Artillery Batteries in Hong Kong

Submitted by David on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 22:00

Thanks to Rob Weir who has generously shared his records of British military sites in Hong Kong with us. The first list is of artillery batteries, and covers over 70 sites.

He's further sub-divided the list by category. Here's a map of batteries in the largest category, Harbour Defence Battery:

[Each red marker represents one battery. Click any marker to see the battery's name. Click the battery name for more details, and to see if we have any photos of that battery.

Subscribers - if you can't see the map, please click here to view the page on the website.]

These are the oldest batteries, initially positioned along the north shore of Hong Kong island to protect the harbour against attack by enemy ship. When British territory expanded to include Kowloon and Stonecutters Island, additional batteries were built there.

A logical development was to build batteries on the approaches to the harbour. Rob has tagged these Coast Defence Battery:

These batteries allowed defenders to engage enemy ships before they reached the harbour, and also to fight off any attempts to land enemy troops on the south side of the island.

These earlier batteries were built to deal with an attack by a foreign navy. By the end of WW1, the effectiveness of attack by air had been demonstrated. The next map shows the response to that threat, the Heavy AA Battery:

The last large group is the Mobile Artillery Battery, built as part of the preparations to fight against Japan:

Rob has identified several other types of battery. Often there are only one or two, so I won't include the map for each of them here, but you can click any of the links below to see them on a map:

The last map shows all the Places tagged Battery, ie "all of the above":

If you prefer something simpler, you can see a list of the batteries, either sorted by name, or sorted by completion date.

I must apologise to Rob that the process of importing his records wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked. So there are probably mistakes - please add a comment to the relevant battery's page if you find any.

And if you think we've missed any batteries, please leave a comment below or even better please create a Place for that battery.

Regards, David

Rob's conventions in each battery's notes:

  • Battery names are those used at the time the battery was in use, and may vary from current naming eg. Lye Mun > Lye Yue Mun
  • "Year completed is:". Approximate means 'around that time'. Accurate means the year is accurate, but month & date are not.
  • "Condition at last visit:". Intact - it is still in the condition it was when used. Ruin - still visible, but damaged. Demolished - no traces remain.
  • "Date of last visit:" eg Jul-1998. When Rob last visited the site to check its condition.
  • "Ref:" Rob's reference number for this site.
  • "Other:" Anything else useful to know.


Rob's list is of batteries built by the British army, but T reminds us there were also several batteries in the area built by the Chinese army of the time. Here is a map of the Places tagged Imperial Chinese Military Sites:

Hi there,

Other than the Tung Chung (Small) Battery), just laying out the others I know of first:

1.  Tung Chung Fort, already marked.  All we need is a new tag of Chinese Battery there;

2.  Fan Lau Fort;

3.  Koon Chung Fort (A battle was fought there with the Brits).  The area is around today's Jordan Road/Koon Chung Market;

4.  Ching Ying Fort (possibly located in present day Kowloon Park in TST), dismantled after HK Island is occupied;

5.  Tung Lung Chau Fort

6.  Beacon Hill close to Lion Rock.  The construction of the modern day rada station appeared to have the old beacon site destroyed though.

I will try to mark them up later.

Best Regards,


Submitted by on
Sat, 03/24/2012 - 11:10

Hi tngan,

Thanks for the list!  I wonder if the Kowloon Walled City should be included.

The two Qing batteries are mentioned in Section 10.2.2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report for East Rail Extension - Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui (EIA-032/1999).  About the Ching Ying Battery (懲膺炮台, Chengying Battery) in Tsim Sha Tsui, the report stated that "the exact location of the battery is unknown", but from Figure 10.5, it is quite clear that it was located on the western slope of the hill on which 1881 Heritage (former Marine Police Headquarters) now stands.  It was renamed Fort Victoria during its brief occupation by British Forces in 1841.

As for Lam Chung Battery (臨衝砲台, Linchong Battery) in Kwun Chung, I found a wiki page on it:  Kwun Chung Battle Wiki.  It is great that someone is raising awareness of this event.

Hi there,

I believe there might be something in Tuen Mun/Castle Peak as well as that is known to be a location where previous dynasties posted their military presence there.  I  have a faint impression that it could be dated back to the Tang Dynasty.   After all, the word 屯 (tuen) was a verb meaning stationing military presence.

On the It would be very difficult to rectify the location with reference to old writings dated back to Qing or even Ming Dynasties.  There are some senior hikers out there saying there used to be other beacons on some hill tops other than 'Beacon Hill' in Kowloon.  They said one might be in the Tsuen Wan area and another in Castle Peak.  They are refering to old writing like 新安縣誌  for reference.

On the other hand, if we are to include Walled Kowloon City then we might have to include similar facilities in Guangdong Province as well.  If we do not do so, it would not reveal their significance.  Anyway, either way it would mean more reading before doing so.

Best Regards,


A video released by the Gibraltar Ministry of Heritage shows the method of transporting a 9.2” gun recently discovered in a scrapyard:

It makes a great comparison with the methods of transport of similar guns in HK when they were installed in the early 1900’s, then moved to new Batteries in the 1930’s. The method then was the use of ropes, rollers and large numbers of troops, and lifting for installation was by wooden A frames with ropes and pulleys - and large numbers of troops. A barrel by itself weighed 27 tons (27,400 Kg) and was 37 feet (11.3 Metres) long.

1910 Mount Davis Gun
1910 Mount Davis Gun, by Moddsey

This is a photo from a cruise last November.

4 inch Mark IV Naval Gun at Stanley/Falkland Islands
4 inch Mark IV Naval Gun at Stanley/Falkland Islands, by Klaus

It shows a  Quick Fire (QF) 4 inch Mk. IV naval gun on a pedestal mount at Ordnance Point (!), East Falkland. A gun from the late 1930s which was placed at Ordnance Point in 1942 - and it is still there.

Many guns of this type were used in coastal batteries in Hong Kong, e.g. at the WWII Improvised battery in Apleichau. They would probably look like this one today, but they were (all?) destroyed before the surrender to Japanese troops in 1941.