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Yangtse River Gunboat Patrol, 1932

Posted by Michael Simpson, on February 8th, 2015


This article presents an album of photographs taken by CPO Albert Ellard and his shipmates during the voyage of HMS Tern, a gunboat which patrolled the Yangste River in China during the interwar years.  The album consists of hundreds of black and white photographs supplemented by larger standard postcards, accompanied by a handwritten commentary.  These annotations describe the locations that the pictures were taken, and the figures and buildings shown in the well composed and excellently preserved photographs.  This album and the accompanying commentary provide a vivid insight in to the life on this great Chinese river during the 1930’s, and the colonial role carried out by the Royal Navy in the outer reaches of the British Empire. It is especially poignant given the eventual fate of the Tern, which was to be scuttled in Hong Kong harbour on 19 December 1941 to prevent her capture by Imperial Japanese forces.

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