Freddie Guest - Escape from Hong Kong


HEROAdmiral Chan Chak in Kukong;  
  Click here to read more ©Freddie Guest & escape party at Waichow. Photos from the Chan Chak & Ross collections © Admiral Chan Chak and party arriving in Waichow   
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  Photo from Admiral Chan Chak's collection ©HERO


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Captain Freddie Guest 8th Cavalry Indian Army 1896 - 1962

Freddie Guest in Waichow 
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©

Click here for more information on Capt Guest

Born 1896 - Highbury, London, Freddie came from a large family with six siblings.

His father, John Guest, was a London GPO mail sorter.

Freddie left school and worked as messenger for the London Postal Service, becoming a temporary assistant postman in 1913

Pte. [740082] Cadet

2nd Lt.19.08.1918 [80433]Lt.-19.02.1920 (reld 30.09.1921)

Relinquished his commission in the 9th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment (Territorial Army) in 1921. Reserve of Officers.

Lt. RARO 23.02.1930-06.12.1931, (reld 02.08.1946)

T/Capt. RARO10.01.1941-(04.1946) Hon. Capt.02.08.1946

Adm Chan Chak: "The Danish steer man was the first one shot, then the engineer. MacDougall and others were wounded. Most of the stray bullets had hit the boat and even some had hit my helmet.
Hsu was very wary about me the “One Foot Admiral of 50” swimming such a far distance.
I insisted to carry my own gun and passport. Yeung could not swim and he suggested that we should go back to Hong Kong. “Going back means surrender. I would rather die!” I said. I took off my life preserver (which was the last one on board) and gave it to Yeung. As I raised my hand, a stray bullet went right through my left hand.

Yeung didn’t say anything anymore, he just jumped into the sea, followed by MacDougall with his wounded back.
YeeSiu-Kee and 2 other British soldiers had to remain on the boat. Yee could not swim and the 2 soldiers were badly wounded.
We were all sitting ducks in the water and non-stop bullets were flying everywhere.
I finally swam ashore on the small island right next to Apliechau." [6]

The escape launch from the scuttled HMS Cornflower



Left: HMS Cornflower launch








Freddie Guest dived overboard as the Admiral calmly took to the waves 
	Photo from Maj Goring's  article on the escape © 
	Click here for more information

Along with S.K. were two severely wounded volunteer crew left in the boat, the tall forty seven year old Jutlander, Alec (Alexis) Damsgaard, late Master of the C.S. Store Nordiske, & Sub-Lt J. J. Forster HKRNVR from Northern Ireland. After drifting all night S.K. bribed a junk man to take the two wounded to a hospital.

Left: Photo from Maj Goring's daring-do article on the escape published in 1949. [17]

S.K. Yee: "I put the two others on a junk, asking the fishermen to take them to a hospital on the mainland (Hong Kong).
I was kept some days at Pak Sha wan and subsequently I had to return to the church at Apliechau, which was under the Reverend Cheng. I took shelter at the church for some days before making my final escape to Free China."

Of the sixteen who set out on "HMS Cornflower's" launch, two were killed, one taken prisoner, another made good his own escape while the remaining twelve made it to the MTB's.

S.K, now wearing Hsu Heng (Henry)'s shoes and clutching his bible bible, sought refuge with the Reverend Cheng in the Harbour Mission Church on Ap Lei Pai opposite Aberdeen. He eventually made his way to Kukong in free China where Chan Chak was still recovering. SK arrived on 5th February 1942 still wearing Hsu Heng (Henry)'s shoes, only to leave two days later as mysteriously as he had arrived after falling out with Chan over the allegedly missing $40.000 (£2,500 GBP) They remained bitter opponents for the rest of Chan's life.










Admiral Chan Chak & escape party at Waichow 30th Dec 1941
    Run the curser over to identify individuals.
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Supt Bill Robinson
    Click here to read more on Bill Robinson
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Captain Peter Macmillan RA
Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Captain Reginold [Freddie] Guest 1st Middlesex
    Click here to read more on Freddie Guest
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Coxswain Yeung Chuen ROC
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Ted Ross, MoI, Colonial Service
    Click here to read more on Rossy
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © David MacDougall, MoI, Colonial Service
    Click here to read more on David MacDougall
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Admiral Chan Chak ROC
    Click here to read more on Admiral Chan Chak
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Major Arthur Goring, Probyns Horse
    Click here to read more on Major Goring
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Sqd-Ldr Max Oxford, RAF
    Click here to read more on Max Oxford
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Holger Christensen, Midshipman
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection © Lt-Cmdr Hsu Heng (Henry) ROC
    Click here to read more on Henry Hsu
    Photo from the Chan Chak collection ©



Back row: Supt. Bill Robinson, W. O. William M Wright HKRNVR, Capt. Peter Macmillan R. A., Capt. Reginald Guest 1st Mdsx, Coxswain Yeung Chuen ROC, Ted Ross MoI>

2nd row: David MacDougall MoI, Adm Chan Chak ROC, Major Arthur Goring Probyns Horse, Sq-Ldr. Max Oxford RAF

1st row: Cadet Holger Christensen, Lt-Cmd Hsu Heng (Henry) ROC.

Photo from Chan Chak collection ©








The four who were wounded, killed, captured or escaped seperately

Alexis DamsgaardJJ ForsterDouglas HarleySK Yee

Alexis Damsgaard wounded POW. JJ Forster died of wounds. D Harley wounded/drowned. SK Yee escaped seperately



Cdr Montague, Freddie Guest, Peter Macmillan, Max Oxford, Bill Robinson, David MacDougall & Ted Ross left Kukong by truck to Nanxiong, an old walled town where there was an air strip. They flew out late that night, destination Chungking.

Their arrival in Chungking in the early hours made the British national and regional press the same day 15th January 1942.

After debriefing in Chungking Freddie flew out to G.H.Q Delhi, India.

Guest left Chungking on 31st January along with Supt Bill Robinson and Sq-Ldr Max Oxford bound for Delhi via Calcutta.
Freddie booked into the very grand "Great Eastern Hotel" where he was surprised to see a fellow Middlesex officer Captain Tony Hewitt. who had also escaped from Hong Kong almost two months after the Christmas Day escape party. He also found fellow escapee Captain Peter Macmillan who had left Chungking three days earlier staying there.

Capt Hewitt [76] "Tony, How did you get here? It was Freddie Guest, an officer in my own Regiment who had evaded capture in Hong Kong, leaving by sea with a Chinese Admiral before capitulation. He filled me with drinks, 'burra pegs' (Double Whisky), and took me into dinner in the luxurious hotel dining-room, still clutching my Red Cross bag. We were joined by a US Air Force officer by the name of Whitney, a son of the US Ambassador to India, who was sharing a room with Freddie. Whitney said 'we have three beds in our room. You can have the spare." Freddie eventually arrived in Delhi whereapon he met Bill Robinson.

Freddie Guest "The first man I ran into was none other than Bill Robinson. He was dressed once again in the uniform of a superintendent of the Indian Police, looking fit and well and as cheerful as ever."

Freddie received orders to join the staff at the Officer Training Cadet's school in Bangalore training officers in the old art of pack horse and mule transport as the mechanised units were not appropriate for the terrain in Burma. Bangalore was the Southern Command HQ which extended from Bombay to Madras, right down to Ceylon. During his time here he oversaw some six thousand officers trained in Cavalry before returning to his home in Cheltenham in the UK in December 1944.

  1. "Escape from the Blooded Sun" by Freddie Guest 1956 which was the first published account of this epic escape. (Ghost written by Arthur Groom)
  2. Hong Kong Eclipse by G B Endacott 1978 ISBN 0 19 5803744
  3. "India Cavalryman" by Freddie Guest (1959)
  4. "Gloucestershire Echo" 16th December 1944
  5. "Cheltenham Chronicle" 23rd December 1944
  6. "Gloucestershire Echo" 2nd September 1949

Frddie Guest reported Admiral Chan Chak's death in the Gloucestershire Echo on 2nd September 1949.


Henry Hsu, Hsu Heng in 2006

Left: 2006 Hsu Heng (Henry) recounting the machine-gunning of the Cornflower launch on Christmas Day 1942.

Heny was the last known living escapee and was accorded a full state funeral in Taiwan when he passed away in 2009.

Capt Freddie Guest Middsex Reg
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©Captain Freddie Guest.     
    Photo from Freddie Guest's collection © Captain Freddie Guest
    Photo from Buddy Hide's collection © Capt Freddie Guest arriving in Kukong ©

Freddie Guest was one of the twelve survivors HMS Cornflower's launch was machine-gunned when Adm Chan Chak's party made their break from Aberdeen. They had to swim for their lives in a hail of machine gun fire to the nearest island. After arriving in Chungking he flew out to G.H.Q Delhi, India.

Freddie Guest
    Photo from Freddie Guest's collection ©

Freddie Guest
    Photo from Freddie Guest's collection ©













Freddie Guest
    Photo from Freddie Guest's collection ©




Freddie Guest's letter from C-in-C India, General Wavell.     
    Photo from Freddie Guest's collection ©




A letter to Freddie Guest from the C-in-C India, General Wavell.





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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