Union Jack rh  FRANK  S.  TAYLOR  FAMILY AND ROYAL NAVY HISTORY.NET  UK Naval Ensign White L

 

 

 

 

 

 

YANGSTE WEST RIVER PATROL SQUADRON

 

 

H.M.S. CICALA, H.M.S. MOTH AND H.M.S. TARANTULA

 

 

There were two rivers in China where the British River Gunboats served.

 The Yangtse and Si-Kiang

 

The latter was often referred to as the West River.

Modern spelling - Xijiang

 

 

The photos below are from an album of unique and original photographs dated from 1937 depicting ships and officers from the Yangtse West River Squadron. H.M.S. Moth arrived in China in the summer of 1920 and was stationed on the West River with her sister ships H.M.S. Cicala and H.M.S. Tarantula.

 

 

 

PHOTO ENLARGEMENT

 

The photos below may be enlarged by clicking on each of the miniatures which follow the photo pages.

In keeping with our usual practice, we have restored the enlargements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

Map of the tributaries of the Pearl River, and the Pearl River Basin (watershed/drainage basin) in yellow. The Lubao Yong and Xinan Yong converge with the Liuxi River to form the main branch of the Pearl River just north of Guangzhou. The long and wide Pearl River Delta includes the dense network of cities that span nine prefectures of Guangdong Province, into the South China Sea. Using Digital Chart of the World and GTOPO data.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_River_(China)#/media/File:Zhujiangrivermap.png

 

 

 

 

Canton - Estuary from Album

 

 

 

Squadron Officers aboard H.M.S. Moth

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Cunninghame Graham,
[Sir] Angus Edward Malise Bontine *;
Cunninghame Grahame of Gartmore, 16th of
A.E.M.B. Cunnighame-Graham (Imperial War Museum © IWM (A 14180)) A.E.M.B. Cunnighame-Graham (Imperial War Museum © IWM (A 14179))
A.E.M.B. Cunninghame Graham (Photo courtesy of Mr W.R.B. Cunninghame Graham of Gartmore) A.E.M.B. Cunnighame Graham (Photo courtesy of Mr W.R.B. Cunninghame Graham of Gartmore)

Son of Cdr. Charles Elphinstone Fleeming Cunninghame Graham, MVO, RN (1854-1917), and Mildred Emily Barbara Bagot (1856-1935).
Married (08.10.1924, Eton district, Buckinghamshire) Mary Patricia Hanbury(09.07.1901-27.05.1998), only daughter of late Col. Lionel Henry Hanbury, CMG (1864-1954) and Margaret Colmore "Maisie" Allhusen (1868-1949); one son, one daughter.
* Birth registered under the name: Angus Malise Graham.

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http://www.unithistories.com/officers/bio/british/@papers.jpg

http://www.unithistories.com/officers/bio/british/@papers.jpg

16.02.1893 *
Chelsea, London
-
14.02.1981
Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
[buried at Inchomme Priory, Lake of Menteith, Scotland]

* Naval service record shows (incorrectly) 1892.

Midsh.

15.05.1910

A/S.Lt.

15.09.1912

S.Lt.

30.08.1913

Lt.

10.08.1914

Lt.Cdr.

10.08.1922

Cdr.

31.12.1927

Capt.

31.12.1935

Cdre. 2nd cl.

04.08.1943

R.Adm.

02.01.1945

V.Adm.

02.09.1948 (retd 15.10.1951)

Adm. (retd)

15.03.1952

 

Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire

KBE

01.01.1951

New Year 51 [investiture 14.02.51]

Commander of the Order of the British Empire

CBE

01.01.1944

New Year 44 [investiture 07.03.44]

Companion of the Order of the Bath

CB

12.06.1947

HM's birthday 47 [investiture 11.11.47]

Education: RN Colleges Osborne (15.09.1905) & Dartmouth.

05.1910

-

?

HMS St Vincent (battleship)

?

-

?

HMS Cochrane (cruiser)

?

-

1913

HMS Achilles (cruiser)

1913

-

1914

HMS Sandfly (torpedo-boat destroyer)

1914

-

1914

HMS Victoria and Albert (Royal yacht)

1914

-

1916

HMS Agincourt (Grand Fleet)

1917

-

1917

qualifying for signal duties

22.09.1917

-

(01.1919)

Flag Lieutenant to R.Adm. Douglas Nicholson, 4th Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet [HMS Colossus (battleship)] (and for Signal duties)

15.05.1922

-

1924

Fleet Signal Officer, Mediterranean [HMS Iron Duke (battleship)]

03.12.1924

-

(01.)1925

Tactical Section, Admiralty [HMS President]

01.02.1925

-

(05.)1926

HMS Victory (RN base, Portsmouth) (additional; for miscellaneous services)

06.12.1926

-

(07.1927)

First Lieutenant Commander, HMS Royal Sovereign (battleship) (Mediterranean)

10.04.1928

-

(06.1928)

senior officers' technical course, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

07.1928

-

?

Signal Department, Admiralty [HMS President] (temporarily)

07.01.1929

-

(08.)1929

staff course, RN Staff College, Greenwich [HMS President]

21.01.1930

-

(10.)1930

course at Staff College, Camberley [HMS President]

19.01.1931

-

14.07.1933

Executive Officer, HMS Cardiff (cruiser) (Africa)

(01.1934)

 

 

no appointment listed

22.01.1934

-

(11.1934)

air force staff course, Andover [HMS President]

15.01.1935

-

(02.)1936

Staff Officer (Operations and Intelligence), Nore Command [HMS Pembroke (RN base, Chatham)]

(08.1936)

 

 

no appointment listed

20.11.1936

-

(02.)1938

Commanding Officer, HMS Tarantula (river gunboat) & Senior Officer, West River, China

(06.1938)

-

(02.1939)

no appointment listed

03.03.1939

-

(02.)1941

Captain of HM Signal School, Portsmouth [HMS Victory]

15.05.1941

-

07.07.1943

Commanding Officer, HMS Kent (cruiser) (convoy escort duties, North Russia) (CBE)

04.08.1943

-

04.1945

Commodore Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham [HMS Pembroke]

1945?

 

 

Naval ADC to the King

08.04.1945

-

(04.)1946

Rear-Admiral Commanding 10th Cruiser Squadron, and Second-in-Command Home Fleet [HMS Diadem, later HMS Birmingham] (CB)

1946

-

16.10.1946

Flag Officer Commanding 2nd Cruiser Squadron [HMS Birmingham, from 09.1946 HMS Superb]

14.04.1947

-

08.1951

Admiral Superintendent, Rosyth Dockyard [HMS Cochrane] & from 07.1950 also Flag Officer, Scotland (KBE)

A Captain in Royal Company of Archers (Queen's Body Guard for Scotland), 1969-. Hon. Sheriff 1959. Vice-President: RNLI; Earl Haig Fund, Scotland; Trustee for National Library of Scotland; Commissioner of Queen Victoria Sch. A Vice-President National Trust for Scotland. JP Dunbartonshire, 1955 Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, 05.01.1955-14.05.1968; Keeper of Dumbarton Castle, since 1955. FRGS.
PublishedRandom naval recollections, 1905-1951 (1979)

Source: http://www.unithistories.com/officers/RN_officersC.html

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

     

 

 

Palmer,
Jack Barrington
J.B. Palmer
Son of Thomas Howard Barrington Palmer (1873-), and Emmeline Austin Neame (1872-), of Beauport House, St Brelade's, Jersey.
Married ((06?).1938, Aldershot district, Hampshire) Barbara Allen (died 20.08.1996), daughter of Mr & Mrs Arthur C. Allen, of White Cottage, Fleet, Hampshire.

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25.12.1903
Watford district, Hertfordshire
-
16.03.1990

Midsh.

15.01.1922

A/S.Lt.

15.05.1924

S.Lt.

30.01.1925

Lt.

30.06.1926

Lt.Cdr.

30.06.1934 (retd 25.12.1948)

A/Cdr.

01.02.1944?

Cdr. (retd)

25.12.1948

 

Officer of the Order of the British Empire

OBE

11.06.1946

wind up Far East

Mention in Despatches

MID

01.01.1941

New Year 41

15.09.1917

 

 

entered RN

02.10.1922

-

(08.1923)

HMS Diomede (light cruiser)

25.09.1924

-

(01.)1925

promotion course, RN College, Greenwich [HMS President]

27.10.1925

-

(06.)1928

HMS Keppel (flotilla leader, 3rd Destroyer Flotilla) (China)

07.11.1928

-

(04.)1930

HMS Despatch (cruiser) (America and West Indies)

04.04.1930

-

(08.)1930

HMS Durban (cruiser) (America and West Indies)

18.11.1930

-

(09.1932)

staff, RN College, Dartmouth [HMS Britannia]

02.01.1933

-

(07.1935)

Executive Officer, HMS Dundee (sloop) (America and West Indies) [ship commissioned 23.03.1933]

06.02.1936

-

(02.)1938

Commanding Officer, HMS Cicala (river gunboat) (China)

(06.1938)

-

(08.1938)

no appointment listed

18.07.1938

-

1938

HMS Pembroke (RN base, Chatham)

29.08.1938

-

(09.)1939

Navigating Officer, HMS Berwick (cruiser) & as Fleet Navigating Officer, America and West Indies Station

04.12.1939

-

04.1941

Commanding Officer, HMS Witherington (destroyer) (despatches)

29.04.1941

-

(12.1941)

Commanding Officer, HMS Versatile (destroyer)

17.02.1942

-

11.1942

Commanding Officer, HMS Versatile (destroyer)

11.1942

-

08.12.1943

Commanding Officer, HMS Whaddon (escort destroyer)

01.02.1944

-

(06.)1944

Commanding Officer, HMS Brontosaurus (Combined Operations base, Castle Toward, Dunoon, Argyll)

(10.1944)

 

 

HMS Eaglet (RN base, Liverpool) *

12.1944

-

17.10.1945

Commanding Officer, HMS Pheasant (sloop) & as Senior Officer of Escort Group) (OBE)

27.12.1945

-

(07.)1948

an Assistant to Naval Assistant to Second Sea Lord, Admiralty [HMS President]

Source: http://www.unithistories.com/officers/RN_officersC.html

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

Navy Chaplains

 

 

 

 

 

Lt. Bob Blacker of H.M.S. Cicala sent the following Christmas Cards home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squadron Officers - West River 1937

 

     

 

 

H.M.S Moth, Cicala and Tarantula in Hong Kong

The Coronation of George VI

 

 

 

 

West River 1937

 

    

 

  

 

 

 

H.M.S. Moth – West River

 

       

 

 

 

H.M.S. Moth - West River

 

     

 

 

 

H.M.S. Tarantula - 1937

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

Bocca Tigris - See map insert below for location

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxKCYL0DHDs

 

General views of the city of Canton. M/S of Pathe cameraman A T Hull filming with a hand-held camera. Several shots of smoke rising from the city during a bombing raid by the Japanese. Distressed people mill about a busy street; quick shot of bombers flying overhead. Bodies are strewn about amongst the rubble of bombed buildings; people work to clear the debris; women search for their possessions in the ruins of their homes.

 

 

The Campaign to Seize Canton (Guangzhou) - 1937 - 1938

http://www.combinedfleet.com/Canton_t.htm

 

 

 

Contemporaneous photo of two Insect Gunboats in Canton 1937

 

Looking upstream from USS MINDANAO (PR-8) at smoke from a Japanese air raid on Canton, summer 1937.

British "Insect" Class Gunboats visible in this view are probably H.M.S. CICALA (L) and H.M.S. TARANTULA or MOTH.

Description: Courtesy of Rear Admiral J.D. Shaw USN (RET), 1973

 

Source: https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-80000/NH-80175.html

 

 

 

 

Footnote

 

 

H.M.S. Moth

 

 

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 in the graving dock in the naval yard at Hong Kong H.M.S. Moth was undergoing an extensive refit, which necessitated the removal of some of her hull plates. Under Japanese attack and with no skilled workers available to complete repairs sufficiently to enable her to be re-floated, or to even undock the vessel, Commodore Collinson decided to put the gunboat out of action. Her guns were hastily removed, the pom-pom being mounted near the entrance to the graving dock, and the 3-inch handed over to the military to replace one of their own guns which had been destroyed. The ship's company were sent to join up with the garrison forces, the sluices were opened and the dock was flooded. Soon the Moth was completely submerged save for the top of her foremast protruding from the sea of debris floating about in the graving dock.

 

After the fall of Hong Kong, the conquerors set to work and salvaged the scuttled British Insect class gunboat Moth from her resting place in the flooded graving dock. They re-armed her and put her into service, and under the revived name of Suma she flew the Rising Sun from her ensign staff. From Hong Kong she was later steamed northwards to the Yangtse, a river she had not previously known.

 

Then one day an American military aircraft on a minelaying mission dropped a clutch of lethal eggs in the Yangtse a few miles above Nanking. On March 19th, 1945, while H.I.J.M.S. Suma was steaming down river she ran on to one of those mines and was blown to pieces. Thus, the fifth of the Insects to meet her ultimate fate died twice. 

  

A summary of the ship's history may be viewed at: http://www.combinedfleet.com/suma_t.htm

 

 

 

 

H.M.S. Cicala in drydock. Canton.

 

 

H.M.S. Cicala

 

On 21 December H.M.S Cicala which had so far survived sixty dive bombing attacks and almost continuous shelling from Japanese shore batteries and mortars was again attacked by dive bombers after sailing close to Deep Water Bay to shell Japanese mortar positions on Shouson Hill and Bennet's Hill. Once again after eight unsuccessful attacks the ninth Ki-32 managed to drop three bombs along the centre line of the ship, one smashing the starboard skiff on its davits and blowing a hole in the hull, one passing through the ship's company mess deck to explode beneath the hull and the third going straight through the aft compartment without exploding. The gunboat began to flood uncontrollably and settled slowly in the East Lamma Channel. Lt Cdr Kennedy witnessing her end from MTB-09.

 

On 23 Dec 2015 we received the following from Buddy Hide Jr. regarding H.M.S. Cicala's end.

 

Dear Sir

 

Contrary to most reports HMS Cicala commanded by Lt-Cmd John C Boldero was scuttled by depth charges from MTB 09 in East Lamma Channel, Hong Kong after being hit by a string of bombs on 22nd December 1941.

 

The Senior Naval Officer, Aberdeen, Cmd Hugh Montague RN (Rtrd) signalled Lt-CMD Gerrard Gandy RN (Rtrd) on MTB 10 to take of survivors and sink the gallant Cicala. Gandy in turn ordered Lt Alexander Kennedy on MTB 09 to depth charge her, which Kennedy did using all six of his depth charges. MTB 07 was standing by.

 

I have Gandy's hand-written account along with the Log Book of MTB 07, on which my father was serving, and Kennedy's account in his self-published book "Hong Kong Full Circle 1939-45".

 

Regards

Buddy Hide Jr

 

Author of Escape from Hong Kong at: http://www.hongkongescape.org/Kennedy.htm#HKFC

 

On the 21st December nine planes of the Japanese air-force flew lazily over HMS Cicala.

 

 

Lieutenant Commander Gandy R. N. (Rtrd) "The Senior Naval Officer Aberdeen, Commander Montague RN, signalled to evacuate the Cicala ships company and sink her by depth charge; the latter job I delegated to MTB 09 while I took off the crew in MTB 10. This was when my First Lieutenant (Sub-Lt Ralph Goodwin NZRNVR) got wounded by a stray piece of shell." 

 

Lt Kennedy"Near Aberdeen (East Lamma Channel) the "Cicala" was doing yeoman service with her two six-inch guns bombarding enemy positions, and in consequence came under repeated attack from the air. The value of her work was confirmed the next morning by the determination of the Japanese to silence her. The "Cicala" was steaming slowly near the coast continuing the bombardment when the air attack began. Nine planes circled high above her and one by one peeled off leisurely into a dive. Eight times the water rose up like a curtain round the ship, and eight times it fell to reveal the "Cicala" still sitting there firing at the land. It was agonising to watch, but after the bombs had gone from the last aircraft and the fountains of spray subsided, her guns were silent and smoke was coming from the ship.


MTB 10 rushed out to take off survivors, and although the last stick of bombs had fallen squarely along the centre of the ship almost the whole crew was saved. But the old lady was settling very slowly, and MTB 09 was detailed to sink her with depth-charges in case she should drift ashore into enemy hands. I dropped three charges alongside her, then three more, but each time she reared amidships and settled back on an even keel. The "Cicala" was a fighter, but she was gradually going and after half-an-hour had disappeared.


'It was a sad end for a gallant ship which had seen service in North Russia after the last war and had survived over fifty bombing attacks in this.

'And now there were five!' Five naval vessels left, all of them MTBs. 

 

Source: http://www.hongkongescape.org/Kennedy.htm#HKFC

See also: http://www.hongkongescape.org/Escape-Preface.htm

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

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