Alan L Marchant M. N.
Alan L Marchant HKVDC, a Canadian who had been employed by the trading and shipping agent Jardine Matheson & Company in Hong Kong, and volunteered to crew the 150 ton diesel powered berthing tug Polly (C-410) with Commander Montague R. N. and joined up with Adm Chan Chak's MTB escape party at NanAo, deep behind enemy lines in China.
Photo from Buddy Hide's collection © Waichow 30th December 1941
When the escape party arrived in Kunming towards the end of January Mr Urquhart, the agent for the international traders and shipping agent Jardine Matheson & Company in their Kunming office took on Eddie Brazel, Eric Cox-Walker, Holgar Christensen, and Alan Marchant. The former employees were needed to staff new inland regional offices being set up due to the loss of China's southern ports. The demand for silk was at an all time high, not for the luxury hosiery market, but for air force parachutes.
Lieutenant Commander Gandy R. N. (Rtrd) had prevailed against all the odds, and triumphed over adversity to deliver his people back to the UK without loss of life or serious injury after evading capture and escaping from Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941.
PO Prest: "We travelled by cycles, lorries, junks, and donkeys, but mostly we walked. It was a case of march or die"
Buddy Hide: "On the whole, the moral, spirits, and courage of the party was magnificent. I think it was the shear thoughts of beating the Jap's, and the prospects of getting home after three years, some of us four years from home, that made us carry on."
Banknotes signed as souvenirs by escape party members in Liuchow on 20th January 1942 while waiting for a train.
Among the signatures on this 10 Yuan banknote belonging to Lt Parsons HKRNVR are;
D S Pethick
E H Brazel
A L Marchant
Photo from the Hide family collection ©
The banknote under belonging to Lt Kennedy RNVR is signed by;
R R W Ashby
C J Collingwood
Research and web publication by Buddy Hide Jnr ©
The contents of this web site led to a considerable number of escapee families contacting me and now each other, and remains the principle source of contact and private information for the spin off projects that have followed. The personal accounts enabled me to record the complete and true account of this remarkable episode of Sino-British war time co-operation. The information compiled here has directly resulted in a museum exhibition in Hong Kong, a re-enactment of the escape in Hong Kong and China, with a movie drama and documentary in the making.
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