HONG KONG: A Change in Routine

One afternoon last week Her Majesty's Motor Launch 1323 cruised on routine patrol through the Pearl River estuary near Hong Kong. Though the 72-ft. British vessel was well within the twelve-mile offshore limit claimed by Red China, Hong Kong naval forces had long patrolled these waters without running into anything more serious than occasional, desultory fire from Chinese shore batteries. This time, however, a Communist corvette closed in on Motor Launch 1323 and ordered her to heave to.

Heavily outgunned, the launch's skipper, Lieut. G. C. Merriman, 23, decided to make a run for it. But a Chinese shell slammed...

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