Click on the image of the South China Morning Post commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Christmas Day escape with a graphics piece today.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
"Escape from Hong Kong" The latest news on the movie from Warwick Ross
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 (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.
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
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.
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 : http://dyshf.com/eng/indexen.htm The art work is by the celebrated Chinese artist Chan Hoi, a Chan Chak family descendent
Members of HERO were in attendance.
Part of the 2013 Canton Museum exhibition.
David Hide giving the press a conducted tour of the Chan Chak exhibits.
President Donald Chan and family along with David Hide attend the opening ceremony of the Chan Chak exhibition in Guangzhou (Canton) China 2013.
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.
"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.
"WW2 Escapees from Hong Kong & their Contribution to the War Effort"
"Battle for a Barren Rock"
Click the image.
Donald Chan 31m-1Hr 10m. "Admiral Chan Chak and the Triads"
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
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
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
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.
Escape from Hong Kong; The Road to Waichow
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 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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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." 
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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
Audio by Lion Rock Films
HTML5 requires a recent, fully-updated web browser. If you experience any problems, you need to update your browser.
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.