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Hsinchu MAAG

The MAAG Housing Compound



This photograph was taken in 2004.  Quarters 4 looked very, very nice.  In 1959, these were the quarters of Roy’s replacement, Colonel Dosch, a photograph of his family can be seen here.





In 1999 most of roofs were red, having been replaced due to typhoon damage.  In this 2006 shot, the site of the swimming pool is in the upper right, apparently having been filled in long ago. The pool was shut down in 1969, only after a decade of use.  Perhaps the date is incorrect.  Look closely at the white-one story flat roofed area just at the rear of the old pool, you can still see the old pool club room and snack bar just behind the hanging tree branches.  


This photograph shows more of the old compound.  These old homes still look nice. 

The old Rayle residence is the house right in the bottom center of this photograph as the road comes in on the left corner  Large trees are shading it today.  Notice the chimney in the upper right of this photograph just outside of the compound.


                                                                                                                       PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER CHEN

That chimney is part of a mysterious damaged factory. Juju Wang says that it was part of Sixth Navy Fuel Factory, which was the official Japanese Navy name for the group of refining facilities in Taiwan during World War II that created synthetic aviation fuels from alcohols, mostly butanol, refined from sugar cane. This work was essential to Japan because she lost access to oil fields in Burma and elsewhere. Hsinchu became the headquarters for this group of facilities late in the war, and the facility employed one thousand workers. US intelligence thought Hsinchu synthesized iso-octanes, which increase the octane of gasoline. We have not yet determined the role played by the above building in this facility. Most of the physical plant was probably destroyed some time between January and August 1945 by B-24 bomber raids of the USAAF Far East Air Force based in Luzon. Hsinchu city suffered the greatest bomb damage in Taiwan, based on area, probably because of the facilities location and because of the Kamikaze aircraft based at the Hsinchu Airdrome.

The Rayle boys explored some of this dangerous, imposing ruin. It was a gathering point for destitute families and their poultry, and maybe they lived there. Presumably the US bombed the factory in World War II. Somehow it’s significant because Juju Wang says this was made a Historical Landmark in 2005. Photo is from August 2004, taken inside the compound.




Here is a photograph taken from the opposite side of the factory, ca. 1960’s-70’s newspaper photo.


Here is a photo of the Japanese soldiers that were associated with the fuel factory.

Incidentally, Taiwan was not invaded by the Japanese during World War II; they had ruled Taiwan since 1895 as harsh colonizers, however, they did build an infrastructure of roads, railroads, schools, sanitation and government buildings, much of it still standing today.


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