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Yangtze Patrol Gunboat Launching Cigarette Case


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stbryson

Hello,

 

I have had this cigarette case (at least I think it is a cigarette case) for 20+ years.  The inscription reads:

 

                                                                             U.S.S. TUTUILA

                                                                               SPONSORED

                                                                                        BY

                                                                 BEVERLEY DOUGLAS POLLARD

                                                                            SHANGHAI CHINA

                                                                                 JUNE 14, 1927

 

U.S.S. Tutuila was one of the two smaller gunboats (sister ship U.S.S. Guam; later U.S.S. Wake) of the "New Six" Yangtze Patrol gunboats.  U.S.S. Tutuila was the only one of the "New Six" to survive World War II in Allied hands.  

 

Per DANFS, U.S.S. Tutuila (PG-44) was laid down on October 17, 1926 at Shanghai, China, by the Kiangnan Dock & Engineering Works.  She was launched on  June 14, 1927, sponsored by Miss Beverly Pollard, and commissioned on March 2, 1928 with Lt. Comdr. Frederick Baltzly in command.  She was assigned to the Yangtze Patrol (YangPat) and redesignated a river gunboat (PR-4) on June 15, 1928.  U.S.S. Tutuila was decommissioned on January 18, 1942, and the attaché delivered the ship to an authorized representative of the Republic of China on February 16, 1942.  The U.S. leased the gunboat to China under terms of Lend-Lease on March 19, 1942, and she was permanently transferred to the Chinese government on February 17, 1948.

 

I suspect this case was a commemorative gift for the launching of U.S.S Tutuila.  In his book, Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China, RADM Kemp Tolley said, "Like the GuamTutuila also had a slightly unorthodox christening.  Her sponsor, fifteen-year-old Beverly Pollard, was well-indoctrinated in the ritual of the Roman Catholic faith, and the solemnity of it all must have been too much for her.  She hauled off with the bottle (champagne this time), and smashed it across the ship's bow.  Then, blowing her carefully rehearsed lines completely, she shouted, "I christen thee USS Tutuila, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost!"  This clearly unprecedented piece of powerful joss must have been appreciated at command level, as Tutuila was the only one of the six to survive World War II in allied hands, and on of the pair which escaped total destruction,"  

 

I have seen the sponsor's first name spelled as both Beverly and Beverley, though I believe the latter is correct.  There are no other markings on the inside or outside of the case.  I believe there would have been some type of clip or spring to hold the cigarettes in place; you can see the bosses on one side of the inner case that would have held such a clip.

 

Though I have been interested in all of the Yangtze Patrol gunboats, U.S.S. Tutuila is the one I have always been most interested in.

 

Thank you, and take care,

 

Steve Bryson

 

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 1.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 4.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 5.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 7.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 12.PNG

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 9a.jpg

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Beautiful piece!! Is there a markers mark on the case…perhaps on the inside rim of the case….it may be there but very small. also can you post a photo of the inside latch bar….I have a number of Chinese made cigarette cases and have a theory about those made in the Shanghai area vice north China.  The clip to hold the cigarettes would have been metal or silver imho….not a stretchy band as is most commonly found. BTW nice upper Yangtze river pilots book….I have the same one! Again great item!

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aerialbridge

Great Yangtze piece!   Please show more.   I've been looking for commissioning or launch ceremony photos for any of the "new six" that were commissioned in 1928 under ComYangPat  RADM Yates Stirling, Jr. for 20 years.  
 

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stbryson

Hello,

 

Nice patch, Wharfmaster!  It is from the Yangtze River Patrol Association (YRPA), a group that was made up of those who served in the Yangtze Patrol, and Patrons (those who were interested in the subject).  It was formed around 1974, and merged with the South China Patrol Asiatic Fleet (originally South China Patrol Association) around 2000, becoming the South China Yangtze Patrol Asiatic Fleet (SCYPAF) until it disbanded around 2011.  I was a Patron member of both the YRPA and SCPAF (and SCYPAF), and attended four reunions over the years I was a member.

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

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stbryson
On 7/17/2021 at 11:43 AM, Dirk said:

Beautiful piece!! Is there a markers mark on the case…perhaps on the inside rim of the case….it may be there but very small. also can you post a photo of the inside latch bar….I have a number of Chinese made cigarette cases and have a theory about those made in the Shanghai area vice north China.  The clip to hold the cigarettes would have been metal or silver imho….not a stretchy band as is most commonly found. BTW nice upper Yangtze river pilots book….I have the same one! Again great item!

Hello,

 

Sorry for the delay in getting pictures of the clasp.  I could see no obvious maker's mark on the inside of the case.  

 

Yes, the Handbook for the Guidance of Shipmasters on the Ichang - Chungking Section of the Yangtze River is an interesting book.  Mine is a Second Issue, dating to 1932.  It has an interesting "chop" on the cover and on one of the first blank pages.

 

I also have a Yangtse Kiang Pilot, First Edition 1914.  It covers the entire river.

 

Take care,

 

Steve Bryson

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 17.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 16.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 15.jpg

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 14.PNG

USS Tutuila Cigarette Case 13.jpg

Upper Yangtze River Pilot's Handbook Chop 1.jpg

Yangtse Kiang Pilot First Edition 1914 1.jpg

Yangtse Kiang Pilot First Edition 1914 2.jpg

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Steve thank you for the pixs….even without a makers mark, I  see the thick bar mechanism is what i usually find on Shanghai-made cigarette cases which makes sense given where the ship was launched. I am guessing the “chop mark” is the book owners personal stamp. Really like the 1914 river guide…..a rare beast indeed! 

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