Lieutenant Commander Laurence R. Consadine served in the destroyer HMS Consort in 1949, at the time of the ‘ Yangstse Incident’. This involved the Royal Navy ships HMS Amethyst, HMS Consort, HMS London, and HMS Black Swan on the Yangtze River for three months in the summer of that year. On 20 April Amethyst was on her way from Shanghai to Nanking to replace Consort, which was standing as guard ship for the British Embassy there during the Chinese Civil War between the nationalist Kuomintang-led Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party. A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) field gun battery on the north bank of the river fired a salvo of ten shells to warn Amethyst to stay away from the war zone. The salvo fell well short of the ship, and was assumed to be part of a regular bombardment of Nationalist forces on the opposite bank, so Amethyst ignored the warning and continued to sail towards Nanking. Speed was increased, and large Union flags were unfurled on either side of the ship, but her troubles had barely begun.
Recorded 6th July 1979
Duration 1 hour and 5 minutes
Note that photos and diagrams referred to in this address are not included in this audio-only podcast.