While there are aerial images of Kai Tak Airport just before WW11 and just after, few aerial images with discernible detail of Kai Tak airfield during the Japanese occupation have surfaced so far. This one has been extracted from a well-known hi-resolution image taken during an air raid by the American 14th Air Force on 16 October 1944.
The runways appear to be far from complete and useable unless they have been well disguised and camouflaged. These runways were used after liberation in 1945, and later had to be strengthened due to POW’s sabotage. They remained in use until 1958 when superseded by the new long runway heading out towards the Lyemun Gap.
There appears to be little sign in this image of the Diamond Hill hangar erected off-site across the Sai Kung main road by the Japanese, although there may be a base slab but no structure. More recently it has been referred to as the “RAF hangar” since its rediscovery about 20 years ago in squatter factory areas about to be cleared near Diamond Hill MTR station. See related postings on Gwulo.
The numerous black ‘u’ shapes are aircraft protection bunkers or revetments scattered around the site and appear to be empty of aircraft. Presumably, the resident fighters are in the air protecting the airfield during the air raid.
The pre-war Civil hangar and its control tower have completely disappeared, although the nearby civil seaplane ramp remains.
The original nullah discharging near the sea-plane ramp where the Pan American Sikorsky Clipper met its demise during a Japanese attack can just be discerned
The new larger nullah extension bordering the site next to the redefined Kowloon City boundary must have been a major piece of civil engineering to dig out and place granite block lining walls into it.
The pre-war RAF hangar that was on the right-hand end of the seawall was dismantled in December 1941 pending airport development by the HK government. It is believed that this was partially re-erected by the Japanese on the Diamond Hill site. The pre-war RAF seaplane ramp is present in this image.