Working with Hong Kong lads – Civil Aid Service (CAS) a blast from the past.

The Civil Aid Service(CAS) is a civil organisation that assists in a variety of auxiliary emergency roles, including search and rescue operations in Hong Kong. CAS is funded by the Hong Kong Government and its members wear uniforms.

CAS was formed in 1952 and had a RAF Qualified Team Leader in charge of the Mountain Rescue till Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese.

Over the years I am sure from the 80’s we had a great time working with the Rescue Team in Hong Kong. We had some adventures. We climbed Beinn Eighe and Liathach together the lads were impressed with that day. We had a great day on the Old Man of Storr a Sea Stack at Lochinver. That was interesting on the small belays and the abseil of into the foaming sea.


Up on the Ben they had great days on Tower Ridge and of Course Glencoe where they May Hamish McInnes who gave them a copy of his International Rescue Book. They were impressed by the rock climbing and the crag days we arranged for them . When I was the Team Leader at RAF Leuchars we had some great days and also the troops enjoyed showing them the odd wild night in Dundee at “Fat Sams” nightclub. I bit bigger than a night in Elgin! We met on the annual Summer Course where they came to Wales to rock climb. As always they were great troops and sadly I never got over to Hong Kong to visit them but I heard the tales of how great there hospitality was.

CAS Visit

My pal John Chapman “Found this while trawling the Newspaper archives”

Dundee Courier – Saturday 20 August 1988

Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Hong Kong lads to the rescue ANY CLIMBERS or walkers who might have the misfortune to come to grief on the Cuillins in Skye at the weekend could be in for a shock when they see their rescuers. Members of Hong Kong’s mountain rescue unit will be in the area as part of their activities during a trip to Scotland. Francis Lo (33) and Tim Leung (30) are visiting R.A.F. Leuchars. This weekend the pair are training and on stand-by with the Leuchars mountain rescue team. with Skye as the location.

I think it was in 1963 when the CAS was formed to replace the RAF Team the powers that be were asked to provide training. Among the first Team Leaders was Steve Reeves and Jack Baines. RAF Training continued for many years in Wales, Scotland with Teams and National Centres like Plas – y – Brenin. (Steve Reeves was the author of A guide to Rock climbing in Hong Kong).

On September 1 1962 Typhoon Wanda hit Hong King Island when some of the team were training they quickly struck camp and for safety’s sake moved into a empty stone hut. When the radio operator lost contact with them at base and the weather abated other members found their 5 colleagues dead in the wreckage of the hut that had collapsed at the height of the Typhoon. A tragic event.

Comments and photos welcome.

Reference Whensover – 50 years of the RAF Mountain Rescue 1943 -1993 Frank Card.

Thanks to Dan Carrol for the photos and John Chapman.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Friends, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Views Political?, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Working with Hong Kong lads – Civil Aid Service (CAS) a blast from the past.

  1. Hammy Anderson says:

    We started training them in 1966 when Steve was team leader


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