1941 Kai Tak Marine Jetty | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1941 Kai Tak Marine Jetty

1941 Kai Tak Marine Jetty
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, October 1, 1941


Was this photo taken by Harrison Forman? Is is possible to get a higher resolution version? The Pan Am Historical Foundation (http://www.panam.org/) is looking for more information and images to document the history of America's first international airline and its connection to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was always the desired destination for Pan American Airways' first transpacific route, which opened in 1935 to Manila. Thanks to efforts by some of Hong Kong's leading citizens of the day, such as Lawrence and Horace Kadoorie, the British government finally relented in their opposition to letting the American airline land in Hong Kong two years later.

Hong Kong was a critical juncture point for air connections - certainly for Pan Am, both before and after the war.  It was a favorite stop for Pan Am crews and passengers alike. One of the legendary stories that have come down the years is that of "Sampan Annie," the woman whose abilities as a "waterman" in handling Pan Am's big flying boats as they were guided to the dock adjacent to the Kai Tak Aerodrome became famous.

We hope to find more photos and stories relating to Pan American Airways' time in Hong Kong. If you have something you would like to share with us, please do!


This image features Myrtle on the Manila-Hong Kong shuttle flights, officially known by Pan American Airways as the Hong Kong Clipper 11. On 8 December 1941, the about-to-depart Sikorsky S-42B Hong Kong Clipper 11, NC16735 affectionately known to the crews as Myrtle was quickly lost to aerial bombing and gunfire at its mooring off the Kai Tak sea-wall.  See Japanese faux gun-sight images of its destruction in the book Wings over Hong Kong. These were extracted from a Japanese war-time magazine fortuitously found in a Tokyo bookshop over 22 years ago

thanks for that information. We'd love to see those images you refer to from Wings over Hong Kong!

Here's a photo of the clipper's captain, Fred Ralph, taken a few days after the attack in Chungking, after his evacuation there by CNAC. Photo by Harrison Forman, courtesy of John Johnson.


I think the original photo was a U.S. news service photo. The photo is as is and may have been attributed to Forman, but not sure. The photo and the story of the attack also appears here in the Pan Am archives.

On this website , images from 'Wings Over Hong Kong' can be viewed showing the final moments of the Hong Kong Clipper and other aircraft at Kai Tak.

There's some more info about Sampan Annie at: https://gwulo.com/node/37928

This is very interesting. According to the American businessman Jan Marsmann, he should have been on board the Pan Am clipper on the morning of 8 Dec 1941. He was staying in the Peninsula Hotel and in his book he stated that he didn't receive the early morning call which he had requested. Consequently he was late boarding the bus to take him and the other passengers to Kai Tak. (Mr. Marsmann was far too important a person that the bus would leave without him)!

It was while they were on the bus heading to Kai Tak that the Japanese attacked Hong Kong, and the clipper was shot and bombed at its mooring. Mr. Marsmann always claimed that his tardiness saved the lives of the passengers; had the plane taken off on time it would have undoubtedly been shot down by the attacking Japanese with subsequent loss of life.

Arrival of the Pan Am Clipper can be seen here