Coastal searchlights at Lye Mun - additional notes | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Coastal searchlights at Lye Mun - additional notes

The history of the coastal searchlights (aka "Defence Electric Lights" or DELs) at Lye Mun can be hard to follow as their names changed and several were rebuilt. These are the various references I've found to them. The sources are shown in italics, mostly references to documents held at the UK's National Archives.

  • 1902 - Five Defence Electric Light Emplacements (DEL's) were constructed along the eastern and northern shoreline of Lye Mun. Construction commenced in Dec 1900 and was completed in April 1902. Estimated cost for emplacements is unknown, but actual cost for emplacements 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 was £928.  (WO 78/5338)
     
  • 1907 - Eastern Entrance: Existing: Lye Mun 5. Proposed: 3. To be converted for 6" guns proposed for Pak Sha Wan.  (CAB 11/57)
     
  • 1910 - Alterations to the emplacements commenced in 1908, and were completed in 1910. The estimated cost was £330, but actual cost £299. This alteration reduced the number of operating emplacements from five to four.
    • No. 3 was rebuilt on top of the original emplacement (No. 3 new)
    • No. 4 was declared obsolete and abandoned
    • A new No. 4 built on the site of the original No. 5.   (WO 78/5338)
       
  • 1910 - Lights 4. No's 1,2,3,4.    (CAB 11/57)
     
  • 1911 - Listed in a table of Coastal Defences are DEL's: Lye Mun,  4,  (No's. 1, 2, 3 & 4). (CAB 11/58)
    • Note: Confusing use of different names for the emplacements can be found in documents of later years.
       
  • 1917 - DEL's: Pak Sha Wan Bty 2, Lye Mun Pass 2. (WO 78/5354)
     
  • 1935 - Plans to modernise and change their status:
    • Present: Pak Sha Wan 2 DEL, Lye Mun 2 DEL.
    • After Modernisation: Pak Sha Wan 2 DEL, Lye Mun 2 DEL  (mounted in reserve) (WO 106/111)                            
       
  • 1936 - DEL's:    Lye Mun East 1, Pak Sha Wan 1, Lye Mun West 1, Lye Mun West 1 (in care and maintenance).   (ADM 116/3490)
     
  • 1936 - As of April: DEL's PakShaWan 2, PN 1, PN 2, Lye Mun 1, LN 1. (CAB 11/196)
     
  • 1938 - Lights from DEL 1 and 2 moved to new emplacements at Pottinger Bty on Devils Peak.    (WO 106/2370)
     
  • 1941 - Night of 18th Dec 1941: 
    • Sentry beam at Lye Mun manned and exposed at 1800, kept running until 2359 in spite of enemy activity around, and on top of the emplacement.  (WO 106/2426)   
    • Consequently, hand to hand fighting took place between the DEL crew and Japanese troops.   (Japan Times and Advertiser Sept 10th 1942, and 1946 report by Captain C Otway, 2IC 40th Coy RE, held at RE Museum UK.)
       
  • 1945 - Pakshawan Close Defence Battery: CASL (DEL) emplacements and engine room are only superficially damaged but are stripped of all fittings.  (Assessment of Fixed Defences after the arrival of British Forces - WO 196/10)
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