Hong Kong 1946 – Kai Tak

This is the second of the 1946 series – this time of Kai Tak airport. Unfortunately this photo was slightly damaged – I have tried to digitally repair some of the worst staining. Check out the sea-planes on the harbour!

Copyright is unknown.

HK1946 -


4 thoughts on “Hong Kong 1946 – Kai Tak

  1. I have a comment and two questions.

    Comment: The road cutting across the photo must be the old Ngau Chi Wan Road, the only road to Ngau Chi Wan which was the end of the line until the mid-60s. An old textile worker once said that they had to walk and wade across a stream before they could get to their factory beyond Cha Goh Ling.

    Question 1: Where is the runway. I remember when a plane took off, Ngau Chi Wan had to be closed. We sat in the bus waiting for the plane to taxi back towards the hill, turned around and then come back down the runway to get airborne. Cars and buses resumed their journey.

    Question 2: Do I see some KMT insignia on the wings of the planes? Were they the planes detained by the HK authorities? Don’t know what happened finally. I think the PRC came and claimed them. Morris or Talbot may know more.

  2. I think the view is of Kai Tak looking towards To Kwa Wan. The harbour with the seaplanes is Hung Hom Bay. You can just see the old power station belonging to China Light & Power Co. in the distance. There used to be a monument to Emperor Sung in To Kwa Wan called Sung Wong Toi which is now re-located to a park in Kowloon City, just off Ma Tau Chung Road.

    I lived in Ngau Chi Wan in my boyhood and took the No. 9 KMB bus to my old school, La Salle College, in Perth Street just off Argyle Street. We were housed in wooden huts when the original school was turned into British Military Hospital until a new BMH was built in King’s Park. The huts were supposed to be temporary, but they kept the school going for well over a decade. We were told that the La Salle brothers were reasonably well compensated for the move. Of course, La Salle is now back at Boundary Street, unfortunately not in the old building but a replacement built by Chong Kong (Lee Ka Shing’s firm) when the site was re-developed for highrise apartments.

    In the early days, all the KMB buses to Ngau Chi Wan had to stop at Fay Gay Foo (next Wong Tai Sin) to allow the planes to take off and land when the runway was extended well outside the Kai Tak boundary. The road is now called Prince Edward Road East. This was discontinued with the extension of the new runway into Kowloon Bay.

  3. Henry, I think the ‘road cutting across the photo’ is just a track across the airfield, used by the airfield workers. If you visit the original and zoom in (http://via.lib.harvard.edu:80/via/deliver/deepLinkItem?recordId=olvwork348392&componentId=FHCL:1081087) , you can see it just looks like a tracked vehicle has driven over that piece of ground.

    Another photo from this set shows the road that ran along the perimeter of the airfield: http://via.lib.harvard.edu:80/via/deliver/deepLinkItem?recordId=olvwork364580&componentId=FHCL:1081361

    Q1: The runway is quite a distance off to the right of this photo. Here are some old maps of the airport area, to help see what was where: http://gwulo.com/kai-tak-airport-history, and here’s a photo of the traffic waiting while a plane crosses the road: http://gwulo.com/node/1842

    Q2: If you zoom in to the first photo linked above, you can get a better view of the markings.

    Regards, David

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