1937 Typhoon's Toll Document | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1937 Typhoon's Toll Document

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1937 Typhoon's Toll Document

Picture actually 'taken' on 2011-11-02!

My grandfather had this hanging in his garage for many years. I thought it may be of interest.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, September 2, 1937


That's an interesting document, thanks for posting. (If there's any chance you have a higher-resolution copy, please could you try uploading it, as I'm having trouble reading somne of the text.)

Was your grandfather in Hong Kong when that typhoon struck?

Regards, David

David - If required, I can provide scans and/or information in the document.

Thanks Moddsey. Let's see if Muugee has a higher-resolution copy available. If not I'll take you up on your offer.

Regards, David

David, I do have a higher res photo, how should I upload it?

By the way, my G-father [J S Snook] was in HK April 1937 - Feb 1939, so he was there when the typhoon struck.

Regards, Mark.

I look forward to seeing the high resolution photo of this map...  Looks like that there are also records of the winds and pressure, which would be of interest to the Hong Kong Observatory.

CM Shun

Thanks to Mark & Moddsey for sending sharper copies of this document. Mark's original is in better shape, so I've updated the image above to use that copy.

Regards, David

Thanks a lot to Mark & Moddsey for sharing this highly informative poster on the 1937 typhoon.  I will if any of the information would be useful to supplement the Observatory's record for the typhoon.

CM Shun

Hi Mark,

Is there any possibility for the Hong Kong Observatory to borrow this very interesting poster from you?  We are arranging a public exhibition with the Hong Kong History Museum and this poster would be an excellent item either as an exhibit or as presentation material for public talk.

Best regards, CM Shun

Dear Muugee,

Further to CM Shun's request, we would like to know the dimension of the poster. 

The poster is an ideal exhibit to illustrate the impact of typhoons.  We look forward to your positive reply to Mr. Shun's request of lending it for the exhibition (9 July - 3 Sep 2013 at HK History Museum).


Sandy Song 


Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for donating this highly informative poster to the Hong Kong Observatory.  Today the exhibition on the 130th anniversary of the Observatory will kick off at the Hong Kong History Museum (http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/History/en_US/web/mh/exhibition/current.html), and the poster is one of the highlights of the exhibition!

I just googled the web about your grandfather Mr JS Snook and find his name in an Navy archive (http://archive.org/stream/navylistapr1945v3grea/navylistapr1945v3grea_djvu.txt) for 1945.  Do you think the entry "Naval Store Officer - J.S. Snook, Esq" refers to your grandfather?

Thanks again!

CM Shun

My grandfather was indeed John Stanley Snook, a Naval Store Oficer serving in Hong Kong Dockyard at the time. He had taken his wife and  daughter  (my mother) with him. My mother told me that they sat in the house, with the shutters closed, and felt the building shake!

Dear Muugee, 

I have read the post about the 1937 typhoon poster with great interest. You are so generous to donate this to the observatory. 

I am a reporter with the South China Morning Post, I want to find someone who survived the 1937 typhoon for an interview. 

Were you alive at that time, or are you parents or grandparents still alive and might agree to talk to me?

Please do not hesitate to contact me:


phone: 5988 5694

Memories of the typhoons that struck Hong Kong in 1923, 1936 and 1937 by    R. F. G. White,  A.S.P of HKP can be viewd in this issue of the Hong Kong Police Magazine printed in 1956.

Thank you so much, what a great resource!

I don't suppose you might know anyone who survived 1937?

Any other historical info you could recommend on typhoons would be greatly appreciated!


Sorry can't help you out there on oral testimony but the written record for 1937 should be quite abundant from government records and the newspapers of the day. Video of the great typhoon and the damage to shipping can be seen here


I have numerous publications,including on the 1937 typhoon and others,from the Royal Observatory(as it was),Hong Kong,though these may be available online.

Did your parents(or was it your grand-parents,sorry) ever mention unusual fauna in Hong Kong,especially dugongs,dholes and wolves?


Having only just seen this old thread about the 1937 typhoon, I was intrigued to see that the largest ship driven ahore was the Conte Verde of 18,765 tons - marked on the map as being at Little Sai Wan (Siu Sai Wan).  Knowing how small the bay was prior to all the redevelopment the huge ship must have provided a spectacular sight, although I see that it was refloated within about a month, so must have remained relatively undamaged.

I have colllected some more information found on various sites on the Internet, (SS Conte Verde.jpg) which I have loaded into the 1930s Hong Kong gallery, and now link it to this thread.  Andrew

SS Conte Verde.jpg
SS Conte Verde.jpg, by Andrew Suddaby

Hi. Ive just added another photo to the 1930's gallery - 'Conte Hong K.jpg'


Another interesting photograph. Other photographs give the impression that the ship was much closer in to the shore - but if you zoom in on your mother's photograph it looks very much like a tug pulling the ship from its grounding spot into deeper water.  Regards, Andrew

Conte Hong K.jpg
Conte Hong K.jpg, by muugee

Photos of the Conte Verde on the rocks can be viewed here The vessel was refloated on 22 September 1937 and towed to Kowloon Docks the following morning. Hong Kong Telegraph 23 September 1937 refers.