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Project Avenger – using virtual fieldwork to explore a WW2 mystery in Hong Kong 

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. During the bombing raids, two Avenger aeroplanes collided amidst the chaos of intense anti-aircraft artillery fire.

The wreckage site had never been located and historical records were inconsistent… until now.

Project Avenger is an Explorers Club flag expedition that was the culmination of a decade of discovery and research. In November 2021, under the leadership of the Hong Kong Chapter of the Explorers Club, a team of archaeologists, military historians, adventurers, geographical surveyors, students, and volunteers embarked on a unique and groundbreaking scientific expedition in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.

Join The Explorers Club and the expedition team to learn about how they utilized advanced 3D imaging photogrammetry and novel approaches to virtual archeological fieldwork to ultimately lift the mystery of this largely forgotten chapter of history.


To watch this lecture, stream live here on, our YouTube Channel, and our Facebook LiveMonday, May 2nd at 7:00 pm ET.


Paul Niel

Paul Niel has travelled the globe extensively for expeditions and other adventures that have taken him to places as disparate as Kamchatka, Papua, the Antarctic and across the Atlantic Ocean. Over the last ten years, he has successfully climbed the highest mountains on every continent and became one of the first climbers to ascend two 8,000m peaks within 24 hours, Mt Everest and Mt Lhotse.
He has lead several expeditions discovering and climbing uncharted mountain ranges in Eastern China and Antarctica and was a member of the Citation of Merit winning Andrews Centennial expedition. He has travelled to over 110 countries and drove a tuktuk more than 3,000km through India to raise awareness for girls’ education. Together with his wife, he completed the first coastal circum-climb of Hong Kong Island, mapping coastal pollution. Besides frequent contributions to magazines and newspapers he has produced three award-winning documentaries that have screened at festivals around the world.
Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and a founding member of the Hong Kong chapter of the Explorers Club.

Dr. Michael Rivera

Dr. Michael B. C. Rivera is a Filipino-Chinese researcher, writer, public speaker and biological anthropologist based in Hong Kong. Obtaining his PhD in 2019 from the University of Cambridge, his main research focuses on human history and development over the last six million years. He is the lead archaeologist managing the excavation of the remains of the Avenger that crashed in Hong Kong in 1945.

Dr. Rivera is currently working on establishing a greater presence of bioanthropological science in Hong Kong, expanding research, teaching, laboratory and field projects, and public engagement projects. He has worked in/has other active projects in the Philippines, Japan, India, and further beyond in Southeast Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. Finally, Dr. Rivera has also worked extensively in making scientific work and research ideas accessible through various forms of teaching, social media and public engagement.

Craig Mitchell

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Craig has had a lifetime passion for military history, in particular the Battle for Hong Kong. Craig discovered the wreck site in January 2012 after months of searching after an initial small fragment was first found and has been working to conduct a professional archaeological study since.

Craig leads a small team that studies the battle for Hong Kong in meticulous detail and actively searches for evidence to document before the passage of time erodes artifacts beyond recognition. The team has successfully returned numerous personal items found on the battlefield to relatives and family members as well as donated relics to schools and museums.

Dr. Chi Man Kwong

Dr. Chi Man Kwong is an associate professor in the history department of Hong Kong Baptist University. He specializes in the military and naval history of modern East Asia, particularly from the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) to the 1970s. He has published Eastern Fortress A Military History of Hong Kong, 1840–1970 (coauthored, Hong Kong Book Prize 2019) and War and Geopolitics in Interwar Manchuria. He recently launched an interactive map about the battle of Hong Kong in 1941:

Adam Janikowski

Hailing from Canada, Adam is an investment banker working for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce where he is responsible for ESG and diversified banking in the Asia Pacific Region. He has worked in London, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Calgary.

He was awarded degrees in Chemical Engineering and Classics from Queens University at Kingston, Canada, an MBA from INSEAD, and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado Schools of Mines with a focus on developing Resources in Space. He is currently working on a doctorate studying the privatization and commercialization of the space resources industry.

Using virtual fieldwork to explore a WW2 mystery in Hong Kong

Join The Explorers Club and the expedition team to learn about how they utilized advanced 3D imaging photogrammetry and novel approaches to virtual archeological fieldwork to ultimately lift the mystery of this largely forgotten chapter of history.
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