Today the veterans of the Battle for Hong Kong marked the 75th anniversary of Canada’s first combat in World War II at the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall in Ottawa. It was a cold, bright day, and the crowd, albeit smaller than a lot of remembrance events, was committed to remembering the defence of the British colony of Hong Kong from the 8th to the 25th December, 1941. The attack started on the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbour and was a violation of international law as the Japanese Empire had not declared war on Great Britain. The garrison was manned by local troops, and troops from Canada, Britain, and India, all who provided stiff resistance until after 17 days they were out of food and ammunition. C Force, the 2,000 strong Canadian contingent made up of mostly Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, were under trained and under equipped to fight four times their numbers of seasoned Japanese troops, especially with no air or naval support. But fight they did losing 23 officers and 267 other ranks killed or who died of wounds. Some of the dead were murdered by Japanese soldiers during or after the surrender. Of the Canadians captured, 267 perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
It should be noted that a veteran of the Battle for Hong Kong, Mr. George S. MacDonell, was present at the ceremony and laid a wreath on behalf of Gander, the C Force mascot, who gave up his life during the battle saving soldiers on the battle field. One should note that Gander’s name is inscribed on the monument with all the heroes of C Force at the insistence of the veterans of the battle.
To see all the pictures from the ceremony, CLICK HERE