1911 Royal Engineers Detachment, Mount Davis | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1911 Royal Engineers Detachment, Mount Davis

1911 Royal Engineers Detachment, Mount Davis

Gwulo Photo ID: A169

This photo appears in Gwulo's Talk #3.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1911


It seems very logical that the Royal Engineers were responsible for the construction of the batteries in Mount Davis. However is there any evidence that can proof that?

I have not been along Victoria Road for a while, but the two storey white office building on the western side of Victoria Road ( i.e. above the lower battery - and later used as a detention centre), had balcony railings with large wrought iron lettering either RE or RA worked into them. RE I recall. The letters were visible from the road and were above the wall level. But I would guess that building was post-WWII.

Thanks! I learn that the RE used the buildings there for about ten years in the 1950s. Unfortunately there is still no evidence stating very explicitly that they were the one that designed or built the batteries or the military structures in Mt. Davis area.

I don't have any firm proof that show the Mount Davis batteries were built by the Royal Engineers (RE), but weren't they responsible for the design & construction of all the batteries? eg when I've seen plans for a battery, they're signed off by a member of the RE.

Where have you tried looking so far? Would the Museum of Coastal Defence have anything that can help?

Thank you very much David.

I did see such signature on the drawings of the Former Military Hospital on Borrett Road. I will research along the line. 


Ka Sing


1910 Mount Davis Gun
1910 Mount Davis Gun, by Moddsey

Hi David,

Do you remember where did you see those drawings on batteries? In a publication? In Hong Kong or in the UK? Thanks!


Ka Sing 





The one I remember was at the UK National Archive in Kew. Rob has also uploaded some here - I don't remember which battery, but if you look through their pages you should see some: https://gwulo.com/node/11072

Here's another mention that might be relevant, in point 3.4.3 of the document Heritage Impact Assessment in respect of the Block 3 at Old Lei Yue Mun Barracks:

History of Hong Kong Chinese Training Unit (HKCTU)

[...] up by the British Army in 1857 during the Second Opium War. The British Army
began to employ local Chinese in transportation of military supplies due to shortage
of human power. At the same year, the Canton Chinese Commissariat, which was
also known as the Chinese Coolie Crops, was established. From then on, Hong Kong
locals were recruited constantly by the Royal Engineers in different military
construction works.

Before the invasion of Japan in 1941, local people were recruited to work in the
building of batteries and coastal defence works. [...]

Can't help with this one. Mt Davis is one battery that apparently has no plans at Kew. I did find some detail about construction dates, but nothing about who did it.