royal Navy ships scuttled except for the 2nd MTB Flotilla and its support vessels, the Royal Navy was now fighting on the front line alongside the military as infantrymen in the trenches.

Lt-Cdr G H Gandy RN (Rtrd) leading the flotilla accross China ©As the Imperial Japanese Army overwhelmed the defending forces, it was the Senior Service that was called upon to extract the Chinese Military Mission led by Admiral Chan Chak from Hong Kong. The 2nd MTB Flotilla accomplished this most dramatic saga on Christmas Day 1941 following the fiasco in Aberdeen Channel. They endured murderous machine gun fire in broad daylight tearing their flimsy craft apart, followed by non-stop bursts as they swam for their very lives towards the nearest isle.

Fifty four year old Cmdr Hugh Montague RN (Ret) also escaped with a crew of two officers and four ratings after salvaging the yellow funneled Dockyard diesel launch C.410 in Aberdeen Channel, and joined up with the MTB's in Mirs Bay the following day.

PO Buddy Hide & guerrilla leader Leung Wingyuan 
  Photo from the Ross family collection ©Following secret negotiation with a Chinese gang ruffians who survived on the proceeds of piracy & smuggling, they landed deep behind enemy lines on the Dapeng Peninsula in Mirs Bay.
Carrying fifty-sixty pound packs over mountainous terrain and fording rivers they endured four days and nights of forced marching, passing through the Japanese lines, all the time being guided by the Chinese Guerrillas. They finally reached the relative safety of the bombed out city of Waichow now Huizhou in Free China, being subjected to yet another air raid. Some had bullet wounds, others injuries picked up during the march, with more suffering severe illness. Some had footwear that fitted, some not.

It was the beginning of a nineteen thousand seven hundred mile odyssey, with 3000 miles of hostile mountainous terrain across southern China and Burma by foot, river, truck, and train, all the time being targeted by Japanese bombers. They encountered the harsh Chinese winter, sometimes sleeping rough out in the open, in cleared out floating brothels, and even places with bubonic plague.
Finally they reached their goal, Rangoon in Burma. They had triumphed over adversity only to be confronted with the Japanese invading forces in that place and were forced to escape all over again, sailing out right through the inbound Japanese armada.
Of the sixty eight men who landed at NanAo deep behind enemy lines on the Dapeng Peninsula in Mirs Bay, sixty four survived the war to witness peace again, some were back to witness the Japanese surrender in Hong Kong in 1945. Others went on to hold high office as Law makers, Governors, Mayors, and an Olympic Committee Member. One went on to be hailed as arguably the most famous Coastal Forces Commanding Officer of WW II.

The flotilla & escape party were honored with twenty one awards for their exploits in Hong Kong and subsequent escape
1 K.B.E. 1 C.B.E. 1 M.B.E. 2 O.B.E.s 2 D.S.C.s 14 M.i.Ds. 1 KGC.

7th Dec 1941 (Sun)

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR "All the land volunteers received their mobilisation orders, which were to be completed by 10.00 hrs the following day." [46]

8th Dec 1941 (Mon)

Ships Log (MTB 07) "07.30 Monoplane, 10,000 feet; course 180o, Overhead." [5]

Chan had been woken in the early hours and informed of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, followed two hours later with the attack on Pearl Harbour. He in turn roused his family and made an early start, catching the Star ferry to the Island city of Victoria Chan took his family to Henry Hsu's house. During the crossing the Imperial Japanese Air force (IJA) attacked Kai Tak airport in neutral Hong Kong. The local time was 08.00 hours and Chan and his family had a clear view of the Twelve Tachikawa Ki-36 "Ida" Army bombers of the 45th Sentai based at Canton escorted by nine Ki-27 "Nate" fighters attack on Kai Tak airport, Kowloon. The Idas bomb from low level, while the Nates strafe. They destroyed all the planes at Kai Tak airdrome including the Pan Am Hong Kong Clipper preparing to take off from Kowloon Bay. The Japanese simultaneously invaded the New Territories with an overwhelming ground force outnumbering the allied troops 4-1. At the same time an Imperial Japanese battle-fleet carrying more than three hundred planes attacked Pearl Harbour. Winston Churchill was dining at Chequers with the US Ambassador and special envoy when he received the news. Churchill telephoned President Roosevelt who remarked "we are all in the same boat now". Churchill had wooed, cajoled, and flattered Roosevelt since the beginning of the European conflict had started in 1939 and following his phone call with FDR he recorded “Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” In the early hours Churchill was informed that that the Imperial Japanese army had invaded Hong Kong and bombed Kai Tak airdrome. The Japanese Military High Command, not the Imperial Japanese Government, declared that a stae of war existed with Great Britain and the United States of America.

A PanAm Sikorsky S-42 similar to the Hong Kong Clipper

A Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 similar to the Hong Kong Clipper destroyed by bombing as it prepared to take off from Kowloon Bay

Gordon E Torrey "I finally got a passage booked on a vessel called "Kung Sang" sailing from Hong Kong 8th Dec 1941. As we cleared Hong Kong harbour early that morning the Japanese started bombing."

David MacDougall MoI "The last letter I wrote to you from H.K. was blown up with the clipper in Kowloon Bay". [26]

Ships Log (MTB 07) "08.00 AIR-RAID. Slipped, proceeded towards Green Island." [5]

The only remaining navy presence were the eight boats of the 2nd MTB Flotilla, along with an old mine laying destroyer and a few river gun boats.

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR: "All un-mobilised Naval volunteers received their mobilisation orders during the morning." [46]

Eric Cox Walker HKRNVR: "We soon realised it was the real thing, and the HKRNVR ships were in action right away. Later that morning they were all shifted round to Aberdeen where they were moored single line ahead and presented such a target that of course we had two raids the following day with one or two near misses.  After that all ships were transferred to Deep Water Bay with the “Cornflower” as H.Q." [56]

Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF "During 17 days of fighting we had no air support, but Gen Chiang Kai-Shek kindly offered to send a Chinese Air Force to help us, and we were very happy to see them." [85]

Gen Chiang Kai-Shek sent planes from the China National Aviation Company (ROCAC), to evacuate Chinese VIP's including Madam Sun Yat-Sen with her sister Soong Ai-ling and her husband, the KMT Finance Minister H.H. Kung. They were escorted to Kai Tak by Two-gun Cohen. The eight American pilots flew a total of sixteen sorties evacuating 275 persons under cover of darkness to Chungking between the 8th and 10th December.
General Zheng, a staff officer from Chungking, along with Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Owen-Hughes made the last flight out. Owen-Hughes took on the role of liaison officer to the Chinese military in Chungking. The pilot's were Charles L. Sharp, Hugh L. Woods, Harold A. Sweet, William McDonald, Frank L. Higgs, Robert S. Angle, P.W. Kessler and S.E. Scott. [95]

Jean Moore: “A member of the Hong Kong Volunteers, Lt-Col Harry Owen Hughes, had been flown out of Hong Kong to act as liaison officer with the Chinese military. We invited him to stay in our home and a delightful guest he proved to be. Every morning, attired in Mooi’s sports jacket, as he had left Hong Kong in uniform, he would borrow a bicycle and ride along the river bank to military headquarters. A military telephone was installed in the spare bedroom, and most evenings he would ring the British military representative in Chungking. The line was poor and his voice would gain in volume until it could be heard around the compound”. [43]

Admiral Chan Chak's family stayedwith Henry Hsu's family on Hong Kong Island for the duration of the battle.

9th Dec 1941 (Tues)

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "No enemy aircraft flew at night!" [16]

10th Dec 1941 (Wed)

Ted Ross MoI "On the third day we moved from our offices in the Hong Kong Bank building over to our distribution office in the Gloucester Hotel. Our office there was on the third floor, with another five floors overhead, so we were reasonably safe. It was also convenient as it was a converted hotel room with bathroom and bedding. The last two weeks we worked and slept in the office.
We had three heavy shells in the Gloucester, one right on our third floor. It was a big baby, looked about nine point two, but fortunately for us it didn't explode."

11th Dec 1941 (Thurs)

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "A day of non-stop activity for all Naval craft, with APV's involved in battle with junks thought to be carrying Japanese troops.
I had the job in MTB 08 of picking up Commodore Collinson and his Flag Lieut Cecil Gray, and taking them to Kowloon Bay, where as duty MTB I ferried them between HM Ships Thracian, Indira, and Tern. The bay was a fantastic site, full of every conceivable craft"

12th Dec 1941(Fri)

David MacDougall MoI "I changed my office from the H.K. Bank to the 3rd floor of the Gloucester Bldg, which seemed safer. Three times a day either Ross or myself went up to battle headquarters to get an appreciation of the situation – a most uncomfortable journey for the Naval Yard was just in front and the Bowen Rd. batteries just behind and both were under continual long range fire. There was plenty of hot shrapnel kicking about the road we had to go". [26]

Ted Ross MoI "All troops were evacuated from the Kowloon side by the morning of the twelfth, except for a small group of Indians holding out at Devil's Peak.
All motor cars were commandeered by the Government for use by essential service workers only. Gangs were sent around the streets to pick up all cars and drive them to car dumps, the main reason being to clear the streets for essential traffic, and secondly so that those authorised to drive could go to the dump and pick up a car. In effect, as cars were damaged by shell fire or collision, got flat tyres or run-down batteries, they were simply left for wrecking crews to pick up, and the drivers went to the dump for another one."

Similarly all marine vessels requisitioned for use by the navy and military.

Ted Ross MoI "I picked myself a peach of a big new Buick Special. Glass and debris littered all the main streets, but none were completely blocked.
We used it for everything; dashing up to headquarters three times a day for communiqués, distributing leaflets and pamphlets, picking up gasoline, oil, and food supplies.
I drove it right through the siege, through streets littered with debris, broken glass and hanging trolley wires, and never even got a puncture."

Chan Chak decided the only way to control the Triads on the island was to raise money to out-pay the Japanese. He then appointed Triad leaders to each quarter of the island. [7]

There was no mass carnage on the scale of Kowloon recorded on the island.
Mike Kendall and his team started their ant fifth-Columnist patrols on this night and were instrumental in eliminating Japanese sympathisers. [11]

(Philip Snow (Author) "Over the following days the Nationalist Vigilantes captured a total of 500 to 600 Wang Jingwei partisans. [6]
At least 400 of these subversives were liquidated by Chan's Loyal and righteous themselves. Others were despatched with a shot in the back of the neck by the British police in a cul-de-sac running between the Gloucester Hotel and Lane Crawford's department store in Dez Voeux Road which became known as Blood Alley.
The one legged Admiral assumed energetic overall charge of the counter-insurgency. One evening he personally hurled a hand grenade to eliminate a fifth columnist who was flashing a signal light." [71]

Colin McEwan S.O.E."At last 10 o'clock came and with the feelings very confused we had the jail opened and our prisoners handed over. I had expected to feel some sympathy for them but instead felt only a slow anger and a feeling that they were not human beings in the real sense of the word. Coming out into the street was dark as hell and all we could feel was the presence of the Punjab guard, the rasp of their boots, and the occasional whimper of one of the prisoners who was taking it pretty badly.
In Queen's Road they were soon lined up and shot, though one of them, who all along had preserved a dead silence, made a break for it and was cornered in an alley after a chase. Duly placarded they were left and home we went again via the Punjab H. Q. where some marvelous crusty bread, cheese, and whisky proved exactly what the doctor ordered.
On the way home we were all pretty quiet — I personally had a mindful of thoughts — the changes we had seen — the difference in our lives — different attitudes to life and its value — change in occupation"

Imperial Prime Minister Winston Churchill, along with his chiefs of staff, embarked on the battle-ship HMS Duke of York bound for Hampton Roads, Virginia and an eventual meeting with President Franklin D Roosevelt in Washington DC. Churchill had his portable War Room set up on board. All the major battles were tracked on the large wall maps with the information streaming in via the ships radio.

13th Dec 1941 (Sat)

Lt- Cdr Gandy RN (Ret) "05.00 XDO withdrew MTB's 07, 09, 11, & 12 from Potoi & Hamiwan and sent them to the northwest of Lyemun to 5/7th Rajputs during the battle for Hong Kong 
    Photo from Tim Carew Fall of Hong Kong ©evacuate troops from the rough pier in bay west of Devils Peak. MTB 11 investigated pier and ran aground on rock in bay when turning away from pier, damaging propellers. MTB's 07 & 09 remained near pier after daylight until soldiers appeared, and with unexpected lack of opposition evacuated 260 Rajputs from North Lyemun to Thracian. The following message was received from the Commodore
(Begins) Well done excellent work in early hours today Saturday V2 for MTB's concerned. (Ends)
All MTB's with the exception of 07 & 12 (the option being left to Commanding Officers) were changed from light grey to camouflage colours, grey, brown, green, yellow."

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "Evacuation of troops in the Kowloon Bay area continued during the night. MTB 11 damaged but able to return to base." [16]

Ships Log (MTB 07) "Evacuating troops from Lyemun, putting them on Thracian. Took 11 in tow, tow parted." [5]

Tim Carew (Author) "At 9 a.m, while the last Rajputs were still in transit, a launch bearing a white flag of truce put off from Kowloon pier. On board the launch were four of Sakai's staff officers bearing a letter addressed to the Governor. The letter demanded the immediate surrender of the Colony and threatened severe and indiscriminate artillery fire and aerial bombardment in the event of refusal. The demand was tantamount to unconditional surrender and was rejected with a curt 'No' from Sir Mark Young." [86]

14th Dec 1941 (Sun)

Air raids over Aberdeen Harbour all day.

15th Dec 1941 (Mon)

Kendall, McEwan, and Talan set out to successfully place underwater limpet mines on a ship occupied by a Japanese observation party off North Point.

Colin McEwan S.O.E."Here was our chance to try out our 'toys' and by some curious twist this problem was the very one set me during our training course." [11]

16th December 1941 (Tues)

Ships Log (MTB 07) "Several serious raids during day on dockyard. (27 planes at a time) '08' burnt out." [5]

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "Worst day of the battle for me and my crew. Having been hoisted onto the slip during the night, biggest air raid on Aberdeen dock this morning, enemy after 'Thracian'. About noon large formation of planes dropped bombs from high level; the target was 'Thracian' our biggest warship. I was in Aberdeen Industrial School building with my crew having lunch. The damage in the dock was extensive and by the time I got there MTB 08 was well on fire and became a total loss. 'Thracian' further damaged, so that evening she was towed out to Round Island (opposite Repulse Bay) and beached." [16]

17th December 1941(Wed)

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR " I took over the duties of Base MTB officer before I went to MTB 10 as 1st Lieut." [16]

Tim Carew (Author) "Chug-Chugging across the harbour was a small launch bearing on its bow a large white banner on which was emblazoned 'PEACE MISSION'.
Three Japanese tripped delicately from the launch Colonel Tada, slender and unsmiling, carrying a large samurai sword; Lieutenant Mizuno, squat and bespectacled, self-consciously carrying a white flag; Mr Othsu, comfortably built and soberly clad in dark civilian clothes, carrying a briefcase. They were all short men and their arrival was, at first sight, irresistibly comic.
With a brisk exchange of salutes, Major Charles Boxer met the Japanese delegation on the quay-side. Steel-helmeted British soldiers stood with fixed bayonets, while a curious and apprehensive Chinese crowd watched the proceedings in open-mouthed amazement." [86]

Major Charles Boxer, the senior inelegance officer was fluent in Japanese and listened intently to anything said between the Japanese. He then proceeded to Government House to deliver the written demands of the Japanese. He returned to the quay-side delegation within the hour bearing a written reply from the Governor and C-in-C Sir Mark Young.

Sir Mark Young Governor HK "The Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Hong Kong, declines most absolutely to enter into any negotiations for the surrender of Hong Kong and he takes this opportunity of saying that he is not prepared to receive any further communication on the subject." [86]

18th December 1941(Thurs)

At a high level meeting in the Battle HQ Kendall was ordered to organise small arms supply to guerrilla forces north of Hong Kong using the RASC Motor Launch "French".

Colin McEwan S.O.E."Lt Colls showed us over the 'French' [67] a snappy little cruiser on the lines of an MTB —fast and fairly quiet." [11]

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "I was ordered to take over ML French (R.A.S.C) and embark Cdr. Peers, C. O. of Thracian and salvage party, and take them to Thracian. I did two such trips." [16]

19th December 1941 (Fri)

Be Just and Fear Naught

HERO Crest, Beware the Sting in the Tail.  
	Click here to read The Balaclava of the Sea.

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 shoot up everything in sight, and to expend all ammunition in the process. Unbeknown to the flotilla, the Japanese had already established a beach head on the Island west of the Sugar Refinery at North Point. Lt Ronnie Ashby whose motto was "Be Just and Fear Naught" led the flotilla in MTB 07 with Jix Prest & Buddy Hide at the controls, pressing home the attack under withering fire from land, sea and air, suffering heavy losses in the process. Only three MTB's survived to limp back to base in Aberdeen. Lt Kennedy on MTB "09" towed the stricken "07" back to base.The attack was arguably the most daring daylight MTB attack of all time, and was referred to as The Balaclava of the Coastal Forces worldwide. They were hailed "The bravest of the brave."

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR (MTB 08) "MTB's 11, and 12 were next in, 11 withdrew but 12 pressed on and received a direct hit on the conning tower, killing the C.O. Lieut Colls HKRNVR, and the 1st Lieut, Sub Lt G. McGill HKRNVR. MTB 12 was last seen crashing into the sea wall on the Kowloon side.
For some reason or other 26 missed the signal, and continued the attack. 26 was last seen stopped under heavy fire from the enemy and became a total loss. C.O. Lieut D. Wagstaff and Sub. Lt J. Eager and crew presumed killed. (Subsequently confirmed) " [16]

Lt Kennedy RNVR (MTB 09) "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]

The proposed small arms supply to the Chinese Guerrillas was abandoned after the Imperial Government in London instructed that the Chinese military mission headed by Admiral Chan Chack must be extracted to safety in Free China before the Colony was overwhelmed by the IJA, at all costs.

Cdr Montague RN (Ret) SNO Aberdeen "The Commodore also ordered by signal that all ships except Cicala and effective M.T.Bs were to be scuttled. Cornflower and all A.P.Vs Redstart and Ebonol were scuttled in Deepwater Bay." [1]

Eric Cox Waker HKRNVR: "I was on board HMS Cornflower, we received orders to scuttle all ships, so having done that we proceeded to Aberdeen Industrial School, where the HKRNVR were formed into a regular guard of the H.Q." [56]

20th December 1941(Sat)

Lt-Cdr Gandy RN (Ret) (MTB 10) "At 13.00 I was ordered to see the 'Extended Defense Officer' (XDO) and Commodore and proceed to headquarters and dockyard on a motorcycle in heavy rain. There was a good deal of shelling on the Hong Kong side but Aberdeen was quiet.
I was then given confidential instructions to carry a European guerilla leader, Mr F.W.K<
. and his two assistants in the boats of the Flotilla and to land him north of Hong Kong after scuttling, and endeavour to pass through the Japanese lines with flotilla personnel in the event of Flotilla being ordered to leave Hong Kong. If it was not possible to pass through the lines I was to operate as a "guerilla force" against the Japanese in the hope of relief by Chinese forces.
I was told that some influential Chinese might travel with the party and that I was to be guided as far as possible by the advice of Mr F.W.K. both in preparation for this operation and in the operation itself. I obtained a map from headquarters and returned to base." [15]

21st December 1941 (Sun)

MTB 07 Chippy repairing battle damage Upon hearing of the intended MTB breakout, the C-in-C proposed to utilize the MTB's to solve his diplomatic quandary. The 2nd MTB flotilla was to be put at the disposal of the Chinese Admiral. This was an unprecedented act within the anuls of the Royal Navy, raising a few eyebrows.

Lt-Cdr Gandy RN (Ret) "Mr F.W.K. and his assistants joined the flotilla with bombs and Bren guns. In the afternoon the S.N.O. Aague RN (Cmdr Montague) instructed me to stand by for special mission with Mr F.W.K. MTB's crews loaded special iron rations, arms, stores and equipment for this purpose." [15]

The flotilla had taken a beating and was still licking its wounds two days after its epic attack in Victoria Harbour. These highly tuned thoroughbreds had been denied badly needed maintenance during the battle, and were suffering as a consequence.

Colin McEwan S.O.E."Since the 'French' was not available, arrangements had been made for us to use MTB 10 and we loaded her with the ammunition and Bren's that we had left." [11]

The Warrant Officers at the Chung Hom Kok (Chung Am Kok) Mine Control station near Stanley detonated the controlled mines before destroying the station. They then formed into Royal Navy Divisions to assist in the defence of the Repulse Bay Hotel nearby. Bill Wright was captured at the hotel garage. Benny Proulx could see the Japanese holding prisoners, including navy ratings, when he and a colleague shot the officer and two of his men before the remainder disappeared into the bushes. Warrant Officer Bill Wright escaped.

Ships Log (MTB 07) "Instant notice." [5]

Lt Kennedy RNVR (MTB 09) "MTB's are to remain at immediate notice for sea." [9]

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR "From then on I was relieved of my duties as Base MTB officer, and took over as 1st officer of MTB 10." [16]

Sub-Lt Bush HKRNVR (late MTB 08) "This meant a trip to the city with a Petty Officer. We had to make a department store open up at gunpoint. After filling up a couple of sacks with torches, batteries, and other stores, I gave a receipt" [91]

Lt Ron Ashby and crew on 07.  
    Photo from the Hide collection ©The SOE had been using the RASC War Department "ML French" [67] which was similar to the MTB's [11] commanded by Lt Kilbee HKRNVR [16] late of MTB 08. Lt. R. Goodwin NZRNVR 1st Officer of MTB 10 was wounded and taken to hospital with other casualties during the rescue of crew when HMS Cicala was bombed. The flotilla was put on standby to sail at instant notice to get the Chinese liaison party out of Hong Kong before the surrender.[11]

Lt Kennedy RNVR (MTB 09) "The MTB plans were still uncertain when three members of the Hong Kong Volunteers - Mike, John, and Mac joined us. They had been doing special work during the fighting, sabotage or intelligence, we never knew quite what, as they could all talk fluent Cantonese and had an intimate knowledge of the surrounding country." [9]

Lt-Cdr Gandy RN (Ret) (MTB 10) " Mr. F.W.K. and his assistants joined the Flotilla with bombs and Bren guns. There was considerable bombing and shelling of Aberdeen and a determined bombing attack on HMS CICALA which had been firing on enemy batteries on the hills above Repulse Bay. At about 10.00 Hrs nine bombers attacked Cicala and the ninth scored hits with a straddle of 5 bombs which holed her but did not explode to any great extent. MTB 10 received signal to all MTB's from SNO Aberdeen Cicala on fire, take off crew and proceeded alongside taking off all officers and crew, and on consulting with the Commanding Officer, Lt Commander John Boldero, R.N. (retd) MTB 09 was instructed to hasten the sinking of Cicala with depth charges and this was done. After putting crew of Cicala (some wounded) on shore at T-head pier, MTB 10 proceeded down Aberdeen Channel to contact the Flotilla and at the narrowest part came under shell fire which wounded the 1st Lt who was landed, and CPO Gilbert Thums D/J 96352 late Coxswain of the CICALA, taken in his place, together with a Telegraphist from CICALA to cope with V2's W/T work. As I had been Commanding Officer of Cicala from May 1940 to April 1941 I was well acquainted with this Chief P.O. and found him of great assistance to me particularly in his cheerful and tactful attitude to officers and ratings. I recommend him for Warrant Rank under the A.F.O. which allows such promotion to C.P.O's within three years of pension." [15]

Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF "One of the queer organisations we had for operating behind the enemy line was led by a Canadian adventurer I had known for some time and he asked me if I would care to join him in a break for freedom when the end came. The plan was to take our two most prominent Chinese intelligence people and join the Motor Torpedo Boats which were to be ordered to run for it when the moment came but not a minute before as they were doing very useful work." [31]

Four Staff officers, Maj Goring GOC3, Squadron-Leader Oxford, Capt Guest, and Captain Macmillan had approached the GOC and requested to flee the Colony prior to surrender, they were granted permission.

Churchill along with all his Chiefs of Staff were sailing at full speed across the Atlantic on board HMS Duke of York. Churchill had a mobile map room set up so could see at a glance what the entire war situation was. He had already stated that Hong Kong had " Not the Slightest Chance" and was telling the Governor not to surrender on a daily basis, for the greater good of the Empire.

Winston Churchill (PM) "The enemy should be compelled to expend the utmost life and equipment. Every day that you are able to maintain your resistance you and your men can win the lasting honour which we are sure will be your due." [94]

Winston Churchill (Post War) After the war "These orders were obeyed in spirit and to the letter, the Colony had fought a good fight. They had won indeed the lasting honour." [94]

That evening the SOE agents gave the flotilla crews a talk on survival tactics behind enemy lines in mainland China.

Lt Kennedy RNVR (MTB 09) "Each man prepared a pack of essential clothing such as rubber shoes, spare socks, dark sweaters and so on. Tinned provisions were divided into small sacks suitable for carrying individually, and ammunition for the Bren guns was distributed in the same way. Revolvers were issued onboard and rifles drawn from the armoury ashore." [9]

Lt Ron Ashby HKRNVR MTB 07) "They were interested in getting China’s No. 2, Admiral Chan Chak, some of his staff and some higher British officers away from the Island, and decided to combine the two parties. Three or four days before the end we were under official orders to get away at the last moment at all costs after picking up the official party." [5]

Colin McEwan SOE (MTB 11) "We were soon appointed to our various boats — evidently our original party was growing — and I found myself aboard 11 with Collingwood and Legge while Tai (John Talan) landed on '07' with [Lieutenant R.R.W (Ronnie) Ashby HKRNVR and Sub-Lieutenant Arthur Gee.
For some measure of safety the boats were 'spread' at the harbour approaches and when, in the evening after dusk they congregated we found ourselves in the midst of old friends, Parsons, Kennedy and Brewer. Constant interruption of shelling and bombing, and here at last my first impressions of the Navy acquired during our first visit to the Aberdeen H. Q. were completely dispelled. Here was the best morale I had seen, and that too among men who had, in their frailest of craft, no protection against shells or bombs, except wits, courage— and Lewis guns for any low flying craft.
Moored as they were, all one could do was duck and hope —yet the atmosphere was most cheerful, and the relationship between officers and men most pleasant. I made my first acquaintance with those heavenly twins 'Navy Rum and Navy Tobacco whose praises should be sung in verse and not in mere prose.
The news came that the whole flotilla — or rather what was left of it, was coming on our expedition and the same evening the crews were given an idea of what was afoot, and advice on 'kit requirements'. There they were, 'all sailors' many of whom we found later had done practically no walking, looking forward with equanimity to the prospect of becoming guerillas.
Packing of kit required a fair amount of tact, since each man took a deal of persuading that a load of 50 lbs. would weigh heavily even on a stalwart pair of shoulders after a few miles. Still the packing was done and the most difficult part of the business now was in trying to cool their ardour and make them see that, quite probably, they would not move off the next minute."

22nd December 1941 (Mon)

Lt-Cdr Gandy RN (Ret) (MTB 10) "Other MTB's this day prepared stores and arms for possible escape. The chief European guerilla leader Mr F.W.K. remained onboard MTB 10." [15]

Lt Kennedy RNVR (MTB 09) "Whatever happened, rapid preparations had to be made to operate on land in the near future, and each man prepared a pack of essential clothing such as rubber shoes, spare socks, dark sweaters and so on. Tinned provisions were divided into small sacks suitable for carrying individually, and ammunition for the Bren guns was distributed in the same way. Revolvers were issued on board and rifles drawn from the armoury ashore." [9]

Lt Kilbee HKRNVR "I lost touch with my crew (MTB 08) as I could not get ashore to get to the Base at Aberdeen." [16]

Lt Kennedy RNVR "The MTB plans were still uncertain when three members of the Hong Kong Volunteers - Mike, John and Mac - joined us. They had been doing 'special' work during the fighting, sabotage or intelligence, we never knew quite what, as they could all talk fluent Cantonese and had an intimate knowledge of the surrounding country. " [9]

Eddie Brazel HKRNVR (C.410) "The dockyard defence group were calling for engineers and sea-going men to run several launches for them, and another fellew from the office, (Lt Pethick RNR), who was a master mariner promptly volunteered, as luck would have it I was appointed 2nd engineer to a very nice little launch which was equipped with a 'National' diesel and as Jardines are the agents for them I knew a little but not a great deal about it." [46]

Lt Kennedy RNVR "Lieutenant Pethick, who was doing noble work in charge of the dockyard, owned a small a small, flat-bottomed dinghy, driven by a noisy outboard motor, in which he darted about the harbour. This outfit was affectionately known as the 'Flying Bedpan'! During one particular raid he was caught in the middle of the channel and apparently enveloped by a rain of bombs. To the anxious onlookes all seemed to be over, when out through the curtain of spray dashed the 'Bedpan', but with no sign of Pethick. He was there, however, his whole length miraculously coiled down in the sternsheets, lying soaked to the skin and expressing his views on the Japanese in the crudest terms." [9]

Lt Douglas Pethick RNR was appointed Master of the 150 ton diesel powered berthing-tug Polly, known as C.410. with Eddie Brazel as Engineer. Duggy Pethick had been doing stirling work in keeping order within the harbour during constant air raids.

Sub-Lt David Legge "Our greatest worry during the last week was the fact that since the dockyard had become untenable we had no base in which to anchor during the daytime, during which we were supposed to be resting as we were on patrol all night every night. We therefore had to anchor all over the place, behind little islands and in little coves, changing our position several times a day to avoid being spotted by enemy planes.
I imagine that there was hardly an hour during those last few weeks when there was not an enemy plane in the sky somewhere. That meant that we had to keep a constant lookout and the guns manned nearly all the time. We got precious little peace or rest as we were three hours on, three hours off on watch."

The MTB's were stood down from front-line duty and put on immediate 24/7 notice with Mr F.W.K. (Mike Kendall of the SOE) and his team embedded within the flotilla and begin preparing for this most daring operation.
As news of the intended breakout got round, certain HQ staff officers conspired to flee the colony and hope to join the MTB's in their breakout.

Sub-Lt David Legge "They were interested in getting China’s No. 2, Admiral Chan Chak and some of his staff along with some higher British officers away from the Island, and decided to combine the two parties. Three or four days before the end we were under official orders to get away at the last moment at all costs after picking up the official party. Were we selfishly pleased! It was a chance. It was obvious that the island could not hold out very much longer." [18]

The RN Division defending the Repuse Bay Hotel, consiting mostly of Warrant Officers from the Chung Hom Kok (Chung Am Kok) Mine Control station, proceeded via a drain to Stanley where, after sunset, they took a launch to Aberdeen.

Lt Kennedy RNVR "As darkness fell excitement ran high when the signal 'MTB's to remain at immediate notice for sea' was receaved." [9]

Churchill, along with his Chiefs of Staff, was flown from Hampton Roads to Washington where the U.S. President, FDR, greeted him at the airport. The large presidential motorcade drove to the White House where Churchill and his inner circle stayed for almost three weeks. The President was most impressed with Churchill's portable War Room and soon had a US version made.


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.

Contact | Mwadui | Guest Book | Top | © MCMXCVI Hamstat Integrated Systems | Escape from Hong Kong

Site maintained by Hamstat Integrated Systems Inc



Thank you all for your contributions, may our forefathers be remembered.



© Hong Kong MCMXCVI 

Copyright 1996-2011 Hamstat Integrated Systems. All rights reserved. All copyright, trade marks, design rights, patents and other intellectual property rights (registered and unregistered) in and on the Hamstat,, or sites and all content (including all applications) located on the site shall remain vested in Hamstat,, and You may not copy, reproduce, republish, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use Hamstat,, or content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any Hamstat content except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of Hamstat,, or content requires the prior written permission of the holder.