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Thread: Leighton Hill Air Raid Tunnels, Hong Kong, August 2018

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    Default Leighton Hill Air Raid Tunnels, Hong Kong, August 2018


    1. The History
    During the second world war, 92 tunnels were built in Hong Kong as pre-emptive defence against Japanese bombing. Building started relatively late in1940 and many of the tunnels remained unfinished. Section 11 under Leighton Hill in Causeway Bay with its 2.5 kilometres of tunnels were the longest network with the tunnels being approximately 8 feet wide. In late-April 1941, the papers of the day mentioned that the tunnels at Leighton Hill Road were nearing completion. Reports made reference to the air raid tunnels having “vast corridors extending right and left throughout its length with exits at the rear of the houses facing Wong Nei Chong Road, opposite the Hong Kong Football Club”

    People took shelter in them prior to Hong Kong’s surrender to the Japanese on Christmas Day, 1941. Post-capture of Hong Kong, the tunnels were subsequently modified and utilized by the occupying forces for their original intentions and for the storage of munitions.

    Leighton Hill Air Raid Shelter Portal No. 111, December 23, 1941:

    Leighton Road Air Raid Shelter by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In June 1950, a plan of these tunnels was sent to the Department of Medical Services (DMS) in connection with a proposed utilisation of the ARP tunnels in Hong Kong. During 1951 the accessible section of the tunnel network was equipped with mesh doors, grilles, latrines, electric lighting and a piped water system in readiness for its use by the Auxiliary Medical Service (AMS) as a Casualty Clearing Centre under the Medical Department's Civil Aid Scheme. Post the 50s, the tunnels have been forgotten about but remain in excellent condition, anonymous to the vast majority of all but a few HK residents.

    2. The Explore
    So a massive big up to Dr Howser (from another forum) without whom I would have no knowledge of these fantastic World War 2 relics, let alone been able to locate and explore them. Having seen the good Dr’s excellent reports on HK previously and knowing I was going to be in the city over the summer, we made initial contact and arranged to meet up on a rain-soaked August afternoon. After failing to get into the fortress that is Nam Koo Mansion in Wan Chi we decided to go underground. The initial network we tried (I forget which number) was now all secured with a new door blocking our way. Fortunately, it was third time lucky and Leighton Hill came up with the goods as we swiftly left the hustle and bustle of down-town HK behind for a couple of hours. When you enter the tunnel complex you enter a world far-removed from the rest of the city; a place of isolation and stillness. The other thing that strikes you is just how pristine these relics remain. What is now accessible is a fraction of the former complex’s extent. Marked in red is the site overall:

    Leighton-Hill-tunnel-layout by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Note – the shorter tunnels marked in blue are later Japanese additions.

    Next is a map we handily found in the complex itself. Marked-up in black are the tunnels that are now inaccessible. Compare this to the earlier map and it becomes evident that many have now been blocked up; others the casualty of foundation strengthening for the developments that now lay above them.

    Leighton phone 1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    3. The Pictures

    Nature now guards the way in:

    img8698 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Former electrics box(?):

    img8659 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8660 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And were into the warren of tunnels:

    img8661 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Junction no. 32:

    img8662 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8666bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of the grill gates:

    img8673 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One of a number of original pieces of signage:

    img8675 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More tunnels:

    img8678 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8680 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This would have housed part of the complex’s ventilation system:

    img8684 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8686 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img8687 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    Here’s the Dr making his way up to the upper level of tunnels:

    img8688 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Part of the tunnel’s wiring system:

    img8689 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More of that excellent signage:

    img8690 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This section of the tunnel system had been faced:

    img8695 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Cheers Dr Howser for being such a great guide:

    img8693bw by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 4th Sep 18 at 06:42.

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, jcnw27060, KPUrbex, Locksley, Mearing, Mikeymutt, oldscrote, prettyvacant71, psykie, Rubex, smiler, theartist, zender126
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  4. #2
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    Nicely done Hughie. I knew there was a tunnel but I thought that it would have been filled in and construction built over it. I noticed how the tunnels were built in two of your photos, the cross pieces meet in the middle, pretty good for the time it was built.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

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    Wow hughie.great set.something you don't see every day.been looking forward to this one seeing yoir pics on fb
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

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    [QUOTE=Hugh Jorgan;355844 I noticed how the tunnels were built in two of your photos, the cross pieces meet in the middle, pretty good for the time it was built.[/QUOTE]

    A pretty standard method of carrying arched tunnel roof linings through a four way intersection. Certainly not a modern concept, our medieval castle builders used similar constructions in their underground passageways. However in those, the tunnels were circular in section and stone lined.

    Nice set Hughie. They were somewhat more cluttered in the mid '60's!

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    That is good, Loved it Hughie, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

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    Great that there's some old signs still intact down there, and not a single graft cock in sight, makes a refreshing change! Very nice this HD
    ...

  13. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Quote Originally Posted by prettyvacant71 View Post
    Great that there's some old signs still intact down there, and not a single graft cock in sight, makes a refreshing change! Very nice this HD
    Cheers PV. Ha ha...nope. Not a single cock'n'balls to be seen (or as they say in chinese, 公鸡和球!).

    Another (rougher-cut) one of these to come soon!

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    A few more pix I forgot about that I took on my phone:

    Air raid 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    No - neither of these were our entry points:

    Air raid 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Air raid 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Air raid 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Air raid 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Air raid 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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