Friday, 27 June 2014

Remnants of Hillside Military Insignia, Ho Sheung Heung

Back in December of 2012, I published a blog post regarding Military Insignia that have be created on hillsides around the territory. At the time I was just mumbling on at what I thought I could see faintly on the side of Tai Shek Mo (Crest Hill) in Ho Sheung Heung.

Recently, however, it appears that I was absolutely bang on! Less than a year after that original post, various hill fires were started (there are graves up there, so no doubt caused by careless people leaving burning incense next to the graves) and a whole load of the side of the hills was burnt away to reveal...yes, you guessed it, the missing military insignia. There was a bit of discussion in the comments at the time about which regiment the insignia was related to, and now it is very clear who it was.

But anyway, before we get to the updates, here is the original post from December 2012.

This is only a 'possible', and was partly inspired by Angus' post on his 7 Years in HK Blog. Now, I'm not a military person and my knowledge of such topics is sketchy, but it seems as though there was once a great tradition in HK whereby the military would scratch an image of their regimental/battalion insignia into the various hillsides around their bases.

It's quite a common site on older photos taken near the various army bases to see these things on a nearby hill and I know that one is still maintained above Gallipoli Lines in Fanling by the HK Regiment (Volunteers) - however, this latter one is actually painted rather than being cut out in relief on the hillside.

HK Regiment Insignia in Fanling

Anyhow, you'll notice that Angus has a picture of one that was fading but still very discernible. I know it was in Ho Sheung Heung, but not sure where. Now, I have been going to Ho Sheung Heung quite a bit over the last few months and took a distant shot of Tai Shek Mo. Here is an example.


Now, it isn't obvious at all but just to the left of the pylon is a scrape on the hillside that doesn't extend to any sort of path and it looks to be quite old. I've ringed it below.


Here is a close up.


Still not very clear, I know, but it was obvious enough to me for me to look at my old 1976 aerial photo of the same area to see what might have been there. Guess what...there used to be an old army insignia on that very same spot. Here is my old aerial picture with the are marked (picture runs from south on the left to north on the right).


And here is a small crop of that area (rotated for a better view).


Now, at the time of the original post, it was still not very clear which Regiment/Battalion this related to and I did make an appeal for information. A couple of comments came regarding the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, but nothing really concrete, and this insignia doesn't seem to match the one that Angus had snapped back in the 90's.

So imagine my surprise when I found this on the very excellent HKHikers.com (look for the entry that says: 大石磨尋軍徽 1/5/2014). Here are some links to their pictures in lieu of my own (because I haven't been out there for some time).


By the way, the insignia is for the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards - which, now that I know, seems very obvious when you look at the b&w close up above - hindsight is 20/20, after all. And yes, this insignia is in the exact same place I had highlighted in my original post.

4 comments:

  1. I have a feeling that painting rocks white was a universal punishment for errant soldiers in the British army. The rocks would then be used for bordering plants and trees around the overseas barracks and if there was a surplus of painted rocks, the lucky soldiers got to carry them up steep hillsides to produce the regimental insignia on a grand scale. Of course, I might be wrong, and they could be the early work of aliens before they moved into the crop circle game.

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    1. I guess they must've run out of potatoes to peel and boots to shine.

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  2. Hi Phil,
    It seems that the insignia depicted in the "7 Years in HK" blog (http://envirohk.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/ho-sheung-heung-hill-art/) is a different insignia. Is there any possibility that more than one exists? Thanks.

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    1. C - Angus's (the chap behind 7 Years in HK) picture was on a different site but he can't remember exactly where. These things were all over. If you can get hold of a copy of "100 years of NT roads", there are many pictures of Fanling and Sheung Shui areas that show military emblems on the hillsides. It's possible Angus's was over by the old Lo Wu camp (where the prison now is), whereas this one is on the opposite side of the same hill.
      Cheers
      Phil

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