A Field Trip to Hong Kong’s Abandoned WWII Tunnels
Why We Recommend it
Join two local historians on a knowledge-packed field trip to Hong Kong’s war ruins to learn more about the city’s defence history from 1937 to 1941.
The Shing Mun Redoubt was considered a significant stronghold during the Battle of Hong Kong, which was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II.
Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong on December 8, 1941, which plunged the city into a brutal occupation that lasted for three years and eight months. The Battle of Hong Kong, which lasted until Christmas Day, cost the lives of 10,000 people: around 7,000 civilians were killed, along with 2,100 Allied troops and 675 Japanese.
Britain had built a series of fortifications across the Kowloon Hills called the Gin Drinkers Line, which was based on the post World War I-era Maginot Line in France. But when the Japanese troops invaded Hong Kong, it was incomplete and woefully undermanned. British commanders hoped to hold the line for at least three weeks, while their Japanese counterparts expected to lay siege to it for a month. Instead, the line was broken within two days, and Japanese troops advanced, taking over the Shing Mun Reservoir – a vital source of fresh water.
Organised by The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe), this talk and excursion by historians Kwong Chi Man and Choi Yiu Lun will shed light on Hong Kong’s defence tactics, international aid and influences, and more. The talk is followed by an afternoon excursion to the Shing Mun Redoubt, where participants can learn about the battle scenes on-site.
Please note that the talk and tour will be conducted in Cantonese. Comfortable outdoor wear is recommended and it is a must for participants to bring sufficient water, headlights, sunscreen and mosquito repellents.