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21 May 2013: The Naval Career of Chang Man Ying, Royal Navy.

posted 5 Aug 2013, 21:22 by John Leighton   [ updated 24 Dec 2017, 03:24 by OMRS Admin ]
The Branch met to hear a talk from Chief Petty Officer Steward Chang Man Ying, recipient of the Naval General Service Medal with two bars - Yangtze and Malaya, Queen's and U.N. Korean Medals, Campaign Service Medal - Bar for Borneo and Naval Long Service Medal.  Branch Secretary, Steve Verralls, presented these medals to him having just had then remounted.  

CPO Chang served in the Royal Navy for 25 years and was on HMS Black Swan which accompanied HMS London up the Yangtze to try rescue HMS Amethyst. Both ships came under heavy fire and had to call off their rescue attempt after being holed many times by PLA shore batteries. 
CPO Chang recalled being advised with the other crew of the rescue attempt when they were nearing the mouth of the Yangtze and on being called to action stations before the rescue attempt was made. His action station role was to serve as medical orderly in the sick bay but his services were not needed. He recalled sailing to Japan in 1950 and being involved in so called convoy duty escorting supplies from Japan to South Korea. He saw no shore action excepting seeing shelling of shore positions. Whilst based in Singapore he served on similar convoy and security duties around Borneo. This is the first time we have ever had a living "Chinese" recipient of the Yangtze bar talk to us.
Following the above talk, the Branch then had a talk from Albert Lam MBE, who had translated for CPO Chang.  Albert studies Chinese history, including the famous Yangtze incident covered in CPO Chang's talk. He showed us a copy of Communist documents released by China in 1999 relating to this incident. He mentioned that the Americans and other countries had been warned off sending ships up the Yangtze because Communist forces were massing on the North side of the river to attack the KMT on the Southern side. For reasons best know to the British they persisted with trying to evacuate their citizens from Nanking and as a result came badly unstuck. 
One of those involved in the Amethyst negotiations, Sir Edward Youde, later became Governor of Hong Kong. For three months Communist forces actually supplied food and water to the Amethyst before she made her escape and the Communist could have easily destroyed the R.N. ships. The documents also reveal that Communist forces took over 1,000 casualties in this incident from British shelling.

It was an excellent and informative evening, and the Branch thanked both visitors for their presentations.