- Taylor, R.A. CPO, RN
- Biographies and personal histories, History - WW2, History - Between the wars
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1984 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
During this period of sitting on the 3 mile limit, HMS Amethyst made her successful run down river.
As soon as she signalled a breakout several ships of the fleet rushed up to give her aid which fortunately was not required. Any ship on a river with little or no manoeuvring power was a sitting target for shore guns. With the rapid advance of the Communists towards Hong Kong the majority of the fleet was assembled there ready to bombard the border between China and Kowloon. The border was only 2 to 3 miles wide and this was designated as the killing area which happily did not eventuate. In the 1950 period therefore the only deployment of the fleet was around Japan, which also was most interesting. To see all the warlike preparations to defend the Island was stupendous, fortunately the dropping of the atom bomb prevented any necessary invasion.
Early in 1950 I was discharged ashore for onward passage to England and discharge to pension.
However as I had no wish to return I was allowed to take my discharge in New Zealand, being given the money which was the cost of returning home. In those days we were allowed to go to any country in the Empire. On leaving Hong Kong I thought ‘Well you had your fill of China’, and settled down on a liner en route to Sydney. Onboard the Captain asked me to do him a favour. ‘Gosh,’ I thought, ‘does he want me to watchkeep in the engine room.’ But no. He said, ‘you look full of vim and vigour, would you take the ladies to physical instruction each morning’. Obviously I said ‘yes’ and I can still laugh at some of the remarks passed by those ladies, some of them Chinese, one being Madam Chang Kai’s daughter, with whom I spent time talking of the changing conditions. All told I spent 5½ years in and around that fascinating country which much of the time I thoroughly enjoyed.
THE CALL OF THE WEST
(A lower deck ditty of the China river’s gunboats.)
I’m sick of the chink and the tartar
I’m sick of the Jap and Malay,
and the far away spots on the chart
are no place for yours truly to stay.
I’m fed up with undersized chicken
and milk which comes from a can;
The East is no region to stick in
For this one particular man.
I am tired of curry and rice,
all co-mingled with highly spiced dope
I’m fed up with bathing in lysol
and washing in carbolic soap.
I am tired of nasty diseases,
mosquitoes and vermin and flies,
I’m fed up with tropical freezes
and sunshine that dazzles the eyes.
Oh lord for a wind with a tingle
An atmosphere restful and keen
Oh Lord once again to just mingle
With crowds that are white folk and clean.
to eat without fear of infection
to sleep without using a net
to throw away all my collection
of iodine, quinine, et. cet.
To know all the noise and the glamour
The hurry and fret of the west,
I’d trade all the Orient’s glamour
That damned lying poets suggest.
They sing of the east as enthralling
And that’s why I started to roam
Now there’s just one cry I’m calling
Roll on the ship that goes home.