Air, Land and Sea

Sailing through History: Butter-fly junks with weather-worn timbers and cluttered decks, chased shoals across the South China Sea for centuries until technology rendered their picturesque sails redundant. The sea gypsies were Hong Kong’s first inhabitants. Forming permanent fishing communities in the bays of Hong Kong Island the boat people in their junks once shared the waters with notorious pirates until the British Navy began to patrol the waters when Hong Kong was ceded to Britain.


Size of vessel was no concern for either the Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Company in Kowloon or the Taikoo Dockyard in Quarry Bay. Both were equipped to berth vessels of just about any magnitude.

Many of the vessels arriving in Hong Kong, no matter their port of origin or where their flag might be registered required services and repair on arrival in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Company, established in July 1863, was the colony's premier dockyard, its chief competitor, the Taikoo Dockyard in Quarry Bay, opened in 1903.

With full military honours, all hands parade on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Hong Kong to mourn the passing of King George VI, on 6 February 1952. The abdication of Edward obliged his shy and withdrawn brother, Prince Albert, to ascend the throne and be crowned George VI in 1937, just as dark clouds of war began to gather in Europe.

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