1949 photo HMS Amethyst in the Suez Canal

$25.00 CAD

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Nice photo of the famous HMS Amethyst in the Suez Canal, after the Yangtze Incident.

On back is handwritten 'Taken by __ in the Suez Canal 1949  H.M.S. AMETHYST Back to UK From the Yangse China'.

Photo bit fuzzy, as per negative.

8.5 x 13.75 cm.


The Amethyst Incident, also known as the Yangtze Incident, in 1949 involved the British Royal Navy ship HMS Amethyst being trapped on the Yangtze River for three months, during the Chinese Civil War.

On 20 April 1949, HMS Amethyst, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Bernard Skinner, was on her way from Shanghai to Nanking to replace Consort, which was standing as guard ship for the British Embassy there during the Chinese Civil War between the nationalist Kuomintang and the Chinese Communists. According to the Royal Navy, at around 08:31, after a burst of small arms fire, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) field gun battery on the north bank of the river fired a salvo of ten shells, which fell well short of the ship, and was assumed to be part of a regular bombardment of Nationalist forces on the south bank. Speed was increased, and large Union flags were unfurled on either side of the ship, after which there was no more firing from this battery.





On 30 July 1949 Amethyst slipped her chain and headed downriver in the dark, beginning a 167 km dash for freedom running the gauntlet of guns on both banks of the river. She followed the passenger ship Kiang Ling Liberation in the hope that the observers ashore would be confused and not see Amethyst in the dark. When the battery opened fire, the fire was directed at the Kiang Lin Liberation which was sunk by the gun fire, with heavy civilian casualties. At 0500 hours on 31 July, Amethyst approached the PLA forts at Par Shan (Baoshan) and Woosung (Wusong) with their searchlights sweeping the river. At 0525 a pre-planned meeting with the destroyer Concord took place, at which point Amethyst sent the famous signal "Have rejoined the fleet south of Woosung. No damage. No casualties. God save the King"



Amethyst subsequently received a message of congratulations from King George VI:



Please convey to the commanding officer and ship’s company of HMS AMETHYST my hearty congratulations on their daring exploit to rejoin the Fleet. The courage, skill and determination shown by all on board have my highest commendation. Splice the mainbrace.