15 Independent Observation Battery Royal Artillery, Stanley Barracks, Hong Kong Island
18 July 1950 through 6 May 1951
Stanley Barracks Hong Kong became our home for the next nine months or so until we left for demobilization and home in May 1951. Before discussing my time there, I present an overview as a lot happened and some context would help.
Stanley Barracks – An Overview
While at Stanley Barracks, National Service was increased by 6 months. A new rumor circulated each week as to what was in store for the Battery. X Troop was split off and departed in November 1950. Much time was spent on Internal Security duties, and the unit was converted to infantry. We had a new CO. There were constant guards and menial fatigues. A sense of wasted time. If we got any survey work it was a welcome relief. The Korean War started and soon two infantry regiments, the Middlesex and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were sent along with other units in September 1950 to form the 28th Brigade. The Chinese got involved in the Korean War in November 1950. The War escalated further. There were consequent tensions world wide, including Hong Kong. And despite the Battery being stationed out of the New Territories Stanley Barracks proved not to be a healthy station.
Some good things happened during this posting from my perspective; at least I and my fellow National Service squaddies were all in the same boat, I had my first leave after 12 months at Christmas 1950 when I got to Macao, and there was the intellectual satisfaction of passing a trade test to become a Surveyor RA, A2. Each day that passed was also one less in the Army.
My experience made me philosophical about my plight. I chose to be optimistic about every aspect of my circumstances. I never lost track of the fact this would all end one day, and that day was getting nearer all the time. But it was hard maintain this attitude as I thought that a lot of what we were asked to do was worthless. And as our eventual release got nearer, it all seemed more and more futile.