When: A note pencilled on the back of the photo explains:
Hongkong. King Edward's birthday 1901. Men of war firing a salute at noon.
His birthday was the 9th of November, so this photo is exactly 113 years old!
Here is the newspaper's description:
The Warships in the Harbour, the English mail steamer at Kowloon Wharf and some of the German merchant ships were decorated, rainbow-style, to-day in honour of the birthday of King Edward. A salute was fired at noon by the various warships, and the afternoon was observed generally as a holiday. Monday has been fixed as the official holiday, when offices and stores will be closed. A levee will be held in honour of the occasion at Government House, this afternoon at 4 o'clock.
Page 4, China Mail, 9 Nov 1901
Who: A king? How peculiar.
When the British came ashore at Hong Kong in 1841, Queen Victoria was 21 years old and had reigned for just three years. She would reign for another sixty years, until her death on the 22nd of January, 1901 .
It must have seemed strange to have a King's birthday after sixty years of "God save the Queen".
What: Royal Navy ships, and lots of them. This was the time when Britain's navy followed the two-power standard, ie the British fleet should be as strong as the combined forces of any two other countries .
Here are closer views of the ships (they appear from left to right in the main photo): <Read more ...>