Where was Royal Engineers HQ in HK 1955? | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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Where was Royal Engineers HQ in HK 1955?

Good afternoon all.

Am on brief and unexpected visit to HK, staying above Sha Tin in the New Territories. Have just received long letter from my 86-year old mother recalling her life here with my father and my older sister between 1955 and 1958. Am trying to locate a couple of the places she mentions but there are info gaps in her story after 60 years...

She writes about living in a bungalow in the New Territories where it took my father - Lt Col John Jealous - about half an hour to get to work (at the combined RE and Gurkha barracks/HQ I think?) 'close to the border' which was patrolled by tanks.

If anyone has any idea where this was and if it still exists (the barracks, I mean, not the bungalow) do please let me know! Am in HK until Tues 1 Nov. No local phone contact, pls reply to this post.

Many thanks! Virginia

Forum: 

I'm not exactly sure, but Fred Evans was in Hong Kong at that time and was a soldier in tanks. He was based at Shek Kong, see http://gwulo.com/shek-kong-army-camp-barracks

If your mum is online, you could ask her to look at the list of military sites in the New Territories listed at http://gwulo.com/node/33573 in case the names or photos ring a bell.

Good luck, and please let us know how you get on.

Regards, David

Thanks for prompt response David.

Someone has also just suggested the old barracks next to what is now Gold Quest BBQ area at Tuen Mun. Correlates with 'near a fishing village' and across from Lantau where they went at weekends. 30 mins from border fence. Does anyone know if there are still barracks (old or in use) there? Glad for any futher hints...

Virginia

Sounds like Perowne Barracks. They're still around but no longer military. No doubt will be redeveloped at some point: http://gwulo.com/node/14124

Thanks for comments.

I emailed my mother and a description of Tuen Mun/Castle Peak prompted her to remember:

"a nice hotel on the hill opposite the village. and right behind our house and garden, with a tortoise of a very great age and huge to boot - people would come specially to see it!!!!!"

Has to be Dragon Inn, built in 1939, I reckon. I'll go Tuen Mun on Tuesday 1 Nov for a look around the area.

If anyone knows of any old bungalows still existing there, or remnants of, please let me know. (And/or do join me there for a couple of hours fossicking around.)

Cheers, Virginia

 

You can get a good idea of the terrain where Perone Barracks was here

http://gwulo.com/atom/26415

Go to Full View, then Zoom in.

Perone Barracks is hidden in the trees

Dragon Inn is just off to the extreme right and below, in the panorama image, see also

http://gwulo.com/atom/26419

The lights on the cone shaped hill in the foreground are from the Dragon Inn.

Low rise apartments lined the old Castle Peak Road towards to seafront

There should be other images available of the Dragon Inn by searching on gwulo

 

 

If your parents were living in Army Barracks, the two nearest camps to the Dragon Inn were Cafeteria Camp and Tai Lam Camp, which later changed its name to Perowne Camp/Barracks. Perhaps your mum remembers them? Though it sounds as though they may have lived in a private bungalow?

Good luck with tomorrow's hunt. Please let us know if you find any matches.

Regards, David

A quick follow-up note...

Had chat with a member of Dragon Inn staff who's worked there for 40 years. Interesting talk but no revelations. Old photos in the lifts show the place in the early 1960s, so pretty much as my family would've known it.

At 118 Castle Peak Rd two 'old' style houses are visible through the trees. Chatted with the caretaker and then, luckily, a bloke drove up who lives there. He told me they are two of four 1970s houses on the block of land, and that up the driveway behind those four is an older colonial bungalow in ruins (overgrown, roof fallen in) that is privately owned, fenced off and not possible to see. By his reckoning that would be about 100m as the crow flies from Dragon Inn, so a good candidate for my family's house or at least similar in age. He suggested a walk up the next road on the left (which dead-ends overlooking Dragon Inn) to peer over the edge and see if I could pick out the old house. No joy, even with binoculars, way too overgrown. Pity.

Had been told of two old ruined bungalows up near Harrow School above CP Rd but couldn't find them - roadside is a construction site at the mo and it was simply too hard.

Nothing useful at the barracks, though had nice chat with Crossroads staff.

Enjoyed the quiet weekday beach, the fishing boats, the cannons along the waterfront, the jetty on Tsing Bik Rd. This would look familiar to my mother, I think.

Thanks for your help and suggestions. I leave tomorrow, look forward to the next visit.

Virginia

I served with 54 Independant Field Sqn RE at Tailam 1959/1960 which was then the engineer element of 48 Independant Gurkha Brigade based at Sek Kong. 54 Sqn was formed out of 24 Field Engr Regt RE which ŵas disbanded in 1958. The main camp was Tailam (later part of Peroowne Barracks,) the Officers Mess was half mile up the road towards Castle Peak at Gordon Camp (which also became part of Perowne Barracks). Opposite Gordon Camp on the seaward side of Castle Peak Rd was Gordon Hard now called New Cafeteria Beach.With demise of 24 Regt there was no post for someone of Lt Col rank in the NT though therewsu a CRE attached to CBF staff in Hong Kong.From the Mess you could see Lantau and the Brothers.

Thanks for the extra detail about the camps in 1959/60.

We've got a page for "Cafeteria Camp" from a 1950 document, at about the same location you describe for Gordon Camp. Any ideas if they were two different camps, or if Cafeteria Camp later changed its name to Gordon Camp?

Regards, David

David

When RE took over Cafeteria Camp it was probably rapidly renamed after General Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum, also known as Chinese Gordon) one of the most revered of all Sappers. I trained as an RE officer at Gordon Barracks, Gillingham and most RE establishments had a building or a road named after him.

Chihawk

Thanks for the explanation. I've updated the page for that camp.

Regards, David

We lived at Dunrose (18.5miles) Castle Peak Rd, flanked by Army Barracks 1950-52.  I believe they were the RE. The bungalow was the official residence of the District Officer.  Catholic Officers attended Mass at our dining room on Sundays.  Fr. McAssey SJ was Chaplain. Dunrose was opposite what became the Gold Coast Resort Hotel.

Lawrence

Virginia J.

I was in the RE. in Hong Kong from Feb 1959 to Aug 1960. We were stationed at Tai Lam camp which was where I beleive you may mean. It is roughly in the place which was where Perowne Barracks was later built. We were in Nissan huts whereas Perowne, I believe was concrete buildings.

Cafeteria Beach which has been mentioned several times on here seems to be in two parts, and the space between the two parts is where Gordo Hard was. Gordon Hard was our boatyard. We had several large boats with inboard engines which were used in rescuing people in flooded areas and so on. We were part of the Gurkha Infantry Brigade. The unit was 54 Independent Squadron.

Teejay

Virginia,

I was at TaiLam camp, RE, 1959/60. As you say the Officers Mess was a little way up the road towards Tsun Wan/ Sek Kong. Our OC at that time lived in a house on the opposite side of the main road. I know this because, as a driver I had the task of ferrying some of the wives of the troops to a Coffee morning at the OC's house. This house, I'm fairly sure (it is nearly 60 years ago) was about halfway between the main camp and Gordon Hard, our boatyard.I know this is too latew for your visit but I only saw your request after you'd gone..

teejay

Thanks for this info Teejay - I'm sure this is the right place - I'd like to hear more of your memories/stories next time I'm in HK.

Virginia

Hi David

I was with the Royal Engineers in Hong Kong from early 1956 until late 1959. I was staioned at Gordon Camp with 56 Field Squadron, part of 24 Field Engineer Regiment, and later with 54 Independant Squadron when the regiment returned to blighty in July 1957.

The regiment was made up of HQ which was housed in the 54 Fld Sqn camp about half a mile or so down the road from 56. 56 Fld Sqn was in the Gordon Hard camp with 15 Fld Pk Sqn. We were part of the 48th Gurkha Infantry Brigade

I have quite a number of photos of my stay in the New Territories and when I find how to include them I will.

I note that in a reply you say that you have updated the page for that camp. I would appreciate it if you could bring me up to date on the page and where it is.

You will also find me on Face Book under my name Bill Purcell.

Regards

Bill

 

Hi Bill,

Good to hear from you, and we'll enjoy seeing your views of Hong Kong in the 50s. Here's how to upload a photo to the site: https://gwulo.com/node/2076

Here's the page for Gordon Camp: https://gwulo.com/node/33253 If you can add any memories of the site in the comments there, they'll be gratefully received.

And here are some more military sites from the 50s you may remember: https://gwulo.com/node/33573

Regards, David

Relating only to 1972-1974, 54 Field Squadron RE was in Shamshuipo, not within the main Shamshuipo Camp, but on the seaward side of Laichikok Road a little way beyond its junction with Yen Chow Street. Single soldiers of RE also lived at that site.
 

Hi guys please take a look at my profile as i am looking for any photos of my late father Terry Taff Evans, he was a cpl based in hong kong engineers reg in late 1950s. my email is eod33rob@me.com i also served in the corp so any help would be great.

 

thanks

Chihawk, you must have been there at the same time as me. Which troop were you in? I was MT.

Teejay

I was connected to 54 Sn from Sept 59 to end Sept 60. I was attached to HQ Troop and worked with Spike Winn, and lived in the Officers Mess oppposite Gordon Hard. About half my working time was spent with the DCRE West at Sek Kong. I did odd jobs and a long detachment with the Sn, I did the occasional Orderly Officer, did the high speed march from Star Ferry as part of the Squadron team, and helped out (?) with signals. As I was not a troop commander only a limited number of members of the Sn knew me. SSM Abbot knew me in the way SSM’s know and love junior officers, and I remember Spr Stubbs who drove me fairly regularly. I can remember 3 Corporals and a Rhodesian Lance Corporal who worked with me, in particular on the detachment to Ap Chau / So Lo Pun on the top north east corner of the New Territories, though their names now escape me. Obviously I knew the Officers who were around at the time, Spike Winn, Gerald Blakey, John Palmer, Ian Dickinson, Andrew Wade and Francis Walker. Andrew, Francis and I were National Service. It was all a very long time ago in a very different world.

Chihawk, 

Thanks for your reply. I'm sure we have 'spoken' before (on another website) where we have used different names. Can you confirm that the OC's house was where I said, on the other side of what was then the main road in the area between the main camp and Gordon hard? 

‘Teejay

Odd though it may sound I was never aware of (or have completely forgotten) the location of the OCs lodgings. I was aware that there were a number of Army hirings in the Tai Lam / Castle Peak area but that is as far as it goes.

Chihawk

That's fine, we've probly all forgotten a lot in the 60 or so years. Probably more than we remember, or want to remember.

Hi 

my father served in 54 as a plant opp, we lived in flats off camp and i was born in Bowen road hospital 14th August 1960, my father served in Korea and went to the malaya crisis from Hong Kong. he also worked on the preperation of the atomic bomb testing where they were crushing on the island to prepare for the works, i also believe he was present when one of the tests took place as i can remember him telling me that he was ordered not to look at the light and sit down in his shorts and no shirt.

my father passed away 11 years ago now, he left the corp in 1972 where his last post was training sergeant at the ponderosa in chattenden barracks plant park. I know this is a long shot but i have very little in the way of information or photos of him as he never spoke to much about his service although he served 22 years. any information would be greatly received many thanks.

 

Robert Evans sgt 33 engr reg EOD.

We lived in a bungalow in Sanhui- 20 1/4 mile castle peak rd. It was up a lane and there were about 4 or five bungalows on the right hand side. My father was in the army and looked after the boast at Gordon Hard. This was 1960-1962