A brief history of the Hong Kong lighter Tin Ming – pirated 1922

Stephen Davies: The history of the lighter Tin Ming is interesting.

From what I can work out she may have been either the ex-Argus or ex-Vigilante, one of two French gunboats built by Thorneycroft in London to a British (Woodcock) design in 1900, shipped out to HK where they were assembled and then operated on the West River until taken out of service in 1914. In 1919 they were sold – there’s some dispute over whether they were sold in Saigon, where they had been shipped, or Hong Kong. A previous plan to swap the two for a 3,000 ton Chinese cargo vessel had come to nothing.

The official French naval history (I have the dossier from the French archives) has for the Vigilante: “05 février 1919 : vendu à M. Chang Ping de Hong-Kong pour 3 050 $.” (5th Feb 1919, sold to Mr Chang Ping of Hong Kong for $3,050.)
Argus - driven ashore after typhoon 1909 snipped

The Argus after having been driven ashore in a typhoon in 1909

Argus the Official photo

Vigilante - Ships of the Great War

Another one of the “Navires de la Grande Guerre” – Ships of the Great War

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Hong Kong launch Kwong Mo and lighter Tin Ming – pirated 1922 en route to Samshui
  2. Kung Lee Steam Ship Company Ltd – Harry Long’s personal experience

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