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JOURNAL OF THE HONG KONG REGIMENT (THE VOLUNTEERS) 1965

Introduction
Chairman's Notes
Obituary
The Commandant General
Honorary Colonel's Address
"The Volunteer"
The Commanding Officer
In Memorium
Dairy of Events
Letter from Col. Harry Owen-Hughes
Colonels Corner
Sports Notes
Sharp Shooters
So near, and yet
Confrontation
Drill Nights
The Composite Volunteer
The Lisbon Maru
Excerpts from the Regimental Light Classics
Hongkong Shooting Team at the Olympic Games
Remembrance Day
Why Walk to War ?
Shamshuipo 20 Years After
From the Volunteer Year Book 1935/36
Warminster-1965
The Volunteer Club
R.H.Q.
H.Q. Squadron
Band and Drums
Intelligence Troop
Medical Troop
M.T. Troop
Pay Section
Quartermasters Staff
Signals Troop
Sniper Section
Staff Officers
W.A.A.C.
Recruits Cadre
No.1 Recce Squadron
No.2 Recce Squadron
No.3 Company
No.4 Recce Squadron
Home Guard

     

INTRODUCTION

When the first issue of the 'Volunteer' Journal of the Hong Kong Regiment was produced, it was felt that a professional publication service would be capable of producing a journal of the high standard befitting a publication of this kind. You are all aware of the result. This year when I was given the task of editing the 'Volunteer' for 1965 I was of the opinion that since it was a journal about volunteering, the job should be undertaken as far as possible by Volunteers, for what we might lack in journalistic and printing knowledge, we would more than make up the deficit by the enthusiasm of those who 'volunteered' to produce. The result you see here.

To the Committee, therefore, all of whom were coerced rather than co-opted, without protest I might add, we must give our grateful thanks for their efforts, and it would be remiss on my part if I were not to give them the publicity which is their due. Under the Chairmanship of Major I. G. Daniel they are, C.S.M. D. Crowther, HG, Cpl. M. O. I. Lyen, Pay Section, and L/cpl. POW Kai-Ming, Pay Section. To Cpl. Lyen we are especially grateful, as he was responsible for the block making and printing details in liaison with the printer, and for the arrangement and liaison with our advertisers. His knowledge of the printing trade has been invaluable, not only for ensuring the high standard of the publication, but also for the economies which have been made through his advice. And to Major Daniel, whose enthusiasm affected even the most tardy of our contributors, for without his efforts the journal would not have gone to press on time, nor would we have had the number of interesting articles which have been published.

Our grateful thanks are also due to our advertisers, whose names are listed at the end of the journal. Without their faith and support of the Regiment the 'Volunteer' could hardly have been produced. That over 60 such firms should sponsor this production shows that there are still many in the Colony who recognize the high value of their Volunteer Forces.

Our sincere thanks are also due to those who contributed to these columns. Their support is much appreciated.

Finally, the publishing of the 'Volunteer' must be with a means to an end. Not only is it instrumental in recording the history of the Regiment, and in providing interest for its members, but more important, it provides a medium for publicity in recruitment. It may be widely read outside the Regiment, and by publicizing our activities, both in training and in social life, it will make our local citizens aware of our high standard of training and esprit de corps, and this in turn should encourage the right type of person to volunteer. It follows, therefore, that the standard in the production of the journal should be equally high, and this year we have attempted to set an example of the standard required, and which our successors in the future should strive to maintain.

Editor.


Why Walk to War?
Volunteer Armoured Vehicles 1925-1965

During the early 1920s the British Army had occasion to send one of the old Armoured Car Company's to Shanghai, to lend a little weight to the authorities in that rather turbulent area.
Their vehicle were noted with envy by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, and it was not long before they decided that they also should become mobile.

[Photo 1] No.1 Armoured Car - December 1925The Armoured Car Section was first formed as the Mounted Infantry Transport Section where Lieutenant Dowbiggin was commanding the Mounted Infantry Company. Sir Paul Chater donated $1,500 to purchase a Ford Chassis on which a body was built and equipped with two Vickers machine guns. The unit quickly proved its usefulness and so HE The Governor was convinced of the necessity of having the cost of an Armoured Car included in the yearly estimates.

Then, in 1925, a Dennis chassis was obtained and converted into an armoured car in the yards of the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. (see photo 1).

[Photo 2] No.2 Armoured Car - Circa 1930 (A six wheeler with Thornycraft chassis, chains, twin Vickers and an abundance of ships armour plate.)Later, when (by then Capt.) Dowbiggin was ADC to Sir Cecil Clementi ( 1930-35), he managed to persuade HE to purchase a six wheeler Thornycroft chassis which again was armoured by the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. (see photo 2). These two cars, in fact had so much ship's armour incorporated that it was a toss-up whether they were driven or sailed !

In 1933, a second Thornycroft chassis was obtained and car No.3 (see photo 3) came into being. For some obscure reason, the very first armoured car was not called No. I. So in fact No.3 was really the fourth. (This is the kind of thing that drives historians mad.)

[Photo 3] No. 3 Armoures Car "Lwaping Lena' -1933 (Another six wheel vehicle with Thornycraft chassis, twin turrets and Vickers in parallel. This was HQ vehicle until knocked out at Happy Valley in 1941)Records show that the years 1934-1939 were spent in the true Volunteer spirit. Exercises were carried out in the New Territories, and a very dear old lady, leaping Lena, managed to hit the headlines time and time again. Digressing slightly, I can assure the old stalwarts of the Armoured Car Section - Platoon, that although we don't say 'Gadzooks' nowadays, you can still hear strong language addressed to armoured cars round the Fanling area at weekends.

In 1939 the Armoured Car Section became a platoon in the Mobile Column. They'd had with them for about four years by this time, a number of motor cycle combinations mounting a Vickers machine gun (see photo 4).

[Photo 4] No. 4, 5 Armoured Cars - 1940-41 (In 1940-41 four new armoured chariots were added to the, now, Armour Platoon. Each vehicle had a Bedford chassis with twin Vickers mounted in a single turret.)Collectively the Mobile Column was a happy outfit, with much friendly rivalry between the Armoured Car and the Motor Machine Gun Sections.

In 1940 and 1941 four new armoured cars were added to the Platoon, these were built in the K.C.R. on Bedford chassis (see photo 5). The old, as ever, then bowed out to make way for the new. During this year also, the manpower increased from around 20 to double this figure or more, as the Colony prepared itself for war.

[Photo 5] M.M.G. Platoon, part of the Mobile Column, with Vickers mounted in motor-cycle combinations. Unhappily this wasn't long in coming, but during the battle for Hong Kong the Armoured Cars fully justified their existence. Commanded by the then 2/Lt. M. G. Carruthers, the cars started their operations in the forward area around Fanling and valiantly fought their way back to the Island.

They didn't all survive. Starting with 5, the 4 Bedfords and 'Leaping Lena' the old Thornycroft, by the 21 st of December only two were left, cars having been knocked out at Kowloon Tong, near to the Hong Kong Electric Co. building, and a third at the Wongneichong Gap. The H.Q. chariot, 'Leaping Lena', was still going strong, but was finally knocked out at the end of Happy Valley in Ventris Road. During these few hectic days Lt. Carruthers was awarded a very well deserved Military Cross. The last armoured car was finally destroyed by its crew, near the Queen Mary Hospital, rather than allow it to fall into enemy hands. So none of these old Ironsides struck their colours to the enemy, setting a tradition for the present day 'armourites' to uphold. No mention is made in this exposition of the carrier section, which, commanded by 2/Lt. R. Edwards did sterling service in the various battles, particularly around Repulse Bay Hotel. They were under command of 1 Coy of the H.K. V .D.C., and as such I'm afraid outside the scope of this article.

[Photo 6] A Ferret Stripped and ready for action at Wong Nei Chong Gap, the sence of some of the Regiment's most heroic battles.And so to 1963-January 15th to be exact (see photo 6). On this day, in a simple ceremony at Happy Valley, 6 Ferret Scout Cars were handed over by the Regular Army to The Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers). Not exactly handed over, as they cost
£40,000! (just over 100 years before, the then Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson had reluctantly agreed to allow an annual outlay of £195 for the upkeep of The Volunteers!)

To form the new 4 Recce Squadron, who were to operate the Ferrets, the old Support Company gave of its best.

Six 'New' Feret Scout Cars -1963 (Six Rolls Royce engined Ferrets, with Browing's mounted, were purchased by the Regiment in Jan. 1963, and have proved invaluable when they can be coaxed out of workshop!)Today 4 Recce Squadron is commanded by Major I. A. Fortune. It has 3 troops, each of two Ferrets and two Landrovers (carrying the assault section). Squadron Headquarters has a further two Landrovers, for command and liaison purposes. Firepower of the squadron now includes 6 X .30 Browning M.Gs - 7 G.P.M.Gs & 6 X 2" Mortars. The Ferrets have also multi-barrel smoke dischargers, capable of lobbing white phosphorous bombs 100 yards! The soldiers in the squadron carry also a Stirling SMG as a personal arm. The last photograph (s) (photo 7) in this article shows a 4 Recce Ferret in the Wong Nei Chong Gap area, and we would like to use it as a tribute to those old 'armourites' who fought and died there.

(This article could not have been written without the great assistance given by Col. H. B. L. Dowbiggin, O.B.E., E.D., Lt. 'Mike' Carruthers M. C., Mr. Reg Butler, and all those others whose records and information were made so readily available).


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