HongKong Escape Re-enactment Organisation HERO

HongKong Escape Re-enactment Organisation HERO

HongKong Escape Re-enactment Organisation HERO


Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of this Epic WW II "Evasion & Escape from Hong Kong" under heavy fire

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It is with great sadness that we write to tell you that Anita Li, daughter of Admiral Chan Chak, passed away suddenly Friday, August 18 while recovering from a heart procedure.

Anita Li, Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary, passed away peacefully in Toronto at the age of 86. She was the beloved wife of the late Pai Lin Li and is survived by her daughter Alison (Ernst Hamm), son Bernard (Lynn McDonald), and grandchildren Clara, David, Felix and Thea, sisters Paula Wu, Julia Chan (Alois Leblhuber), Lina Voo (Philip Voo), Anna Chan, and Mabel Sin (Orson Sharpe), brother-in-law Arthur Loh, sisters-in-law Lily Chan and Mason Chan, and numerous nieces and nephews.

HERO extends their condolences to Alison and family



Donald On Kwok Chan

29th Nov 1934 - 6th Jul 2013

Remembered with Honour

Donald On Quok Chan






Kay Collingwood 1920 - 2017

Kay Collingwood on Ping Chau Island looking across to where here husband C J Collingwood landed in mainland China on Boxing Day 1941

Kay Collingwood 1920-2017


A short video (2 minutes) Escape from Hong Kong re-enacted from Buddy Hide Jnr



Click on the image of the South China Morning Post commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Christmas Day escape with a graphics piece today.

SCMP-Escape graphic 
	  Click here to read


Not an Earthly Chance by Frode Z Olsen

Ikke en Jordisk Chance (Not an Earthly Chance) by Frode Z Olsen.

The story of the Danish community fighting alongside the British in Hong Kong in December 1941 including the three involved with the Christmas Day escape, Holger Christensen, Alexis (Alec) Damsgaard and George Rhod Hansen.

A Voyage To War by Hugh Dulley 
	Click here to read more.

A Voyage to War by Hugh Dulley

Hugh Dulley’s father (Peter Dulley) and mother (Therese Sander) met in Hong Kong on New Year’s Eve 1935. Four years later at the outbreak of war, Peter, a weekend sailor, was called up in the Hong Kong Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He eventually graduated to command an ocean-going tug of 500 tons from Hong Kong to Aden. En route he called at islands still enjoying pre-war peacetime and navigated across the Indian Ocean using a sextant.

Michael Elliott and David Hide, on the road to Waichow 2009.
Click here to view a short video of David describing the escape.

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of both David Hide, a long standing HERO committee member and son of Buddy Hide, and Michael Elliott MBE, a staunch supporter of HERO and son-in-law of Max Oxford. The members of HERO extend their thoughts and prayers to their respective families in Australia, UK and USA.

Left: Mike Elliott and David Hide on the road to Waichow 2009.

Mike Elliott 1951 - 2016 Was a world renowned journalist and business man who was CEO to "ONE" a campaigning and advocacy organisation fronted by Bono of U2 fame.

David Hide 1945 - 2016 was the recipient of Australia's National Medal in 1999.

Both were victims of the silent killer, Cancer.



I have received a copy of a letter written by Eric Cox Walker to the widow of Lt-Cdr Hugh Dulley detailing his role in the battle on board HMS Cornflower & subsequent escape on board C.410 with Cdr Montahgue.

The descendants of Lt-Cmd John Yorath RN contacted me in December 2015

Descendants of Leading Telegraphist Harold Hill of MTB 09 contacted HERO in Sept 2015

The nephew of A/B Stoker Fred Quixall MTB 10 contacted HERO in Aug 2015



HERO invites suitable applicants to partner HERO in it's continued Sino-British cultural relations

HERO invites readers to submit suitable articles for consideration with a view to publishing in the forthcoming newsletter

Following the piece in the HERO Newsletter of August 2014 I am pleased to announce that Dr Robert Lim's great grandson James through his daughter Effie's line has been in touch.


Bill Lake giving a lecture during his January 2015 Battlefield tour




Hong Kong based amateur military historian Bill Lake showing a page on Lt CJ Collingwood RN late of MTB 11 during Bill's January 2015 Museum of Coastal Defence’s Battlefield tour of Stanley, which included St. Stephen’s College and Stanley Military Cemetery. "It was led by myself and Albert Lam.
The children of St. Stephen’s led us around the college on the school Heritage Trail which is always fun, and they really do know their history. It’s the kids that will keep the history of Stanley going.
We hope to carry out more Battlefield Tours over the next couple of years.







HERO mourns the passing of Admiral Chan Chak's daughter Diana Chan Chiu in November

Diana Chan Chiu with HERO in Nanao 2009 


Having successfully completed the first phase of the HERO objectives, 2014 sees HERO planning the next phase of retracing the escape from Hong Kong through to Rangoon.



Coastal Forces were renowned for their spirit and comradeship generated by lengthy stealth tours interspersed with short periods of intense hyper activity. The 2nd MTB Flotilla was no exception, and that spirit and comradeship has extended through time and across continents to their descendents of today.

Interested parties are invited to contact HERO for more information

In 1999 along with a fellow school chum, and escapee descendant of Pony Moore, I meet Admiral Chan Chak's son Donald and started unravelling the true story behind the legendry Christmas Day Escape


Adm Chan Chak's twin sons Duncan & Donald with the author Richard Hide in Aberdeen Channel 2008. The Chan twins were seven years old and living in Hong Kong at the time of the escape and gave me a guided tour of all the relevant sites from their fathers office to the building where he waited while the Cornflower launch was made seaworthy, and the cave he hid in on Aberdeen Island waiting for news of the MTB's.

Click here to download the August 2014HERO News Letter

Admiral Chan Chak by his twin sons Donald & Duncan Chan, published 2011.

Admiral Chan Chak (2011) is the remarkable story of the life of the legendary "One-legged Adm." Written by Chan Chak's twin sons Donald & Duncan Chan, in tribute to their father, this book also serves to celebrate the centenary of China's 1911 Xinhai Revolution. Adm Chan Chak portrays his early years, his steadfast loyalty to Dr Sun Yat-Sen, and his bravery in the Sino-Japanese naval battles Humen.

Naval reservists in Action has a chapter on the 2nd MTB Flotilla and its RNVR officers in Hong Kong and subsequent Christmas Day escape with information from this web site and its author.

This book launched on 27 November 2013, in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia by the 1st Malaysian-born Chief of the RMN, Tan Sri, Dato Seri Thanabalasingham.


Sub-Lt McGill, originally from Scotland, played rugby for the Shanghai Rugby Football Club from 1924 aged just sixteen through to December 1939 as a flying winger when he moved to Hong Kong.
McGill was killed in action on MTB 12: 19th Dec 1941.

Sub-Lt Legge played for the "Armoured Car Company" in the junior division of Shanghai RFC. Legge also competed successfully for the Shanghai (Henli) Rowing Club, as did Ted Ross.

Dr Lim's daughter Effie married a long standing Shanghai RFC player.

It's a Rough Game but Good Sport: The Life, Times and Personalities of the Shanghai Rugby Football Club






Donald Chan with Chan Hoi in Hainan 2011 
	  Click to see more

Adm Chan Chak's, correspondence and medals were donated to the Hainan Province Archives, in Haikou, Hainan by his son Donald Chan in 2011.

Donald Chan with his cousin Chan Hoi, a celebrated Chinese artist at the donation ceremony in Hainan.




HERO President Donald On Kwok Chan passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Saturday 6th July 2013. Both Donald & Duncan are buried next to their father Adm Chan Chak in the Tsuen Wan Cemetery (荃灣華人永遠墳場) New Territories, Hong Kong.

A tribute to Donald Chan small or (Large MS Office Power Point 2010 or later)

保衛香港突圍羣英協會 (二戰中英聯軍)

An exhibition on the life and career of Adm Chan Chak KBE CN is opening in Generalissimo's Mansion, No.18 Dongsha Street, Fangzhi Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou (Canton) China on 9th April 2013 : The art work is by the celebrated Chinese artist Chan Hoi, a Chan Chak family descendent
Members of HERO were in attendance.

David Hide at the Chan Chak exhibition in Canton 2013

Part of the 2013 Canton Museum exhibition.

China News 10thth April 2013

David Hide giving the press a conducted tour of the Chan Chak exhibits.

President Donald Chan and family and David Hide attend the opening ceremony of the Chan Chak exhibition in Canton 2013
  Photos from the Hide family collection ©

President Donald Chan and family along with David Hide attend the opening ceremony of the Chan Chak exhibition in Guangzhou (Canton) China 2013.





Chan Hoi & David Hide enjoying a small beer in Canton.
  Photo from the Hide family collection ©

Chinese Artist Chan Hoi who supplied the artwork for the exhibition with PO Buddy Hide's son David in Guangzhou (Canton) enjoying a small beer.

HERO expresses its gratitude to all who contributed and assisted in putting on the "Escape from Hong Kong" exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, especially the HKMCD staff. The exhibition ran for over three years at what was formerly the Lei Yue Mun Redoubt, in Hong Kong and finally closed at the end of March 2013 having attracted 400,991 visitors.

Adm Chan Chak Memorial Exhibition in Hainan

David MacDougall, Admiral Chan Chak KBE CN and Wing-Cdr Max Oxford in June 1946 
    Photo from the Oxford family collection © 
Click here to see a recording of Picking up the Pieces © David MacDougall, Admiral Chan Chak KBE CN and Wing-Cdr Max Oxford in June 1946 
    Photo from the Oxford family collection © 
Click here to see a recording of Picking up the Pieces © David MacDougall, Admiral Chan Chak KBE CN and Wing-Cdr Max Oxford in June 1946 
    Photo from the Oxford family collection © 
Click here to see a recording of Picking up the Pieces © "Picking up the Pieces: Hong Kong rebuilds after WWII" by Emma Oxford.

After the cessation of hostilities in 1945 Hong Kong needed rebuilding. A number of the 1941 Christmas Day escapees returned, among them were David MacDougall as Colonial Secretary and Wing Commander Max Oxford RAF who arrived early October, to manage the restoration of civil air service at Kai Tak airport. Adm Chan Chak KBE CN had taken the post as the first post war Mayor of Canton just over the border in China.

Hong Kong Military historian Tony Banham giving a presentation on behalf of HERO at the Museum of Coastal Defence

3rd September 2011: Military Historian Tony Banham. giving a presentation on behalf of HERO at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

"WW2 Escapees from Hong Kong & their Contribution to the War Effort"

Bill Lake  presenting 'Battle for a Barren Rock' on behalf of HERO at the HKMCD 
  Click here to see a recording of Battle for a Barren Rock ©

"Battle for a Barren Rock"

27th August 2011: Local amateur military historian Bill Lake giving a presentation on behalf of HERO at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

Donald Chan, Tom Recaldin, & David Hide giving a HERO presentation at the HKMCD © 
  Click here to see a recording of Chan Chak's fight against the 5th Columnists ©

Click the image.

Donald Chan 31m-1Hr 10m. "Admiral Chan Chak and the Triads"

Tom Recaldin , 24m-31m. "Overview of his grandfather David MacDougall"

David Hide 1Hr 10m - 2Hrs. "Kukong to Rangoon and home"

Giving a HERO presentation at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal defence 7th May 2011



The HERO stationary designed by d-studio

Richard Hide & Donald Chan of HERO meeting HE Ambasadore Liu Xiaoming ©

His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the United Kingdom requested the pleasure of HERO members to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Chinese people's victory against Fascism on Thursday 2nd of September 2010.

HERO Chairman Richard Hide and President Donald Chan meet His Excellency Ambassador Liu Xiaoming in London to mark the 65th anniversary of China's victory against Fascism.

Click here to read the HERO President's speech to H. E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and staff

Click here to read the HERO Chairman's speech to H. E Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and staff

Addressing the reception Ambassador Liu made much mention of the HERO story in regards to the historical Sino-British relationship. Air Commodore Clive Bairsto CBE RAF, the head of the Ministry of Defence International Policy & Planning (Military) department also took a great interest in the HERO story and future projects.

HERO members at the Embassy reception included families from Admiral Chan Chak KBE CN, Lt-Col Harry Owen-Hughes OBE HKVDF, Lt Kennedy VRD RNVR, Sub-Lt Legge HKRNVR, CPO Thums, PO Hide, A/B Barker, A/B Thorpe, and David MacDougall.

A similar event was held in New York where the Consul General, Peng Keyu took great interest in the HERO story when introduced to HERO descendents of Sq-Ldr Max Oxford OBE RAF

The Chinese Ambasadore HE Liu Xiaoming talking to David MacDougall's daughter Sheena   
    Photo from the Buddy Hide Jr collection ©

HERO Secretary-General Sheena Recaldin the daughter of David MacDougall talking to H. E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Chinese Embassy in London 2nd September 2010

Richard Hide with the Chinese Ambasadore HE Liu ©

H. E. Liu acquainting himself with the HERO "Escape from Hong Kong, The Road to Waichow" museum exhibition, and President Chan of HERO delivering his speech to H. E. Liu

HERO is working to have a permanent memorial erected on site at NanAo on the Dapeng Peninsula in Guangdong Province, China where the escape party went ashore after scuttling the flotilla in memory of the co-operation extended to them by the local villagers while under Japanese occupation.

November 2010, 2nd & 3rd generation descendents of Adm Chan Chak, David MacDougall, & Ted Ross meet in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club the spiritual home of the HKRNVR admiring the ships crest of HMS Cornflower on whose launch the escape party were shot up and had to swim for their lives in Aberdeen channel Christmas Day1941.

The HKRNVR trophy vase is raced for annually in memory of the HKRNVR members lost in battle.

The HKRNVR was formed from twelve RHKYC members including Ron Ashby (MTB 07) & Laurence Kilbee (MTB 08).

Escape from Hong Kong; The Road to Waichow

HERO descendants Donald Chan, Warwick Ross, Sheena Reacaldin, Tom Recaldin at Waichow 2009.
    Click here to enlarge ©

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing issued a Directive 143, declaring that this was “an extraordinary episode of Sino-British joint action” — and that HERO’s visit was approved.

The descendents at the site of the 1941 Waichow photo in 2009

Run the cursor over the photo

To date over forty families of the escapees have contacted and contributed to this site with diaries, letters, articles, and oral accounts of the 1941 Christmas Day escape


Some one hundred descendents from 1st to 4th generation ranging from 90 down to 2 years old from Asia, Europe, North America, & Oceania participated in re-enacting the great escape from Hong Kong this Christmas. Also an exhibition "Escape from Hong Kong; The Road to Waichow" displaying escape artifacts went on display in the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, The exhibition closed in March 2013.


The Wei-On Mission hospital in Waichow in 1941 and 1984

The Wei-On Mission hospital in 1941 and 1984

Run the cursor over the photo

Click here for an account of the 2009 descendents re-enactment by Emma Oxford

The Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence (HKMCD) hosted an exhibition covering this daring escape from Hong Kong, through the Japanese lines to Waichow in mainland China. The HKMCD exhibition 2009-2013.

Run your cursor over each photo.

Christmas dinner was held on the floating Jumbo restaurant in Aberdeen Channel 68 years to the day after the epic escape in 1941.

The HERO committee welcome guests onboard for a very special Christmas dinner at the exact spot where the most dramatic part of the escape took place.

Click here for photos of the re-enactment:

And more photos:

Warwick Ross at the 2009 HERO Christmas dinner in Hong Kong ©

After speeches and a slide show presented by Warwick Ross which resulted in there not being a dry eye in the house, the dinner was consumed with much conversation followed by jollity and dancing.






David Hide 1945 - 2016 
  Waichow 2009



HERO committee member Dadid Hide with members of the Chinese organising committee in Waichow, now Huizhou,after ten years of preparation to celebrate the 1941 Christmas Day escape sixty eight years ago to the day.

David Hide 1945 - 2016


Escape from Hong Kong; Road to Waichow


The "Escape from Hong Kong; Road to Waichow" exhibition opening ceremony 24th December 2009, which finally closed at the end of March 2013 having been visited by almost half a million visitors.

Donald Chan, Deputy British Consul General Mr Neale Jagoe, the Chief Curator of the HK Museum of History Ms Esa Leung, & Kay Collingwood the widow of Lt Collingwood RN opening the exhibition.

To watch the opening ceremony click here.


The Hong Kong Sea Cadet Corps.

1/24 scale working model of MTB o7 built by Buddy Hide Jr on display: 
    David Hide & Donald Chan enjoying the views ©

A 1/24 scale model of British Power Boat, Power Class MTB 07 on display.

David Hide & Donald Chan enjoying the spectacular views from the 123 year old Lei Yue Mun redoubt, the site of the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence in Shau Kei Wan.

Lt Kennedy;s son Alick chatting to Lt Collingwood's son Nigel ©

Alick Kennedy the son of Lt Alexander Kennedy RNVR of MTB 09 chatting to Nigel Collingwood, the son of Lt C J Collingwood RN of MTB 11.

HERO attracted an old school chum of ours, Bill Lake who is an amateur military historian living in Hong Kong, we were last together forty six years ago at RHS in Holbrook, Suffolk.

Richard Hide (Raleigh House) Bill Lake (Drake House) David Hide (Raleigh House) Old RHS School boys.

Sub-Lt Legge HKRNVR: "We slept on the straw laden floor of the temple up the hill. There were people in all stages of dress, one wore gym shoes split down the middle because they were too small. Some had boots, some shoes, some socks, some none. In all, the pack of each person weighed a good fifty pounds. The worst thing was that there was no proper equipment for carrying things, like shoulder straps, haversacks, water bottles, etc. It would have made the load much more comfortable in each case but the navy was not meant to make route marches." [18]

Richard Hide and Alec Kennedy landing on Tung Ping Chau in Mirs Bay on Boxing Day 2009©

Richard Hide the son of S.P.O. Buddy Hide of MTB 07 and Alick Kennedy the son of Lt Alexander Kennedy of MTB 09 arrive on Tung Ping Chau where the MTB's rendezvoused to gather intelligence before proceeding to Nanao on the Dapeng peninsula, mainland China where the flotilla was scuttled deep behind enemy lines.

David Hide, Donald Chan and Coxswain Yeung Chuen's son with daughters at NanAo 2011  
    Photos from the Hide family collection ©

Descendents of Adm Chan Chak, Coxswain Yeung Chuen, & PO Buddy Hide meet in NanAo, China 2011

NanAo with Tung Ping Chau in the background where the 2nd MTB Flotilla scuttled.

Photos from the Hide, family collection ©



Looking out from the beach at NanAo towards the island of Tung Ping Chau in Mirs Bay where the MTB flotilla was scuttled in the early hours of Boxing Day the 26th December 1941.

Descendents following the escape trail out of Nanao after Christmas 2009.

The old walled Hakka village of Da Shanxia where the escapees spent a comfortable night being fed generously by the inhabitants on the night of 28th December 1941 prior to the final push to Waichow now Huizhou with bicycle taxi's.




Richard Hide with Lou Bo the last of the east River Column Guerrilla's ©

Richard Hide toasting Lou Bo, the last of the East River Column Guerrillas. And a Nanao old timer with Adm Chan Chak's son Donald Chan who witnessed the escape party coming ashore and the flotilla being scuttled in the early hours of 26th December 1941.

Richard Hide being received by the Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Zhuo Qinrui

The Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Zhuo Qinrui receiving HERO as we start our journey in China.

And the deputy Secretary General of Huizhou Municipality Ms Qiu Huilin attending the HERO farewell banquet in Waichow (now Huizhou).

HERO meets the descendents of the East River Guerrilla Column, and receiving a presentation from their China partners the CCDA.

The HERO motorcade and police escort throughout the trip in China.

And Nigel Collingwood, the son of Lt C J Collingwood RN of MTB 11, with David Hide, the son of SPO Buddy Hide RN of MTB 07.

Michael Elliott and Tim Luard giving an overview of the battle and the men who subsequently escaped respectively ©.

Mike Elliott, 1951 - 2016, son-in-law of Sq-Ldr Max Oxford RAF and Time International editor giving an overview of the battle for Hong Kong.

Tim Luard, son-in-law of SOE agent Colin McEwan and former BBC China correspondent giving an overview of the battle and the men who subsequently escaped, at the Holy Spirit Seminary next to the Aberdeen to Ap-Lei-Chau bridge.

Philip Snow giving a Sino-British political overview ©

Philip Snow the author of "The fall of Hong" giving an overview of the political situation in 1941.

Sub-Lt David Legge's family listening intently.





Letters of recognition & Endorsement

  • Peoples Republic of China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Buckingham Palace
  • Ivan Lewis, Minister of State HMG Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • The Royal British Legion
  • The Royal British Legion Hong Kong & China branch
  • Professor Sir Alan Peacock
  • Sir James Hodge, HM Consul-General in Hong Kong 2000-2003
  • Lord Wilson of Tillyorn
  • Andrew Seaton, British Consulate-General, Hong Kong
  • RHKR The Volunteers Association

Families attending the re-enactment


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Audio by Lion Rock Films

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Descendents of the escape party at the site of the missionary 30th December 2009, where the Iconic Waichow photo was taken of their forefathers sixty eight years to the day previously.

Descendents of the escape party at the site of the missionary in Waichow, now Huizhou, 30th December 2009, where their forebears were photographed, exactly sixty eight years to the day before.

Waichow 30th Dec 1941 and their descendents 30th Dec 2009

Below are some of the 2nd MTB Flotilla ships company descendents at Waichow 30th Dec 2009.

David Hide and other descendents of the 2nd MTB Flotilla in Waichow 2009

Back row: Thorpe, Hide,Thums, Legge, Collingwood, Barker, Barker, Thums, Kennedy.

Front Row: Thums, Thums, Hide, Legge, Collingwood, Barker, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy.

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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