British Forces Overseas Hong Kong comprised the elements of the British Army, Royal Navy (including the Royal Marines) and Royal Air Force. Much of the British military left Hong Kong prior to the handover in 1997.
Before 1 July 1997, the British government had the political commitment to safeguard the territory against external and internal threats. The greatest test was in 1941, when Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong.
Internal Security was the responsibility of the Hong Kong Government, in particular the Royal Hong Kong Police. It is supported by British Forces in Hong Kong should it be called upon to do so. During the Hong Kong 1967 riots, in which 51 people were killed, the British garrison supported the Royal Hong Kong Police in quelling the disturbance. Until 1995, the safety of much of the Sino-Hong Kong border was the responsibility of the British forces and as such contributed greatly to the interdiction of illegal immigrants. As the preparation of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, that responsibility was passed on to the Hong Kong Police.
The Royal Navy played a significant role in the support of the Royal Hong Kong Police in anti smuggling operation in Hong Kong waters, especially in the heyday of seaborne smuggling during the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
Search and Rescue was provided by all branches of the British Forces in Hong Kong all of whom could have been called upon for aid to civil defence as well as search and rescue operations in times of emergency.
Prior to 1990 – 1991 the British Army was responsible for patrolling and enforcing border control between Hong Kong and China. This role was passed on the Hong Kong Police Force years before the handover in 1997.
The Regiment in Hong Kong
B Squadron the 14th/20th King’s Hussars were posted under the Command of Squadron Leaders Major Daniel (Dan) de Beaujeu, Major Heter-Lyford and later Major Stockton to Hong Kong in the New Territories alongside 6 Ghurkha Regiment during 1970 till 1973 as part of 48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in Sek Kong Camp carrying out Garrison duties, Border patrols, aid to civil power, Village Penetration Patrols Duty (called Force Guard) on the island which entailed providing the Guard for Goverment House. Flagstaff House (Commander British Forces) and Schusten Hill Ammo compoud as a backup for the Hong Kong ORs dog handlers and helping out the San Miguel brewery and Annie Lams.
Sek Kong was made up of North Camp with modern accommodation blocks and all facilities used by the British forces and South Camp which was Nisson huts which were occupied by Ghurkas. The south camp was also the location of the Polo club and Stables.
The 2 camps were seperated by an airstrip on which the regiment held the Parade for HRH Princess Anne (that Brian Parsley has permitted me to show you) (below) you can see the Nissan huts in the background. The air strip was also used as the driver training area.
During 1971 C Squadron the 14th/20th King’s Hussars acted as relief Squadron after completing their tour of Belfast in Northern Ireland, in Hong Kong allowing B Squadron to return to the United Kingdom and Wales to undergo training and Gunnery camp.
Although the posting had it’s serious side with the defence of the small British Colony it mostly consisted of ceremonial duties such as The Queen’s Birthday Parade.
The video below was taken by a former member of the 14th/20th King’s Hussars (Brian Parsley – REME) during an official visit of HRH Princess Anne on the 28th October 1971 during a 7 day visit to Honk Kong.
The squadron had the honour of leading the Queens Birthday Parade in a park on the Island just before leaving Hong Kong in 1973 firing the salute. They drove through the tunnel into Kowloon, then paraded through Tsuen Wan, a very fitting end to the regiments tour of Hong Kong after the 3 years.
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