Lo Wu Border Crossing
Lo Wu on the Shum Chun River was the crossing point from China by land. Controlled on our side by the Hong Kong Police, it was the entry point for many refugees from the mainland. To here the trains ran from inland China. Entry for those allowed into Hong Kong was over a bridge where once admitted refugees continued by train or walked with their bags and baggage along the tracks. This was a constant sight. Not all refugees arrived by land, many attempted to gain entry by sea. It was a chronic problem.
Lo Wu Camp – Setting In
Located in an isolated position on open ground that had been terraced paddy fields, the camp was set below a range of hills. Previous units stationed in the New Territories had cut their regimental badges into these hills. On the other side of the broad valley some good distance away was another range of higher hills. Through this intensely cultivated valley full of paddy fields ran the Shum Chun River that eventually discharged to the west into Deep Bay and then the sea.
Here we were to spend nearly 3 months. Our first tasks were to settle in, and get the unit and our camp into a soldierly state, and as I recall I think we were the first unit to occupy it. First, we fetched and unpacking each and every item we were likely to require and stored it in either more tents or the two or three storage huts. Second, we dug monsoon trenches around all the tents and various holes for the ablutions and latrines. It was hard work in very humid conditions in concrete like soil. After our first introduction to digging holes in the Colony, we became expert with pick and spade. We once again carried out customary fatigues and guard duty. The guards were however different in that we were issued with and carried a clip of live ammunition. This long, hard and arduous labor after the “soft” voyage began to toughen us up, and acclimatize us to the conditions.
Lo Wu Camp – Officers and NCOs
At this stage we became aware of our Troop Officers and NCOs. The Troop was commanded by a Captain Tilburn, a pleasant and decent enough fellow, with a Lieutenant Laird. We did not see much of the CO, Major Dacre who was I think already serving in Hong Kong when we arrived. He did not live in camp and share its delights with us for he had a house inland somewhere with his wife and several horses. He seemed, however, reasonable enough notwithstanding having come from, I think, the Indian Army, not bothering us unduly with a strict regimental attitude. Here we had the benefit of being an Independent Battery and having no regimental hierarchy to satisfy.