CHINA: Splice the Mainbrace

Ever since her duel with Chinese Communist shore batteries off Rose Island (TIME, May 2), the shell-pocked British frigate Amethyst had been blockaded 140 miles up the Yangtze River from Shanghai, with 86 men of her original crew of 192 still aboard. The Communists kept 105-mm. howitzers constantly trained on the Amethyst at a murderous 400-yard range. The colonel commanding the batteries had warned the Amethyst's captain: "If you move, I'll sink you instantly."

As spring wore into a cruelly hot summer, the Amethyst's Lieut. Commander John S. Kerans faced mounting difficulties. The heat aboard the motionless steel vessel frequently drove...

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