HMS Amethyst under fire
HMS AMETHYST AND THE YANGTZE INCIDENT

In April 1949 China was in the middle of a civil war. The frigate HMS Amethyst was proceeding up the Yangtze to relieve the guardship HMS Consort at Nanking, heavily draped with Union flags to show her neutrality, when Communist artillery batteries fired on her. While engaging the Communist guns, the ship sustained direct hits on the bridge and wheelhouse, killing the Chinese pilot outright and fatally wounded the ship's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Skinner. Out of control, Amethyst ran aground on the mud at Rose Island and remained stranded on the Yangtze, despite rescue attempts by the destroyer Consort, the cruiser London and Black Swan, her sister ship. Over three months later though, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Kerans from the Naval Attaché at Nanking, HMS Amethyst made a daring escape under cover of darkness to rejoin the fleet off Shanghai.

 

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