Commander Eric Tufnell RN (1888-1979). Watercolour signed and annotated “HMS AMETHYST 30th July 1949”.
During the months of May, June and July of 1949 diplomatic attempts to obtain AMETHYST’s release after running aground while escaping attack from Chinese communist forces, came to nothing. The officer in command, Lt Cdr B M Skinner, had been killed during the first part of the incident before running aground. Commander Eric Tufnell was given command and he had been waiting for the three months. In the end he decided to run the gauntlet along the Yangtse river and try to escape. His escape became legendary.
2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the epic of the incident on China’s River Yangtze that thrust HMS AMETHYST and other ships of the Far East Fleet, most notably HMS LONDON, HMS CONSORT, HMS BLACK SWAN and HMS CONCORD, into the world’s headlines.