"Line of Gaps" pillboxes on Hongkong Island | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

"Line of Gaps" pillboxes on Hongkong Island

Thanks to Rob Weir for the latest instalment from his records of British military sites in Hong Kong. Here's a map of their locations:

[Each red marker shows one pillbox. Click any marker to see its name. Click the name for more details, and to see if we have any photos of that pillbox.

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Rob explains their background:

These Pillboxes (PB's) came about through the policy change to only defend HK Island issued in 1938. Until that decision, there were NO pillboxes on HK Island. These were built to delay any breakout from a beach landing, which it was expected would be aimed towards the "Gaps" across the Island, and particularly from landings on the south side.

The first document I have seen referring to them is WO 106 / 2370 of 1939. This refers to "Line of Gaps concrete PB's". There would be 15, 8 of which would be 4 gun PB's, costing £150. The next is The Interim Defence Scheme 1939, with amendments to Nov 1941. It shows them as "Locality PB's", and the number has increased to 17, listed by name (the same ones I've used here). I doubt if there were any more.

The 3 and 4 gun ones appear to be a "scaled up" version of beach PB's. Same basic shape, just slightly bigger as appropriate. They used the same Commanders Turret, and ventilation system as the beach PB's. Obviously, they did not have attached Lyon Lights. The third PB at Wong Nei Chong Gap is the only Island PB, of any type, that I have seen with an entrance tunnel. The 2 gun ones were the same as Beach PB's. I have no exact date for their construction. It was somewhere between 1939 and late 1941. (Hence I used 1940).

Most seem to have been manned during the fighting, but other than the ones at WNC Gap, I have no record of them being attacked, other than perhaps by air or artillery. Those at Tytam and Windy Gaps, although occupied, were abandoned when the withdrawal was made to Stanley after the landings. Some fighting took place in the area of the Aberdeen PB's, and possibly Wan Chai Gap PB, but I don't know if they were actively engaged.  Kennedy Town Gap and possibly Pok Fu Lam were still in the British held area at the surrender. Stanley Gap PB crews probably withdrew once the attackers came over The Twins/Stanley Mound. They would have been of little use as they both faced Stanley.

If the WNC PB 1 was any indication, they could look after themselves fairly well, and be a real nuisance to attackers in the area.

There are several here I haven't seen before. With the weather cooling off, it's a good excuse to get out into the countryside and take a look.

Regards, David

Rob's conventions in each Place's notes:

  • 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.