Tunnel Entrance behind St Andrew's Church [????- ]

Submitted by David on Fri, 09/04/2015 - 22:03
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CM asks:

Anyone who may have information of this suspected tunnel entrance at St Andrew's Church, TST?  The entrance obviously leads to an underground space below the No.2 and No.3 quarters of the Hong Kong Observatory.

Jason Wordie's "Streets: Exploring Kowloon" has the note:

A number of blocked-up air raid tunnels extend into the hillside behind St Andrew's Church. First built by the Hong Kong government in 1940 and later extended by the Japanese, these are silent reminders of sustained American air raids over Hong Kong near the end of the Pacific War.

I also found an account by Canon H.A. Wittenbach, describing his return to St Andrew's after release from Stanley Camp in 1945:

The following day ((ie Monday, 24th Sep 1945)) a party of Japanese P.O.W.'s started to clear up the grounds. Huge dug outs had been made in the cliff behind the church to serve as air-raid shelters and there was a mountain of earth between the church and the hall.

Pg.22, "Celebrating St. Andrew's Church, 100 years of history, life and personal faith." publ. 2004

On page 11 of the same book, in the section describing the "Buildings and grounds" in 2004, there is another mention:

There is a blocked off tunnel at the back of the car park, which appears to run under the Observatory grounds and which is an old air raid shelter. It is hoped to open this up at some future date.

I haven't read of any HK Government tunnels dug here, and Wittenbach's description makes me think they were dug by the Japanese during their occupation of Hong Kong. You could contact Jason Wordie to see if he has found other sources though.

Other possible leads:

  • St Andrew's, especially if they are in touch with any people who attended the church in the 1940s / 50s and may remember the tunnel. If they had to excavate the hill when they built the car park, there may also be information about the tunnels in the records for that project.
  • Observatory: Similarly, anyone who was at the Observatory in the 40s/50s - maybe as a child? - may have memories of the tunnels.
  • AMO: This EIA mentions an AMO file "AM88-0397 St. Andrew’s Church Compound" which may have more information.
  • CEDD: They keep records of slopes and tunnels, and so will likely have details of this tunnel.

Regards, David