HMS Tamar

      Beth Hutton -

      I have recently discovered your website and at long last have read the grim tale of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru. My grandfather Edmund Hutton (possibly known as Ted) was one of those who perished although I notice that the Royal Navy POWs are not on the list of those who died. I know I shall never know exactly what my grandfather experienced but I suppose there is a remote possibility that someone might remember him. With the 60th anniversary approaching it seems a good time to investigate further. I would love to find out more about him. For example, I don't know how he came to be on the Lisbon Maru. He was initially on HMS Tamar.

      Thank you for all the info on the website.

      Ron - >Beth, here is some information on the HMS Tamar as taken from the web.

      This photograph shows HMS Tamar (a troop-ship). The photograph was taken before 1913 when HMS Tamar was moored at a buoy in the Victoria Harbour. (From 1913, HMS Tamar was kept inside the Royal dockyard at Admiralty.) Five naval ships had been named Tamar since 1758. It was the fourth Tamar in the photograph which was launched in 1863. It weighted 3,650 tons. It had three masts and equipped with a stream engine. It could reach the top speed of 12 knots. During the Battle for Hong Kong in 1941, Tamar was scuttled on 12 December by the British in order to prevent her from falling into the Japanese hands.

      HMS Tamar : Scuttled 12 Dec 1941 Kowloon Harbour. Tamar was originally a troopship of 4650tons launched in 1863 that had been hulked as a base ship at Hong Kong in 1897.

      Taken from: 1941

      "December 11th was a day of non-stop activity for all Naval craft, with APVs involved in battle with junks thought to be carrying Japanese troops. All available vessels, including MTB's ordered to Kowloon Bay to evacuate our troops from the mainland. I had the job in MTB. 08 of picking up Commodore Collinson and his Flag Lieut Cecil Gray, and taking them to Kowloon Bay, where as duty MTB. I ferried them between H.M. Ships Thracian, Indera, and Tern. The bay was a fantastic site, full of every conceivable craft. By the time it was getting dark I took the Commodore back to FMO steps to await further orders. At 1900 hours the Flag Lieut arrived with orders for me to proceed to Stonecutters Island and embark wounded. The Island had been under shellfire for the past 24 hours. I took onboard three stretcher cases, and a number of walking wounded and brought them back to the dockyard. At 2100 hours ordered to sink Tamar, which had been moved to a buoy in the harbour. It was a very dark night with no lights anywhere, so a hazardous operation to fire torpedoes. Apart from trying to avoid junks without lights, and harbour buoys I was fired on from Hong Kong side. I fired one torpedo without success, and on arriving back was met by Cdr Craven, S.O.O who had been trying desperately to contact MTB. 08 to cancel the operation. It had been decided to put charges onboard to sink HMS Tamar "


      This flagpole was the original flatstaff of HMS Tamar, a Royal Navy depot ship stationed in Hong Kong long before the Japanese invasion. The ship was scuttled by its own crew during the Battle of Hong Kong.

      HMS Tamar Emblem

      HMS Tamar was also a shore based naval base, on Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong, see below. I don't know when it came into operation, before or after the war.

      "The ceremony at HMS Tamar, the naval base on Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong harbor, took place exactly 100 years to the day after another vessel of the same name first arrived in Hong Kong waters. "

      "The HMS Tamar base was once home to three armadas, consisting of scores of battleships, cruisers and destroyers."

      "The future of the HMS Tamar site is uncertain, but the three Peacock class patrol craft based there have been bought by the Philippines."

      This is taken from:


      Page on HMS Tamar

      "The dockyard was under Japanese control from the surrender on 25th December 1941 until Admiral Harcourt and a very strong fleet arrived to repossess it on 30th August 1945. In September Admiral Harcourt was appointed Commander in Chief of Military Administration."

      “The original island base, called HMS Tamar, has been paved over for real estate, and the facility closing today is on Stonecutters Island, just across the harbor.”

      ''It is very sad indeed ... but that is a fact of life,'' the British navy chief, Adm. Sir Jock Slater, told Hong Kong radio Thursday.

      Some more on the base:

      "Slater, whose title is First Sea Lord, will officiate at the brief ceremony, along with Gov. Chris Patten and Maj. Gen. Bryan Dutton, the garrison commander who will see out the British presence in Hong Kong in 82 days.

      The closure and final lowering of the white ensign, or navy flag, falls exactly 100 years after the royal troop carrier HMS Tamar visited Hong Kong and gave its name to the base."

      From page:

      Name: Susie Hunter
      Hometown: Plymouth UK
      POW Camp Kawasaki Station
      Sent: 10.14 AM - 3/25 2001
      My Grandad - Arthur Taylor (known as Jimmy) was captured in Hong Kong Christmas Day 1941. He was a Warrant Engineer in the RN based at HMS Tamar. Although I have his diary of the years he was a captive, it does not give many details as to his whereabouts. He keeps mentioning Kawasaki Station and Shinagawa (where men went but didn't come back). He was killed in July 1945- only days before the end of the war during an American air raid and his remains are buried in Yokohama cemetry. He mentions many names in his diary including Dr. Bill Stewart,Dr. Damare, SPO Yates, Lt.Sherry, Chief Stoker South and Lt. Perkins.I also have a letter dated 10th September 1944 that Mrs B.J.Snater from Minniapolis sent to my Gran. It said that she had "received a message from my husband who is with yours".
      I would like to hear from anyone that knew of my Grandad or the camps that he was kept in. Perhaps the family of Mr & Mrs Snater would be kind enough to contact me. I just want to fill in the blanks of my Grandad's life.

      A last interesting site at gives a 360 degree picture of The British Period 1861-1941 in Hong Kong, this includes HMS Tamar


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