American aerial photography from wartime raids over Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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American aerial photography from wartime raids over Hong Kong

These photos are interesting to see, both as a record of the fighting, and as a view of Hong Kong in the 1940s.

I don't know much about them, but here are the few I've heard of:

  1. The Mapping Hong Kong book has a couple of photos.
  2. Craig pointed me to several good photos on this page:
  3. I've seen several photos in the UK National Archive, their reference: WO 193/925
If you know of any more, please could you let us know in the comments below?

Thanks & regards, David


hello David

Any chance of putting this info under the new page along with the info on the planes discovery & the guerrillas activities

The guerrillas were instrumental in helping downed American airman to safety in China so all the info so far is related to the planes discovery

All the best

Gary Liddell

Hi Gary,

This page is meant to gather information about photos from any WW2 raid over Hong Kong, not just the raid that resulted in the planes that Craig & gang have discovered. So it deserves its own page.

You can always provide links to related information though, eg for more about the crashed planes discovered at Tai Tam, see:

Regards, David

Craig again:

I also stumbled on a few recce photos (again Jan 16th '45) of the various POW camps, which also look good quality.

Fascinating stuff, however I'm afraid that the US intelligence made a curious error in identifying "Bowen Road Military Camp 'A'" (about half-way down the page in the link). 

The site that they consistently identify as Bowen Road Hospital in the maps and photos is in fact Peak Mansions on the Peak Road, next to the old Peak Hotel and Peak Tram terminus. I imagine that the Bowen Road Hospital which they thought they were referring to is the site they label "Military Hospital Camp", which would have been the old British Military Hospital (now the Carmel School) on Bowen/Borrett Road. Strange mistake to make. 

I believe Peak Mansions was used as quarters for Japanese soldiers, but it was never used as a hospital. 

Hi Andrew,  

You're absolutely right about the Bowen Road Hospital error. It is an odd mistake to make, as the American's had pretty accurate maps and details on HK.

It had escaped my notice, but I remember Tony Banham pointing it out to me when he sent that link to me last year some time. You guys obviously have an eye for detail.

These links may be of interest to some. A B24 Liberator bomber, named 'Sweepy Time Gal' shot down over Hong Kong waters was salvaged by the Japanese and put on display. It was also pictured on the front page of an edition of the Hong Kong News being unloaded by crane from a barge while people watch the activity.


I believe that the only surviver for this plane crash was the pilot, 2/Lt Glenn McConnell although there seems to be a little confusion about the assistant radioman Sgt. Tony Spadarora. I'm not too sure what happened to him, but I suspect he also died in the crash, but not confirmed.

The Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) for this incident states that 6 (I make it 7) of the 10 crewmen died upon impact. 2 of the 3 that did escape the plane were strafed and killed while attempting to swimming ashore. 

A civilian eye witness account says the pilot was paraded through Central the following day. The account also says he looked a young man with red hair that had clearly been "interrogated". 

Assistant Radio Man Sgt Tony Spadafora (note spelling) apparently did survive but suffered a compound fracture to his right knee which never healed properly. From an American book on the China bombers which has a few pages describing the Sweepy Time Gal incident. Unfortunately, while I have photocopied pages covering the incident, I cannot find my copy of the book to quote its title at the moment.

Hi IDJ -  There is a reference of the incident in B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI as viewed here

Hi Moddesy

Thanks for the link, it's interesting that the author was actually a member of the HKHAA. He has written a several books and articles on aviation in the Far East most notably on Siam/Thai aviation history.

He left Hong Kong about 1998 and relocated to New York for work reasons

Great work fellas,

I haven't seen those accounts before, but it all makes sense. I'm happy to find out what happened to the Radioman/Gunner, I've been searching around without luck. 

On a similar note, this presentation is quite interesting.

It is a short presentation given by the son of a USAAF pilot that was shot down over Kai Tak and rescued by the local guerillas and eventually escaped through free China via Sai Kung. Quite an amazing story. The above video is one of three parts but only the first part is in English. 

Here are the photos of the Crew off "Sweepy-Time" Gal, Taken from the web links provided by IDJ and Moddesy. Good to keep them all together. Thanks boys.

L to R:

2/Lt Glenn McConnell (Pilot), Sgt. Peter Maholick (Flight engineer), Sgt. Tony Spadafora (Asst. Radioman), Sgt. John Orovecz (Tail Gunner), Sgt. Barton Owens (Asst. Flight Engineer), 2/Lt Samual Auslander (Co-Pilot), Sgt. Carl Holley (Armorer/Gunner), 1/Lt Robert Moessner (Bombardier) and 1/Lt Robert Carney (Navigator) 

Sweepy-Time Gal








Standing (L-R)
TSgt Peter Maholick - Engineer
Sgt Tony Spadafora - Asst/Radio Operator
SSgt John Orovecz - Tail Gunner
SSgt Barton Owens - Asst/Engineer
TSgt Robert Berman - Radio Operator
SSgt Carl Holley - Armorer

Kneeling (L-R)
2Lt Glenn McConnell - Pilot
2Lt Samuel Auslander - Co-Pilot
1Lt Robert Moessner - Bombardier
1Lt Robert Carney - Navigator

Crew of Sweepy Time Gal


The Bombing of Hong Kong

Harbour and the Kowloon



...notice the tail gun barrels at bottom !








All photos courtesy of R. E. Mongell

It is fitting that one of the last missions flown by the 11th Bomb Squadron in it's long and bitter fight to defend Southeast China should be not only the greatest in the history of the unit, but also perhaps the foremost single achievement of the 14th Air Force. This was the low level attack on October 16th on enemy shipping in Honk Kong Harbour. The opportunity to strike this crippling blow at the Japanese merchant marine had been provided by the American Navy, whose task forces were then prowling in Formosa waters. Fleeing this menace, an enormous number of enemy ships of all types had sought refuge in Victoria Harbour at Hong Kong.

Mission Aircraft and Ordinance:

·  4 B-25s escorted by 8 P-40s

·  24 x 500 lb. demolition bombs dropped

A Breakdown of the Results by Type and Tonnage:


·  (1) 350 and (1) 400 foot freighter, both hit and left afire

·  (1) 350 foot merchant vessel

·  (1) 200 foot merchant vessel

Near Miss/Damaged:

·  (1) 400 foot freighter

Probable Damage:

·  (2) 300 foot freighters

Excellent photos were taken by Sgt. Arvid J. Johnson and T/Sgt. Robert E. Mongell who at the time operated tail turrets in their respective planes. The mission can best be described from a quote from the official mission report:

"The heaviness and accuracy of the strafing undoubtedly caused destruction which could not be observed, and in any case reduced the effectiveness of the Ack-Ack* fire from the vessels. In one case pilot 1st Lt. Leander L. Smith, seeing the flashing of automatic weapons from a vessel slightly to the right of his path, kicked his rudder and with all nose guns firing, sprayed the decks of this vessel from stem to stern and the firing was seen to cease."

* Ack-Ack - term used for Anti-Aircraft fire.

Short video of B-24's and B-25's Bombing HK (starts at 1:00).