YANGTZE SHOWDOWN The Ordeal of HMS Amethyst


This is the story of the Yangtze incident in the round, the military and political machinations prior to, during and after the event. It could be argued that the Amethyst incident, like the defence of Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu wars, was blown out of all proportion by the government of the day for political gain. Amethyst’s escape from the Yangtze in 1949 provided a tonic for a public in the grip of post-war austerity and was a welcome re-affirmation of the status of the Royal Navy. The over-riding question which remains, however, is what this lone British frigate was doing on a foreign river amidst the climax of a long civil war.

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