Queen's Hill Camp / Burma Lines (19??-19??) [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Queen's Hill Camp / Burma Lines (19??-19??) [????- ]

We know this was a camp used by the British Army, but not exactly what it's purpose was. It wasn't far from the border with China.

Phil wrote in with these comments about the camp:

I would also be interested in finding out more about this place. Not so long ago I got a message from Mark in the UK:

"Hello, I am wondering if you can point me in the right direction.  I'm looking for any information or photos about Queens Hill Camp which used to be in Fanling.  My father was based there in 1955 and is looking for anything he can find about it?  Can you help?  Thanks."

So I sent him back a link I found. I have no idea if it was any use to him.

http://www.fso-tela.gov.hk/lib/locations_details.cfm?Photo_Num=00864

Coordinates on GoogleEarth: 22°30'15.22"N 114° 9'31.33"E

It would be nice if someone could give us some background information and I can point him in the right direction.

So, any extra information gratefully received!

Photos that show this place

Comments

Hi there,

I had had a faint impression that if you go along Sha Tau Kok Road and if you go beyond Lung Yeuk Tau (Fan Ling), there are Barracks on both sides of the road in different sections.  That was why locals call the area Gwan Tei.  It's went at least to the round about and had gone beyond a little bit more.  But that was over 30 years ago.

Best Regards,

Thomas

Here are some Flickr links that might be useful,

[Kent, thanks very much for the links. I've created 'Image (external)' records for them, so the photos can now be seen above. Regards, David]

Hi Thomas,

I found a related document while searching for information about the Queen's Hill Camp. It is the 'Military Installations Closed Areas (Amendment and Consolidation Order)' dated 17th November, 1950, and lists the areas and buildings that were in use by the military at the time. I was surprised how many there were.

Many are in the New Territories. That was certainly the area with the most empty space, and also near to the China border and the potential enemy of that times.

The entry for this camp reads:

  • Item. 32
  • Area or building. Queen's Hill Camp
  • Map Ref. Hind 1009 3rd Ed. 548255
  • Description and Remarks. That part of the area of Crown and private land south of the main Fanlin-Shataukok road, known as Queen's Hill, which is occupied by the military and surrounded by a wire fence.

Regards, David

Here is a link to today's Standard. Seems as though Queens Hill may be set for redevelopment into a university campus.

http://www.hkstandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=11&art_id=94981&sid=...

i was stationed at this camp in 1959-60 we were there to guard the border i was a royal warwick infantryman.  queenshill was named after the large hill behind it and we were trained to run up it.  it was about20 mins on foot from fanling

I think the last unit to occupy Queens Hill Camp before I went there, was probably the North Staffordshire Regiment who celebrated their 200th anniversary in 1956 while in Hong Kong.

In 1956/57 I was with the Royal Artillery based at Gun Club Hill Barracks in Kowloon, and one of our duties was to supply a guard at the (by this time) empty Queens Hill Camp. Each guard would spend two weeks there, doing a day on /day off duty. Days off were spent exploring the surrounding countryside and villages and in the evenings a visit to a bar or the open air cinema in Fanling.

I am currently doing a study report for Queen Hill, and i would be greatful if anyone can give me a hand. Please kindly describ the site when you were working there? and the surronding area (etc. Fanling villages, Fanling marklet by that time) I also found the website here may be useful for those interest in Quenns Hill too.http://argylls1945to1971.co.uk/AandSH_HongKong1949to50.htm. thanks.

 

 

In response to the previous posting. I have some photographs taken in and around Queens Hill Camp in the 1950's. They are posted to the forum Hong Kong in the 60's you can find them here  ...  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1162193320476645&set=pcb.10153000928476712&type=3&theater

I'm sorry I couldn't find a way to post them all in one link, but if you look around my postings in September 2015 (in the Hong Kong in the 60's forum) there is a batch for inside Queens Hill Camp and and another batch for the Fanling area outside the camp.

Best of luck.

Certainly the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment was there in 1957-8.

My father was a Captain in that regt. at the time, and although I was born in the UK, my mother had to take me out to Hong Kong on a troop-ship in late 1957/early 1958, at which point my dad would have seen me for the first time.

I'm not sure what their role was (and my father died some years ago) but will try asking some of his friends.

I have one or two old photos which presumably show features from the area (one shows the block in which my parents would have been quartered), but they're as yet still stuck into old photo albums. When I've had them scanned, I'll try to post them here.

Regards, John Preston

Hi John, your fathers unit would have been there to guard the border with China which was just up the road from there.

I came back to the UK in August 1957 so the East Lancashires would have been the the first unit to occupy Queens Hill following a short spell when the camp was empty, and we were guarding it. I, together with others, would be very happy to see whatever photographs you have of the camp during your fathers units occupation.

See above. Elain Kwan would be particulary interested as she is currently writing a paper on Queens Hill Camp and its occupants.

You can see my photographs of the camp and its surrounding area on the Facebook forum, "Hong Kong in the 1960's"

Best regards, Brian Clift.

Dear Brian,

I have now had those photos scanned, and would be happy to share them. Is there a way of my doing that on this website?

(I haven't posted any photos here before, and can only see text-formating instructions above, not instrructions about how to post photos).

Regards, John

Hi John, there are a couple of ways to upload your photo files. I am assuming that you scanned them and saved them as jpeg files.

You can enter them directly to Gwulo or to Flickr and then link them to Gwulo. I think the first option would be the easiest.

After you have signed in to Gwulo, look at the top left of the page and you will see Directory under that you will see Images and Photos and under that create. Click on create and a box will appear asking you to drag your files there, and add tags titles etc.

You will need to have the directory to your files open on your computer and the Gwulo page open at the same time.

Click on a file on your computer and without releasing, you drag the file into the Gwulo box and let go, you can repeat this process. It should then let you start to upload the file straight away. It is probably possible to upload more than one file at a time, but I should try one at a time first.

 

If you choose the second option ie Flickr, you will first have to open an account (free) on their web site and follow a similar procedure. Later you could then transfer the files to Gwulo.

I suggest you have a practice, and let me know if you run into any problems. If you wish to have a look at Flickr, my photographs on that site can be reached by clicking this link  https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianac37/albums/72157627506958502

Good luck John,

Brian.

Thanks, Brian, that seems to have been successful.

Regards,  John

Hi, have you finished your study report?
I am doing an architectural thesis related to Queen's Hill Camp. It would be very helpful if you can share any information about the historical setting, the surrounding area, the community lives etc.
Thanks for the link anyway :)

 

I found this interview recording from the Imperal War Museum, UK.
Link : http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80030003
In Reel 6 he describes about first impressions of Hong Kong; recollections of conditions of service, lifestyle and daily routine during period with A and Headquarters Coys, 1st Bn, RUR, Queen's Hill Camp in Fanling; train journey and view of unit badges cut into hills; barrack accommodation;  battle training in preparation for Korean service including patrolling in hills, hand grenades, etc. 

I have tried to visit the Camp last week, but it is now almost fully fenced for construction of public housing. And probably since the construction workers found artilley shells underground last month, it is even more difficult to get inside now. The green belt around the south part of the Queen's Hill Camp has become a brownfield for (illegal) open storage, recycling, unknown use... but the government never take action... Such a shame that it turned into an abandoned place throughout the years, and the government just see it as another piece of land for housing, without acknowledging its interesting history and natural setting. 

 

 

To be honest, I hv the same feeling when I heard about the redevelopment scheme , but if u done a detail research you may notice the site became   illegal usage only after the site was returned to government from the HKPF

From my point of view, I still believe the government did  the right selection of the place for redevelopment, the reason are   1) Hong Kong need public housing and queen hill could offer  the space 2)redevelopment should be allowed but subject to the site planning/ arrangement .

 

Elain, thanks a lot for the useful information you told me. 
I agree that development is unavoidable. And compared to developing green belt or country park, using abandoned military campsites for public housing is totally justified in this respect. Compared to those in HK Island or Kowloon, Queen's Hill Camp may not have an exciting historical story to tell. However, due to its "mild" history, luckily, most bungalows and the Hindi Temple are not destroyed. It was probably one of the most complete set of Military Camp that demonstrates the enjoyable side of former troops' lives and their community before it is re-developed. 
I don't know how the government is going to plan for the remainining zones of the site, but I think it's anyway not harmful if I propose an alternative approach for the design.
The concurrent development projects in the city make me think about the future of all ruins and heritage in Hong Kong. From my own perspective, I feel that we have already torn down vast amount of old buildings in Hong Kong, in a sense that some "ordinary" old buildings (like the bungalows in the campsite) are gaining a special kind of value nowadays. We want something from the past to be able to continue on with new life. Actually, re-developing doesn't mean we need to tear down all the old buildings for new construction, in the same sense that preserving an old building doesn't neccesarily mean we truly value the past. It's all about thinking wise and wild enough for new ideas. Just that we see too many monotonous examples in Hong Kong, and we are feeded with the logic of re-development equals to clear off to make space for new; or preservation equals to be stubborn with the past and ignorant to the future. Why can't we learn to elevate the value of the past and bring it to the future instead. 
I hope these discussions not too far from the topic, and is allowed here. I enjoy these discussions.

Burma Lines, as far as I remember was used to barrack the Gurkha regiments, as well as the polo ponies of the officers. They certainly did between 1974 and 78. I spent many a summer there riding when on holiday from school. 

They had a number of paddocks and schooling rings.  I vaguely recall a squadron of light armour, possibly Scorpion tanks, though they may have been on manouvers as there was a big firing range there or thereabouts 

I live in nearby fanling for the past 8 years, but my parents live in a village Sha tau kok and i drive past this area 2-3 times a month, overall, i haved in Hong Kong since 2007.

Queen's Camp is being developed residential estate as 60% public housing and 40% home ownership scheme housing to alleviate the high price of HK property, there will be around 6000 apartments as well as shopping centre, primary school and secondary school to be built, they have started construction during late  2017 and estimated to be completed phase 1, 2020 and phase 2 by 2021.