Royal Marine Commando Brigade in HK - 1949/1950 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Royal Marine Commando Brigade in HK - 1949/1950

I would be very interested in seeing any photographs or receiving any other information regarding the location of HQ 3 Commando Brigade in HK between 1949 and 1950. I am researching a biography of General Sir George Lea, who (despite being an Army Lt Col) was DAA & QMG of 3 Commando Brigade between June 1949 and January 1951. He was responsible for moving the Brigade from Malta to HK in 1949 and then from HK to Malaya in 1950.


My Father was Adjutant with HQ 3 Commando Brigade in Hong Kong  from July 1949 before returning to the UK in 1950 when the Unit transferred to Malaya.

From the photos I have, I believe their base was Tai Lam Military Camp which was later renamed as Perowne Barracks.. 

Would love to see the photos if you are willing to share please? Particularly any HQ staff group photos and photos of the HQ buildings please? Did your father leave any papers/notes/diaries of his time with HQ 3. Commando Brigade in HK?

if easier, my email address is:

many thanks

Rupert Hague-Holmes

I will dig out my scanner. Most photos are of Nissan Huts and one with a General Ritchie. Does he fit in the "picture"?

If I can't post here I will email to you.

Did you try and get any info from the Corp Museum. My Father was Corp Historian in the 1960s but if he had any diaries/notes he would have donated them to the Museum.

Many thanks. General Sir Neil Ritchie was GOC Land Forces Far East from 1947 to 1950, so that would be of interest.

I have made enquiries of the RM Historical Society.


Your father must have known George Lea - Adjutant/Liaison Officer and DAA/QMG would have worked closely together.

Probably, unfortunately he passed away in November 2012.

RM No 3 Commando Brigade.
RM No 3 Commando Brigade. , by fivestar


RM No 3 Commando Brigade.
RM No 3 Commando Brigade. , by fivestar


40 RM Commando Ceremonial Parade 10th March 1950
40 RM Commando Ceremonial Parade 10th March 1950, by fivestar


There would seem to be a small overlap between your field of my research and my own desultory delving into 40 Inf Div in Hong Kong 1949-50. My own point of interest being that my grandfather was present with 25 Fd Regt R.A. from 1948 before moving to Malaya. And, incidently, his unit took over responsibility for internal security in Kowloon from 3 Cdo Bde when they departed for Malaya. Off the top of my head, I recall that I have a nice photo of 3 Cdo Bde in Malaya from late 1950, one that is helpfully labeled by name and rank, as well as a less interesting press picture of the unit on parade in Hong Kong. My grandfather's battery (54-bty) were also resident at Tai Lam (mentioned above) in 1948, so I have a few photos of the location that were harvested from others. Finally, I have the copies of the 1949 Operational Instructions for the defence of Hong Kong (detailing the plans and variations) and a set of high-resoloution scans of maps of the entire colony for that year--some annotated by me. I am not currently at home and haven't really paid enough attention to the Navy contribution so far (though I have some details of the naval gunfire liaison with HQRA 40 Inf Div), but I can certainly get back to you with whatever you think might be of use. Let me know; I'd be most interested to hear about your work.

many thanks for these

I would be very interested in all of these please, particularly the 1949 Operational instructions for the defence of HK. Thank you. I am writing a biographt of Lt General Sir George Lea, KCB DSO, who was DAA/QMG at HQ 3 Cdo Brigade in Malta 1949, HK 1950 and Malaya 1951. He was not a Royal Marine ; was seconded from the Army. Had served at Arnhem as CO 11 Parachute Battalion and was a Lancashire Fusilier when commissioned. He went on to command 22 SAS in Malaya 1955-57 and then Director of Operations in Borneo 1965-67. He became one of the leading counter insurgency experts in the British Army.