Hong Kong, hotel in front of hills

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 20:20

View the original, larger copy of this image at the UWM website: http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/u?/agsphoto,4927

Date picture taken


... what & where this building was?

The title comes from the hosting website, but may not be correct.

T, I don't think the road is Barker Road. If it was, we should be able to see another road and more houses above it.

Fivestar, maybe... So the V on the left would be Wanchai Gap?

Took me awhile to figure this one out.

I think 80sKid has got the general location correct.

The photo above and this one :http://gwulo.com/node/3375

are connected as they were taken in the vicinity and probably from a tram swinging round Happy Valley Racecourse and QRE and Morrison Hill Rd.

Here is a view: http://gwulo.com/node/5757

from the 1930s of QRE looking west towards the Royal Naval Hospital and the Methidist Church at the eastern end of Kennedy Rd.

The hill (Mt Cameron?) matches the hill in the QRE photo. 

As for the buidling itself, at present, I have no idea what it was used for.


Hi the web site says it's a hotel, which makes sense. Also looks like the remnants of Morrison Hill being cleared in the foreground, making Queen's Road higher. I wonder how much longer that building (which looks new) lasted. I'm guessing about six months. The Sikh temple close to it but out of sight of the shot was bombed twice during the war, according to their website: http://www.khalsadiwan.com/aboutus.htm. It's on the corner of Queen's Road and Stubbs Road.

Life has a photo of the damage here: http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=7779b69416d990de&q=hong%2…

If you see it now the temple is below the level of the road, I wonder why they rebuilt it that way.

The old two or three-storey ESF buildingcurrently next door to the Cosmo hotel looks like it was built soon after the war, also suggesting the hotel didn't last long.

Hi there, After seeing the other photos showing the hill top, yes, I believe the hill top should be Mt. Cameron.

So, that was the hotel before the Xinhua took over.  But according to a Wiki entry in Chinese the XinHua appeared to have taken over the current building, not the one shown above.  Maybe the previous hotel had had a rebiult before XinHua took it over?

Best Regards,


Moddsey certainly nailed the hill with this photo http://gwulo.com/node/5757.

I also thought maybe the foreground of the Harrison Forman photo showed the  Morrison Hill works. But somehow the hill in Forman's photo seemed closer than in Moddsey's photo, which sent me off track. The Sikh Temple confirms it though.

With the location confirmed, I remember the Kuhlan Monument was also in that area. This Hedda Morrison photo shows the monument, and also shows the above building from behind. I'd wondered if the building was damaged and demolished during the war, but it looks complete in this 1946 photo.

Good work - thanks for everyone's help.

Regards, David

Incidentally, they found a bomb when digging up the old ESF site between the Cosmo hotel and the temple today

 Feb. 6, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Police evacuated residents around a neighborhood on Queen's Road East in Hong Kong island Thursday afternoon where a suspected World War II bomb was found by construction workers who were digging underground structure for a hotel.

     Local police officers told Xinhua that they believe it was a bomb left during the World War II when Japanese invading Hong Kong, but it needs professional personnel to confirm.
     Police said a bomb disposal squad has been called in and they are on their way to the venue where the Emperor Group is building a new hotel.     Cordon has been raised around the construction site and its neighboring area, and a fire engine with more than six firefighters were protecting the venue for the bomb disposal squad who will decide whether to remove it or deal with it at the site. 

Wonder if same attack as the one that destroyed the temple 

I went past the site this evening, serious operation, apparently a 2,000 pound bomb. If that was the case, must have been from one of the US bomber attacks

Hi There,

I had been wondering where were the two Land Rovers with siren howling and flash-light blazing going to.  I was walking by Mary Mount school at Blue Pool Road when they went by, probably right from their base in Mount Butler.......

Wow..... a 2000 Lb one.....  It's already in the news.  The occupants in the nearby hotels and residents had already been evacuated.  It would seem the bomb squad is going to cut the shell open and remove the TNT within.

Thanks & Best Regards,


That bomb would have been dropped on Jan 16th 1945. 

The USAAF (10&14 Air Force) which bombed HK for about 3 years and were based in Northern China didn't use 2,000lb.

The only time that bomb was used here was during the Navy Air strikes on HK by Task Force 38. During the evening of the 15th Jan there was a fighter sweep by planes from the USS Enterprise but the main bombing took place on the 16th with a total of 499 sorties.

Only 11x 2,000 pounders were dropped on HK by TBM-Avengers, normally a Torpedo plane but could also be used in a bombing role. Two other planes carrying 2,000lb collided (the picture of Gary next to one is one of those) .

5 were dropped on shipping in the Harbour and 6 on the docks (Mostly Taikoo but one a piece on Royal Navy Dockyard aka Tamar, Aberdeen and TST) 

Hi Craig,

Thanks for the extra details - it's amazing you can even date the day it was dropped.

The location of this bomb isn't an exact match for any of the 11 listed above. Do you think the pilot could have mis-reported it? Maybe this was the one reported as dropped on the Royal Navy Dockyard?

Regards, David

I am researching US air raids on Hong Kong during the Second World War.  At the moment I am focusing on the first raid in October 1942.  Judging by your knowledge of the carrier raids in 1945, I am sure you are familiar with the 1942 raid as well.  Could I call upon your expertise?  I have some unanswered questions about the raid, and wondered if you might be able to help me puzzle through some of them.  I can provide details if you are game.  Thanks much!

BAAG KWIZ 86/5 Feb 1945 reported on the result of Allied bombing of Hong Kong between 15th & 26th January 1945.  Target areas  included: ships in the barbout, Kaitak, Taikoo & other dockyards, the Naval Dockyard as well as Wah Chai District including: Luard Road, Stuart Road, Johnston Road and Tin Lok Lane.  This area encompassed the Japanese Entertainment areas, causing elaborate damages and casualties.

As a starter, what do you  know about B.A. Proulx's role in the first US raid on Oct. 25, 1942? 

Many accounts of the raid place him in the lead B-25, guiding the pilots and bombardier so that they don't bomb the POW camps by mistake.

However, all of these accounts appear to trace their information about Proulx back to Oliver Lindsay's books, which put Proulx in the lead B-25.  Unfortunately, Lindsay's books provide little detail about Proulx during this raid and do not source the information.

Further muddying the waters, contemporary newspaper accounts in Canada have Proulx back in Ottawa in July 1942.  So, Proulx would have had to return to China to take part in the October 1942 raid.  About this return journey, if it actually occurred, I have no information.  It is also unclear what unit Proulx would have been serving in, and whether he participated in other CATF/14th AF or BAAG operations.

Anything you know will for sure be useful!

Thanks, Craig!

I've got the basic numbers for the raid, though they don't always add up from source to source.  For example, the number of B-25s varies from 10 to 12.  I can account for 11.  Ten on the initial raid, with one shot down; nine on the follow up night raid--plus the one B-25 stuck in Kunming, probably due to mechanical problems.  That's eleven total.

At any rate, I am particularly interested in BA Proulx's role in this raid--see my other post.

Also, there were three raids total: a daylight raid on the 25th (P-40s and B-25s), a night raid early in the morning on the 26th (B-25s only), and another daylight raid (P-40s).  Sources disagree on the date of the third raid, with some saying the 26th and others the 28th (the BAAG reported the latter date).  What do you know about the date for the third raid?

Also, what were Japanese anti-aircraft defenses like at this point?  I assume 3-inch AA guns, based on BAAG reports and descriptions of the flak bursts.  How about light AAA in the 20-40mm range?

What ships were in port during the raid?

Thanks again,


Hi Steve,

        Excuse the delay, I couldn't find the thread.

The record I have show that the third raid on Hk was on the 27th October '42.

The raid was conducted by 10 x B-25's and escorted by "More than" 20x P-40 Warhawk. The biggest raid anywhere in China up to that point. Here is a narrative 


"Tenth AF 10 B-25's and more than 20 P-40's, the largest CATF effort in China to date, hit shipping and harbor installations at Hong Kong, firing warehouses and claiming 2 freighters and numerous barges sunk. A large force of ftrs intercept during the return trip but are driven of by the escort. The P-40's and B-25's claim several airplanes shot down."

Regarding Proulx, I was aware of the story, but can't really add any further information. I do seem to recall that he wrote a short story about his experiences, but haven't seen it. cCalled something with "Underground" in the title, that may contain more info.

Japanese AA during '42 wasn't particularly strong or accurate. Towards the end of the war they were using several types of systems. Some used a primitive "Radar" type guidance system. They had a radar site on Tai Mo Shan which was one of their larger installations. During the Jan '45 raid, pilots reported that the AA was the heaviest they have ever faced, even after the battle for Leyte gulf. They reported that the Japanese used several colour bursts in their AA guns (up to seven different colours- similar to the Japanese Navy, which used different colours on each ship) so that they could see which type of guidance system was the most accurate.

As for the exact caliber of the guns, I couldn't really tell you. I have never seen any Japanese records. I have seen dozens of Japanese AAA sites in the hills. The give away are small concrete blocks, slightly curved with a bump so that they can interlock making a circle and a couple of layers high, I"ll take a photo the next time I see one.

May I ask where you got your details about the american raids? I find it very difficult to locate things, they seem to be spread all over the place.

Hope this helps. Regards Craig

Thanks, Craig, and good to hear from you.

I've seen the old radar platforms up on Tai Mo Shan, but that is the first I've heard about the AA positions up in the hills that you describe.  Were they above Kai Tak?  Do post a photo when you can!

You're right about Proulx's book, which is titled "Underground from Hong Kong." It is very detailed about his escape from the North Point Camp, which had been closed by the time the book was published in 1943 and sold for the princely sum of CDN$3.00 hardcover.  Anyway, Proulx gives no details about his escape route into Free China, since the route was still in use, and says nothing about his role in any bombing raids over Hong Kong--again in the interest of wartime secrecy, I assume.

Like you, I have found that information about the air raids is scattered across a wide spectrum of sources.  One source that gives a detailed first-hand account of the first raids on Hong Kong is Scott's "God is my Copilot."  He flew P-40s.  You may perhaps know the book.  Chennault's autobiography "Way of a Fighter" also describes this raid, and many other sources that describe the raid draw on Chennault's account.

As for the Oct. 27 raid you mentioned, my sources (for example, Carter and Meuller's "Combat Chronology" from the Center for Air Force History) have that raid taking place a month later on Nov. 27.  Given the similiarities in the date/target, it is no wonder that the historical record is unclear.

Thanks again for your post, and if you come across any other details about the 1942 raids, do let me know.  When I get to the 1945 carrier raids, I'd be most interested in drawing on your expertise.   



Steve & Craig,

Would it help to have a page per air raid where different sources' information could be linked to? It would be easy to set it up as a dummy "diary", with a diary page per raid. Then the information would also be included with the daily messages that go out to the wartime diaries subscribers, and so would give another angle on a day's events.

If it sounds useful, let me know. Then I'll set up a couple of pages as examples, and show you how to add further pages.

Regards, David

Thanks, David!

An air raid "diary" of the sort you suggest would be quite useful.  If it would be helpful to you, I can provide the dates for the largest air raids.  That would give us some initial pages for the diary.  Once the pages are up, I could then add a brief summary of the raid for that date, and we can let the conversation go from there. 

Again, thanks!



Steve: My apologies, you are correct, the raid was in November '42 rather than October.

David: Thanks very much for the diary of raids, I'll start to contribute what I have.


Thanks, David. 

I am inclined to think that the date of the third raid was, in fact, Oct. 28, given that eyewittneses like Henry Ching, Barbara Anslow, and RE Jones as well as the BAAG all report a raid on that day.  Ching's report of much machine-gun fire would be consistent with the nature of the raid, which involved P-40 fighter aircraft.  The P-40s did carry bombs, but once they dropped them they would have strafed targets.  Pilot Robert Scott even reported strafing the Peninsula Hotel, though I should add that he also claimed the raid took place on the 26th!  Still, around 11 am on the 28th is my current best guess.  Ching's report of a rumor about a downed US aircraft also checks out, as one P-40 was shot down during this raid.

BAAG Wai Chow Intelligence (WIS) reported Allied air raids on:

25th Oct at 13:30hrs

26th Oct at 01:30hrs (could be 27th?)

28th Oct at 11:30hrs.

Allied air raids were also conducted late in November 1942. 

Thank you, Lawrence!

Your times match up with my best guess about the chronology of the three October raids, and your guess that the 01:30 raid was actually in the early morning of Oct. 27 is correct, I think.  The planes launched on the evening of the 26th, but didn't arrive over Hong Kong until very early on the 27th.  This is one reason why the dates for the raids are often incorrect in various sources.  In any case, I would take BAAG sources as authoritative.

As far as I know, the three raids in October and then the later strikes in November were the only Allied attacks on Hong Kong in 1942.

November 1-20: CATF recon flights over Hong Kong by B-25s and/or P-40s

November 23 and/or 24: 6 B-25s and 17 P-40s from the CATF hit Tien Ho and Sanchau airfields (or are these two names for the same field?) in Canton.  They claim 40+ aircraft destroyed on the ground.

November 27: 10-14 B-25s and about 20-25 P-40s (numbers vary according to the source) hit Hong Kong, striking godowns and shipping in the harbor.  Japanese fighters intercept, and some are shot down.  There are no CATF losses.  Interestingly, in his book God is my Copilot, Robert Scott writes that this raid feinted towards HK but then struck Canton, so there is some ambiguitiy about what the actual target was.