|The presidential gunboat in Tamsui (courtesy of Prof LY Tseng)|
Tamsui-lang who grew up in town in the 60s still remember seeing a small gunboat moored near the piers behind Tamsui Post Office. It magically disappeared whenever a typhoon visited only to re-emerge from somewhere afterwards. Little did we known that it was part of CKS's "escape" plan. And it was not only one but two gunboats. According to this site http://60-250-180-26.hinet-ip.hinet.net/taiwan/4425.html:
海軍配合總統府侍衛室的要求, 於1960年春在淡水河口編配一支快艇隊以供萬一蔣介石總統緊急需要時, 可自士林官邸趨車直奔淡水巡防處碼頭登艇, 開赴外海轉乘來接駕之座艦. 當時建造了兩艘交通艇, 並編制"定海"號為座艇, "鎮海"號為副艇. 兩艇規格不明.
Translation: At the request of the Presidential Guards, the Navy commissioned a speedboat team in the spring of 1960 to serve CKS in case of emergency. CKS was to be driven directly from his official residence in Shilin to a gunboat stationed at the coast guard docks in Tamsui and the boat was to ferry him to a presidential warship awaiting at high sea. Two such transfer boats were built and christened DingHai and ChengHai, respectively, with the latter designated as the backup. The specs of these two gunboats remain unknown.
Judging from the part of GuanYin Mountain appearing in the background, the gunboat in the photo above was most likely the DingHai, hiding inside the then restricted zone of the Customs Wharf. The one parked in the back of Tamsui Post Office for all to see was the smaller ChengHai.
This contingency plan of course was never put in action; although it was certainly far more elaborate than that for the first and only president of the Republic of Formosa, 唐景崧Tang Jing-Song. Who, on June 6, 1895, sneaked from Taipei to board a German passenger ship Arthur anchored in Tamsui Port and sailed off to Foochow, leaving the Taiwanese behind to fend for themselves.