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postgraduate thesis: Towards the conservation of Hong Kong's military heritage : the first survey of the surviving military features at Wong Nai Chung Gap, Hong Kong Island

TitleTowards the conservation of Hong Kong's military heritage : the first survey of the surviving military features at Wong Nai Chung Gap, Hong Kong Island
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Lai, LWCHo, DCW
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Ching, S. [程肇堂]. (2014). Towards the conservation of Hong Kong's military heritage : the first survey of the surviving military features at Wong Nai Chung Gap, Hong Kong Island. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328041
AbstractDuring the Battle of Hong Kong fought in December 1941, Wong Nai Chung Gap was a major battlefield as it was a strategic location. Like almost all battlefields in this Battle, however, the defensive military installations within the subject area, most in ruins nowadays, have never been professionally surveyed with the purpose of mapping the military buildings of the battlefield apart from those reported in Lai et al (2011) to better fathom the flow of battle. Indeed, the only professionally surveyed military relics were those by Lai and Ho for Devil’s Peak and Lai, Davies, Ching, Tan and Wong (2011) for Shing Mun Redoubt. All existing historical researches suffer from a lack of accurate mapping information, if at all, essential for understanding the conduct of military hostilities. This thesis illustrates how an accurate exercise locating and mapping of three pillboxes (PB 1, PB2 and PB3), among other war relics in the vicinity, near Wong Nai Chung Gap in Hong Kong Island was performed; and addresses historical and conservation issues using direct on-site measurement by professional mapping techniques. GIS was used as the key tool for analysis and interpretation. The survey results were then used to identify the configurations and distribution of the war relics in Wong Nai Chung area and to verify the authenticity of war diary records provided by the defender on the battle. Precise arcs of fire of key permanent defence structures in relation to the surrounding topography were accurately determined. They help explain and reconstruct a prominent battle that took place some 70 years ago. It should provide a solid referent for war historians, relics’ enthusiasts as to how the state-of-art GIS technology can be used in probing key intriguing historical questions. Those addressed in this thesis, in relation particularly to three pillboxes, the observation post (OP) on the summit of Jardines’ Lookout and Stanley Gap, are: (1) Did PB 1 really kill that many enemies? (2) Why didn’t PB2 report to have fired at enemies along the Ride or Wong Nai Chung Gap? (3) Why didn’t PB 3 fire at all? (4) What were the daylight vision of the three PBs and the OP on the 18/19 December 1941? (5) What was the defence philosophy of the pillboxes? (6) Was the Japanese portrait on the battle correct in terms of details? (7) What was the role of the OP on the summit of Jardine’s Lookout? (8) Were Brigade Lawson’s Headquarters protected by any PB? (9) What were the locations of the military installations now destroyed or buried? (10) What were the locations of the military installations near Stanley Gap? To address the ten questions above, three working hypotheses are established for questions (1) to (3) while accurate on site measurements could be applied in finding the rest of the questions. For question (1), the hypothesis is: PB1 could not kill that many enemies because of faulty or unsatisfactory design. It would be refuted if the beaten zones of machine guns mounted inside the pillboxes could cover the major military strongholds of Wong Nai Chung Gap area. The hypothesis for question (2) is: PB2 did cover all routes of attack but only no information about fires was reported in the war diary. It would be refuted if PB2 had any blind-spot in shooting. The hypothesis for question (3) is: the beaten zones of PB3 could cover most of the important fighting areas, e.g. PB1; PB2; the Ride across the valley; the West Brigade HQ as well as the upper reach of Blue Pool Road (then existing) etc. It would be refuted if PB3 had certain blind-spots. The questions from (4) to (10) could be decoded through the onsite accurate measurements. This thesis is an empirical analysis of how the professional mapping techniques are used to plug some gaps in the history of the battle of Wong Nai Chung. The aim of the thesis is to find out some enigma by means of on-site and desk top study. This thesis reports on a number of key findings: the main conclusions drawn from this research showed that, first, PB1 could cover the major military strongholds and both PB2 and PB3 had a certain areas of shooting blind-spots. Nevertheless, the OP together with the three PBs, could cover most of the southern side of today’s Deep Water Bay Road; the eastern side of Repulse Bay Road as well as the almost the entire northern dam of Wong Nai Chung Reservoir except the southern side of the reservoir. The results of the thesis show that the firing arcs of PB3 could not cover the major fighting areas in 19th December 1941 but it could have, apart from delayed the capture of the Wong Nai Chung Gap by the Japanese, inflicted heavier casualties on the enemies because it covered the Police Knoll and the reservoir dam which formed part of the Stanley Gap Road. Secondly, by identifying the surviving war relics in Wong Nai Chung Gap, this thesis should contribute to better conservation research through on-site surveying of these features in a relative large scale which are not documented in any previous literature before. Upon finding out the accurate geographical locations of these surviving war relics, we could appreciate the rest of our research questions; i.e. the truthfulness of the inferred position on the Sir Cecil’s Ride below PB2 from the barbed wire stand which shown in the Japanese portrait; Brigade Lawson’s Headquarters was indeed protected by PB1 but not PB2; there are bunkers and water closets still remain intact in Stanley Gap. In addition, this thesis offers constructive thoughts on how mapping techniques could be contributed to the conservation of historic war heritages. Overall, the findings of this research proved that on-site measurements, together with contemporary GIS technology, can be used as a major tool of explaining the mysterious matters during the war. This thesis comprises of five chapters and the style follows the norms in Kate L. Turabian. Chapter 1 is the introduction. It serves as a general introduction to the thesis. It will commence by a historic review of the battle of Hong Kong in 1941. By describing the background of the battle of Wong Nai Chung Gap, it will points out some enigmatic problems found in war diaries. This chapter states the aims and hypotheses of this study and identify the scope of the research. Specifically, it raises ten specific research questions. Chapter 2 is a literature review. It shows that the “state of art” of battle history is one of written records, collection of photos and small scale sketches without the help of accurate mapping inputs. Where plans/maps were produced in history texts, they were in small scale and hence of limited use for forensic or conservation purposes. In other words, historians are handicapped by a lack of sensitivity to the importance of spatial analysis. This review shows the significance and potential contribution of land surveying in military heritage research and policy development. Chapter 3 describes the methodology of the land survey conducted. It commences by examining the theoretical basis as well as the principles of the technology used and will also present how mapping as well as the state-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques were actually used to perform terrain analysis based on the accurate surveyed positions of the war relics. Ten hypotheses in relation to the questions specified in Chapter 1 are formulated. Chapter 4 provides the survey findings and analysis for the ten hypotheses. Chapter 5 is the conclusion. This chapter summarises the thesis and discusses its methodological limitations and significance for heritage research and policy. It also makes suggestions for future research.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectHistoric sites - Conservation And Restoration - China - Hong Kong
Military architecture - Conservation and restoration - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramReal Estate and Construction
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206730

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLai, LWC-
dc.contributor.advisorHo, DCW-
dc.contributor.authorChing, Siu-tong-
dc.contributor.author程肇堂-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-29T23:16:33Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-29T23:16:33Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationChing, S. [程肇堂]. (2014). Towards the conservation of Hong Kong's military heritage : the first survey of the surviving military features at Wong Nai Chung Gap, Hong Kong Island. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5328041-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206730-
dc.description.abstractDuring the Battle of Hong Kong fought in December 1941, Wong Nai Chung Gap was a major battlefield as it was a strategic location. Like almost all battlefields in this Battle, however, the defensive military installations within the subject area, most in ruins nowadays, have never been professionally surveyed with the purpose of mapping the military buildings of the battlefield apart from those reported in Lai et al (2011) to better fathom the flow of battle. Indeed, the only professionally surveyed military relics were those by Lai and Ho for Devil’s Peak and Lai, Davies, Ching, Tan and Wong (2011) for Shing Mun Redoubt. All existing historical researches suffer from a lack of accurate mapping information, if at all, essential for understanding the conduct of military hostilities. This thesis illustrates how an accurate exercise locating and mapping of three pillboxes (PB 1, PB2 and PB3), among other war relics in the vicinity, near Wong Nai Chung Gap in Hong Kong Island was performed; and addresses historical and conservation issues using direct on-site measurement by professional mapping techniques. GIS was used as the key tool for analysis and interpretation. The survey results were then used to identify the configurations and distribution of the war relics in Wong Nai Chung area and to verify the authenticity of war diary records provided by the defender on the battle. Precise arcs of fire of key permanent defence structures in relation to the surrounding topography were accurately determined. They help explain and reconstruct a prominent battle that took place some 70 years ago. It should provide a solid referent for war historians, relics’ enthusiasts as to how the state-of-art GIS technology can be used in probing key intriguing historical questions. Those addressed in this thesis, in relation particularly to three pillboxes, the observation post (OP) on the summit of Jardines’ Lookout and Stanley Gap, are: (1) Did PB 1 really kill that many enemies? (2) Why didn’t PB2 report to have fired at enemies along the Ride or Wong Nai Chung Gap? (3) Why didn’t PB 3 fire at all? (4) What were the daylight vision of the three PBs and the OP on the 18/19 December 1941? (5) What was the defence philosophy of the pillboxes? (6) Was the Japanese portrait on the battle correct in terms of details? (7) What was the role of the OP on the summit of Jardine’s Lookout? (8) Were Brigade Lawson’s Headquarters protected by any PB? (9) What were the locations of the military installations now destroyed or buried? (10) What were the locations of the military installations near Stanley Gap? To address the ten questions above, three working hypotheses are established for questions (1) to (3) while accurate on site measurements could be applied in finding the rest of the questions. For question (1), the hypothesis is: PB1 could not kill that many enemies because of faulty or unsatisfactory design. It would be refuted if the beaten zones of machine guns mounted inside the pillboxes could cover the major military strongholds of Wong Nai Chung Gap area. The hypothesis for question (2) is: PB2 did cover all routes of attack but only no information about fires was reported in the war diary. It would be refuted if PB2 had any blind-spot in shooting. The hypothesis for question (3) is: the beaten zones of PB3 could cover most of the important fighting areas, e.g. PB1; PB2; the Ride across the valley; the West Brigade HQ as well as the upper reach of Blue Pool Road (then existing) etc. It would be refuted if PB3 had certain blind-spots. The questions from (4) to (10) could be decoded through the onsite accurate measurements. This thesis is an empirical analysis of how the professional mapping techniques are used to plug some gaps in the history of the battle of Wong Nai Chung. The aim of the thesis is to find out some enigma by means of on-site and desk top study. This thesis reports on a number of key findings: the main conclusions drawn from this research showed that, first, PB1 could cover the major military strongholds and both PB2 and PB3 had a certain areas of shooting blind-spots. Nevertheless, the OP together with the three PBs, could cover most of the southern side of today’s Deep Water Bay Road; the eastern side of Repulse Bay Road as well as the almost the entire northern dam of Wong Nai Chung Reservoir except the southern side of the reservoir. The results of the thesis show that the firing arcs of PB3 could not cover the major fighting areas in 19th December 1941 but it could have, apart from delayed the capture of the Wong Nai Chung Gap by the Japanese, inflicted heavier casualties on the enemies because it covered the Police Knoll and the reservoir dam which formed part of the Stanley Gap Road. Secondly, by identifying the surviving war relics in Wong Nai Chung Gap, this thesis should contribute to better conservation research through on-site surveying of these features in a relative large scale which are not documented in any previous literature before. Upon finding out the accurate geographical locations of these surviving war relics, we could appreciate the rest of our research questions; i.e. the truthfulness of the inferred position on the Sir Cecil’s Ride below PB2 from the barbed wire stand which shown in the Japanese portrait; Brigade Lawson’s Headquarters was indeed protected by PB1 but not PB2; there are bunkers and water closets still remain intact in Stanley Gap. In addition, this thesis offers constructive thoughts on how mapping techniques could be contributed to the conservation of historic war heritages. Overall, the findings of this research proved that on-site measurements, together with contemporary GIS technology, can be used as a major tool of explaining the mysterious matters during the war. This thesis comprises of five chapters and the style follows the norms in Kate L. Turabian. Chapter 1 is the introduction. It serves as a general introduction to the thesis. It will commence by a historic review of the battle of Hong Kong in 1941. By describing the background of the battle of Wong Nai Chung Gap, it will points out some enigmatic problems found in war diaries. This chapter states the aims and hypotheses of this study and identify the scope of the research. Specifically, it raises ten specific research questions. Chapter 2 is a literature review. It shows that the “state of art” of battle history is one of written records, collection of photos and small scale sketches without the help of accurate mapping inputs. Where plans/maps were produced in history texts, they were in small scale and hence of limited use for forensic or conservation purposes. In other words, historians are handicapped by a lack of sensitivity to the importance of spatial analysis. This review shows the significance and potential contribution of land surveying in military heritage research and policy development. Chapter 3 describes the methodology of the land survey conducted. It commences by examining the theoretical basis as well as the principles of the technology used and will also present how mapping as well as the state-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques were actually used to perform terrain analysis based on the accurate surveyed positions of the war relics. Ten hypotheses in relation to the questions specified in Chapter 1 are formulated. Chapter 4 provides the survey findings and analysis for the ten hypotheses. Chapter 5 is the conclusion. This chapter summarises the thesis and discusses its methodological limitations and significance for heritage research and policy. It also makes suggestions for future research.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshHistoric sites - Conservation And Restoration - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshMilitary architecture - Conservation and restoration - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleTowards the conservation of Hong Kong's military heritage : the first survey of the surviving military features at Wong Nai Chung Gap, Hong Kong Island-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5328041-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineReal Estate and Construction-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5328041-

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