Approaching Hong Kong
The approach to Hong Kong is from the east and we passed several steeply sided rocky islands covered with coarse vegetation. The weather was overcast with low cloud. As we got further in we saw various headlands and hills and mountains inland all rocky and grey. All about were Chinese junks large and small fishing or going about their business. Off the land came a rather pungent smell that is difficult to describe. On our port side was the island of Hong Kong and on the starboard the New Territories leading into China proper.
Numerous merchant vessels discharging or loading cargo from lighters were in the Roads, that form the harbor. Ships of the Royal Navy were in the Naval Dockyard or lay at anchor. Across ran busy ferries. To port lay Victoria and above it the steeply rising Peak on which houses could be seen and below tall commercial buildings, to starboard was Kowloon, with its wharves and commercial buildings. Along the shores was a mixture of what appeared many ramshackle residential and commercial buildings. And on the hills we could see the vast arrays of the squatter shanty towns. It was a bustling place. I noted at the time’…looks very prosperous, but very bleak…’
The Devonshire slowly made her way through all this, with us hanging over the rails taking it all in, and made fast alongside a wharf in the center of Kowloon. There was a band to greet us. We had arrived. It was about 1pm on Sunday February 26 1950. We had been aboard for 35 days sailing across the oceans in our own little self contained world.
Shore leave was granted that afternoon but I can remember nothing of what we did or where. (Unfortunately it appears that a letter I wrote upon arrival has been mislaid so there is nothing to remind me of this eventful day.)
One more night was spent aboard and the following day we dis-embarked. And then began another episode of my soldiering.
Below a gallery of pictures shows our trip out on the MV Devonshire, and arrival at Hong Kong. If you click on the tiles, the picture opens full size in a new page or tab. You can then read the caption.