Western Fire Command

29 September 2018

High on the western extremity of Hong Kong Island, Mount Davis was the site for a battery built in the early 1900s. Compared with Lyemun, where the eastern approach to Victoria Harhour was 500 yards, the western sea lane was much wider - 3,600 yards - which was the reason why such heavy artillery fire was needed to safeguard it. Construction of the Mount Davis Battery comprising five 9.2 inch guns was completed in 1912. Shortly afterwards, the military selected a site near the summit of Mount Davis to accommodate the headquarters of the Western Fire Command, which was responsible for artillery positions on the western side of the Island. During the mid-1930s, two of the 9.2-inch guns were moved to Stanley to strengthen the defence of the southern side of the Island. 

After the outbreak of war in 1941, all three remaining guns saw action. The battery came under heavy and sustained attack from the Japanese. The plotting room, an anti-aircraft position, and a gun located on the upper level were destroyed during the attacks. The Japanese attack on the 14th resulted in a number of deaths amongst the gun crew. Nevertheless, one shell which landed directly on the battery command post proved to be a dud and did not explode, saving the lives of approximately 60 soldiers taking shelter within it. On the 16th a combined force of 62 bombers from the Japanese army and navy took offensive against the battery. The remaining armament and equipment was eventually blown up by its personnel just before the surrender on the 25th December.