Hong Kong Military Service Corps

Hong Kong Military Service Corps

Hong Kong Military Service Corps (HKMSC) (Chinese: 香港軍事服務團) was a British army unit and part of the British garrison in Hong Kong (see British Forces Overseas Hong Kong). Throughout the history of Hong Kong, it has been the only regular British army unit raised in the territory made up almost entirely of Locally Enlisted Personnel (LEP).


Many Hong Kong Chinese fought alongside the British troops in the defence of Hong Kong. The battle group of the British Battalions consisted of 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots and Hong Kong Chinese Regiment. Other battle groups were Royal Artillery, Canadian Battalions, Indian Forces and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force. A large number of Hong Kong Chinese were killed or became prisoners of war. In January 1948 the Hong Kong Chinese Training Unit (HKCTU) was formed from Hong Kong Chinese who had served in the various artillery and coastal defence units during the Battle of Hong Kong in the Second World War, with the aim of recruiting and training Hong Kong Chinese soldiers to assist and support the British Garrison in Hong Kong. Members of the HKMSC were later frequently nicknamed locally as "sui lei pao bing" (water mine or coastal artillery soldiers) in memory of their predecessors.

The unit's headquarters and training depot were located first at Lyemun Barracks between Shaukeiwan & Chaiwan, and latterly at Stonecutters Island. The HQ and Depot was commanded by a British Lieutenant Colonel, with a British and a Hong Kong Chinese Adjutant (Majors), a British and a Hong Kong Chinese RSM (WO1) and a British RQMS (WO2); recruitment, selection and training was carried out by Training Company, commanded by a British Army Major. The Deputy Commander British Forces (Brigadier) was the Commandant HKMSC (a largely honorary title).

Soldiers of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps maintained its reputation for loyalty and military skills throughout, often outshining British and Gurkha troops. In the late eighties a member of the HKMSC Shooting Team won the Champion Short on the 9mm Pistol during an annual Skill At Arms Meeting in UK, achieving the Best Pistol Shot in the whole British Army. In the early 1990s a Training Company team of the HQ and Depot HKMSC won the Dragon Cup for military skills (outperforming the Queen's Gurkha Signals in signalling and the British Military Hospital team in first aid); the competition was not held again.

The HKMSC reached a peak strength of 1,200 men, providing the British garrison in Hong Kong with support personnel, and HKMSC were cap badged in nearly all Hong Kong based units including RCT (GTR and 415 Maritime Troop), RAVC (as dog-handlers in DASU), officer instructors in the RAEC, officers and clerks in the RAPC, technicians in the Royal Signals (QGS), engineers and armourers in REME, physical training instructors in APTC, medics in the RAMC (BMH), military police (RMP), even helicopter support crew (660 Sqn AAC)as well as cooks (ACC) and intelligence staff, interpreters, clerks and guards (Dragon Company). During the Gulf War and in the early 1990s the HKMSC provided personnel, primarily drivers and ambulance crew, to UNFICYP peacekeeping operations.

In 1996 the unit was disbanded prior to the handover of British sovereignty to China in 1997.

Although in July 2006 Britain granted full British citizenship to all Nepalese (Gurkhas) and their dependants (approximately 140,000) who had served in Hong Kong, entitling them to live and work in Britain if they so wished, only a very limited number of the 500 HKMSC soldiers who applied for British residency (and who already held British Dependent Territory passports) were granted residency.


* Depot Hong Kong Military Service Corps, Lyemun Barracks

External links

* [ Hong Kong Military Service Corps]

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