Pillbox 017, Repulse Bay [1939- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Pillbox 017, Repulse Bay [1939- ]

Current condition: 
Date Place completed: 

PB 17, Repulse Bay

Photos that show this place


Hi there, I expected the location marker here is off as well. There didn't seem to be any traces of this one at Repulse Bay. But there are walled off area next to the beach volley ball pitch..... I am just uncertain. T

T, I think Rusty was just giving us a general idea of the location. Looking at the map again it seems that this pillbox was between Beach Road and Repulse Bay Road. I've updated the marker, but the map isn't very clear, so it's probably still not in exactly the right place. And of course there's a strong chance this pillbox disappeared long ago, given the development in the area :(

I am currently reading Tony Banham's excellent "The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru" and this pillbox is mentioned in the notes at the back and may have some relevance to its location:

With reference to a soldier/volunteer (this isn't made explicit) called Cheesewright, passing away on the 17th February 1942 in a Japanese POW camp after being rescued from the sinking ship.

Banham's Note (#221, P 276) says:"Cheesewright's Pillbox (PB 17, which he had commanded during the battle) still exists in HK today, buried (but for the topmost metre) in the sand at the western corner of Repulse Bay beach. Picnickers often sit on the roof on summer days, unaware that their seat is anything more than a concrete bench"

Phil, thanks for the tip. Though when I walked around the western corner of the beach last week I couldn't see it.

As T notes, part of that area is fenced of for works, so maybe it's in there? Has anyone else seen it?


Hi there,

I guess I have located it earlier.  The marker should be more or less correct.  The pillbox is located right behind the tracker garrage, right next to the Beach Volley Ball pitch.

My previous visits to the location were very late in the evenings, or even sometime after dark.  And I had totally missed the side street there.  Maybe that was why I never saw it.

Here's some photo by the approximate sequence of my wandering:

1.  I noticed the terrace behind the garrage from the gap between the buildings:

2.   I double back to the left of the garrage.  Look what I'd found?

3.   So I snuck into the back:


4.   Than I climb to the top of the pillbox:

5.    The pillbox as seen from the side street above:

6.   Let's not forget about the gun ports.  The shutters are still there:

7.   The location from across the bay:

As for Pillbox 018 also on the Repulse Bay, I think it had been destroyed when they developed the Lido back then.

Best Regards,


T, good work finding this one. I looked some time back but couldn't find it at all, then luckily Rob Weir emailed me directions. One interesting thing he pointed out is that the position of the Lyon Light shelter is still visible, though it is under several layers of concrete.

Here's the view down Seaview Promenade, looking towards the beach. You can see the little tower on the pillbox down on the left. If you look at the right of the road, at the end of the bank is a tree. Zoom in on the photo and you can just make out a curved shape in the bank - that's the old lyon light shelter.

Pillbox 17 & Lyon Light 17

Here's the view standing in front of it, LL17 is in the center of the photo:

Lyon Light 17

Looking at the photos I took of the pillbox, you've covered all the main points. Only one more worth posting - a peep into the tower. Rob says the metal plates were in three sections, and could be slid around to provide an opening to look through, or seal up the gap as required. It's still possible to imagine that from this view:

Pillbox 017, remains of sliding metal shields in tower

I found this photo on Facebook. Looks like a pillbox on the western side of Repulse Bay as shown here

Good find. That's PB 17, and a good view of Eucliffe too.

Regards, David

also a good view of it here in a different hedda morrison photo: hope link works

Hi, thanks for the link. I've been squinting at the photo, but can't spot the pillbox. Please can you guide me to it?

Regards, David

ok maybe not such a clear view but I make it out around the centre of the photo just below the empty hut with the flat roof. Seems you can make out the ventilator shaft on top

a good view also here from 1949. Click on original record to be able to zoom in : http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22746558?search%5Bpath%5D=photos&search%5Btext%5D=repulse+bay


I can't get a clear view of the PB in the first photo, but the 1949 photo is a great one. Here's a close-up:

1949 Repulse Bay

Regards, David

Hi there,

Talked by Repulse Bay last month and found the pillbox is no longer being blocked by tents now.  Beach goers sit on top of it without even knowing what exactly it is.

Best Regards,


Year completed is: Approximate
Condition at last visit: Intact
Date of last visit: Dec-1995
Ref: ROB-00616




are both photos in which PB 17 can be seen at the far end of RB beach. They're both dated 1938. If the year is accurate it puts the PBs construction date back to 1938 or earlier. 

An interesting and precious photo which documents the installation/completion of defence works on Repulse Bay in 1938.

Thanks for pointing out the 1938 picture of Repulse Bay and the PB. Certainly shows it existed earlier than 1939.

My reason for using Approximately 1939 was mainly from lack of specific dates for individual PB construction. No PB's existed on the Island until after the change of defence policy in early 1938. Construction obviously started sometime soon after its implementation, and continued until late 1941, so 1939 was a cover-all date.

The following is an extract from a file in WO 106/2380, Letters. China Command. HK and Shanghai. From HK to the War Office, dated 6 April 1939: "Beach pillboxes are pretty well finished, but we propose to ask for money enough to build 20 more. These are for the North shore and for any other odd places that we may think necessary, after we have had some manning exercises".

This great aerial photo shows the extent of the old hotel grounds, still with gardens and chimney, that remained before being demolished in 1982. You can see the squatter settlements around PB 17: http://goo.gl/Y0BQni And this photo gives an excellent clear view of the pillbox in 1971 http://goo.gl/X4lGxz

If you care about saving PB17, and what I thought was PB16 but is in fact the searchlight for the original PB that has been demolished, then please sign and share this petition! I am fed up of seeing the PB sink lower and lower into the sand, it's time to do something about it. Tourists are rife in the area and it is the perfect place to save and educate people about what happened here during WWII!


The one moment it takes to sign could give it a long and glorious future!