Wong Nei Chong Gap PB 3, Wong Nei Chong Gap [1940- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Wong Nei Chong Gap PB 3, Wong Nei Chong Gap [1940- ]

Current condition: 
Ruin
Date Place completed: 
1940-01-01

This pillbox is shown as 'PB3' on a hand drawn map included in the War Diary of Major E.G. Stewart. I'm not sure if 'PB3' was the 'official' reference for the pillbox or just his personal numbering system, as there was another Pillbox number 3 on the Western shore of HK island, between Sandy Bay and Telegraph Bay.

The pillbox overlooks Wong Nai Chung Gap, one of the fiercely contested areas during the war. It is mentioned in the diary entry for 0645 on December 19th:

Enemy rushed Wong Nei Chung Gap and Police Station Knoll. Message to Field, "Enemy massed below Police Station in Gap." Field opened fire with great accuracy despite poor visibility, target being in the shadow. Enemy again caught 'en masse' and casualties heavy. L/Cpl Lau's section also opened fire. PB3 on Black's Link, close to Gap, did not open fire, for some unexplained reason - possibly not occupied!

Photos that show this place

Comments

Apart from the graffiti, this pillbox is in relatively good condition.

At the start of the video you are looking at the entrance. Next you can make out the hinges and hooks for the two folding beds that would be stored vertically up against the wall.

Next you see the loophole / gun position that overlooks Wong Nai Chung gap. There are three loopholes. Each has a semi-circular metal frame which I assume was the gun mount. Outside each are the metal shutters - heavily rusted, but still plain to see.

Next is the wall facing south, with two loopholes. Then round to the side wall with fittings for four folding beds. Finally back to the first wall, and the water tank just next to the entrance.

There is a good diagram showing the layout of Pillbox 1 here (click on the diagram to expand it). That pillbox had four loopholes instead of three, but otherwise the layout is very similar.

Dear Gwulo,

Thank you for your effort for posting lots of old photos and historical information of Hong Kong.  I like your site very much!

As I am interested in HK's military sites and I saw one of your post is about the Pillbox no. 3 in Wong Nai Chung Gap, H.K. Would you please let me know the location of it and how can I get there? Thank you very much!

Since I know from some reference books about HK's military sites that there are 2 pillboxes in Wong Nai Chung Gap (I have also visited there before), therefore, I would like to go the PB3 to have a look.

Please advise.

Regards,

NL

Dear NL,

The marker on the map / satellite view will give you a good idea where it is. As you walk up Black's Link, watch the slope on your right. Here's the view from our visit in 2008:

Entrance to PB3, Wong Nai Chung Gap

You can see a tree trunk makes a white line in the upper middle of the photo. The entrance is behind that - this pillbox is unusual in that it has quite a long tunnel from the entrance to the pillbox.

It's quite a scramble to get up the hillside, so you'll have to judge whether or not it's safe when you get there.

Glad to hear you're enjoying the site. I hope you'll join in and share what you know with us.

Regards, David

Dear David,

Thank you very much for your information.  I will try to visit there later! 

Best wishes,

NL

Year completed is: Approximate
Condition at last visit: Intact
Date of last visit: May-1998
Ref: ROB-00699
Other: Only PB found on HK Island with entry tunnel.

After re- reading sections of Not the slightest chance I noticed that all structures on Wongnaichung gap are mentioned EXCEPT PB3, which is not mentioned at all.   

In H.E Pott's war diary however, I recall he mentioned shooting at japanese (or possibly, accidentally Indian ranks) ontop of PB3 and the police station knoll with lewis guns from the ridge/postbridge position. Where he mentions PB3 appearing not to be occupied (although this is after the Japanese had occupied the gap initially).

This, in combination from E.G Stewarts diary "Possibly not occupied" and "did not open fire"  suggest that possibly this pillbox was never occupied or in direct action

What do you guys think?

-->As I recall, the PB is mostly facing the south of the island and only one/two loops were partially facing the police station knoll (although not quite down the gap, but more in the direction of Jardines Lookou). Perhaps for this reason it was not manned?

 

I haven't been to PB3 for a long time, so I don't remember which way it faces. But if it didn't have a clear view of the direction that the Japanese were attacking from, it seems sensible that the men and guns would have been moved to another position.

Regards, David

There have been a number of articles written about this subject recently. They are within the journal SBE 23 of March 2015, Surveying & Built Environment, The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, which has the article PB 3 During the Battle of Wong Nai Chung Gap: From the Japanese Perspective and SBE 24 December 2015 The Japanese Assault on Pillbox 3. These journals also include articles on The Shing Mun Redoubt, PB 315, and other related historical military subjects, as well as many which would be of interest only to those involved with surveying in its various forms. Unfortunately I cannot suggest where they may be available. 

Thanks for the lead Rob! I Managed to find an online PDF version here :   http://www.hkis.org.hk/hkis/general/journal/SBEvol24iss1.pdf

(PB3 refer to page 95)

It mentions that PB3 WAS infact in action, but that it was short lived.  With the PB “suddenly silenced at around 06:00.” In the article they seem to suggest a Japanese Anti-Tank Gun knocked out the machine gun/gunner on the loop facing Sir Cecils Ride.

 

A recent look at the inside.

IMG_20201222_PB3.jpg
IMG_20201222_PB3.jpg, by H.Lo

This is my theory on what happened at Pillbox 3 :

At 0630 hours on the 19th of December, a Japanese platoon from Shoji's 2nd or 3rd Battalion rushed the gap and captured the police station. When the Japanese captured the police station, a British Middlesex soldier fired at the Japanese with a Bren or Lewis gun. The Japanese returned fire with their Arisaka rifles. They probably thought the pillbox was a distraction and ordered the anti tank gun crew to deal with the matter. The anti tank crew opened fire at the pillbox with a Type 94 anti tank gun, which caused some damage to the pillbox and killed the Middlesex soldier in it.