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Title:RAF REOPEN THE RAILWAY BETWEEN KOWLOON AND LO WU [Allocated Title]
Film Number:ABY 173
Other titles:ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: The reopening of the Kowloon-Lo Wu railway line gets off to a decidedly mixed start, and RAF men mix with Chinese soldiers.
Description: View looking along the carriages of a train underway. RAF airmen, European and Chinese civilians can be seen. In one of the compartments RAF airmen talk with a Chinese civilian who tries to open a nondescript can of food. At a station crowds gather. RAF airmen lean out of their carriage to drop small items to Chinese children begging below. Close-up of a middle-aged looked airman. Officers and airmen befriending Chinese children. Two men exchange their RAF forage caps for straw hats. The train pulls slowly out of the station and a few RAF men dash along beside it. View from the train as it pulls away from the platform. View from the footplate. A man in a topee surveys the scenery. The train, derailed, with Chinese civilians milling about. The locomotive with its nose buried in the ground. Two British airmen and two Chinese soldiers exchange rifles; a Chinese man handles a .303-calibre Enfield No.4 while an airman is shown the action of a Soviet 7.62mm Mosin-Nagant rifle. A Chinese soldier explains the use of a stick grenade. Another shows an officer his pistol, which is either a (German) Mauser C96 'broomhandle' automatic or a very similar Chinese copy. RAF officers watch from a carriage. Two Chinese soldiers board the train. Two others put on a demonstration of bayonet fighting. An American, British and two Chinese officers talking. Panning view over Hong Kong harbour.
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 361 ft; Running time: 5 minutes
Notes: Dopesheet notes that this was the first train to run since the British reoccupation of Hong Kong, and that the derailment was caused by a failure (unattributed to any particular person) to check the points. This sent the locomotive into a siding and crashing through a brick wall. In hindsight, one might wonder what this says about the future of the British Empire.
The Kowloon-Lo Wu line was part of a rail link from Kowloon to Canton (Guangzhou) and provided an important land link between British Hong Kong (and associated territories) with the rest of China.
A photograph taken by a Royal Navy photographer credits the reopening of this railway to two junior naval officers of HMS Indomitable. Other photographs relating to this railway can be found at the references below.