To the Last Man: Canadian Troops in the Battle of Hong Kong

23.12.2011 – 20.6.2012

Upper Gallery
Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

On 16 November 1941, two Canadian troops – the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada boarded huge transport vessels and were deployed to Hong Kong. Under the leadership of Brigadier General Lawson and comprising some 2,500 members including the civil officials and rear services units, these troops took part in the Hong Kong defence forces. The Canadian troops were platoons of young and inexperienced soldiers. They were not only in lack of training, but also unfamiliar with the landscape of Hong Kong. Even worse their weapons were still on the way to Hong Kong, which further weakened their defensive power. From the Japanese attack to the Hong Kong Governor's promulgation of surrender on Christmas Day, many Canadians were killed, including Brigadier General Lawson, who perished in the heavy fighting at Wong Nai Chung Gap. Upon the fall of Hong Kong, the Canadians were jailed in the POW camp where many died of diseases and malnutrition. Some 500 Canadian soldiers passed away during the Battle of Hong Kong and the Japanese Occupation Period where they made up about one-fifth of the total Hong Kong defence forces. After the war, most were buried at the Stanley Military Cemetery and the Sai Wan War Cemetery. Every year, veterans from Hong Kong and overseas gather to participate in the mourning ceremony held by the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong in 2011, this pictorial exhibition is staged to pay a tribute to the Canadian troops in defending Hong Kong in this battle.