Pillbox 315, Kowloon Byewash Reservoir [1937- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Pillbox 315, Kowloon Byewash Reservoir [1937- ]

Current condition: 
Date Place completed: 
Year completed is: Approximate
Condition at last visit: Intact
Date of last visit: Feb-2001
Ref: ROB-00565

Photos that show this place


Visited the location (GPS was about 25m off coordinates in this node). Took two photos; one appears to be a ventilation shaft, the other is the concreted outside wall. I couldn't take a look inside but assume this construction is the pillbox in question.

Message from Rob:

The pictures above appear to show PB 315. The loopholes are basically covered with earth however if you go back towards Taipo Rd directly behind the PB, there is a long entrance tunnel direct into the PB. It starts from a concreted trench.

On 27 Dec 2016, after a tour of Shing Mun Redoubt with the Hong Kong History Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/Hong-Kong-History-Meetup/events/235408274/), I visited pillbox 315 again after 35+ long years. I entered it numerous times in my childhood because I know the person who lived in the Water Works Bungalow, 4 1/2 milestone, Tai Po Road (http://gwulo.com/node/15988 )

Although the fastest way to get to Pillbox 315 was from Tai Po Rd, by climbing over the fence marked "Government Property" and walking pass the Water Works Bungalow, I didn't do so because it would be trespassing. Besides, there had just been a robbery nearby and hundreds of police officers were in the area searching the hillside, and a police van was parked right across Tai Po Road.
Instead, I got there by bushwhacking along the ridge between Cheung Yuen Rd and the Kowloon Byewash Reservoir, starting from the BBQ site (see map). The path was overgrown and with fallen trees, and my arms and legs got scratched numerous times. But it was well worth it because I found the pillbox very well preserved and I took many pictures. Those planning to explore it again should bring an axe along in order to chop away any dead branches etc.  

There must have been a lot of erosion over the decades because I remember, as a child, I could climb out one of the loopholes and easily walk around on level ground outside the exterior wall and get back to the top of the pillbox. But today, a lot of the soil is washed away and the slope outside the loophole end up so steep that I had to hold on to some vegetation to avoid tumbling all the way down into the reservoir. Also, the concrete base of the pillbox is now exposed. If the slope is not maintained soon, part of the pillbox will probably end up overhanging above the receding slope.

The exterior wall of pillbox 315 is smooth, unlike other camouflaged pillbox walls which I saw elsewhere in Shing Mun Redoubt. This is strange.
As can be seen in the pictures, inside the pillbox below each loophole, it looked as if a concrete cylinder is embedded in the wall. Above each 'cylinder,' there is a concrete 'cone,' as if it is for the purpose of mounting something heavy (such as a machine gun?)

In the old days, if one stood on top of the pillbox, Kowloon Byewash Reservoir was clearly visible. However, the view today is totally blocked by vegetation.

Greetings.  Playing with fighting spiders, now admittedly a bad hobby, was popular with some boys including me in the 1950s.  The low level plants along Tai Po Road next to these reservoirs was a good place to find them.  Hiking here alone was not a safety concern and I was more worried about seeing other kids possibly bully than seeing adults.  The road back then was very quiet people and traffic-wise.

I was intrigued by the light-reflecters along the centre line of the road and Google views show that that they still use them.  Water shortage was a recurring problem.  On one hiking, water level in the reservoir appeared to be about 10 feet below the vegetation line.  Regards, Peter


Philip Cracknell has posted photos & notes from a recent visit in his blog post for April 2017: