Unit History: RAF Little Sai Wan
The Unit began life in late 1942 as 367 Wireless Unit, based at Newbold Revell near Rugby.
It is believed that, during the period of the Japanese occupation(1945), the site at Little Sai Wan was used by the Japanese for their own radio communications activities.
In 1945, 367 and 368 Wireless Units moved from Burma to Hong Kong, with operations and billets at Wang Fung Terrace, Tai Hang (Happy Valley)
the two units merged in 1946 to become 367 Signals Unit, and in late 1948, operations moved to Tai Po Tsai with billets at Kai Tak .
In 1950, the first members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) joined the unit with temporary billets at Lye Mun, and in July 1951, operations began at Little Sai Wan alongside the existing unit at Tai Po Tsai, and billets were established at Cape Collinson.
In 1952, 367SU linguists were operating from Batty’s Belvedere atop The Peak, with billets at Lye Mun, but in the Spring of 1953, all billets moved to RAF Little Sai Wan.
The unit insignia was designated in July 1953 - ’Out of water barry wavy argent/azure a rock proper (grey) thereon a double headed dragon passant Or’ with the motto ’Nihil celerius’ - nothing swifter. The rock on water symbolises the location of the unit - Hong Kong - at the time of the award in 1953. The double headed dragon is also associated with the area and is symbolic of watchfulness.
Between 1953 and 1958, Little Sai Wan was developed as a fully integrated operational and residential site, with all the facilities of a non-flying RAF camp. Also in 1958, the first MOD civilian operators commenced work at Little Sai Wan and Batty’s Belvedere.
There were D/F outstations of the unit at Kong Wei, RAF Sek Kong in the New Territories, and RAF Detachment, Labuan in what was then British North Borneo - now Sabah, a Federal Territory of Malaysia since 1963.
In 1961, the last Regular and National Service wireless operators and linguists arrived and the phasing out of RAF personnel began. Civilian operations were progressively moved to Batty’s Belvedere.
In January and February, 1962, the remaining RAF personnel of 367 Signals Unit were re-billeted at Kai Tak. The Little Sai Wan base was taken over by civilians as ’Composite Signals Organization, Little Sai Wan’ - part of GCHQ.
In May, 1980, penetration of Little Sai Wan by hostile agents was alleged in the book ’GCHQ: The Negative Asset’ by former civilian operator, Jock Kane. His book became the subject of a High Court injunction in May, 1984, effectively preventing its publication in England (see p.353 ’GCHQ: The Secret Wireless War 1900 - 1986’ by Nigel West)
in 1982, the Composite Signals Unit moved from Little Sai Wan to Chung Hom Kok, west of Stanley, and the buildings at Little Sai Wan were used by a variety of Government organizations, including the Fire Training School. In early 1987, the base was used as a temporary camp for Vietnamese boat refugees, and further land reclamation for the building of a new housing scheme was underway.
finally, in 1988, the RAF buildings at Little Sai Wan were demolished.
Memories of RAF Little Sai Wan
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
RAF Little Sai Wan in 1961
Written by susan laidler
Worked in the office with Eilee Simpson, Eileen Cochrane, Alan Blackmoore got friendly with some of the RAF boys on the Station. Got great memories.
RAF Little Sai Wan, in 1957
Written by Bob Lawrence
Great memories of walking over the hills to Big Wave Bay, to spend the day swimming and sunbathing. The sandy beach was small and somewhat secluded, due to the towering cliffs and grass downland that encapsulated it on two sides, leaving but a narrow passageway to the rear for general access. A haven of peace and tranquility where time ~ as often as not ~ seemed to stand still...