Site Visit: 1 February 2022
Manning: 'C' Coy 1/Mx
PB 14 is situated on the shoreline below Brick Hill and quite close to the Country Club. To get to it - you have to leave the raised concrete pathway known as Mills & Chung Path and go down to the rocky foreshore. Walk past the back of the Hong Kong Country Club clambering over the rocks and you will get to the PB which is reasonably accessible. The PB and Lyon Light structure both remain. The story is a sad one in that the crew in the two structures were surrounded and eventually all killed - possibly put to death after surrender.
On Saturday 20 December, there was fighting around the government food store, hutments and paddy fields in Wong Chuk Hang, near where the country club is today. One casualty (Pte Bridge) from the fighting was taken to the pillbox (PB 14). On Sunday 21 December, PB 14 reported that they were surrounded and running short of food and water. On Monday 14 December, an ambulance managed to get through to PB 14 without being shot-up. The one casualty, Private Bridge, was taken away and food water was passed to the PB crew. On Tuesday 23 December, PB 14 was attacked by grenades. Major Marsh, commanding 'C' Coy described the plight of the gallant crew.
During the day on Tuesday 23 December, several appeals for help came from PB 14 by telephone to which I was powerless to respond. It appears that during the previous night ... some of the PB crew had manned the Lyon Light shelter with a Bren gun to cover the PB and prevent the enemy getting on to it. However, the Japanese had thrown grenades through the shutters, and the occupants were all wounded. I finally tried to get an ambulance through to them again, after all efforts by Royal Navy MTBs and the gunboat [HMS Cicala] had failed to relieve them. I had hoped to obtain an armoured car to relieve them, but none available . ... Early in the morning of 24 December PB 14 again rang up and after a few whispered words about the enemy being on top of their PB the telephone went dead, and I heard no more. (1)
All the crew were killed - some, it is thought, after surrendering the position.
We don't know exactly what happened because there were no survivors. It seems that two or three men were killed in the Lyon Light structure. It is likely that at some stage on 24 December, the crew in the PB surrendered after some had been wounded or killed by grenades inserted through a loophole.
An extract from war crimes testimony, provided by Lt-Col Ride and Major Crawford, describes how they found the bodies of six Middlesex Regiment soldiers. The men had been tied-up and then killed, some by sword and others by bayonet. They were found on the steps to LL 15 (close to where the Victorian Recreation Club is located today). LL 15 is some 400 to 500 metres from PB 14.
On the steps leading to Lyon Light No. LL 15 by the roadside, west of Deep Water Bay, were the bodies of six Middlesex other ranks. Their hands and feet were still tied. There were large blood stains on the cutting and on the roadside on the opposite side of the road, and streaks of blood stretching from this, across the road to the steps where the bodies lay in a heap. Their heads had been almost completely severed by sword cuts.
Sgt Jack Rich
Cpl William Wood
Pte Reginald Bosley
Pte Walter Ball
Pte Don Burke
Pte Francis Corrigan
Pte Edward Edwards
Pte Douglas Emery
Pte John Jones
Pte James Murphy
Pte Harry Newbury
(1) Appendix to Hong Kong Despatches (UKNA CAB 106/168)
(2) List of those killed at PB 14 under RIP (Tony Banham)
David Murphy for the photo and information relating to his grandfather Pte James Murphy.