|Myself and Geoff Emerson at St Stephen's College|
|The Snaith family at St Stephen's College|
Nic's grandfather on his mother's side was Frederick Edward Evelyn Booker who was born in 1890. He joined the Army in 1904 as a boy soldier, and served in South Africa just after the Boer War had ended. In 1911 he joined the Hong Kong Police. When WW1 started in 1914 he returned to England from Hong Kong to fight for his country. He was enrolled as a Sgt in the King's Royal Rifles. He was wounded during the Battle of Loos in 1915. The following year he was commissioned as a subaltern in the Somerset Light Infantry after being selected for, and completing an officer training course. He married Daisy (née Stubs) in 1917 in Esher. He survived the carnage of WW1, and returned to Hong Kong in 1919 with his new wife and daughter Joy, to resume his career with the Hong Kong Police. His marriage to Daisy produced five children including two sets of twins.
|Block 12 - Indian Quarters|
|Prison Officers Club (wartime) with Indian Quarters in background|
Daisy and her twin daughters were incarcerated in Bungalow B. This building is part of St Stephen's College and likewise still remains. We were were able to wander around the outside of the bungalow but we were not able to see inside it. We did however go to a similar bungalow (Bungalow A) which now accommodates a small heritage museum. The nearby Bungalow C was accidentally bombed by American naval aircraft in January 1945 and fourteen internees were killed and many wounded. Today the bungalow is the home of the college Chaplain.
|Bungalow 'B' and garage (a family lived in the garage)|
Friday 9th December
|RSA lecture: Kwong Chi-man and Michael Broom RAS President on stage|
Saturday 10th December
Metal detecting trip up Stanley Mound
|Cobalt blue WW2 Army water bottle|
|Writer with metal detector heading up Stanley Mound|
|303 Canadian rounds on Stanley Mound|
Sunday 11th December
Alfred Horace Steel Steele-Perkins and the ARP Scandal in 1941
Wing Commander Alfred Horace Steel Steele-Perkinsbattleforhongkong.blogspot.com
I was interviewed by Stuart Heaver for his excellent story in SCMP magazine. You can see his article by clicking the next link below:
Sex, lies and bribery: 1941 scandal that rocked Hong Kong on eve of Japanese invasion
|The e-book cover Gwen's story|
|AHS Steele-Perkins (National Portrait Gallery)|
|AHS-SP with Gwen + John and their two daughters (Courtesy Mary Tiffen)|
|AHS Steele-Perkins in ARP uniform (SCMP)|
Monday 12th December
Revisionism and Denial
Tuesday 13th December
Victor Thomson 'D' Coy Royal Scots in the Battle for Hong Kong.
|Victor Thomson joined a territorial battalion of Argyll Sutherland Highlanders before joining the Royal Scots.|
|In fighting order|
|Post war - serving with the Royal Engineers|
Thursday 15th December
'D' Coy Royal Rifles of Canada Coy HQ shelters at Obelisk Hill
I met up with Martin Heyes today at Tai Tam Gap in order to visit 'D' Coy Royal Rifles of Canada war shelters at Obelisk Hill. The site consists of a string of accommodation shelters, a kitchen shelter and two military grade toilet blocks. The area is very overgrown and as usual a lot of rubbish is strewn around the site. 'D' Coy RRC was commanded by Major Maurice Parker. These shelters accommodated his Coy HQ and Platoon 16 and 17. His No. 18 Platoon was at Tai Tam Tuk nearby and No 18 (R) Platoon was attached to 'C' Coy in the Lye Mum Gap area. In addition 'D' Coy 1/Mx also utilised these shelters and reported to Major Parker. The 1/Mx Coy personnel were based in pillboxes around the coast from San Wan Bay (near Pak Sha Wan Battery) and around D'Aguilar promontory to Tai Tam Tuk /Tai Tam Bay Area opposite Red Hill.
|String of accommodation shelters at Obelisk Hill|
A seldom used trail led down hill from the bunkers towards Tai Tam Tuk - which would have been the route taken by No. 18 platoon back and forth from Coy HQ. Each Coy would have had one or two Cooks and a Sanitation orderly. The Cooks would have prepared meals in the kitchen shelter (see below).
|Military grade toilet block|
Tai Tam Gap Military HQ
We explored the war shelters at Tai Tam Gap. These had accommodated Royal Rifles of Canada Battalion HQ, East Infantry Brigade HQ and East Group Royal Artillery. Particularly striking was the underground bunker which contained the (disused) Fortress Plotting Room which was used by East Brigade as Brigade HQ. Here is the entrance to the underground bunker.
|Entrance to underground bunker containing FPR|
|The Fortress Plotting Room (with bats roosting on the ceiling)|
|Looking towards the emergency exit and ventilation tunnel and the room off to the left.|
Here is what Captain Peter Belton (Staff Captain) had to say about Brigade HQ in the FPR at Tai Tam Gap, which commenced operations on Sunday 14th December following the Brigadier's withdrawal from the Mainland on Saturday 13th December.
"The Brigade Office was located in the Plotting Room at Tai Tam in shell and bomb proof accommodation. It consisted of one large room and some twenty yards of tunnel. The latter I decided to use as sleeping accommodation for troops and arranged for bunks to be fitted. The officers were to be in outside shelters. The staff, both officers and men, were messed by the Royal Rifles of Canada." (Captain Belton - Brigade Staff)
Here is Brigadier Wallis commenting on the underground Operations Room at Tai Tam. (Appendix D East Brigade War Diary and courtesy of Rob Weir).
"This room was largely occupied by a huge steel table which was useful to work on with maps , but hampered movement. In this room were located:
2 Operators - Brigade Signals Exchange
Brigade Intel Officer
Three Brigade Clerks.
In a tiny side room was the large telephone exchange. In another small room was the emergency lighting plant. The room was reached by a long winding narrow passage into which the Sappers were busy fitting sleeping bunks for staff and Signals personnel. This passage was very dark and crowded at night and it took me some six minutes to leave my maps and numerous telephones and reach East Group RA and 'D' Bn HQ in the shelters up above mine, after threading my way through a maze of camouflage nets and nervous RRC sentries. The atmosphere (in the Brigade office) was heavy and even with the emergency plant working and the air vent open (emergency exit) the air was unhealthy and oppressive and made clear thinking difficult. One became flushed and had bad head aches."
Above the underground bunker that contains the FPR are two or three tiers of splinter proof bunkers used by RRC as Bn HQ and by East Group Royal Artillery.
|2nd tier of shelters|
|3rd (upper) tier of shelters|
|Overgrown lower tier shelters|
|Lower tier shelters - neglected and overgrown|
|Martin Heyes outside what I think was an ADS|
Friday 16th December
The petition has attracted sign ups/support from nearly 1,500 people based in Hong Kong and overseas. The WSD have recently indicated informally (to press reporters) that they will ask their contractor to move or bury the pipeline where it passes in front of PB 2, but they have not formally advised me of this yet. However as of today the pipeline has gone ! It has been completely removed where it runs past the PB. This is very encouraging and I commend the WSD for their responsiveness. Here are some "before and after" photos.
|Before: the offending pipeline|
|After: looking up the hill where the pipeline ran past the PB|
|The route the Shoji Butai took along Sir Cecil's Ride on 19th December 1941|
|The inside of the AOP looking through the shell blasted embrasure|
|Outside view of PB 1|
|Grenade fragmentation blast damage in the PB|
|Outside PB 2|
|Looking through the north facing aperture of PB 2|
Saturday 17th December
Middle Spur AOP
Today I walked along Violet Hill Path from WNC Gap reservoir to Middle Spur situated on a spine-like ridge between Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. This was the route taken by Colonel Tanaka and two battalions of his 229th infantry regiment consisting of some two thousand men during the evening and night of Friday 19th December 1941. At Middle Spur there is an AOP and a splinter proof shelter (presumably to accommodate the section guarding the service reservoir in front of the AOP). There is an array of trenches and weapons pits. When I first came up here in 2012 I found a British helmet lying ion the ground beside a trench. There was a lot of spent Japanese machine gun rounds in a weapons pit located in a position to be able to fire down on the old Repulse Bay Hotel and the road running through Repulse Bay. There was quite a lot of British and Canadian spent rounds indicating that a firefight had occurred here when Tanaka's Butai captured the position and then proceeded down to the junction of Island Road and Repulse Bay Road thus creating a continuous line from Tai Koo to Sanatorium Gap, to WNC Gap to Repulse Bay and driving a wedge between the British West Infantry Brigade and East Infantry Brigade.
|The AOP at Middle Spur|
|Entrance door to AOP|
|Left aperture looks over Repulse Bay and right over Deep Water Bay|
|Fragmentation damage to roof of AOP|
|Nearby splinter proof shelter|
Recent feature stories:
1. Re-enacting the route taken by Col Shoji and 230th Infantry Regiment from his HQ established beside Braemar Reservoir, which was situated on a plateau above the landing area at North Point. Click the link below to see the story:
Following in the footsteps of Colonel Shoji's 230th Infantry Regiment advancing towards Jardines Lookout and Wong Nai Chung Gap 18th -19th December 1941battleforhongkong.blogspot.hk
2. A walk up Mount Davis and exploring the war ruins of the 9.2-inch Coastal Defence Battery and the Port War Signal Station.
Mount Davis - A walk among the ruinsbattleforhongkong.blogspot.hk
3. An article about General Christopher ("Mike") Maltby, the General Officer Commanding British Troops in China in 1941.
Major-General Christopher Michael Maltbybattleforhongkong.blogspot.com