The Amethyst Incident

Having held dedicated Scotland's only Militaria auctions for over two years now, we're always on the hunt for something a wee bit different.



Take the above medal group for instance, on the surface, immediately recognisable as a late WWII to post-war naval service set. However, as we know, small details can make a big difference.
Indeed, what makes this group so special is the single bar attached to the George VI naval general service medal, inscribed YANGTZE 1949.
To receive this bar, you needed to be one of the 1,450 servicemen (+ 1 cat) involved in the now infamous Amethyst incident.
This incident took place in the summer of 49, during the middle of the Chinese Civil War. When HMS Amethyst journeyed down the Yangtze (a right of passage unchallenged since the late Qing dynasty) to replace another vessel guarding the British embassy, it was soon attacked by the Communist People's Liberation Army (who were in the middle of overthrowing the Chinese Nationalist government).
The Amethyst was soon rescued by three further Royal Navy vessels, though not without severe damage, including shrapnel wounds to the ship's cat Simon - a stalwart during the attack and later awarded the Dickin medal.
The British were ultimately forced to permanently withdraw from Chinese territorial waters, with the attack later celebrated in the People's Republic of China - viewed as a marked end to Western 'gunboat diplomacy' and a new chapter after the 'Century of Humiliation'.
The Yangtze bar raises this medal from one that would be worth maybe a couple of hundred pounds, to won worth over £1,000.

This and further medals, arms and armour will be offered in our Militaria auction next Wednesday 22 May from 10am.



For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact a specialist on 0141 810 2880 or

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