28 December 2015

307 metres above sea level, Pinewood Battery is the highest of all the coastal defence batteries in Hong Kong and is very high by comparison with coastal defence batteries located in other parts of the world. It was built in 1901-1905 to ward off a perceived threat from Russia and France. Costing a total of £9,579 at the time, it was meant to defend against western entry to Hong Kong harbour. Two six-inch Mark 7 guns were installed, each able to fire a 100-pound shell over a seven-mile range. However, shortly after its completion, Pinewood Battery was designated as surplus to requirement in 1906. The government was worried about the high cost of maintaining Hong Kong’s coastal defences and, the two guns at the battery were removed in 1913. 

With the development of air power during World War I, it was decided that Hong Kong needed an anti-aircraft defense, and Pinewood Battery was drafted back into use in the mid 1920s with the installation of two three-inch Mark 1 anti-aircraft guns. Several buildings and shelters were added to the complex at the same time. A week after their attack on Hong Kong, the Japanese directed extensive airborne operations towards the Island. On 15 December 1941, positions and military installations on the western side of Hong Kong Island were raided by the 23rd Army Air Group. The Pinewood Battery, manned by soldiers from the 17th Anti-Aircraft Battery of the 5th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, was air-raided several times by the Japanese bombers. It was abandoned on the 15th after an anti-aircraft gun was destroyed and other equipment damaged during one of these air raids. On Christmas Day, 1941, Governor Mark Young surrendered to the invading Japanese. Pinewood Battery fell into disuse.