CAPTAIN William Thornton Bate RN was an archetypal specimen of the Victorian muscular Christian. During the Opium Wars, he scaled the massive walls of Chapu alone, and singlehandedly captured the gates of the city. Early in the battle he was engaged in a furious sword fight with a blue-button Mandarin, which ended up in a wrestling match on the ground. Bate, who was built like a bull, came out on top; history does not record how much weight the gallant Mandarin gave away to his massive, belligerent opponent. In the balmy days of peace Bate, in a tiny schooner called HMS Starling, surveyed Hong Kong waters and the coasts of China. Starling Inlet is named after his ship and Bate's Head after the man himself. In spite of being a deeply religious man he enjoyed nothing more than a good fight. During the Arrow War he defended the Macau Fort against enormous odds. The fort is not in Macau, but on an island in the Pearl River. It was later a leper colony and is now a duck farm. Bate kept up the morale of his besieged troops by preaching them endless sermons on the evils of drink, swearing and the fleshpots of China: ''I fear that money, wine and women are the besetting sins of the majority of the foreign community in Canton.'' he wrote. Bate's reckless bravery under fire was legendary. Hong Kong's Colonial Chaplain wrote: ''The bullet was not cast which would kill Bate.'' He was shot dead under the walls of Canton. The good citizens of Hong Kong erected a massive monument to his memory. Today, all that is left of this memorial is a rose-coloured stone set in the wall of St John's Cathedral. The monument, which survived the war, was destroyed by the Public Works Department when they widened Garden Road a few year ago.