2015年4月18日 星期六

1950s Part 2: Evacuation

Folks from DaChen 大陳 now regard YongHe 永和 their second homeland. Where is the original homeland? Well, it goes back 60 years.
Map from early 1950s showing Tachen, Matsu, and Quemoy islands
By 1949, CCP forces had succeeded in driving KMT and its loyalists out of the mainland including Hainan Island. And in May, 1950, in 3 days, both the military (120,000 men) and the civilians (numbering 20,000) from 舟山ChouShan Islands retreated to Taiwan. Only a few tiny offshore islands remained under the Nationalist control, namely Tachen (DaChen, 大陳), Matsu (馬祖), and Quemoy (Kinmoy, Kinmen, 金門). Technically, the ROC then still retained Hokkien, ZheJiang, and Taiwan provinces, and with it, the all-important sea and air control of the Taiwan Strait. The CCP therefore must take these heavily defended island-fortresses by force. On Oct 24, 1949, the PLA invasion of Kinmen with 19,000 men was mercilessly beat back by the KMT military with a force of 40,000. [On Aug 23, 1958, the battle resumed in the form of artillery dueling that lasted until Oct 5.]
Madame CKS (left on platform) in Keelung
welcoming troops withdrawn from ChouShan

The battle in ZheJiang started at 7AM, Jan 18 1955 that ended after 61 hours and 12 minutes of intense fighting. This took place on 一江山YiJiangShan, a small island to the northwest, within the eyesight of DaChen. All 740 KMT defenders including the commander-in-chief perished - they went down with 4,000 PLA men. CCP claimed, however, that 500 KMT POWs were taken and some indeed were released in 1991 who subsequently reported back in Taiwan.

What followed was the 4-day total evacuation of DaChen and surrounding islets. Beginning on Feb 8, with the US 7th Fleet providing 132 ships and 400 planes of all sizes, 14,500 civilians, 10,000 garrison forces, 4,000 partisan fighters, and 40,000 tons of war materiel were evacuated. The ships arrived in Keelung and the evacuees temporarily hosed in school buildings. Soldiers were sent to reinforce the defense of Kinmen and Matsu.

Here are some photos of the great evacuation (for more see  here and here):

Evacuees and ships of all sizes

A grieving widow whose husband died fighting
the PLA on YiJiangShan Island
Civilians were settled in small towns all over Taiwan, including Tamsui. In recent years, they have gravitated towards 永和, now home to the largest DaChen enclave anywhere in the world.

4 則留言:

  1. Such heart-touching pictures. As usual, I am ignorant of this history. The name of US 7th fleet was familiar to us students back then because there was an American radio station in Taiwan catering to them, playing the Billboard Top 40s by DJ Wolfman Jack. That was in the 70s or maybe even 60s when the Vietnam War was going on. My parents were from the ChouShan islands. Whether they left because of this retreat or not I don't know. My parents didn't talk much about their past at all.

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  2. The 7th Fleet operated in both Korean and Vietnam wars, familiar to people of Taiwan..

    Your parents were from ChouShan? I have added a photo of Madame CKS welcoming troops from ChouShan. They were needed to defend Taiwan. The civilians did not enjoy special treatment as those from DaChen. Must have been an extremely difficult time that people often chose not to talk about/re-live their hardship.

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  3. I can recall only bits and pieces of memory. My mother first moved to and stayed in Hong Kong for sometime before my father could get her to Keelung. My father was a farmer so he wasn't with the military. I have not been to China so I don't know know the place. But on the map I see there is a 定海 in the ChouShan islands. That's where my parents were from.

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  4. Sounds like your father might not have been among the civilian evacuees from ChouShan, probably already in Taiwan before/around 1949 and your mother came in later. An even more interesting story, I might add. So Keelung.is your hometown, without a doubt.

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