An overseas thank you

Willy Wong is a new intern from Hong Kong and is working alongside the archiving team at the moment. He extends a warm thank you to the Royal Navy who helped shape the development of Hong Kong for future generations.

During the colonial era (1841-1997) of Hong Kong, the Royal Navy helped to shape the development of Hong Kong. Twenty years ago, the last element of British Forces Overseas Hong Kong, including the Royal Navy, handed the responsibility of defending Hong Kong over to the People’s Liberation Army.

As a native Hong Konger, I would like to thank the Royal Navy for their 156 years of service in Hong Kong. I decided to arrange this display case that aims to show major historic events, in a chronological way, during the deployment history of the Royal Navy, and the role it had played.

During its time in Hong Kong, the Royal Navy faced various challenges and had to handle a variety of tasks. Extreme weather events like typhoons affected the city from time to time; the Royal Navy was responsible for the subsequent rescue operations. For example, the 1906 Hong Kong typhoon devastated the city and the Royal Navy participated in the rescue efforts.

In the early twentieth century, the Royal Navy was ordered to prepare for the Canton-Hong Kong strike. The Royal Navy participated in the defence of Hong Kong against the invading Japanese forces in World War Two. Despite their gallantry, Hong Kong fell to the invaders. The Royal Navy was amongst the first allied elements to retake Hong Kong and accept the surrender of Japanese garrisons in the city.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the Royal Navy worked with local law enforcement in maintaining law and order; counter smuggling was part of the many law enforcement missions tasked to the Royal Navy. On 30th June 1997, the Royal Navy finally pulled out of Hong Kong, and ended over 100 years of deployment within the city.

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands