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

Laurence KILBEE [1914-????]

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


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