Sub-Lieutenant Ho Sin Chuan
Born about 1853
He received his training at the Foochow Naval College, China.
1877 He was sent to England with 11 other Chinese naval officers from Foochow for continuing study at the Royal Naval College., and aboard ship. Source: (“The Chinese Steam Navy 1862 – 1945” by Richard N. J. Wright)
12 Aug 1878 He was assigned to HMS Boadicea, at Portsmouth, for duty at the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station.
26 Nov 1878 Ho Sin Chuan was on “Boadicea” when the ship sailed from Portsmouth for South Africa to take over as Flag Ship of that station, replacing HMS Active. (His name appears on the Navy List, December 1878. as one of the “Foreign Officers Serving in Her Majesty’s Ships.”)
1 Apr 1879 On HMS Boadicea, at Durban, Sub-Lieutenant Ho Sin Chuan, a Chinese Naval Officer, was put on the sick list, suffering from “melancholia.” Midshipman Harry Boldero wrote at the time, in a letter to Lady Frere, “We have a Chinese sub-lieutenant on board, who is in a dreadful fright lest he should be sent up to the front; even after our men are all gone he is still afraid, and goes to the doctor saying he is ill.” (Source: “A Young Heart of Oak, Memories of Harry Stuart Boldero, Lieutenant, R.N.”)
The following is from the ship’s medical journal: “Folio 24: Ho Tin Chuan, aged 26, Chinese Sub Lieutenant; disease or hurt, melancholia. Put on sick list, 1 April 1879, at Durban. Discharged to the Transport Steamer Egypt for passage to Simon's Bay, 16 April 1879. 'He appears very much emaciated and labours under illusion and groundless grievances and had all the appearance of one addicted to vicious practices and attributed his present state to spermatorrhoea'. He was treated with cold baths and sent to the Royal Naval Hospital at Simon's Bay and invalided from there. “ (Source: “Medical and surgical journal of Her Majesty's Ship Boadicea for 1 January to 31 December 1879 by James P O'Malley, Fleet Surgeon, during which time the said ship was employed on the Cape and West Coast of Africa.”)
16 Apr 1879 While at Durban Sub-Lieutenant Ho Sin Chuan, was transferred from “Boadicea” to the hired transport “Egypt,” for transport to the Naval Hospital at Simon’s Bay, from where he was to be subsequently invalided. (His name does not appear on the Medal Roll of HMS Boadicea for the South Africa Medal.)
6 May 1879 HMS Tamar sailed from the Cape for England, having on board most of the widows and children of the men killed at Isandlwana plus invalids from ships of the station. Among the invalids was Sub-Lieutenant Ho Sin Chuan (Chinese Navy).
9 June 1879 HMS Tamar arrived at Portsmouth
On 13 July, 1879 Ho Sin Chuan took passage aboard the Messageries Maritimes Company’s steamer “Sindh” from Marseilles to Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. His presence aboard was verified by a Missionary, J. Tate Kitts, who wrote in a letter to his father “One of my three Chinese fellow-passengers, Ho Sin Chuan, about whom I have written you before, is still a most diligent student of ‘Farrars’ Life of Christ;’ but we have gotten further than that now. I have had one or two more long chats with him, and find that the poor fellow is an orphan (neither father nor mother), and an only child. Some dear Christian lady, of whom he speaks in the highest terms, used to invite him to her house at Portsmouth when he was studying as a Naval Student while in England, and they read the New Testament together.” (Source: “The Missionary Herald”, October 1, 1879)
27 Aug 1879 Ho Sin Chuan arrived at Shanghai aboard the “Sindh.”
Ho Sin Chuan would later serve as Captain of the Chinese Navy training ship “Wantai.”
Petty Officer Tom