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Remembering the Fallen of the Battle of Hong Kong

30 November 2016

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Sai Wan will form the dramatic backdrop to a moving ceremony this Sunday, December 4, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong.

The ceremony - organised by the Consulate General of Canada - will commemorate the sacrifices made by the Hong Kong garrisonduring a fierce struggle which culminated in the eventual surrender of the colony to Japanese forces on Christmas Day, 1941.

The garrison – composed of British, Canadian, Indian and local troops - suffered some 4,200 casualties (wounded, missing or dead), while most of the survivors were taken prisoner of war. Today, at cemeteries and memorials around Hong Kong, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC] commemorates more than 5,800 Commonwealth servicemen and women of the Second World War. Some 1,500 of those commemorated died during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941.

Victoria Wallace, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who will be attending the ceremony at Sai Wan, said: “It is a privilege to be in Hong Kong to mark the 75th anniversary of the invasion, and to honour all those who lost their lives during the fighting, and as prisoners of war during the occupation. It was a dark part of the second world war, with terrible losses, and it is fitting that the Canadians, who fought so bravely and took so many casualties should lead the commemoration. The CWGC commemorates 1.7 million men and women who died in the service of their countries, all around the world - but each one was someone’s son or daughter, a husband, or a father. With the passing of the years, and with fewer veterans returning to Hong Kong, it’s ever more important to join together to say ‘we will remember them.’”

Media accreditation

Full details of Sunday’s service, and arrangements for media accreditation, can be found here:

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/hong_kong/highlights-faits/2016/MA-Canadian_Commemorative-commemorative_canadienne.aspx?lang=en

The Consulate General has arranged for the following guests and organisations to be present:

  • Ms. Peggy Lee, one of the first Chinese-Canadian women to serve in World War II with the BC St. John Ambulance

  • Mr. Tommy Wong, served in the Canadian Army Force 136 and was deployed in India and Burma during World War II

  • Mr. Monty Lee, served in Bomber Command, Royal Canadian Air Force, during World War II

  • Mr. Peter Choi, Hong Kong World War II veteran and President of the World War II Veterans Association (HK)

  • The Canadian Armed Forces Delegation

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipes and Drums

Date: Sunday, December 4, 2016 Time: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. (Please arrive by 9:30am) Location: CWGC Sai Wan War Cemetery, Cape Collinson Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong

The Battle for Hong Kong - background

On December 8, 1941, eight hours after the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces launched an invasion of the British colony of Hong Kong. Defending the small isolated British colony were some 12,000 British, Indian Army and locally raised troops, plus two battalions of newly arrived Canadian Infantry. Outnumbered and with their air support destroyed, Commonwealth forces were quickly driven back and by 12 December had been forced to retreat from the mainland to Hong Kong island.

Japanese aircraft and artillery then bombarded the island, before an amphibious infantry assault was launched on the night of 18 December. Over the following days and nights a fierce battle raged throughout the streets, woodlands and hillsides of Hong Kong. Though exhausted and running low on ammunition & supplies Commonwealth troops fought on, but with little chance of escape or relief were forced to surrender on Christmas morning, 25 December.

For more information, contact Tim Brearley: 07766 255884 or 01628 507163, tim.brearley@cwgc.org

Ends.

Notes for editors:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.The Commission operates in more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries.

Get to know the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Read: http://www.cwgc.org/

Follow: https://twitter.com/CWGC

Like: https://www.facebook.com/commonwealthwargravescommission

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuyv7WCJv_NYL04eKG3oyVA

2. Photo and other credits

Please ensure that all photos, videos and other materials are credited to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or CWGC.