We found this while crashing through the undergrowth above Mount Davis Road. Here's the first stone we saw, which Thomas says indicates a mass grave:
There was also this grave, which was the only one we saw that is still visited and maintained:
But most of the graves were just marked with very simple stones, simply showing a number. There are lots of them, here are a few:
They reminded me of this photo from Stephen Chadwick:
He took it in the 1950s, when he was stationed in the RAF facility at the top of Mount Davis. He wrote:
Grave believed to be war time. [...] We found numerous graves and tunnels dug into the hillside. These were discovered after a brush fire on the mountain.
The wartime explanation would be a reason for the simple gravestones. However they're actually a fair bit older than WW2.
I searched for davis cemetery in HKGRO, and found several mentions:
- 1892, Report of Sanitary Superintendent: "18. The following are the number of burials which have taken place up to the 31st December 1892, in each of the public Cemeteries for Chinese since they were placed under the charge of the Sanitary Department in February, 1892, viz:-". Then there's a list of cemeteries, with Mount Davis showing 547 burials in those 10 months. It was the busiest site, as next was "Kau-lung Cemetery" with 321 burials.
- Then there are similar mentions of the cemeteries in following years' reports. eg the 1905 report mentions "5 new terraces have been formed in Sec. C. of Mount Davies [sic] Cemetery".
- 1906. The cemetery is closed: Item no. 691 in the Government Gazette for 17 Aug 1906 announced "that the Mount Davis Cemetery shall be closed on or after the 31st day of December, 1906."
- 1914. Some of the graves are cleared. Two items in the gazette announce graves are to be cleared. First is item no. 331, "directing the removal of all graves on Inland Lot No 2080 being formerly part of Mount Davis Cemetery [for the purpose] of the sale of land for building purposes." IL 2080 is the site of On Lee, between Mount Davis Road and the remaining graves.
Next came item no. 449. It has a similar explanation, though for inland lot 2090. Today the Geoinfo map shows Greenery Gardens and Four Winds Apartments on that site. The clearance was justified as required for "public purposes, namely, the sale of land for building purposes and the construction of a Military path."
There are a couple more pre-WW2 mentions that graves would be cleared for building work in the area. It looks as though there are still many graves that were never removed. I wonder if the records still exist to show who was buried at each of those numbered graves?