This turret was soon hit and disabled. None of the close range weapons could be brought to bear on the PLA batteries. The shore batteries continued to fire at Amethyst, causing more damage and casualties on board. Some time between 10:00 and 10:30, Weston ordered the immediate evacuation to shore of anyone who could be spared.A boat was manned to take people the short distance to shore and some men swam ashore. The batteries switched their fire to the men being evacuated and further evacuation was stopped. Fifty-nine ratings and four Chinese mess boys made it to the Kuomintang-controlled southern bank, but two men were assumed drowned while swimming ashore. Those who survived were joined by the seriously wounded from Amethyst who had been landed by sampan, with the assistance of the Chinese Nationalists on the following day. Both parties were taken to a missionary hospital in Kiangyin where they were met by a party from the British Embassy in Nanking and put on a train for Shanghai.
Remaining on board were about 60 unwounded men. The shelling had stopped, but no one could move without drawing the attention of PLA snipPers. By the time the shelLling stopped at about 11:00, 22 men had been killed and 31 wounded in all.
Amethyst had received over 50 hits and holes below the waterline were plugged with hammocks and bedding. During this time the destroyer Consort was sighted, flying seven White Ensigns and three Union flags, steaming down from Nanking at 29 knots. Admiral Madden, the Flag Officer, second in command, Far East Station, ordered the destroyer HMS Consort (Commander Robertson) to go from Nanking to the Amethyst's assistance, and ordered the frigate Black Swan (Captain Jay) to go from Shanghai to Kiangyin, 40 miles down river from the Amethyst. Consort reached the Amethyst at about three in the afternoon and was immediately fired upon.She found the fire too heavy to approach Amethyst and therefore passed her at speed down river. She turned two miles below and again closed Amethyst to take her in tow. But again she came under such heavy fire that she was obliged to abandon the attempt, although she answered the shore batteries with her full armament including 4.5-inch (114 mm) gunMs and soon signaLled that she had silenced most of the opposition. Half an hour later her signals ceased, though she was making a second attempt to take the Amethyst in tow, having turned downstream again. This attempt also failed and she sustained further damage and casualties during which her steering was affected. She therefore had to continue downstream out of the firing area with 10 men killed and 23 wounded. Refloating and the arrival of Kerans. Attempted assistance from London and Black Swan. On 21 April a signal was received: HM ships London and Black Swan are moving up river to escort the Amethyst down stream. On 30 April 1949 the Chinese demanded that Britain, the United States, and France quickly withdraw their armed forces from any part of China. Negotiations were stuck because Kerans would not accept the demand of Kang Yushao, the Chinese representative, that he admit the British state had wrongly invaded Chinese national waters. The People's Republic insisted that it was illegal for Amethyst to cruise in the Yangtze River. On 30 July 1949 Amethyst slipped her chain and headed downriver in the dark, beginning a 104-mile (167 km) dash for freedom running the gauntlet of guns on both banks of the river. 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) which had their searchlights sweeping the river.
At 0525 a planned meeting with the destroyer Concord took place, at which point Amethyst sent the signal Have rejoined the fleet south of Woosung. Concord had been ordered to prepare to provide gun support to Amethyst if she came under fire from the shore batteries at Woosung. To achieve this she had moved up the Yangtze during the night, at action stations. Fortunately for the British, Amethyst was not spotted by the shore batteries and the two ships then proceeded down river until at 0715 they stood down from action stations and after clearing the river mouth arrived at the Saddle Islands at 1200 hrs to anchor and transfer much needed oil and stores. Next day the cruiser Jamaica (flying the flag of the Flag Officer Second in Command Far East Fleet) and destroyer Cossack took over as escort and proceeded to Hong Kong.
Concord was sent to Japan after being sworn to secrecy. Amethyst subsequently received a message of congratulations from King George VI. Please convey to the commanding officer and ships 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. Future Governor of Hong Kong, Edward Youde, was on the British Embassy Staff at Nanking.
At great personal risk he penetrated the Chinese Communist lines in an attempt to negotiate the release of Amethyst. His negotiations came to naught. Youde later was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his actions. Simon died soon after returning to the UK, posthumously being awarded the Dickin Medal (sometimes referred to as "the animals' Victoria Cross").He remains the only cat so honoured. The item "Yangtse Incident H. Amethyst CHINESE CIVIL WAR 1949 ORIG PRESS PHOTO medal" is in sale since Thursday, November 21, 2019. This item is in the category "Collectables\Militaria\Other Militaria\Navy". The seller is "amgarchive" and is located in Skipton.
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