In memoriam: ROC General Sun Yuan-liang [1904-2007]

Discussions on all aspects of China, from the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War till the end of the Chinese Civil War. Hosted by YC Chen.
Edward Chen
Member
Posts: 86
Joined: 28 Nov 2005 16:27
Location: New York City

In memoriam: ROC General Sun Yuan-liang [1904-2007]

Postby Edward Chen » 11 Jun 2007 19:19

Image

General Sun Yuan-liang of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China passed away of illness on May 25, 2007. (For some reason this was not reported in Chinese newspapers until June 10). He was 103 years old, and boasted a combat career that spanned the Chinese Republican period including the Northern Expedition, the Anti-Communist "Bandit Suppression" campaigns of the 1930s, the war against Japan, and the Chinese Civil War that followed.

He was also the last surviving member of the first graduating class (1924) of the famous Nationalist Chinese military academy at Whampoa [黄埔陆军军官学校 Huangpu Army Academy], as well as the last surviving Nationalist Chinese army-level commander who fought during WW2.

During the 1937 Shanghai (or Songhu) campaign at the opening of the Sino-Japanese War, he commanded the German-trained elite 88th Division in the defense of Chapei [Zhabei]. Troops under his command included the famous "800 Heroes" ["Babai Zhuangshi" 八百壯士; actually remnants of 3rd Battalion, 524th Regiment led by LTC Hsieh Chin-yuan] who defended the "Four Banks" warehouse [Sihang Cangku; 四行倉庫] in a well-publicized desperate rearguard action. This action inspired the famous wartime song "China will never perish" ["Zhongguo bu hui wang"; 中國不會亡], later updated into "China will be strong" [Zhongguo yi ding qiang; 中國一定強].
The battle of the "800 Heroes" was later dramatized in a popular 1976 Taiwan war movie of the same name, starring actress Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia [林青霞] as the girl scout Yang Hui-min, and then-screen legend and current-day Nationalist Party legislator Ko Chun-hsiung [柯俊雄] as LTC Hsieh.

Wikipedia article covering the battle:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Sihang_Warehouse

General Sun later commanded the 72nd Army (equivalent to corps-level HQ) during the unsuccessful defense of Nanking in December 1937. He subsequently served as C.O. of the 29th Army during the August 1944 Kweilin-Liuchow campaign, and at one point was assistant C.O. of 28th Group Army (army-level HQ).

During the Chinese Civil War he held a succession of commands including the Changchen area (near Nanking) security command [常镇地区警备司令], the Chungking security command [重庆警备司令], and the 16th Army Group. During the epic Hsuchow (aka Xuzhou, Xubang or Huaihai; 徐州 / 徐蚌 / 淮海 会战) campaign of November 1948, he narrowly escaped the destruction of his command (along with four other army groups totaling half a million troops) by the Communist Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. He escaped to Taiwan in 1949 where he remained until his death.

In Taiwan he was also famous for being the father of the popular actor Chin Han [秦漢; 1946-] (birth name Sun Hsiang-chung 孫祥鐘), who appeared in many Taiwan feature films and TV dramas of the 1970's and 80's, and is still performing. Chin Han's credits of related interest include a minor role in the 1976 film "800 Heroes", and more recently the lead role in the 1995 film "Don't Cry Nanjing" about the 1937 Nanking massacre.

Obituary (in Chinese)
http://news.sina.com.tw/politics/ftv/tw/2007-06-10/141812548004.shtml

Wikipedia Chinese article on General Sun
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AD%99%E5%85%83%E8%89%AF

User avatar
Leonard
Member
Posts: 327
Joined: 17 May 2005 21:40
Location: Hong Kong

Postby Leonard » 12 Jun 2007 04:52

I think Sun Yuan-Liang was also the last surviving WWII army commander. Sun is among the finest of all, being the commander of the elite 88th division at the start of the war. I am surprised at the absence of any mentioning of his death in almost all Hong Kong newspapers.

Many famous KMT figures enjoy longevity. A lot of them lives beyond a century:
Soong May-Ling (Madam Chiang) 宋美龄 (1899-2003) 104
Hsueh, Yueh 薛岳 (1896-1998) 102
Chen Li-Fu 陈立夫(1899-2001) 102
Cheng Hsueh-Liang 张学良 (1901-2001) 100
Cheng Chun 张群 (1889-1990) 101
Ho Ying-Chin 何应钦 (1890-1987) 97

Farewell to the last of the old guards.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Re:

Postby sjchan » 25 Apr 2009 11:33

Leonard wrote:I think Sun Yuan-Liang was also the last surviving WWII army commander. Sun is among the finest of all, being the commander of the elite 88th division at the start of the war. I am surprised at the absence of any mentioning of his death in almost all Hong Kong newspapers.


Hmmm, why do you consider Sun a fine commander? The 88th certainly fought hard in Shanghai, and at least credibly in Nanjing, but did Sun do all that much afterwards? There are persistent accusations of how he abandoned his troops at the Nanjing debacle (the stories varied, ranging from hiding in a brothel to seeking the safety of foreign consulate until he realized that Chiang was not going to do anything nasty about the generals who abandoned Nanjing).

In any case I am not surprised Hong Kong newspaper do not care -- few care about what happend seventy years any more.

User avatar
Leonard
Member
Posts: 327
Joined: 17 May 2005 21:40
Location: Hong Kong

Re: In memoriam: ROC General Sun Yuan-liang [1904-2007]

Postby Leonard » 25 Apr 2009 11:41

>>>>but did Sun do all that much afterwards?

What about him bringing the 27th Army (Corps) to Tushan in Kweichow to stop Japanese Ichigo advance?

sjchan
Member
Posts: 384
Joined: 10 Mar 2007 16:44
Location: Hong Kong

Re: In memoriam: ROC General Sun Yuan-liang [1904-2007]

Postby sjchan » 09 May 2009 17:59

Leonard wrote:>>>>but did Sun do all that much afterwards?

What about him bringing the 27th Army (Corps) to Tushan in Kweichow to stop Japanese Ichigo advance?


No Sun did not stop the Ichigo advance; the Japanese had already decided that they had achieved most of their objectives and had issued orders to pull back, abandoning Tushan after demolishing what they could not bring back. Sung at least showed up to fight (unlike many of his peers who fled in disorder) but he certainly got a nice break in getting a medal from Chiang Kai-shek without much of a fight.


Return to “China at War 1895-1949”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot]