Queen's Royal Regiment and The East Surrey Regiment served in
China in 1860 being awarded the Battle Honours "Pekin
1860" and "Taku Forts".
the museum at Clandon is a portrait of a Sergeant Major Lynch.
On his tunic are three medals, the Long Service and Good Conduct
medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the China medal with the two clasps "Pekin
1860" and "Taku Forts".
Sergeant Major Lynch served with the Queens and later in Guildford
with the Militia Battalion as a permanent staff instructor. Also
in the museum are some early photographs and a water
colour showing Hong Kong as it looked in 1860. Before the British
flag was placed on Hong Kong island in 1841 by merchant-adventurers
expelled from Canton, the island harbored only a few Chinese pirates,
vagabonds, and stonecutters. The Chinese were forced to cede the
island to the British in 1842 following their defeat in the First
Opium War. According to one legend, the Chinese named the settlement
Heung Keung, or "Fragrant Harbour", because of the scent
of Indian opium that hovered in the air from the British clipper
ships waiting to make their run up the Pearl river to Canton.
Beginning with the Taiping rebellion in 1850, Hong Kong grew rapidly.
Civil wars and economic and social changes in China drove various
waves of refugees into the territory. At the end of the Second
Opium War in 1860, the British forced the Chinese to cede part
of the Kowloon Peninsula. In 1899 the British took a 99 year lease
on the New Territories. China always considered the agreements
to be "unequal treaties". During World War II, Hong
Kong was occupied by Japan.
Hong Kong is located on the South East coast of China, 80 miles
South East of Canton, it has one of the worlds largest natural
deep water harbours. The heart of the metropolis is Victoria on
Hong Kong island.
Today it boasts the highest population density in the world, and
some of the worlds tallest buildings. Hong Kong is the
shopping, eating, fashion and entertainment mecca of Asia. More
feature films and videos are produced in the territory than anywhere
else. Hong Kong is also one of the worlds busiest shipping centres
and is continually upgrading its port and harbour facilities.
A new airport and container port have been built.
The 31st Regiment arrived in Hong Kong on the 23rd April 1860
and on disembarkation, encamped on the Kowloon Peninsular. The
ground was damp and malarious which caused the outbreak of fever
and ague in the Regiment. The 31st left Hong Kong on the 29th
June 1860, later disembarking at Talienwan Bay, the area selected
as a base for operations in North China. The 2nd, or Queen's Royal
Regiment of Foot arrived in Hong Kong harbour between 7th and
11th May 1860 on board HMS Vulcan and HM Transport Urgent.
Due to imminent operations the troops remained on board under
extremely trying conditions. At the end of the war and the sacking
of Pekin, the Regiment returned to Hong Kong in two detachments
arriving on 30th November and 1st December 1860 and were encamped
at Kowloon. The Regiment embarked for England in three detachments
departing on the 15th and 19th December 1860 and the third departing
on 22nd January 1861.
In November 1923 the 1st Bn The East Surrey Regiment arrived in
Hong Kong and departed in November 1926. During its stay the battalion
was visited on several occasions, both formally and informally
by Prince George (later the Duke of Kent) who was serving with
the Naval Squadron visiting China Waters. He was always a popular
guest and enjoyed playing the piano and accompanying anyone who
cared to sing! On 23rd April 1926, a new set of silver drums bought
with a legacy bequeathed by the mother of a former officer of
the Regiment who died whilst serving in 1894, was dedicated by
the Bishop of Hong Kong. The silver drums are still in service
with The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment today. The 1st Bn
The Queen's Royal Regiment arrived in Hong Kong on 16th May 1927
and left on 22nd March 1929, occupying initially Wellington and
Victoria Barracks, and later Hankow Barracks at Sham Shiu Po near
Kowloon. During its stay the battalion provided anti-pirate guards
on ships plying China Waters and on river boats to Canton. The
battalion was relieved by 1st Bn The Somerset Light Infantry.
The battalion paid a brief visit on 5th November 1930 whilst en
route for Tientsin and Pekin, and similarly in 1934 at the end
of its tour at Tientsin.
The 2nd Bn The East Surrey Regiment sailed for Shanghai in October
1938. After a brief stay in Singapore they arrived in Shanghai
in October. Here they took up duties as a garrison battalion.
Guards and patrols with a standing inlying piquet were their main
duties. Here the battalion saw the brutal behaviour of the Japanese
to the Chinese civilians. 2 Surreys were to suffer the same barbarous
treatment as POWs of the Japanese after fighting a series of battles
down the length of Malaya and into Singapore a few years later.
After a tour in Aden The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, arrived
in Hong Kong to relieve 1st Bn The Northumberland Fusiliers
on 3rd March 1962, and left on 30th November 1963 on relief by
1st Bn The South Wales Borderers. They were stationed at Stanley
Fort. During its stay it was deployed in the New Territories on
Operation 'Seal' to stop the influx of illegal
immigrants from Communist China. It also gave considerable assistance
to the civil population of Hong Kong after the devastation caused
by Typhoon 'Wanda'.