Clavadel - RBL 6 (portion) [1893-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Clavadel - RBL 6 (portion) [1893-????]

Current condition: 
Demolished / No longer exists
Date Place completed: 

Public Records Office

Clavadel was erected in 1893 by Clement Palmer, of the firm of Palmer and Turner, as a dwelling for himself.  In that year the property was valued at $720 and attracted a quarterly rate of $19.35.

by 1941 "Clavadel" was valued at $2,580 and rated at 4109.65 a quarter.  It was then owned by a Mr. H.R. Forsyth about whom no details are known.

(Ed. Mr. Forsyth died defending Hong Kong - see below)

Photos that show this place


I searched the Hong Kong War Diary site, as many foreign men in Hong Kong in 1941 will appear in one of Tony's lists of solidiers and civilians. H.R. Forsyth appears on the page for the Hong Kong Volunteers, which tells us that he'd been a gunner in WWI, but that in 1941 he was a Major commanding No. 2 (Scottish) Company of the Volunteers.

That led me to Not the Slightest Chance, which has a couple of mentions of Forsyth in the diary for 24th Dec 1941:

  • 20.50: In the evening, a second attack on Stanley is supported by three tanks. The leading two tanks are destroyed by a 2-pounder anti-tank gun of 965 Defence Battery stationed on the road, but 2 Company (Scottish) HKVDC are forced back into Stanley village, losing most of their men wounded or killed. [...]
  • 21.30: Cheesewright, at No. 1 Bungalow, reports that 2 Company HKVDC in front of him are coming under attack. The Scots' commanding officer, Major H.R. Forsyth, is recommended for the Victoria Cross by Wallis for refusing to leave his position after being wounded as Japanese overwhelm the line. The defenders fall back to the bungalow.
  • 22.30: Major Forsyth is again wounded seriously and Company Sergeant-Major T. Swan is killed, and Forsyth is carried to the schoolhouse adjoining Stanley old police station.
    'Impossible to make head or tail of the fracas in the village. The whole narrow isthmus was rocketing fire like a burning munition dump. Nearby, on our left, a house was surrounded, Bren guns blazing from each quarter and automatics returning fire at point-blank range. All over the place were similar close exchanges. I had never guessed that a real battle could be so like a gangster film': Gunner Bertram, 2 Battery HKVDC.

Major Forsyth died that night.

His name surfaces in 1923 in the Jury List. At the time he was a chartered accountant with Butterfield & Swire.

Details are now known.  Thanks.

As the grandson to the former owner am curious to exact location of Clavadel? The Google Map would indicate 19 Gough Hill Road - is this correct?

Also as a matter of curiosity is that clavadel in the centre of the photo or to the right?

Many thanks in advance.

Andrew Forsyth

The lot number has changed, so there might not be an exact match.  I'll let you compare to the 1924 map.  I've marked a corner of house 298 in blue - but it is very hard to read.   The current house was built in 1997.

1924 Map - Clavadel

Hi, also looks like it could be around Sherwood's Bluff area. Perhaps they built the little road and split the lot

Clavadel -19 Gough Hill Road Hong Kong from North circa 1971
Hello Andrew, you can be justifiably proud of your Grandfather. A true hero under fire defending his homeland.

In regards to your question, I can confirm that Clavadel's Street address was 19 Gough Hill Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, BCC during the years 1970 to 1973. My family and I were privileged to live there.

I have several photos of the house from that era that I will try to post in the next few days.

I am now 56 and live in the sprawling suburbs of Melbourne Australia. I have many happy memories of living at Clavadel and attending HKIS in Repulse Bay from which I graduated in 1972.

Thanks, David et al for the wonderful site. Such a great effort to help preserve HK's fascinating history.

Clavadel - 19 Gough Hill Road from South circa 1971