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John Simons Kerans[1]
Born 30 June 1915(1915-06-30) (age 104)
Parsonstown (Birr), County Offaly, Ireland
Died 11 September 1985(1985-09-11) (aged 70)
Oxted, Surrey
Place of burial St Peter Churchyard, Tanbridge, Surrey
Alma mater Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
Spouse(s) 1946 – Stephanie Campbell Shires (1917–2008)
Children Charmian & Melanie
Parents Edward Thomas John Kerans (1880–1927)
Eva Willes Hale (1890–1957)
Military career
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom Royal Navy
Rank Generic-Navy-O5 Commander
Unit Naval Intelligence, Far East
HMS Icarus (D03)
Naval Intelligence, Hong Kong
Royal Malaysia Police
Commands held Assistant naval attaché, Nanking
HMS Amethyst
Naval Intelligence, London
Naval attaché, Bangkok
Battles/wars Amethyst Incident
Awards Distinguished Service Order
John Kerans
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for The Hartlepools

In office
Preceded by David Thomas Jones
Succeeded by Ted Leadbitter
Personal details
Political party Conservative

Commander John Simon Kerans MP DSO RN (30 June 1915 – 12 September 1985) was an officer in the Royal Navy and later a Conservative Party politician.

As Assistant British Naval Attaché in then Nanking, China in 1949, Lieutenant-Commander Kerans took command of HMS Amethyst when the ship came under fire on the Yangtze River during the final stages of the Chinese Civil War after the captain and 16 others were killed in the shelling.[2] The ship was detained for ten weeks during negotiations for its release, until Kerans led a night-time escape.[3] Kerans was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The Amethyst incident was later the subject of a 1957 film called Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst, in which Kerans was portrayed by the British actor Richard Todd.

At the 1959 general election he was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools. He served only one term in the House of Commons, and did not contest the 1964 general election. He advocated the representation of Communist China in the United Nations.[4]

He is also the author of the 1964 book The World's Greatest Sea Adventures, Publisher: Odhams Books Ltd.[5]


External linksEdit


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Thomas Jones
Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools
Succeeded by
Ted Leadbitter

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