Laurence KILBEE [1914-2006] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Laurence KILBEE [1914-2006]

c.1914-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)
c.2006-12-31 (Month, Day are approximate)

Photos that show this person



My mother, Evelyn Kilbee, b. 1916, was interned at Stanley with my sister, Dorothy, then only 6 months old, b 1941.

My father, Laurence Kilbee, b. 1914 was in the HKRNVR and was in command of motor torpedo boat 8 during the war. he was a POW at Argyle St camp.

After the war, they reunited on The Empress of Australia and were taken to England to recover. They returned to HK in 1946 and stayed until retirement in 1971. Sons, John and Christopher, came along in 1947 and 1955. Laurence worked for Gilmans in Alexander House, and played much cricket and was a member at HKCC. The family lived on Kennedy Road for a short while, then The Peak from about 1955 onwards, at Mountain Court, 11 Plantation Rd. Gilmans shared the 20 unit block of flats with RIL, the Dutch shipping company.

Chris - your parents were great friends of my parents, and I was good friends with Dorothy and knew John too. 

Your mother used to model in the fashion shows which my mother put on after the war to raise money for charities laugh

1951 St George's Ball

1951 Jan 5 st george's.jpg
1951 Jan 5 st george's.jpg, by Nona Pio-Ulski

This photo was taken at my sister, Lindy's, 11th birthday party in October 1950 at the Police Club in Happy Valley. I'm the 3 year old being held by Nina Smirnoff. Lindy is standing next to us on the right, and Dord is kneeling bottom left.

Lindy 11th birthday.jpg
Lindy 11th birthday.jpg, by Nona

A photo of John with me (and another John) at my parents' Open House on January 1 wink

Open House.jpg
Open House.jpg, by Nona


Hi Nona. Great to hear from you and thanks for the pics. I'll have fun with one of my geeky elder brother!!

I remember your parents and you although i was much younger. I recall you lived in a house East of Happy Valley ( Leighton Hill? ) and your parents threw HK's premier NYEve party....I think it started at 6pm 31st and finished about 36 hrs later well into the year! My stand out memory: i was about 12, so was 'dragged along' to the 'old peoples' event' :). We went on NY Day.....I was to start boarding at school in Canterbury soon and there was a guest absolutely trolleyed lying with his head in your fire place....thankfully no fire on, singing 'God save the Queen'. My dad said he had been to the school i was going to 'but don't worry son, you need not worry....they all don't end up like that!'

Are you still in HK?


Hey Chris! Your memory is remarkable! I didn't think you'd remember me so I feel very honoured laugh

I had to laugh at your recollection of my folks' NYD parties! They only started around the late morning on New Year's Day and went on until the last person left and that was enough! LOL!  I think my folks would have been cross-eyed with exhaustion if they started the evening before!! But yes, they were fairly memorable smiley

We lived on Broadwood Road, the last house before Tai Hang Road, but it did start opposite the road which went to Leighton Hill flats.  Do you remember all those stairs leading up to our front gate?  Not surprised I've had my hips and knees replaced after running up and down those steps!!

No, I'm no longer in HK. My parents retired in January 1974 and I left in December the same year. 

Please give your geeky elder brother my best wishes when you next speak/email him. I replied to an email I got from Dord recently so I hope to hear back from her soon!




Chris, sorry but I forgot to let you know that there is a site which gives information about your father's time in the 2nd MTB Flotilla - not sure if you are aware of it but here's the URL just in case you're not ...

Cheers laugh

Thanks Nona. Yes, we are aware of the website. amazing one including so many other stories about the war. Chris

John Richard Kilbee son of Laurence Dudley Kilbee and Grace Evelyn born 24 July 197 and baptised St. John's 4 November 1947 Carl Smith Card

Birth Laurence (sic) D Kilbee recorded Barnet Quarter 2 1914

Death of Laurence Dudley Kilbee recorded Quarter 1 2006 in Eastbourne Sussex Date of birth  4 June 1914

Hello Chris  -  we probably never met as I'm a good bit older than you, although I knew Dorothy and husband Tony.

Your father was, on occasion, Commander of one of the HKRNVR minesweepers (we called them 'Mickey Mice') and I had the pleasure of serving on such occasions as his communications "bunting tosser" (flag hauler), signalman, radio operator and general bridge hand. 

We used to go out on week-end exercises (sometimes a whole week) and apart from mine sweeping (no live mines!) we also towed a large stack of San Mig to keep cold for the evening's refreshment!

Islands patrol was another function of the HKRNVR and on one occasion, under another (rather reckless} commander we sailed right into Chinese territorial waters looking for one of their gun boats that had just attacked a RN patrol boat, killing several crew. We were told to open fire if and when it came into sight but fortunately it didn't so we went home!

I am posting some photos for your interest and possibly you might spot your father in the 1953 recruits passing out parade after completing our basic training. He may have been (?) the officer leading the march-past or in the group picture front row?

I was a raw 17 year old at the time. I stayed on for 7 years in the RNVR and some of my KGV school friends also joined up.

Happy Times!

Best Regards  -  Frank Waller

RNVR Minesweeper intercepting suspicious junk
RNVR Minesweeper intercepting suspicious junk, by Various

His death record shows that he died 2006 inthe same year as his wife

Correct. LDK in Jan 2006 and GEK in Dec 2006, Eastbourne.

Hi Frank. Great to hear you were with Dad on the MTBs. In the war, his command, 08, got blown up in drydock beside Thracian I think it was, at Aberdeen. So he was given shore duties at Aberdeen HQ. After the war and returning from rehabilitation, he continued at the HKRNVR and I do believe became quite senior. 

The only picture i can see is the one with the junk. Where can i find the others you were posting? Great story about the San Migs in a trailing sack!

On the cricket side, I think he 'retired' in about 1960 or so. He founded the Optimists at the HKCC ( Alec Pearce founding the Scorpions ), after the war.

Cheers, Chris

Hello again Chris

The other photos I posted some weeks back went into the "Images & photos" section rather than as part of my previous message to you (something went wrong when I posted them!).You will find this in the Directory on the left hand side of the Gwulo Home Page. Click on "View new". You would have to scroll back to about 6 to 8 weeks ago. Alternativly, if you give me your email address I'll send them to you as attachments.

Incidentally, I didn't serve with your Dad on MTBs - I was only a youngster during the war. I joined the HKRNVR in 1953 at age 17 and left 7 years later after it had become the HKRNR. We operated 2 small armed minesweepers, about the size of a Star Ferry, and we often did exercises with the Royal Navy fleet. We were all volunteers.

It might also interest you to hear that I also played for a non-league HKCC team called "The Wanderers" - I wasn't good enough for the league teams but your Dad would have played with my late boss, Colonel Harry Owen-Hughes who was a top class player. He was also the club President.

Best Regards  -  Frank




I think i found them. I'm not sure if that was dad in the march past. I have some other photos of him in that or another one..... Might be easier to link via email. mine is