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Gunboats on the Yangtze River

A collection of photo images of U.S. German and British gunboats, which patrolled the Yangtze River in China from 1898-1941. The album also contains militaria, including news clippings and an image of the U.S. Yangtze Service medal for military service on the Yangtze.

HMS Woodlark, sister-ship HMS Woodcock, a circa 1898 river gunboat, 150t, 2-6pdr, 13kts. Sold in 1928. Service record: Aug 1917-Dec 1919, Lower Yangtse River, China.

British Insect-class China gunboat HMS Firefly, launched in 1915.

Sister-ship HMS Aphis, a circa 1915 river gunboat, Insect-class, 645t, 2-6 inch guns, 14kts, 53 crew, Mesopotamia 1916-17. Sold in 1940. Service record; Mar 1916-Oct 1919, Mar 1920-Dec 1920, Persian Gulf, China; Jan 1921-Feb 1923, Apr 1923-Dec 1923, China.

British Insect-class China gunboat HMS Scarab, circa 1920. Originally launched in 1915.

This is a copy of a First Day Cover in my personal collection issued "In Memoriam" of the USS Panay (PR-5), sunk in the Yangtse River, 35 miles upstream from Nanking on 12 December 1937, that was actually mailed from the USS Monocacy on 12 December 1938.

Navy Day first day cover mailed from the USS Panay on 27 October 1937.

Letter stamped/posted from the USS Panay on 4 June 1932.

Photo of the original flag from the USS Panay gunboat and a model of it in the Navy Museum.

On 2 May, the USS Mindanao called for Hong Kong and thence to Canton, arriving 14 June where she became flagship of the South China Patrol Force, U.S. Asiatic Fleet. For the next 12½ years, Mindanao cruised the southern coast of China, based alternately at Hong Kong and Canton, protecting American and Allied interests in China and suppressing piracy. In October 1938, following the Japanese invasion of southern China and seizure of Canton, she commenced operations to guard American neutrality.

USS Mindanao was laid down as patrol gunboat PG-48 on 20 November 1926 by Kiangnan Dock and Engineering Works, Shanghai, China; launched on 28 September 1927; reclassified as river gunboat PR-8. Commissioned USS Mindanao (PR-8) on 10 July 1928, she was sunk 2 May 1942 in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands to prevent capture by the Japanese imperial forces.

USS Wake (PR 3), formerly the USS Guam, on the Yangtze River. Photo from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

USS Guam PR43, underway on the Yangtze River in 1932. Photo from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Port side view of the USS Guam PG-43 patrolling the Yangtze River, circa unknown. U.S.Naval Institute photo, Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA, Yangtze River Patrol Memorial Exhibit.

USS Elcano at anchor off Hangchow, China. Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Gunboats and Marines: The United States in China, 1925-1928" by Bernard D. Cole.

USS Elcano somewhere in China. Courtesy U.S. Warships of World War I.

USS Monocacy at the landing with a hole through her bow after she was hit by a Chinese shell, during the burning of Tongku (Tanggu), China, circa June 1900. Photo printed on a stereograph card, copyrighted in 1901 by Underwood & Underwood. Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN (MSC), 1982. Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 93707

Some of USS Monocacy officers and crewmen ice skating near the ship, while she was laid up for the winter at Tongku, China, January 1897. Men are standing by the 37 mm revolving cannon at Monocacy's bow and stern, a precaution against hostile action while laid up in winter quarters in China, circa 1890s. The location is probably Tongku (Tanggu), during the winter of 1896-97. Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931. Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 45983

USS Monocacy dressed with flags for a special occasion, while moored off Shanghai, China, in 1897. The occasion may be British, as the Royal Navy's White Ensign is flying from her mainmast peak. U.S. Navy photo NH 1268.

Port side view of the USS Luzon undergoing sea trials, circa June 1928. The length of Luzon was 210 feet 9 inches with a beam of 31 feet 1 inch, and draft of 5 feet 7 inches. She had a speed of 16 knots and a crew complement of 65. Armament consisted of two 3 inch gun mounts and ten .30 cal. machine guns.

Zamboanga natives, Philippine Islands, departing the USS Luzon, circa 1920s.

USS Mindanao (PR-8) ex-PG-48. The keel was laid down on 20 November 1926 as a Patrol Gunboat PG-48 at Kiangoan Dockyard and Engineering Works, Shanghai, China. She was launched on 28 September 1927. Reclassified as a River Gunboat, PR-8 Commissioned USS Mindanao (PR-8), 10 July 1928. She was sunk on 2 May 1942 in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands to prevent capture by the Japanese and struck from the Naval Register on 8 May 1942.

USS Luzon PG47. The Luzon was struck from the Naval Register on 8 May 1942, but was then salvaged later by Japan and renamed IJNS 'Karatsu. She was sunk on 3 March 1944 by USS Narwhal (SS-167). U.S. Naval Institute photo at the Dudley Knox Library Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey Ca., Yangtze River Patrol Memorial Exhibit.