Unnamed freighter – sunk in HK harbour WW2 – later broken up Yau Tong/Lei Yue Mun
Stephen Davies: The water colour posted in the article, Leung Man Kwong (梁文廣) – clearance of HK harbour post WW2 and founder of Universal Dockyards, is fascinating.
Given the angle of the photo, with what looks like the naval dockyard on the left and the HK Club area on the right, I think it is the unnamed freighter, sunk on naval anchorage buoy No.8, that nearly sat on the main freshwater pipeline to HK Island and had to be salvaged intact.
The job took something like a year because the wreck had to be cut into three sections, each section rotated to line up with the tidal flow, then lifted between pontoons and towed to Yau Tong/Lei Yue Mun for breaking up.
It appears in a dramatic photo of a naval picket boat with an engine room fire.
A snippet from the Royal Navy’s 1945 emergency chart locating all the wrecks in the Central harbour shows the wreck.
IDJ: The two images below appear to be the same vessel.
SD: As far as I know the wreck in the photos was completely removed by 1948 and probably early 1948. Since it sat too close to the main fresh water supply to be comfortable, shifting it lock, stock and barrel was a major priority, and it is what took the bulk of the small RN salvage team’s energy in 1946-47. This is the state of affairs as recognised by the UKHO in their emergency issue of updated charts in September 1949.
“The sunken ship almost on the Star Ferry route is only fifty feet from the main water pipeline between Hong Kong and Kowloon.”
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