Mount Davis Battery [c.1912- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Mount Davis Battery [c.1912- ]

Current condition: 
Date Place completed: 
c.1912-01-01 (Year is approximate)

Year completed is: Approximate

Condition at last visit: Ruins

Date of last visit: April 2015

Ref: ROB - 00132

Other: See previous notes below Timeline.


  • 1907: Date of construction is unknown. The Bty first appears on Armament Tables as "Additions", with 5 x 9.2" BL Mk X guns.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1909: 5 x 9.2" BL guns approved, not yet mounted.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1910: 5 x 9.2" guns approved, not yet mounted.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1911: 4 x 9.2" BL guns mounted, 1 x 9.2" gun to be added.  (CAB 11/58).
  • 1915: A series of 5 x 9.2" guns, placed irregularly near the top of a detatched hill at the west end of the Island.  (WO 32/5316).
  • 1917: 5 x 9.2" BL guns.  (CAB 11/58).
  • 1921: 5 x 9.2" BL guns.  (CAB 11/58).
  • 1936: 2 x 9.2" guns moved to the new Bty at Stanley.  (WO 106/2418).
  • 1936: 3 x 9.2" BL guns.  (CAB 11/196).
  • 1941: 3 x 9.2" BL guns.  (WO 106/2379).
  • 1941: In action in December against land targets. Damaged by bombing and shelling. Destroyed by own crews at the surrender 25th December.  (WO 172/1687).
  • 1945: No guns remained. Majority of operational buildings destroyed or damaged.  (WO 196/10). Post war the site was used for a variety of military formations e.g. RAF Radar site, but was abandoned in the 1970's.
  • 1981: A Youth Hostel was established on part of the site.
  • 2015: Gun pits and some buildings remain, mostly ruins.

For a background to these notes, and a glossary of terms used, please see:


Previous notes from David:

Denis Rollo's "The Guns & Gunners of Hong Kong" notes this was built to hold "5 x 9.2-inch BL Mark X guns".

It was completed in 1912, and though the gun emplacements can still be seen today, it's useful life as a British battery ended in 1941. The battery was damaged during the fighting with the Japanese, then blown up by its personnel on 25 Dec, just before the surrender.

I'm not sure if the site was used by the Japanese during their occupation of Hong Kong, but Rollo mentions a 1946 report saying there was no equipment remaining, and that the buildings had been destroyed.

Post-war, RAF Mount Davis occupied part of the site.

Photos that show this place


Part of this battery is to be found in and below the grounds of the Victoria Reception Centre, the former Special Branch detention centre in Victoria Road near Mt Davis Road.

The battery below Victoria Road was a separate battery, Jubilee Battery, that was built in the 1930's.

Regards, David

Philip Cracknell has extracts from the diary of Regimental Sergeant Major Enos Charles Ford, that describe's Ford's experiences at the Mount Davis Battery during the fighting in 1941:

As I know there're totally 5 guns emplaced in Mt Davis Battery. I recently visited there and believed I've found all of them:
a) Adjacent to the Lion's Pavilion.
b) About 5 minutes walking downhill from YHA hostel.
c) Opposite to the YHA hostel with a concrete lid sealed.
d) Very close to c), next to the Ionospheric Station and is overgrown.
e) At the peak.
May I know if anyone knows the numbers of these guns? Say, which one is gun number 1, 2 or 3... 



In the original five gun configuration, they were No.1 to No.5 counting from the lowest. After two guns were removed to Stanley Bty, they were renumbered, No.1 becoming No.1 "R" Group, No.2 becoming No.2 "R" Group, and No.5 becoming No.5 "M" Group. 

Hi Rob,
Great thanks for your reply! If the counting is from the lowest, can I suppose the gun positions I listed should be:
a) No. 1
b) No. 2
c) No. 4
d) No. 3
e) No. 5

For the new numbering after 2 guns (No. 3 & 4) were removed to Stanley Battery, Is that a) is No. 1R, b) is No. 2R, e) is No. 5M?
By the way, I recently found the author of the blog Battle for Hong Kong & Military History calling the guns' numbers as a) is F1, b) is F2 and e) is F3. Can I say these are not official naming?

If you were confused before, I will probably make it worse. I apparently added a typo to my original message, the No. 2 gun should be "Q" Group, not "R". The detail comes from a document at the NA Kew, which has a small section on modernisation of Mt Davis Bty. It is an undated file in a larger document detailing planned works for HK Defences, but sits in sequence which would probably make it around 1934/5. The plan was to upgrade the remaining guns and mountings to the same standard as Stanley Bty, and the necessary engine room was to go into the No. 4 gun (now removed) magazine, with the updated Plotting room to go to No. 3 gun (also removed) mazagine.

Subsequently, the planned upgrade of the remaining guns was cancelled, so the engine room wasn't built however the Plotting Room was completed, and its ruins still remain. It is the position immediately above No. 2 gun. Your positions then become a) No.1 b) No. 2  c) No. 3 d) No. 4  e) No. 5.

The file nominates the positions as: No. 1 9.2" BL Gun "R" Group, No. 2 9.2" BL Gun "Q" Group, No. 5 9.2" BL Gun "M" Group. The other two are not listed.

A report written post war by H.R. Yates, who was at Mt Davis (Fort Davis as he calls it), is in the PRO at Hong Kong. The text nominates the positions, starting from the bottom, as Q, R, O1, O2 and M. His hand-drawn map unfortunately shows F1, F2 and F3, corresponding to No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5. This agrees with those of RSM Ford in the Battleforhongkong story, so it would appear the numbering changed again. I presume from those comments they were official by 1941.

Hi Rob,

So detailed information. Thanks alot!!  :)

Shortly ago, I received an email from the University of Chicago Yuen Campus in Hong Kong: 

Built on a historically significant site at Mount Davis, The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Courtyard and Interpretation Centre is situated at Jubilee Battery, which was part of Hong Kong’s western coastal defense system in the Second World War. It has gone through various stages of conversion into a British Army Royal Engineers’ mess and quarters, the Victoria Road Detention Centre, and finally, was revitalized by the University of Chicago to become the new Yuen Campus in Hong Kong.

The heritage virtual tours with audio guide in Cantonese and English will take you on a journey to explore the revitalized Grade 3 heritage buildings including the Heritage Interpretation Centre, former detention cells, the Jubilee Battery and more.

On the website, a virtual tour of the battery remains and buildings can be made.