AOP at the end of Harlech Road (High West) [????- ]

15 May 2009 Update: Originally this was listed as a pillbox. Now we know it was an Artillery Observation Post (AOP), so I've updated the title.

Photos that show this place

Comments

Thanks for adding this one. I must get up there and take a look, as I've walked past there several times over the years, never realising it was there. To find it, the AFCD website notes it's under a picnic site, and more specifically under an information plate. Also note that Google's got a bit lost - the road incorrectly labelled 'Chatham Path' on this map is really part of Harlech Road.

As to its use, I think it was an observation post, rather than a pillbox with machine guns. It's a great location for an observation post, as there are great views of the harbour, and out to the west of HK Island.

There is a possible confirmation of its use in the entry #93 for 21st Dec 1941, from part 3 of Maltby's report on Operations in Hong Kong:

93 A second air raid on the Peak District developed at 0950 hours and a bomb of 500 Ibs. was dropped, amongst others, just below Jardines Corner, entirely blocking the road and cutting off communications with Volunteer HQ except by telephone, by which means the Observation Post Commander reported that forty steam launches in line, with steam up, were assembled two hundred yards off shore by Kai Tak aerodrome. Unfortunately, at this time Royal Artillery communications to observation posts were destroyed except the one to High West, and from this observation post the target was invisible.

This pillbox / observation post lies on the slope of the hill named High West.

Hi there, I have been there two or three times, I think, in transit on some short hikes starting from Aberdeen Reservoir to the Peak, then down to the Mid-Levels or the Western District. Two of these hikes from the picnic place down the steps were conducted during the later stage of sunset. The foot path up there is one of those remaining quiet places within city limits. Yes, the observation/pillbox opening is right under the information plate, on the NW corner close to the cliff side. The distinguish rock & putty finish could be spotted very easily. Both opening and the entrance to this post had already been blocked and the entrance is invisible. Oh, the Information Plate named the location a Pillbox, though. T

Has anyone tried taking a metal detector to some of these pillboxes? I bet there would be some interesting finds.

Thanks to Thomas for pointing out that the information plate marking the site of the building is visible in the panorama. Scroll to the right edge of the panorama, and you'll see it behind two benches.

MrB

Thanks to Thomas for sending in these photos of how it looks today:

Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West

 

 

 

 

And copies of the notes and photos on the information board:

Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West
Pillbox / observation point at High West

 

 

 

 

 

The notes on the information board describe it as a pillbox: "The layout was similar to other pillboxes of the time, with three loopholes for the machine guns." I'm not convinced, and still think it is more likely to have been a lookout.

MrB

DSCF3306a.JPG
DSCF3306a.JPG, by tngan
DSCF3305a.JPG
DSCF3305a.JPG, by tngan

Walked past this AOP again today and noticed that someone has made a small hole in the top of the right-side observation window (looking from the front). It's just big enough to get the camera through to see what's inside.

Inside AOP below High West
Inside AOP below High West, by gw

That's the other blocked up observation window on the far wall.

Inside AOP below High West
Inside AOP below High West, by gw

The front is full of mainly earth and rocks with the back filled with rusting cans and other garbage. A few old San Mig bottles stand out. The tide of rubbish rises up to the single entrance in the middle of the rear wall.

Inside AOP below High West
Inside AOP below High West, by gw

 Finally, the right side of the AOP.

Thanks for posting these. I'd wondered if there would be a tunnel down through the floor like we've seen at other AOPs, but even if there was it'd be hidden under all that earth & debris.