RAF Shatin Airfield – Ma On Shan ferry

Peter Howell has sent further photographs taken during his time stationed at RAF Shatin Airfield, Hong Kong.

Here are just a few photos of the small ferry boat that plied between the beach just north of Arcullis Camp.[the headquarters of the RAF Shatin Airfield] Ephraim Kam recalled seeing this ferry in his note of April 19th 2020, see below.

The beach was also used by family boats and they were often drawn up on
the beach during inclement weather and whilst someone walked into Sha
Tin village for supplies. It was not unknown for the Chinese staff
working in the Camp kitchen to pass over surplus food.

I hope that the captions are self explanatory.

Regarding the last photo of people off for a picnic. The young man in
this photograph was a Works Overseer for a gang of Maintenance men who
regularly worked at Arcullis Camp. He was always dressed very smartly as
befits a Manager, and spoke English very well, enabling him to receive
instructions correctly regarding work that we needed doing. He may well
still be alive, although in his upper 80’s now. I think that one of the
ladies with him was his sister.

Below is a summary of Peter’s  time at the RAF base in Shatin.

1900 Air Observation Post Flight, 657 Squadron, arrived in Hong Kong at
the end of April 1953. Within a few weeks, the personnel had
re-assembled their four Auster Mk 6 and one Auster Mk 7 aircraft and
started flying operations from the airstrip near Shatin village.

I was 18 years old on arrival, and my role was that of Air Wireless
Mechanic. As at that stage the aircraft were not fitted with VHF radios,
I had very little to do other than maintain the wire aerials that were
fitted to enable the Army No. 18 Medium Wave Transmitter/receivers
wireless sets to be operated. As a consequence I was very much the spare
hand and spent much of my time doing duty crew tasks, refuelling, hand
starting the engines, taxiing directing etc. Also simply giving a hand
where needed, to the Engine mechanics, Airframe mechanics, the
Electrician and The Fabric worker. Later on in 1953 VHF radios were
fitted to the aircraft which gave me more of my own specialised work to do.

I remained at the Flight until September 1954 when I relocated to No. 80
Squadron at RAF Kai Tak to broaden my experience, finally returning to
the United Kingdom for demobilisation in March 1955.

Ephraim Kan left the following comment attached to our article, Shatin Army Camp – link to Shatin Airfield on April 19th 2020: I discovered this article quite by chance yesterday, but the pictures and discussion brought back many memories. I am a local Chinese kid grew up in Shatin during the 50’s. I commuted between Shatin and Tai Po Market every school day on the KCR from 1959 to 1963. Therefore the Arcullis House and Ho Tung Lau were both familiar sights. One additional note to this discussion, there was a small ferry, sitting about 8 to 10 passengers running regularly between Ho Tung Lau and the pier of the Ma On Shan Iron Mine. The latter is Yiu On Estate today. Since there was no drivable road leading to Ma On Shan in those days, this ferry was a vital transportation to the workers and villagers, at least for those who could afford the fare.

RAF Shatin Airfield Ma On Shan Ferry Image 1 Peter Howell

Image 1 Young people arriving for school

RAF Shatin Airfield Ma On Shan Ferry Image 2 Peter Howell

Image 2 Young people returning to the Ma On Shan area

RAF Shatin Airfield Ma On Shan Ferry Image 3 Peter Howell

Image 3 Leaving for Ma On Shan

RAF Shatin Airfield Ma On Shan Ferry Image 4 Peter Howell

Image 4 Boats drawn up on the beach next to Arcullis Camp

RAF Shatin Airfield Ma On Shan Ferry Image 5 Peter Howell

Image 5 Passengers about to leave for a picnic

This article was first posted on 8th September 2021.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. RAF Shatin Airfield – Aircraft in Flight
  2. RAF Shatin Airfield – Routine Patrols, Part One
  3. RAF Shatin Airfield – Routine Patrols, Part Two
  4. RAF Shatin Airfield – Headquarters, Part One
  5. RAF Shatin Airfield – Headquarters, Part Two
  6. RAF Shatin Airfield – aerial images
  7. RAF Shatin Airfield – daily life
  8. RAF Shatin Airfield – the Shek Kip Mei Fire and Flatted Factories
  9. Shatin Airfield 1949-1962
  10. Shatin Airfield – 1954 article about British Army/RAF use
  11. Shatin Army Camp – link to Shatin Airfield
  12. Shatin – first powered flight in Hong Kong 1911
  13. An Aeroplane Called Wanda – historic flight over Shatin March 18th, 1911.
  14. Charles Van den Born – first powered flight in Hong Kong, Shatin, 1911

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