2012年7月15日 星期日

淡水沙崙海灘 Tamsui Sha-lun Beach

[Sha-Lun Beach area (A) where the French had landed.]

At 9:30AM on Oct 8, 1884, five companies of French fusiliers marins landed on Sha-Lun Beach and began their ill-fated 4-hour assault on Tamsui. The defeat cost the French 17 lives and 49 wounded. [For more, see here.]

During the Japanese Colonial era (1895-1945), Sha-Lun beach was developed into 淡水海水浴場, a popular summer spot for both the visitors and the locals. There was a rest house as well as a concession stand, the latter run by Miss Asano Ta'z (originally from Hiroshima, repatriated in March, 1946):

The Phys Ed of Tansui Public School also included visits to the beach accompanied by the teachers (and sumo lessons):

[Photos from the early 1940s. Courtesy of Mr N Hirokawa.]

This area was declared off-limits to the civilians under the martial law (1949-1987). In the 1950s, it was used as a training ground and launching point for agents sent to Mainland China to carry out secret missions. In 1959, part of the beach was also opened to American military advisers and their families.

In 1974, the beach was finally re-opened to the general public as 淡水沙崙海灘. Unfortunately, owing to poor management and worsening water pollution, it was closed for good in 1999. Direct access to the beach was also shut off with barriers erected and the gates locked. People, however, still find ways of entering the area. They wade or even swim in the polluted water despite warning signs posted everywhere. Because of the unpredictable tidal waves, rip currents, hidden undersea pitfalls, and a sharp drop of seabed off the beach, sometimes the unlucky ones got trapped and tragically drowned. There have been a number of drowning incidences resulting in 17 deaths since 1999, including two Shihpei middle school students only last year. The most recent incident occurred on July 13 when 8 of a group of 12 middle school students went into the water, one died of injuries and 3 were swept out to sea and perished. Yet another, who survived the ordeal, also passed away later in the hospital.

Even earlier, on Sept 26, 1982, two soldiers in training lost their lives while trying to rescue a swimmer who, tragically, was also lost. All for nothing. The soldiers received posthumous commendations of valor from the Gov't:

8 則留言:

  1. Few people still remember the old beach called "Hai Tsui Yet" (海水浴) by locals and I am proud to be one of the few who is still kicking and alive to tell the story. 
    The rest place shown on the postcard is more likely the old style Japanese Ryokan(旅館)with Tamami(畳) floor and Syouji(障子) doors. Guests rent one area of the room with a low table on top of the Tatami floor. The rest place serves soft drink also hot tea. Leave belonging in the room and jump to beach with bare feet from Engawa (縁側), the wooden floor at the edge of the room, we start running toward the water since the sand is so hot. The best treat after the swimming is nothing better than the ice cold water melon as I remember.
    I saw many faces of the beach from past to present time. I also eye witnessed a young boy drowned at the beach. He was junior at the middle school, son of 許阿火 who lived above the hill, we called 崖仔頂。
    After the War, as pointed out by Eye-Doc, the beach is closed down due to security reason. The only one who visits the beach often is Madam Chiang Kai-Shek. She arrives with caravan of black limousines at late afternoon to enjoy the sunset that makes Tamsui famous. Locals always know the Madam is coming when all secret service agents start showing up at every street corner.

  2. Hi ChoSan,

    I have an old photo of me and my mother visiting the beach and also remember those black sedans speeding down Chung Cheng Road.

    I have wondered if the visitor center (soon to be torn down) was the old rest house itself.

    Also, the Chiangs seemed to have "owned" a villa near the beach but I cannot find any record of it. It may have been the house for training spies and interrogating prisoners captured in and brought back from China. This house is now kind of open to the public.

    This part of Tamsui was so mysterious in the 50s. Instead of closing the area entirely (which is impossible to do), the Township Office has proposed turning it into a creative culture district. So the beach may become active and prosperous again.

  3. Don't forget that there is no record showing how many Taiwanese were executed by KMT during the 228 incident at the beach where people are now enjoying their sun bath and swimming.

  4. Indeed there is no such record. Please email hmcheng542@msn.com if you have more info. Thank you very much. Incidentally, the beach is now closed to all. Anybody caught swimming will have to pay a fine. One offender has just found that out the hard way recently.

    There have been efforts in recording what had happened in Tamsui. A memorial has already been erected on the campus of Tamkang High School. And some oral history also has been published. An example:
    This book does not mention the student 郭曉鐘 killed near the Post Office, it does contain stories of the following victims:

    This site reports where 吳有德 was killed (關渡埔頂):

    It seems 關渡埔頂 was where most were killed. According to

    From Mr Lin's narrative, apparently there were other sites in Tamsui, including perhaps the Sha-Lun Beach. Also, another site appeared to be the old First Public Cemetery.

  5. Ah that林雅湘. We all know him too well. No one will take his words without a discount.

  6. Wasn't 林雅湘 a very good friend of 雷燦南?

  7. As the story goes that there was only one, 林 who dare to visit 雷 when 雷 is home for a week. That is not true at all. My wife also visited 雷 when he was temporary released. As to the story that Lin's mother through a bloom and let 雅湘 escape from back door is certainly not true since 雅湘 never lived next door from 雷. Well, it is a long story and I certainly don't want to waste your page and spoil you Blog.

  8. That is the version currently going around - 林's visiting 雷 and the narrow escape later.

    No story is too long or a waste when it comes to uncovering the truth. Please post more or send me a write-up and I'll post it for you on this blog.

    If you don't mind, may I have your opinion on the martyr status of 雷燦南.

    林雅湘 also recalls personally witnessing the robbery of Mr Mackay by the Chinese soldier and the assault on some female members of the Mackay household. The robbery is known and during which Mackay was shot and wounded. I am not aware of the assault part. Can you please shed more light.

    It is hard to restore the history of 1942-47. Oral history sometimes cannot be verified. Corroboration from other sources such as yours is sorely needed.