Hugh Monthermer Montague OBE R.N. (retd) - Escape from Hong Kong

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Commander Hugh Monthermer Montague OBE R. N. (retd)

O. C. HMS Robin, S.N.O. Aberdeen repair yard Hong Kong & on the Escape


Commander Hugh M Montague OBE R. N. [Senior Naval Officer Aberdeen, and O/C HMS Robin] and Admiral Chan Chak's ADC Lt-Cmdr Hsu Heng (Henry) OBE C. N.

Click here for more information on Cdr Montague RN (Rtrd)

Cdr Montague was the Commander of HMS Robin, a river class gunboat which was the mother-ship to the 2nd MTB Flotilla in Hong Kong from 10th February 1940 - 25th December 1941. HMS Robin was scuttled in Aberdeen Channel on Christmas Day just prior to the surrender. The two 55 foot ex Kuamintong CMB's Kuai 19 & 20 completed in 1938 did not have sleeping quarters, and therefore the crews messed on board Robin. Montague was was also the Senior Naval Officer (SNO) Aberdeen and was responsible for commandeering suitable vessels needed for the hastily appointed dock.
On the 9th December the Tug C410, two navy lighters and the cabin cruiser Vanla which belonged to Chief Petty Officer writer Felix Hill moved from Victoria Harbour to Aberdeen. On the 12th Montague requisitioned the Vanla for running supplies between Aberdeen and Repulse Bay during the battle.

Cmdr Montague escaped from Aberdeen on Christmas Day on the Tug C410 and joined up with Admiral Chan Chak's escape party at NanAo, deep behind enemy lines in China.

Lieutenant Commander Gandy R. N. (Rtrd) had prevailed against all the odds, and triumphed over adversity to deliver his people back to the UK without loss of life or serious injury after evading capture and escaping from Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941.

PO Prest: "We travelled by cycles, lorries, junks, and donkeys, but mostly we walked. It was a case of march or die"

Buddy Hide: "On the whole, the moral, spirits, and courage of the party was magnificent. I think it was the shear thoughts of beating the Jap's, and the prospects of getting home after three years, some of us four years from home, that made us carry on."

After reaching Shaoguan (Kukong) members of the Aberdeen Island escape party were flown to Chungking for debriefing. The arrival of Cmdr Hugh Montague RN (Rtrd), Police Supt Bill Robinson of the Indian Police Intelligence unit, Captain Peter Macmillan, Captain Reginald (Freddie) Guest, Sq-Ldr Max Oxford, all staff officers of HKBHQ, David MacDougall, and Edwin (Ted) Ross both of the Ministry of Information arrival in the early hours made the British national and regional press the same day 15th January 1942.

Later completing the 3000 miles journey across China and Burma and arrived in a deserted Rangoon. In March 1942 he was appointed Senior Naval Officer Chittagong before returning to New Zealand.

Commander Montague was appointed Local Defence, and Commander Boom Defence in New Zealand in October 1942 "The preparation and installation of the booms were carried out under the superintendence of Commander H. M. Montague, OBE, RN (retd), Staff Officer (Boom Defence).Navy Office, Wellington, New Zealand [HMNZS Philomel II]"57

??/03/1943 - ??/07/1945 Commanding Officer, HMS Kirriemoor (boom carrier) 

Discharged 1951

For more information on Cmdr Hugh M Montague RN (Rtrd) Click here.

Commander Montague was Mentioned in Despatches and honored with an OBE for his part in the escape in the New Years Honours List on 1st January 1942.

Montague was featured on the front page of the Daily Express along with Admiral Chan Chak during the escape

Senior Sino-British Naval officers with nursing staff at Waichow

Back Row: Lt Kennedy RNVR, Lt-Cmdr Hsu Heng (Henry) CN, Lt-Cmdr Gandy RN (Rtrd), Lt-Cmdr Yorath RN (Rtrd), Cdr Montague RN (Rtrd), Lt Parsons HKRNVR, Lt Ashby HKRNVR, Lt Collingwood RN,

Front Row: Sub-Lt Gee HKRNVR, Sub-Lt Brewer HKRNVR, Sub-Lt Legge HKRNVR, and nurses at Waichow.

Click here to return to the Waichow Photo

HMS Robin with MTB 26 or 27 alongside. Robin was the MTB Flotilla's mother ship and as 26 & 27 did not have sleeping accomodation the crews messed on Robin.

Photo from the Hide collection ©





MTB 26 or 27 alongside HMS Robin

Photo from the Hide collection ©








HMS Robin with MTB 26 or 27 alongside.

Photo from the Hide collection ©







Lt-Cmdr John Yorath RN (Rtrd), Maj Arthur Goring, Mrs Muriel Jones, Supt Bill Robinson, Cmdr Montague RN (Retd), & Lt-Cmdr Hsu Heng (Henry) CN at Kukong, Shaoguan 7th January 1942.

Photo from the Hide collection ©





Deputy Commander General Jiang Guangnai, David MacDougall, Commander Hugh Montague RN, C-in-C General Yu Hanmou, Admiral Chan Chak, Lt-Colonel Harry Owen-Hughes, and Chief of Staff General Wang Zhun at Kukong [Shaoguan] 6th January 1942.

Photo from the Hide collection © 












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.

© Hong Kong Web Master 1997 


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