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H.M.S. Cossack Side Party 50 Years On

by ateamwar

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Archive List > Royal Navy

Contributed by 
ateamwar
Location of story: 
Japan
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A4507544
Contributed on: 
21 July 2005

The following story appears courtesy of and with thanks to the HMS Cossack Association

AH-LIN was senior hand and tragically lost her life in the summer of 1948. On the morning the Flotilla was due to sail for the summer cruise to Japan, COSSACK was on West Arm (West) and CONSORT on West Arm (East). CONSORT, on slipping, came astern to make room in order to get round the North Arm and trapped our side party's sampan between the two ships. The sampan was beginning to break up and on COSSACK's quarterdeck our bearing-out spars were being snapped off as efforts were made to keep the two ships apart. AH-LIN and AH-MA were in the sampan at the time and screaming for help. Lieutenant Cussins leapt over the side onto the disintegrating sampan and managed to haul AH-MA from the water by her pig-tail. She was quickly hauled inboard and Lieut. Cussins just scrambled back before the two ships came together. Unfortunately nothing could be done for AH-LIN. Although still alive when brought out of the water, she died in S.B.A. Toomey's arms as he tried to deal with her wounds.
AH-HO and Peggy were aboard COSSACK at the time and were very distraught at what had happened. Our sailing was delayed and I believe funds were provided by the Wardroom so that a new sampan could be purchased before our return from Japan. Lieutenant Cussins was commended for his brave action but also reprimanded for improperly leaving his ship.
AH-MOY, now over eighty, is hale and hearty, still working and lives in the Causeway Bay area. AH-MO is living in Shaukewan. Peggy married Mr. Leung, who at one time was a mess-boy in H.M.S. CONSTANCE, and also live in the Causeway Bay area. They have nine children, four daughters and five sons, most of whom have made a great success of their lives. One son is a business man in Australia, another a Group Secretary, another a lawyer and the youngest is a Superintendent in the Hong Kong Marine Police and is Officer-in-Charge of the Shaukewan Base. There are seven bases around the old colony of Hong Kong. In pride of place in the officers mess at Shaukewan among several other plaques and badges are two R.N. ships plaques - H.M.S. COSSACK and H.M.S. CONSTANCE.
Time passes on and the last photograph (No. 3) was taken in February 2000 at a vantage point overlooking the main crossing point from the New Territories into China proper. On the left is Mrs Kay Lilley, nee Miss Wong Kam-moy until January 1953, and next to her is Mrs. Leung aka Peggy.
Mrs. Leung and other members of her family came over to England in August for a family gathering to celebrate a grandson's achievement of gaining a degree in Economics at Oxford. Almost anything can be achieved with encouragement, endeavour and perseverance.

'This story was submitted to the People’s War site by BBC Radio Merseyside’s People’s War team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his / her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.'

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