Occupation & Liberation

of Hong Kong

Within days of the Japanese assault on Hong Kong Island the sinister silhouettes of troops with rifles and mounted bayonets at the ready could be seen at vantage points overlooking the harbour.

Conscripted to the Whampoa Docks in Kowloon, senior Japanese officers are seen posing for a commemorative photograph formerly attired in uniform and jackboots, gloved and with samurai swords.

Designed to defend Hong Kong from attack by sea, most of the colony's heavy armament, including gun emplacements on Mount Davis, faced the wrong direction. Up a steep slope built to haul giant 9.2-inch guns to the summit one can still discover the ruins of an extensive system of fortifications. Mount Davis is well positioned to guard the western approaches to the harbour, and five gun emplacements were installed here in the early years of the 20th century to ward off potential French or Russian fleets. The guns installed in 1940 came under heavy aircraft attack during the Japanese invasion in 1941.

This striking photograph, taken from the tailgunner position at an altitude of several hundred feet, shows a loose formation of five US Army Air Force bombers on a raid over the Hong Kong Whampoa Docks. The Kowloon Peninsula and the north shore of Hong Kong Island are all in full view.

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