Gwulo: Old Hong Kong


Welcome to, and over 30,000 pages about old Hong Kong.

If it's your first visit, you might like to use the search box at the top of the page to find what you're looking for, check out the latest old photos, or just scroll down to browse through recent articles.

I hope you'll join in too, and share your questions and knowledge with us. Most pages let you leave a comment, it's easy to upload a photo, and the Forum is waiting for you to post a new message.

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Kind regards,


PS 'Gwu lo' is roughly how '古老' sounds in Cantonese. It means 'ancient' or 'old-fashioned'.

Jan 1942 - L T Ride's escape from Japanese-held Hong Kong

78 years ago, four escapees from the Sham Shui Po Prisoner-Of-War camp were cautiously making their way north through the New Territories, hoping to get through Japanese lines to reach Free China. The group was led by Lieut-Colonel L. T. RIDE, and this is his report of the escape.





  • L. T. RIDE,          Lieut-Colonel,   C.O. H.K. Field Ambulance
  • D. W. MORLEY,  Lieut (E),           H.K.R.N.V.R.
  • D. F. DAVIES,     Sub-Lieut,         H.K.R.N.V.R.
  • Y. P. LEE,            L/Cpl.,               H.K.V.D.C. Field Ambulance



No advantage of escaping was taken of the chaos which existed immediately after the surrender, for it was hoped that in my capacity as OC Field Ambulance I would obtain permission from the Japanese to search the hills for the wounded which we knew must still be lying there in numbers.

On the 28th December after three days of futile endeavour, I was given the final official reply:

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 01

Happy New Year! I hope you've enjoyed the recent holidays.

It's been a month since the last roundup of what's new on, so there's lots to catch up on. As always, please click on the photos or the blue links for more information, and please leave a comment if you can add any new details.





Photo (22): Farewell!

The final extract from the new Gwulo book ...


For our last photo, we’ve come full circle and returned to passengers on a liner. We’re on the RMS Empress of Russia in 1928, preparing to leave Hong Kong. In the earlier photos we imagined the tourist’s view from a liner in the harbour, but here we’re clearly

Photo (21): Kowloon City Pier

We re-join the new Gwulo book at the next-to-last photo ...


One of these happy chaps kindly wrote this note on the back of the photo:

78 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

December, 1941.

78 years ago tensions were high as war with Japan seemed inevitable. On December 8th, those fears were confirmed when Japanese planes attacked Kai Tak, and Japanese soldiers crossed the border into the New Territories. The fighting continued until the British surrendered on Christmas Day.

The end of the fighting marked the beginning of the Japanese occupation, a time of great hardship for Hong Kong's residents. They would have to endure for three years and eight months, until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, and Hong Kong was liberated shortly afterwards.


What was it like?

Let the people who lived through these times tell you themselves.

We've collected several wartime diaries, and split them into their day-by-day accounts. Each day we send out an email message containing all the diary entries written on that day, 78 years ago.


How to sign up to receive the daily messages?

Please click here to subscribe.

You'll see another screen that asks for your email address. Enter your details, hit the "Subscribe" button, then each day you'll receive an email message with today's diary entries.

It's free of charge, your details stay private, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


What do the daily messages look like?

Here are sample extracts from the messages you'll receive:

  • 30 Nov 1941: "Topper says we are as near war now as we have ever been, that Japan with her militarist Govt. can't very well back down now."
  • 1 Dec 1941: "Government advising further evacuation.  Only hope seems to be that Japs now say they will keep on talks with USA in hope that USA will change viewpoint - that isn't thought likely."
  • 7 Dec 1941: "There must be something in the wind, G.H.Q. staff are preparing to move into Battle HQ, a huge underground structure just behind the Garrison Sgts. Mess."
Extract from Barbara Anslow's Diary
Extract from Barbara Anslow's Diary: "war had been declared"
  • 8 Dec 1941: "I started my birthday with a war. Kowloon bombed about 8AM."
  • 10 Dec 1941: "Sid has been wounded.  Bullet through shoulder.  He told Hospital to phone Mum at the Jockey Club and she went to see him."
  • 13 Dec 1941: "We hear rumours that


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