British officer served aboard HMS Amethyst during Yangtse Incident in China, 1949
REEL 1 Recollection of period as officer with HMS Amethyst in Far East, 1948: joining ship in Malaya; duties in River Yangtse during Chinese civil war, 1949; question of need for Royal Navy presence on River Yangtse; ashore in Nanking, Christmas, 1948; relations with Chinese Nationalist Navy. Recollections of period as officer aboard HMS Amethyst during Yangtse incident in China, 1949: voyage up River Yangtse, 4/1949; method used to identify ship as British; Chinese Communist forces firing on ship; damage to ship by shell-fire; Hett's actions during shelling; running aground on mudbank; evacuation of crew by whaler; abortive attempt by HMS Consort to help; problems of giving medical aid to wounded; attempt to refloat ship; decision to continue upriver towards Nanking; contact with Chinese Nationalist Army on south bank.
REEL 2 Continues: arrival of Short Sunderland flying boat; failure of second Sunderland to land; short move upriver; arrival of Commander John Kerans; burial of ship's dead; Commander John Keran's plan to destroy HMS Amethyst; view of Communist forces crossing river, 23/4/1949; belief in negotiating of safe passage; attempts of HMS London and HMS Black Swan to aid ship; petty officer's conversation with Communists ashore, 26/4/1949; negotiations with Communists; battering with contractors for supplies; fuel problem and negotiations for fresh fuel supplies; arrival of mail and stores; means of passing time.
REEL 3 Continues: development of ideas for break-out, 7/1949; typhoon threat; hints from Commander-in-Chief to escape; devising code to communicate with Commander-in-Chief, 7/1949; timing of escape; preparations for escape; slipping anchor; flight downstream and Communists firing on ferry; chart availability; passing through gap in Kiang Yin boom; navigating in river channels; encounter with HMS Concord; story of Commander-in-Chief turning a blind eye to escape; voyage to Hong Kong; reception in Hong Kong; experience of typhoon in Hong Kong, 9/1949.
REEL 4 Continues: voyage back to GB; degree of discomfort during ship's captivity; attitude to Chinese Communist propaganda of HMS Amethyst's actions during flight downstream. Aspects of family background.
Submarines played a key role in operations throughout the Cold War. Commodore Frederic Thompson, kept himself and his crewmates entertained, by creating ‘radio’ programmes, which were then broadcast over the submarine’s internal speakers.