Hong Kong wartime history | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong wartime history

If you are interested in that history, this site reproduces the despatch to the British Government summarising the operations in Hong Kong from 8th to 21st December 1941 : http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/LondonGazette/38190.pdf

It mentions the "underground Battle HQ" in Hong Kong. Any ideas if that still exists ?

Regards, MrB


There are the old air-raid shelters located where Hennessy Road meets Queen's Road East at Admiralty. As far as I know, they're used for storing Radioactive waste from hospitals currently. There's always the Hong Kong Musuem of Coastal Defense, parts of which are underground. There's a section related to the Battle of Hong Kong there, but I don't recall seeing anything about an Underground Battle HQ.

Thanks Dave. I think this was something different. From other mentions on the web it seems to have been part of Victoria Barracks, and most of that has been covered by Pacific Place. Unless the underground HQ was over towards the Hongkong Park area, I guess it's already gone. MrB

If you haven't seen it yet, check out Mr B's photojournal of this trip. His pictures and descriptions yet again make me wish I'd been along . . . .


I made it to the coastal defense museum last trip out and had a blast! We crawled all over the pill boxes, gun emplacements, had my brain expanded about Chinese history ( funny how their perspective about what the British were doing in the 1800's is different than the US history books perspective) and took in some great views of the harbor. Mr. B or Mr. T have you made it there yet? GreenasGrass Ps I bet the kids would love exploring the tunnels.

There were many wartime shelters, some built rather haphazardly, in Kowloon and HK. As far as "HQ" goes, I guess it might be referring to the shelter beneath the Governor House (an access can be seen at Lower Albert Road). BTW, there are many stories of Japanese occupation that are circulating among some local HKers: e.g. the use of the "University Hall" of HKU as a torture ground; the scenes after aerial bombing (corpses on the streets); about the use of Wah Fu Estate's site as a make-up mass burial ground; about the use of tortue in many places (e.g. the premises of King's College, Diocesian[sic, I can't make up the spelling] Boys School etc. Interesting enough, there was an underground pathway beneath the old Marine Police HQ in Tsimshatsui (I was involved in a civil project in that area before) but the paths were blocked by cement after Japanese surrender (bad idea: we could use it to store wines). Tsim Sha Tsui was in the shape of the arch with two protruding headlands in the past, and the Peninsula Hotel was once a nice, sandy beach. :)

Des, thanks for writing in. I've since seen a floor plan of that HQ, and it was a sizeable construction. It was described as "Victoria Barracks, Underground Headquarter - Removed". As you say, most of the other smaller tunnels seem to have been sealed over or backfilled. MrB

Christ Church in Kowloon Tong (next to the Maryknoll school) was used as a stable by the Japanese during the war. It is often mentioned around Christmas time.

You can see that its design would lend itself well to being a stable.

That's where my parents were married, during a typhoon in 1952!! That was after they met as POW's in Shanghai, guests of the Japanese!

Surely the underground HQ was the Battle Box?  Much more about this on the site which will tell you all you want to know about it or read the excellent book on the Fall of Hong Kong 'The Lasting Honour' by Oliver Lindsay. The Battle Box, from where General Maltby ordered the surrender of Hong Kong, was then known as Fortress HQ, and this was located underneath Victoria Barracks.




Found on the internet "Special issue to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, 8 December to 25 December 1941" from 
The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (2011). The book gives a lot of details on warfare and pillboxes.