Pamela Whalley - 12/07/2010
This is a story of a paddle and bail from Vietnamese boat people.
My husband was the Supplies Officer to the then Crown Colony of Hong Kong in 1979 and was a volunteer on the illegal immigrants patrol. He was out on patrol in September of that year in the South China seas.
Radar picked up what looked like driftwood. It was in fact two 'san pan' boats with twelve people in them, four of whom were dead already. The rest were starving, terrified, dehydrated and mostly naked.
He pulled out a 12 year old child and he coverd her with a naval issue sweater.
The only implements they had on board were wooden bails and paddles to take them from Vietnam through the shark infested seas. The girl gave him this paddle and bail as a gift for saving her.