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Pulp China Station

Page history last edited by Michael 2 years, 5 months ago

back to the Pulp Index


     Bases are at Singapore, Hong Kong, and Hankow (on the Yangtze). The station commander (since March of 1933) is Admiral Sir Frederic Charles Dreyer CBE KCB; his flagship is usually the cruiser HMS Kent. Effective date for this list is Spring of 1934. Note that there are also French, Italian, Japanese and American gunboats operating on China's rivers and along her coast, not to mention proper deep-sea vessels in the China Sea.

     Surface of the squadron are generally painted with white hulls and buff funnels. At least some of the cruisers have gray decks and upperworks.

     Destroyers can journey to Hankow from the China Sea at any time; cruisers can only make the trip between June and September. Only river gunboats, sampans, and specially-designed cargo vessels can advance past Ichang, onto the upper reaches of the Yangtze.


5th Cruiser Squadron




aircraft carrier


HMS EAGLE (comp 13 Apr 20, but not for operations until 20 Feb 24). Arrived on China Station in June of 1933, employed 1933-34 on operations against pirate ships and bases (!). Captain is L.V. Wells DSO. Two squadrons carried - 803 (Hawker Ospreys) and 824 (Fairey IIIF; squadron renumbered to 825 in October of 1934); a few other aircraft are in the HQ Flight. All aircraft can be quickly be fitted with floats, and can be launched from deck with their floats fitted (using trolleys). The IIIF is a recon/light bomber type, with 3 man crews; it's an ancestor of the famous Swordfish. The Osprey is a reasonably fast, maneuverable fighter/recon aircraft, with 2 man crew. 


8th Destroyer Flotilla




4th Submarine Flotilla


Submarine depot ship HMS MEDWAY, submarines HMS OLYMPUS, HMS ORPHEUS, HMS OTUS, HMS OSWALD, HMS PANDORA. The "O" and "P" class subs are fairly modern. The flotilla commander is Captain G.M.K. Keble-White; the flotilla is based in Hong Kong (which is where the Medway can normally be found).


Escort sloops


HMS BRIDGEWATER, HMS CORNFLOWER, HMS FOLKESTONE, HMS SANDWICH. The sloops are about 1000 tons displacement, with a couple of 4" guns as main armament, depth charges, and a crew of just under 100 men. They all date from the Great War. Lately they've been doing a lot of escorting merchant ships along the Chinese coast.


Yangtze (China) Gunboats


Flagship HMS BEE, HMS SCARAB, HMS GNAT, HMS APHIS, HMS LADYBIRD, HMS COCKCHAFER, HMS PETEREL, HMS TERN, HMS GANNET, HMS FALCON, HMS CRICKET, HMS MANTIS, HMS SANDPIPER. SNO Yangtze is Rear Adm R.A.S. Hill CBE. The Yangtze gunboats operate out of Hankow, but get to Shanghai quite often. The Sandpiper is a new vessel (arrived 1933), constructed for and always stationed at Changsha, near the Tung Ting lake on the Yangtze. Her draft of 2' was less than that of her motor launch!


West River (China) Gunboats


HMS CICALA, HMS MOTH, flagship HMS TARANTULA, HMS SEAMEW, HMS ROBIN. SNO West River is Captain K.H.L. Mackenzie. The mouth of the West River (aka the Si Kiang) is (more or less) in the area of Hong Kong and Macau; thus these vessels are seen there quite often. Another old gunboat, the HMS MOORHEN, was sold out of service in August of 1933 to a buyer in Hong Kong - probably for scrap.


Hong Kong


Destroyers HMS SCOUT, HMS TENEDOS, HMS THANET, HMS THRACIAN, tug HMT ST BREOCK, depot ship HMS TAMAR (very old, never ever leaves port). The destroyers are rather elderly, many of their class have already been scrapped; they only travel up and down the Chinese coast in good weather.




Monitor HMS TERROR, survey ship (former minesweeper) HMS HERALD, survey ship HMS ENDEAVOUR (built in 1912, used as depot ship), tug HMT ST JUST. The Terror has a large turret with two 15" guns; five guns of the same class are mounted as part of Singapore's land defenses. The Herald is one of the ugliest naval vessels afloat, built double-ended during the war as part of some hare-brained scheme.


2nd Minesweeping Flotilla


This unit is in reserve at Singapore, and consists of the minesweeping sloops HMS ABERDARE, HMS ABINGDON, HMS BAGSHOT, HMS DERBY, HMS FAREHAM, HMS HARROW, HMS HUNTLEY, HMS STOKE, HMS WIDNES. The minesweepers are each about 700 tons displacement, with a 4" gun mounted forward and a 12-pounder aft. All coal-fired, producing a lot of smoke when under way, and very un-economical with the poor-quality coal available to the China Station. They are moored all together, with only maintenance crews assigned.




HMT FASTNET, dates from 1919. Displacement 438 tons, 138' 6" feet long, beam 28' 9", draft 12' 9", 3-cylinder triple-expansion 87 HP steam engine, speed 11 knots, armament two 3" guns and depth charges, 6 officers and 13 man crew. Anti-submarine, patrol, and minesweeping vessel -- mostly used to carry officials to obscure islands, poke into minor disturbances. The ship has been used to hunt for British submarines in training, so the crew are about the only RN sailors around China with anti-sub experience; the vessel is fitted with ASDIC hydrophones.   

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