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Sai Wan War Cemetery

World War life stories in Hong Kong to be made public

01 December 2014

Fresh insights into casualties of the world wars commemorated in Hong Kong will be revealed at the unveiling of an interactive visitor information panel at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Sai Wan War Cemetery on 4 December.

Over 100 of the graves at Sai Wan commemorate Commonwealth forces who died from injuries suffered in a First World War battle in China over the leased German port of Tsingtao. Most died later in Hong Kong hospitals.

In the Second World War, many Canadian and British forces fell defending Hong Kong from a Japanese invasion. 2,000 Canadian soldiers had arrived in Hong Kong in 1941 to support a small British garrison.

Life stories, digital photography and military records of the casualties from both conflicts are to be made available to smartphones users at both Sai Wan and Stanley Military Cemeteries for the first time as part of a centenary project overseen by the CWGC.

Visitors can use their phones to scan a code that navigates to a website revealing the backstories of those commemorated including  Canadian Private Nicholas Pastuck, who was taken prisoner when Hong Kong surrendered to Japan on Christmas Day 1941.

Click here to learn more about Private Pastuck via the microsite that will be accessed by those using the interactive panels at CWGC Sai Wan War Cemetery.

The panel will be unveiled by new CWGC Director General Victoria Wallace, who will also launch the Commission's new print guide to Hong Kong's world war commemorations. It follows on from the installation of an interactive panel at Stanley Military Cemetery in November.  

The CWGC commemorates 6,500 casualties of the two world wars across twenty cemeteries in Hong Kong.

Barry Murphy, CWGC Director, Africa and Asia Pacific Area, said: "In this centenary year of the First World War, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is preserving the memory of the Commonwealth servicemen who lost their lives in Hong Kong during both wars through the installation of interactive visitors panels. We hope local residents, business visitors and tourists alike will visit either of the two cemeteries where the interactive panels are being installed, in order to learn more about Hong Kong's role in two important chapters of 20th Century history."

Click here to read the full media release.