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On 16 January 1945, a combined Air Group of US Navy airplanes set off from aircraft carriers in the South China Sea for the heaviest bombing raids on Hong Kong during WWII. This was called Operation Gratitude.

Bombing strategic targets in Hong Kong was a priority for allied forces fighting for control of the Pacific. The strategic location of Hong Kong to the Japanese and the superior allied air power led to several bombing raids of Hong Kong from airstrips located nearby in mainland China and from US aircraft carriers

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During the bombing raids, a total of 17 planes were lost. Two Avenger airplanes collided amidst the chaos of intense anti-aircraft artillery fire above Tai Tam Country Park located in the heart of Hong Kong Island.

The wreckage site has never been properly located and historical records are inconsistent as to the wreckage site locations and personal artifacts... until now.



The expeditions objectives are to:


  • Map archeological artefacts in the designated crash areas

  • Identify the aircraft and its associated human story

  • Recover and conserve important artefacts

  • Educate and promote public interest about Hong Kong’s exciting history including the US support of occupied Hong Kong during WWII  


This expedition is the continuation of the initial efforts made by amateur historian Craig Mitchell, who since 2011 has discovered and identified several wreckage sites in an effort to study the history of Hong Kong.
Our team consists of local and global experts in the fields of archaeology, geographical survey, 
adventuring, orienteering and historical conservation. Read more about the team here.



In collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the expedition team will be employing the latest remote sensing technology. High resolution light detection and ranging (LIDAR), as well as ground penetrating radar allow the analysis and mapping of a wide search perimeter.

Project Avenger will innovate a groundbreaking way of cooperation in archaeology as well, by employing a virtual field work approach. LIDAR, 3D photogrammetry and cloud technology will allow us to create a virtual model to cooperate with an expert team in the US in real time.

3D rendering: Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD)

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