The Royal Navy and the Sino-Japanese Incident 1937-41.

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by High Wood, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This one states, "more bombing".
    Diamond 016.JPG
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  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    No useful input from me, High Wood, simply thanks for posting a great set of images.
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  3. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    "After a Japanese Air Raid at Chungking South China". Diamond 014.JPG
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  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    You are welcome. My main purpose for these and my other photographs and documents is to save them for posterity so what better way than to share them?

  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am assuming that part of the role that the Royal Navy played in protecting the Treaty Ports was to help clear bomb damage and perhaps defuse unexploded ordnance. The back of this photograph simply states, "Demolition Party from the Diamond". They appear to be in a battered gun position in one of the old coastal forts.

    Diamond 010.JPG
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  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Close up.

    Diamond 011.JPG
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This is one of the saddest photographs, it shows a Chinese custom that is still illegally practised today in some of the more remote parts of the country. I have read that having a son is considered great fortune in Chinese culture but having a daughter is not necessarily a blessing from the gods. There have long been recorded instances of new born baby girls being left outside to die and I wonder if that is what has happened here. it would seem that a baby has been deliberately left on the buoy, perhaps in the hope that the Navy would find it in time, perhaps not. The caption on the back starkly reads, "A dead baby on a buoy".

    Diamond 008.JPG
  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Still puzzling over how those 4 sailors drowned in a sampan accident.
    Stokers aren't normally in small boats for a jolly, and surely the ships own boats would be used for shore trips.
    The Japanese were making large inroads against the Chinese and indiscriminately bombing anything they pleased.
    It's therefore unlikely that sailors would therefore be on Chinese watercraft that could be machine gunned.
    However, there's no apparent suggestion that it was as a result of any Japanese action, "a sampan accident"....
    Strange, but some consolation is that the first set of photographs all seem to link to that incident, and the 4 shipmates being buried together.
    I'd assume the photographer had to be an officer, can't imagine a rating being allowed to "goof off" taking photo's of a solemn occasion and perhaps they will bring some comfort to any relatives of those men.
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  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I'll second CF's sentiment here. Thanks for posting.
  10. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 20.55.38.png
    Lancashire Evening Post 19th November 1938
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    Western Morning News 6th September 1937
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    Nottingham Journal 6th September 1937
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Perhaps they missed the ships boat after a good night out on the town and the only way to get back to their ship was to 'hire' a sampan, what happened after that is anyones guess - in fact what happened just before the accident is a guess as well

  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Yes, it seems that someone went to a lot of trouble to record the funeral and burials. The photographs in posts 5 & 6 were taken moments apart from either end of one of the four coffins, so the photographer was clearly moving around.
  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    What I haven't mentioned is that there are two distinct sets of photographs in the bundle, well three, if you count the general family photographs. One of the sets is this, the naval one, and the other are those that belonged to a Fitter in the R.E.M.E., who served in Italy during WW2. I have the fitter's name, John (Jack) Steele, who was born in 1922, he had a younger brother, Alan, born in 1926, who served as a Naval Officer at the end of the war, (there is a photograph of him taken in Singapore in 1947, with the message: To Jack and Muriel, wishing you a lot of luck, Alan). There is also a card bearing the crest of H.M.S. Loch Glendhu, a Loch class Frigate which was launched in October 1944 and commissioned in February 1945. Even as a Boy Seaman, Alan Steele could not have been aboard H.M.S. Diamond in 1938, so the photographs were not his.

    Jack Steele married Muriel Knott in 1945 in Manchester. Her eldest brother, Edward Cecil Knott, born February 1919, could have served aboard H.M.S. Diamond as a 19 year old in 1939, but I have no evidence that he enlisted into the Royal Navy. It might be possible that Jack Steele had an older brother, but as mother's maiden names are not recorded in the birth records until 1912, I haven't found a suitable candidate yet.
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  14. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Very interesting thread. I see TD is on the ball again - his crystal ball - with superb answers and references to the questions posed.

    Probably not unusual. Whilst ships' would run routine shore boats many places would have 'water taxis' which sailors would use to go ashore and return on board rather than wait for the ship's boat. Maltese Dhaisas being a classic example. Also many ships would often hire a local boat to carry out shore runs thus relieving the crew of the necessity. Swatow being a major port is likely to have had Sampans doing this work. The definitive answer will be in the FO File referenced in TD's #19.

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