1941 HKVDC Corps Signals at Fanling | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1941 HKVDC Corps Signals at Fanling

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1941 HKVDC Corps Signals at Fanling

Photo from the Elizabeth Ride Collection.

Tony Banham mentioned this photo in the 21st December entry on his website:

21. Elizabeth Ride sent a fascinating photo of the HKVDC Corps Signals. We’ve identified the majority as follows:

Back row:

1a - Walters (Shanghai),
1b - Signalman Conrad Semmelmann,
1c - Rose, 

1d - McNider,
1e - Rogers,
1f - Warnock,
1g - Signalman James King,
1h - Captain Arthur Braude,
1i - Sergeant Robert Meadows,
1j - CSM Richard Rathmell,

1k - Second Lieutenant Alan Coppin,
1l - Signalman Brendan Wilson,
1m - Signalman William Gegg,
1n - Carr,
1o - Signalman Thomas Suiter

Middle row:

2a - Borinevitch (sp?),
2b - May,
2c - Carson,
2d - Lance Corporal Lyall Glendinning,
2e - Barnes,
2f - Warnock,
2g - Cock,
2h - Carson,
2i - Signalman Cedric Salter,
2j - Lance Corporal Herbert Fountain,
2k - Signalman Norman Smith
2l - Signalman Ivor Johnson,
2m - Walker,
2n - Signalman John (Jack) Mitchell,
2o - Warren,
2p - Sergeant Neville Booker.

Front row:

3a - Jimmy Yee,
3b - Tan,
3c - S.B. Tam,
3d - Wong Kam Piu,
3e - ‘Frenchy’ Tcheng,
3f - Francisco Chan,
3g - Yip,
3h - Ed Eu,
3i - Wylum Yee,
3j - Lance Corporal Willie Eu,
3k - Billy Poy.

(I've added in the numbers & letters to Tony's text above, to link them to the photo).

I contacted Elizabeth, and she kindly sent me a copy of the photo and the list of names that went with it. She writes:

On the back is written 'HKVDC Fanling 1941'.

This original photo was sent from Brendan Wilson to Terry Lockhart, and I reproduce (attached) Brendan's chart of the names.  As you see, he notes in red ink the men who were ex-CBS.  It came to me through Conrad Semmelman.

[I remember from Braude's war diary] that despatch rider Tcheng was blown off his motorcycle at Jardine's Corner and taken to the War Memorial hospital and then Queen Mary, and that the Japanese took off from the China Light and Power wharf at Hung Hom to invade the island on the night of the invasion (reported, by Signals spotters, in two waves).

Thanks to Elizabeth and Tony for this. It mentions several names we've seen before, and I've linked them to their pages.

Regards, David

PS I guess this shows the site of Fanling Camp. Does anyone know where that was?

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1941


Could there possibly be a mistake about the date of this photo? Could it be December 1940 rather than 1941? My uncle, Leslie Warren, shown at 2o, was at the Fall of Penang (19 December 1941) having left Hong Kong to work for William Jacks in Penang earlier in the year. 

There are several faces here that also appear in the 1939 Christmas photo of the HKVD Signals Corps. Billy Poy (Corporal William George Poy) mentioned by Henry Ching is one. Among the new faces, the two boys at 1b and 1c (Semmelmann and Rose) look frighteningly young. Would be grateful for other people's opinions if I post an attempt at cross-identification between the 1939 and 1941 photos using David's number grids. 


Hastily replying to my own post: I wrongly assumed that Elizabeth Ride's 1941 Fanling HKVD photo was another Christmas photo and roughly the same December date as Tony Banham's posting of it. Not so. Tony thinks the date might be around April 1941 which is several months before Leslie Warren left Hong Kong. Apologies for the misconception.



I've had a tentative stab at matching nine of the faces of this 1941 photo to the 1939 one, but it is difficult to switch between the two photos. Is there any easier way, David?  Grateful for alternative suggestions, additions and sheer disagreements. It would also be interesting to know their eventual fates of these chaps as far as they've been recorded.

1941                                                  1939                                              

1g    Signalman James King                 3b

1h    Captain Arthur Braudé                 3d

1j     CSM Richard Rathmell                  3g

1l     Signalman Brendan Wilson           3a?

2j     Lance Corporal Herbert Fountain  1k? 

2o     Leslie Warren                              1j

3f      Francisco Chan                          2q?

3h     Ed Eu                                        2a

3k      Billy (William George) Poy            2p




Hi Jill,

You could try opening two copies of your web browser and put them side by side, then resize the two browser windows to suit your needs.  This would be even better if you have a big enough monitor, say bigger than 19" in the wide format, or even a dual-monitor setup.   For single monitor setup you would be unable to use the web browser in full screen mode.

In a smaller monitor setup, you may only be able to have a partial view of each page. 

This way you could compare the pages side by side.

Hope this helps a bit.


Thanks tngan. This sounds like a really useful tip, even for my laptop. Unfortunately I've never learnt to do 'resizing'. If  only I could teleport you here to do it for me! I shall seek help, however.


Hi Jill,

Do you use Windoze or Mac?  If you use Mac, you might like to take a look at this youtube link.

If you use Windoze 7, you might like to take a look at this link.   This link would show you how to open multiple Internet Explorer tabs or Windows.

Hope these tutorials help a bit.



Thanks T, I'll give it a try. I hope these links will be useful to others as well.


3a - Jimmy Yee is my uncle. His full name is James Waymond Yee. Uncle Jim is kid brother to my Dad
3i - Kylum Yee should have been Wylum Yee.  Wylum is Chinese name for my Dad.  His full name is David William Yee.  Since he was named after my Grandpa, to avoid confusion, he used his middle name William.  Wylum is Chinese way of pronouncing William.

Thanks for this, I've corrected the text and linked the names to their pages. (I've made their pages under your name, so if you want to make any changes / additions to them you can edit the pages.)

Regards, David