Taikoo Dockyard during the Occupation 1942-1945 – new information and photo

New Information in  red

Extracts from reports in the BAAG Intelligence Summaries sent by Elizabeth Ride.

  1. Layout. Map reference 253545 . Map “GSGS 3868, 1/20,000 HK&New Territories”

Taikoo Dockyard BAAG map ER

Taikoo Dockyard BAAG map key ER 1944

BAAG Agents´ drawings.

[Can a Chinese speaker add more information about these drawings?]

CIMG3550 .- hill defences

Craig Mitchell had this one translated and has kindly sent a copy. He writes “My friends have been up to the tunnel system mentioned in the drawing. I have been out searching for the ones around Braemar Hill a couple of times, but not found them yet….. but I will.”

Taikoo Docks BAAG sketch Craig Mitchell translated version

Japanese Anti-aircraft defences of Taikoo Dockyard.

CIMG3553 - cliff near Taikoo

Japanese defence position on a hill above Taikoo Dockyard which was located in the present-day Taikoo Shing  and part of  Taikoo Place of Quarry Bay on the north shore of Hong Kong Island.

CIMG3555 - hills

Japanese defence deployment on the slopes opposite the West gate of Taikoo Dockyards (now Taikoo Shing).

CIMG3557 - cliff near Taikooo

Japanese AA defences of Taikoo dockyard.

  1. During Hostilities and aftermath.

–   “Superficial damage caused by enemy fire”.

–  ” There appears to have been little if any demolition carried out at Taikoo.  It appears that as soon as the Japanese came the workers started looting and took away all valuables from the offices.   Unfortunately they were not apparently interested in the drawings or plans which they left scattered on the floors.  The foremen appear to have worked under some arrangement whereby the tools were their property; probably it was merely their responsibility that no tools were stolen.  In any event it is asserted that because they had tools stored in the Dockyard they all went back to work for the Japanese.  The Japanese policy was to first employ the number one of each department plus a token staff.  These men spent about a month getting ready to restart work.  At the end of this period work was started.”

3.   During the Occupation.

–  “The Taikoo Dockyard is now managed by the Mitsui interests, and is known as the Hongkong Shipbuilding Yard.”

–   “Considerable activity was reported at this dockyard in 1944, especially after the heavy bombing of the Kowloon Docks on 16 October 1944 when no other facilities for docking large vessels were available elsewhere in Hongkong.  However, the raid of 16 January 1945 was said to have caused considerable damage to Taikoo, when more than half the workshops were reported to have been hit, and a number of vessels present in the docks were sunk or damaged.  …  The gate machinery of the large drydock, damaged by Allied aircraft , was still unserviceable at the end of 1944 although repairs were under way.”

–  “Prior to October 1944, the dockyard was supplied with power from the Hongkong Electric Co station at North Point, but subsequent to that date it was connected to the supply from the Taikoo Sugar Refinery Plant.  However, the Japanese were reported to be removing machinery from the Refinery plant in the latter part of the year, and the dockyard is believed to be obtaining its electricity once again from North Point.”

–   “The dockyard is reported to be short of steel plates, tools, coal and timber.”

–   “No additional facilities are reported to have been added by the Japanese.  The former General Office, however, has been converted into a storehouse, the present General Office being located on a small hiss South of the Sugar Refinery.  The old Sawmill, badly damaged as a result of bombing, was rebuilt as a Carpenter’s Shop, while a former godown was converted as the Sawmill.”

  1. Working Conditions.

“Departments in 1944: Engineering (230 persons ), Assembly (300), Casting (130), Wood modelling (90), Refinery (70), Cylinder-making (150), No 1 Coppersmith´s workshop (80), No 2 Coppersmith’s workshop (60), Electrical (120), Cranes (80), Crane Engineering (180), Blueprints (70), Drilling (150), Receiving and despatching (150), Riveting (70), Fitters (80), Cement (90), Electric welding (80), Gas (55), Iron twisting (30), Lathe shops (80, Carpenters (190), Caulking (40), Drilling (35), Painters (50), Materials Stores (30), Transportation (150), Firemen (20), Steel Stores (20), Coxswains (40), Construction & Repairs (30), Drydock & Slipways (60).  Total 3070.”

–   “Each Department is under the supervision of a Jap inspector.  There are about 80 Japanese in the Dockyard.”

–   “Due to shortage of coal and other materials, night work was recently suspended.”

  1. Among ships seen in dock in 1942.

Under construction:  2 minesweepers, 3 standard ships, 4 Marine patrol boats, 1 tug, 1 torpedo boat, Customs Cruiser  Fei Shing.

Otherwise mostly repair work was carried out.

Among ships seen in dock in 1943.

Pak Chau Maru, Yum Yi Shan Maru, Hoi Nam Maru/SS Hoi Nam, Asosan Maru, Formosa Maru, 8 patrol boats (Ging´s Group), 15 patrol boats (Flying Hawk Group), 20 Speed boats (Dare-to-die/Dash Forward Groups), 20 Reserve Corps Speed boats, Carl Island/Kato, Hoi Tak Maru/Chunhsing, Hiu Tin Maru, Asusan Maru, Tai Lee Maru, Hoi Chu Maru, 1 Destroyer, Asosan, Shiren (former Swedish), Destroyer Gyo, Customs Cruiser, Minato, Destroyer Gojen,

Kwang Si Maru, Gyo Ei, Sai On Maru/Seian, Torpedo boat Magpie, Chuen Hing Maru.

Among ships seen in dock in 1944.

Heikai Maru/Pinghoi, Kofuku /Hirofuku Maru, Naval Supply Depot craft, SS Lee Hong, Fukuan Maru, Shinshu Maru, Joshu Maru, Tenichi Maru, Fukuei Maru, Banshu Maru, Police launch, Lighter, Tug, Koto/Nankai Maru/SS Fatshan, Ankai Maru, Dosei Maru, Tozan/Higashiyama Maru, Nansei Maru, Hiroshi/Ko, Taifu/Otomi Maru, Yokai Maru, Hakuun/Shirakumo Maru, Destroyer Hatsukari.

[In many cases,  Japanese or Chinese characters for names of the ships mentioned can be provided.  Also further details such as cargo, crew, sketch can be provided for some.]

Craig Mitchell has sent this USAAF aerial photograph taken during a bombing raid on Taikoo Dockyard in January 1945. Click to enlarge. The Docks can be seen behind smoke and a plume of water top right.

Tai Koo Docks Air raid on Jan 1945

This article was first posted on 27th February 2015.

Further information:

The Index contains many articles using BAAG reports from WW2. And about industry in HK during that time.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Taikoo Dockyard
  2. World War Two – BAAG reports – Taikoo Dockyard -1942-1944
  3. World War Two – BAAG, Mateys and Allied attempts to disrupt HK Dockyards
  4. Operation “Mateys” – Dock workers extraction from HK during the Japanese occupation WW2
  5. World War Two -1945 BAAG report on Dockyards in occupied Hong Kong
  6. World War Two – 1944 BAAG sketches of Japanese ships in Hong Kong
  7. Facebook: ‘Photos of Taikoo and Kowloon Dock Families’ group

One comment

  • Peter Cundall

    Several of the ships seen in dock in 1942-44 are readily identifiable- Asosan Maru, Ankai Maru, Yokai Maru, Hatsukari,,Fukuan Maru, Shinshu Maru, Joshu Maru, Tenichi Maru, Fukuei Maru, Banshu Maru etc. Others can be identified without reference to the Chinese characters- the torpedo boat Magpie for example refers to Kasasagi, which is Japanese for magpie. But for many I would need to see the Chinese characters to definitely identify..

    FYI during the war Taikoo completed 4 large ships

    Kembu Maru ex British Empire Blossom. Already under construction in December 1941 and completed by the Japanese .Feb 1943. 6816 gross tons..

    Three C type war standards

    Yokai Maru completed 4/44 2807 gross tons
    Heikai Maru completed 1/45 same
    Ankai Maru launched 29 Feb 1945 but not completed by war’s end. After the war the hull was towed to Shanghai and was completed by Kiangnan Dock and Engineering Works there in 1948 as Dah Chung. The ship likely traded as Hoping 6 under the Chinese flag post Communist takeover but this is unconfirmed.

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