Erinville [????-????]

Submitted by annelisec on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 08:42
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists

Erinville is referred to regarding the Battle for Hong Kong in 1941.

Some mentions use the name "Brinville" probably a mis-reading of the name during transcription.


Philip Cracknell guesses it was where the current road leads into Red Hill, and writes:

On Sunday 21st December 1941 Brigadier Wallis Commanding East Infantry Brigade launched a battalion level attack at the Tai Tam Cross Roads. A flank party seized after fierce fire fights the hills to the left (Notting Hill and Bridge Hill), the Road Party led by Lt Edwards No 1 Coy HKVDC in his carriers up Island Road now called Tai Tam Road together with motorcycles with side cars armed with Vickers M/G  with the primary objective to seize the Tai Tam crossroads. However they came under fire from a villa called Brinville in the Red Hill area. The Japanese were on Red Hill in force and although great effort effort was made and casualties incuured they could not be dislodged and the whole attack faltered with the column retreating back to Palm Villa leaving bodiies on Red Hill, Notting Hill, Bridge Hill and the road up to the X Roads. Apparently some of the post war villas around Turtle Cove were said to be haunted - I'm not surprised !

The same incident is also mentioned on page 190 of "Not the slightest chance".

Regards, David

Hi there,

Based on the description, would Brinville be on higher ground?  If so, the only logical location would be the site of Red Hill Water Treatment Works as it overlooks the cross roads with an advantage of around 50 meters, according to the contour lines on GeoInfo Map.

All suggestions and corrections welcome.

Best Regards,


Thanks to Henry Ching for the following email:

You may be interested in a reference in a letter written by Capt A.H.Penn to the widow of W.R.Lambert after the war.  Penn was OC of No.1 Company, HKVDC  which was involved in the battle at Red Hill and Lambert was a private in that Company.  In his letter Penn refers to “the Simmons bungalow, Erinville” near which he was wounded during the battle, with Lambert beside him.  I wonder if Erinville and Brinville are one and the same?  Penn was taken to the St Stephen’s Hospital in Stanley, but fortunately discharged himself before the massacre there on Christmas Day.  Lambert withdrew with the rest of the Company to Stanley, where he was killed in action on 25th December.  The letter is on the internet,, posted by Lambert’s son.

There is also another letter I have seen, written by Benny Proulx (he was in the HKRNVR, was a POW in North Point Camp, and successfully escaped to China). He wrote to Mrs Penn who was then in Canada giving her news of Captain Penn’s recovery from his wounds, and in his letter he refers to Penn being hit near Proulx’s home at Tai Tam. So perhaps Proulx also lived at Red Hill.

Previous searches for "Brinville" hadn't turned up any results, but there are three mentions of "Erinville" in the HKGRO, all in the Jurors' Lists. The mentions are all the address of juror Benjamin Charles Albert Proulx, given as "Erinville, Tytam, Island Road".

Since an E is easy to mis-read as a B, I think Henry is right and Erinville is the house we're looking for. I've updated the title of this Place.

Regards, David

Hi there,

I believe old aerial photos might help on this.  On Page Six (6) of the 'Hong Kong in Old Times, A Collection of Aerial Photos Taken in 1964' it showed two locations having:

1.    The location of present day Red Hill Plaza/HKIS, right next to the cross roads;

2.   The location around or slightly lower than the present day Red Hill Water Treatment Works, on the slope, next to the service road;

Unfortunately this photo was meant for showing the whole Hong Kong Island in the book.  However if you could spare the time to go to th Lands Department in North Point, they have a station for browsing old aerial photos and maps, meant for potential buyers to select their collection for order.  Some fellow hikers went there looking for old photos reported you could zoom in with high resolution on-screen display there.  Seem to worth a look if you could spare the time.

I looked it up at Hong Kong Map services and got a series of photos at 3700 ft of the area.  Try to browse photos 8119 through 8122 at the Lands Office and zoom in.  You may also browse photos 9536 through 9538.

My 2 cents,


You are right it was a mis spelling in Major Evan Stewarts Book  "Hong Kong Volunteeers in Battle A record of the Actions of the HKVDC in the Battle for Hong Kong December 1941" (1953) repeated in earlier editions of Not the Slightest Chance but I understand corrected in more recent editions. According to Benny Proulx in his book "Underground from Hong Kong" it was the home of his father in law - however I found his father in law Edwin John Ryder died in 1902 - maybe it was his previous home inherited by his wife Mary Dolores who lived 1878 to 1961. Certainly Benny's family were there in December 1941 just moving out in time to get to Repulse Bay Hotel before the Japanese descended on the reservoire.  I am also looking for a house called Turtle Cove where the Andersons lived in 1947. Bill Anderson was a POW and hs mother was interned at Stanley and they lived at Turtle Cove - I wonder whether the same building or a new build. I will check. Does anybody know anything about other building in this area in 1941  between Palm Villa and the Reservoire - I heard mention of Cash's Bungalow ?   Philip Cracknell

Hi Philip,

I'd go with Thomas's suggestion, and pay a visit to the Survey & Mapping office to look at their old maps & aerial photographs of the area.

The government rates books at the PRO could be another approach, though I haven't tried using them yet.

Regards, David

A quick note to confirm that it was "Erinville".  The house belonged to my great grandmother, Dolores Simmonds and her second husband Albert Simmonds.  Her first husband, by whom my grandmother Florence Ryder was born, was Edwin Ryder born in England and died as either Chief Mate or Captain of the SS Fat Shan.  Edwin died in Wanchai, Hong Kong in 1902.   Erinville was just above Turtle Cove in Tai Tam Bay. My grandmother, Florence, married Bennjamin Proulx, author of Underground from Hong Kong, in 1925 and my Dad, Mike, and my uncle, Roger, grew up there until the outbreak of war.  The last time I saw Erinville was May 1969, just before having tea on the verandah at the old Repulse Bay Hotel.  Regretfully, both spots are now history!

I am researching US air raids on Hong Kong during the Second World War, and am particularly interested in B.A. Proulx's role in the first US raid in 1942.  Oliver Lindsay's books place Proulx aboard the lead B-25, and say he helped steer the pilots away from bombing POW camps by mistake.  Lindsay gives few details and no sources, however, so I would greatly appreciate any knowledge anyone might have of Mr. Proulx's role in this raid. 

Thans to Allan who has helped ask his uncle (who once lived there) about the location. His uncle replied:

If you were sitting in a boat floating just off the beach in Turtle Cove, and you were facing the beach, Erinville would have been situated at approximately two o’clock.  It was halfway up the hill, give or take. 

I gather that the hill is called Red Hill.  Nobody in the family ever called it Red Hill when I was a sweet, adorable kid.  We called it the “hill at the back.”  It was at the top of that hill that your father used his .22 to pot the windows of a closed-up bungalow; I can’t vouch for that story, but I’ve always liked it.) 

Erinville was not a bungalow, but a two-story jobbie in yellow stucco with white trim.  It was named Erinville because my grandfather's family was from Ireland.  (My grandfather being, of course, Albert William James Simmons)

Before the Simmonses built Erinville, there was a bungalow on the site.

I've moved the marker to match the description.

I checked reports from a war veteran who was manning Pillbox 30  at Turtle Cove.. His name was Herbert Cole and he was in the HKVDR. He passed away a few years ago,but his war diary was given to his family.A few weeks ago,I got the privilege of an interview with his son, Thomas Cole.

Thomas told me about a massacre which took place in the driveway of the house.Three soldiers were executed at the site,except Herbert who was wounded by a gunshot through his jaw. He managed to swim to Shek O and took refuge in a cave.He was recaptured by the Japanese and was sent to Sham Shui Po  POW camp.