The submarine supply ship. H.M.S. Medway.Date is approximate; true date unknown.


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Our younger readers of this blog may have never heard of the film The Sand Pebbles (1966) starring Steve McQueen. As a fan of McQueen I watched this film many times decades ago. McQueen plays a U. S. Navy seaman aboard the U.S.S. San Pablo, a gunboat on a rescue mission on the Yangtze River in war torn China in 1926. One of the most dramatic scenes in the film is when the San Pablo tries to run the Chinese blockade on the river. This lead photo, “H.M.S. Medway in Tsingtao c.1931. is the spittingi image of that scene in the film.

The Medway did not put to sea until 1928 and did not survive World War II. We assess that this photo was taken in approximately 1931. “Live steam!” See the film.

Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles