Alf Hunt MTB 12 Coastal Forces Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Battle- The MTBs Attack

Tel P.O. Alfie (Nobby) Hunt MTB 12 (Birmingham)


MTB 07, with PO's John Prest and Buddy Hide at the controls, under fire.  
	Photo from Hong Kong 1941-45 published by Osprey Publishing. 
	Illustration by Giuseppe Rava. 
	Click here for more information

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 expend all ammunition shooting up everything in sight. Unbeknown to the flotilla, the Japanese had already established a beach head on the Island west of the Sugar Refinery at North Point.
Guns to the left, guns to the right, guns to the front and cannon from above, on they sped into the fiery jaws of the oriental dragon itself. This was the maritime equivalent of the charge of the light brigade in the Crimea.
Lt Ronnie Ashby whose family motto was "Be Just and Fear Naught" led the flotilla with Jix Prest & Buddy Hide at the controls of MTB 07. Pressing home the attack under withering fire from land, sea, and air, they suffered heavy losses in the process. Only three MTB's survived to limp back and come alongside HMS Robin in Aberdeen. Lt Kennedy on MTB "09" towed the stricken "07", peppered with 97 holes and two dead bodies in the engine room, back to base. The flotilla had lost 40% of its attacking force. The attack was arguably the most daring daylight MTB attack of all time, and was referred to as The Balaclava of the Coastal Forces world wide. They were hailed "The bravest of the brave."

Lt Kennedy RNVR: "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]

Alf was blown overboard suffering wounds to his head, back, arms and legs. The Japanese pulled him out of the water and tied him up with barbed wire. He was taken prisoner and later interned in Argyle Street before being shipped off to Japan on board the infamous "Lisbon Maru"
A/B Arthur Bartlet swam ashore on Hong Kong Island and was taken to the Queen Mary Hospital sufferinf from immersion, subsequently Arthur endured neary four years captivity at the hands of the Japanese.

After the war Alf was a keen Radio Amateur with the call sign G3CHU and was Chairman/Secretary of the Far East POW, FEPOW association [Birmingham] running a net every Wednesday on the 80m (3.627 Mhz) band at 09.15 local UK time.

FEPOW net on 3.627 Mhz at 09:15 [local UK time] every Wednesday




MTB 12 being hoisted.

Photo from the Ross and Hide collections ©









Beware the sting in the tail

MTB 12 during sea trials in the UK ; 
    Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©

MTB 12 during sea trials at HMS Vernon in the UK 1938 ©

Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©




MTB 12 ; 
    Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©




MTB 12 at HMS Vernon 1938

Photo from Lt E M (Mickey) Thorpe RN ©









MTB 12 in the Kowloon Camber ;   
    Photo from the Ross family collection ©



MTB 12 alongside in the Kowloon Camber

Photo from the Ross collection ©




MTB 12, ran aground under the command of Lt H.G.A.G Eyre RN at Crooked harbour, Hong Kong, June 1939 & was later towed off by HMS Cicala

Photo from the Hide collection ©





MTB 12 on the rocks


MTB 12 on the rocks 1939










MTB 12 on patrol with 07 
    Photo from Lt Ashby's collection ©

MTB 12 on patrol with MTB 07

Photo from Lt Ashby's collection©




FEPOW net on 3.627 Mhz at 09:15 [local UK clock time] every Wednesday

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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