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The Binoculars - Good for Spotting Ships and More!

Yes, another gift from Tamar at the time of the Handover! and if you haven't noticed them, they now reside in the Chart Room.

There are some makers engravings on the binoculars which indicate they are 20 x 120mm binoculars with a 3 degree field of view. We can see a serial number, 845, and according to the official Nikon website this particular logo dates back to the 1930s. We wrote to Nikon in the hopes they may have records but so far no word.

There are five plaques on the instrument which goes some way to tell the story of its travels from 1945 to 1985:

To Our Commander-in-Chief

From HMS Venerable September 1945


Presented to

Government House Hong Kong By Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt KCS OBE

Commander-in-Chief and Head of the

Military Administration

August 1945 to May 1948


This instrument

was completely overhauled

by W. Haking Industries Ltd



On the Harbour

being no longer visible

from Government House

in 1975 this telescope

was transferred to


Transferred to

The Captain-in-Charge Hong Kong


Chief Secretary, Victoria House to HMS Tamar

7 February 1985


Certainly the original intent for these binoculars was to spot ships but Peter Melson, the last British Senior Naval Officer, Hong Kong, from 1994 to 1997, and ex officio, Rear Commodore of RHKYC told us more! ... "They were mounted in the Wardroom, HMS TAMAR, from when they were gifted up until they were in turn gifted to the RHKYC. When I first arrived in 1994 I saw the binoculars and wondered why they were trained on the Ritz Carlton hotel rather than out to sea. Then I noticed a laminated card hanging from the stand which had a diagram of the hotel, listing all the bedrooms with their phone numbers. Clearly the young officers living in TAMAR had plans other than ship spotting for the binoculars!"


If you have ideas for future Ahoy Lite articles, or perhaps have always wondered about the history of something at the Club please email and we'll try our best to look into it for you!


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