Landing in HK 1945

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 10:39

Landing party from H.M.C.S. ONTARIO marching towards the Chinese Hotel, Hong Kong

Date picture taken
13 Sep 1945


Hi there,

From the skyline I would say the location is of the west end of the Northern side of Hong Kong Island.  I seem to see Lugard Road up there after blowing up the photo to 200% for a look.  I could not pin-point where though.  Somewhere west of Sheung Wan, perhaps.  Will have to find a location having the same angle of Lugard Road for comparison.

Best Regards,


Hi there,

Could someone help to confirm if those are tram tracks in the photo?  One parallel to the building and the other just left of the soldiers.  If so, I guess the photographer was standing near the Whitty Street Terminus, wth the loop behind him.

The street the camera pointing to should be the corner of Hill Road.

Best Regards,


It would be interesting to find out if the lines on the ground are indeed tram tracks.

I had seen the photo before and my intial impressions at the time was that the photo had been taken somewhere in Kowloon as the ridgeline in the background looked like the western side of Beacon Hill.

It does look like the Peak in the background. It looks like tram lines too, but I can't work out where they'd be.

If they are tram lines running right-left, they look like a single set of tracks. There were single tracks between Morrison & Cleverly streets, and between Cadogan and Davis Streets.

But the road in the foreground looks too wide for any of those. Could it be part of a pier, and the photo was really taken just as the men have landed?


Regards, David

Hi there,

Found/recalled a bit more information about trams:

-The museum section of Hong Kong Tramways site mentioned double tracks was fully implemented in 1949.  Have to find some other old tram photos for comparison for this;

-The Whitty Street terminus used to be at the sea front despite the current terminus might have moved a little bit from its original location when they built the flyover.  Have to find some older maps for comparison for this;

Best Regards,


Hi - Had a look at uwants. They've also studied the photo over there and their findings are consistent with the above. There's also some additional information, although they also haven't completely solved the mystery.

This is the link:

I'll try to summarise below:

- The location of the tram tracks relative to the Peak indicates the Western district (so far so good).

- Looking for the sharp bend in the tram track on a 1950's map of the area suggests the following 2 locations (also at or close to places mentioned above):

1. Corner of Cadogan Street and Belcher's Street, or

2. Corner of Hill Road and Des Voeux Road West.

- The row of buildings looks like shophouses (or a combination of a hotel, as captioned, and shophouses). So the balance of probabilities suggests (2) in Shek Tong Tsui, since (1) is in Kennedy Town which is where an abattoir, a mortuary and various other "undesirable" buildings used to be located at the time (seems an unlikely place for people to want to live).

And that's as far as they got. The caption on Flickr dates the photo to 13 Sep 1945. According to the link that's the day after HMCS Ontario arrived in HK.

Hi T, good find. The HKMan photo shows a tram terminus at the junction of Hill Road, Des Voeux Road West and Connaught Road West. A 1958 map (Plate 7-3, Mapping Hong Kong) shows a loop of tram tracks there.

The building in the HKMan photo looks different (no stone pillars along the front), but the location could be right, with the photo here showing a newer building.

Regards, David

Nice photos and interesting scenes from September-October 1945 as seen from the following pages  1 , 2 and 3

The men from HMCS Ontario were billeted in a Chinese Hotel, Hill Road as indicated from comments above. Some photos show the Kennedy Town godowns as well as Hill Road. 

1970s Junction of Des Voeux Road West and Hill Road. The same building in 1945 can be seen on the right.

1970s Des Voeux Road West and Hill Road

Yes, rotate the view along Des Voeux Road West towards the east and those tall buidlings in the distance are still standing.

You will note up ahead in the road in the 1970s photo there is a diversionary tram track to the left probably towards the Whitty Street Terminus.

Arrival of British Troops H.M.C.S. Ontario
Arrival of British Troops H.M.C.S. Ontario , by eurasian_david



Arrival of British Troops

Skirling pipes in the streets of Hong Kong yesterday told the people that British Army and Air units had arrived to relieve the Royal Navy, a detachment of which, under Rear-Admiral Harcourt, was the first force ashore 12 days ago. Accompanied by H.M.C.S. Ontario – built in Belfast and described at the commissioning ceremony last April as “Queen of the Canadian Navy,” the troops arrived in the transports Glengyle and Llanstephen Castle and the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Smiter. The main body of troops has not yet disembarked, but the pipe band of the Third Commando Brigade paraded through the main street as soon as it went ashore. One task of the commandos will be to round up 3,000 Japanese still at large. The cargo of the Smiter included £50,000,000 in freshly printed Hong Kong notes contained in 166 boxes.

Source: Belfast News-Letter, page 3, 13th September 1945