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"Canadians in Hong Kong" Topic

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338 hits since 10 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

"In the Second World War, Canadian soldiers first engaged in battle while defending the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong against a Japanese attack in December 1941. The Canadians at Hong Kong fought against overwhelming odds and displayed the courage of seasoned veterans, though most had limited military training. They had virtually no chance of victory, but refused to surrender until they were overrun by the enemy. Those who survived the battle became prisoners of war (POWs) and many endured torture and starvation by their Japanese captors.

In October 1941, the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were ordered to prepare for service in the Pacific. From a national perspective, the choice of battalions was ideal. The Royal Rifles were a bilingual unit from the Quebec City area and, together with the Winnipeg Grenadiers, both battalions represented eastern and western regions of Canada. Command of the Canadian force was assigned to Brigadier J.K. Lawson. This was also a good choice because of Lawson's training and experience; he was a "Permanent Force" officer and had been serving as Director of Military Training in Ottawa. The Canadian contingent was comprised of 1,975 soldiers, which also included two medical officers, two Nursing Sisters, two officers of the Canadian Dental Corps with their assistants, three chaplains, two Auxiliary Service Officers, and a detachment of the Canadian Postal Corps. There was also one military stowaway who was sent back to Canada.

Prior to duty in Hong Kong, the Royal Rifles had served in Newfoundland and Saint John, New Brunswick, while the Winnipeg Grenadiers had been posted to Jamaica. In these locations, both battalions had received only minimal training. In late 1941, war with Japan was not considered imminent and it was expected that the Canadians would see only garrison (non-combat) duty. Instead, in December, the Japanese military launched a series of attacks on Pearl Harbor, Northern Malaya, the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island and Hong Kong. The Royal Rifles and the Winnipeg Grenadiers would find themselves engulfed in hand-to-hand combat against the Japanese 38th Division…."
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Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 5:03 p.m. PST

When my mom was a student nurse in Winnipeg she took care of some of the vets from the Winnipeg Grenadiers – they had lots of tales of Japanese prison camps, none complementary

Maha Bandula10 Jan 2019 7:25 p.m. PST

Here are some figures produced by King & Country, that veritable Hong Kong manufacturer:

wrgmr110 Jan 2019 10:34 p.m. PST

Thanks for bringing this little known Canadian battle to TMP Armand! It's still a very Canadian thing!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 11:06 a.m. PST

A votre service mon ami!. (smile)


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