Charles Skinner- Escape from Hong Kong

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Charles Skinner M. S. Hong Kong

Charlie Skinner from Sunderland

Charlie Skinner of the Merchant Service volunteered to crew the 150 ton berthing tug Polly (C-410) with Commander Montague R. N. (Retd) and joined up with Adm Chan Chak's MTB escape party at NanAo, deep behind enemy lines on the Dapeng Peninsula in Mirs Bay, China.

Left: Skinner in Waichow 30th December 1941

Photo from Buddy Hide's collection ©

Charles was mentioned in the Newcastle Journal 9th Jan 1942

After 3000 miles traveling overland through China and Burma he arrived in a deserted Rangoon. After five weeks he left onboard the Armed Merchant Cruiser Heinrich Jessen bound for Calcutta along with Lt-Cmdr Gandy, Lt Collingwood, Lt Ashby & Jix Prest, Buddy Hide, Charlie Evans, Al Rutter, John pawley, Jack Holt, Les Barker, Ron Priestley, and others.

Gandy considered having Skinner arrested for continual drunkenness during the escape.

Charlie along with fellow merchant navy officer Norman Halladay re-joined the merchant service on arrival in Calcutta.

Lieutenant Commander Gandy R. N. (Rtrd) had prevailed against all the odds, and triumphed over adversity to deliver all his people back to safety 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."

Huaxi Park near Guiyang

Ships Log: 25th Jan 1942

"Visit to park in the morning. Soccer match in the afternoon, lost 6-1. Dinner in the evening given by the Governor."[5]

Following the visit to the park Dr Lim organized a seven-a-side football match against his training school team.

Lt-Cdr Yorath with officers & ratings at Huaxi park, Guiyang 25th 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.

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