Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

December 17, 2009 16:12 ET

Minister Thompson Marks the 68th Anniversary of the Defence of Hong Kong

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 17, 2009) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today issued the following statement marking the 68th anniversary of the defence of Hong Kong.

"Almost seven decades ago, 1,976 seemingly ordinary Canadians sailed halfway around the globe with no idea of the fate that awaited them. They only knew that the world was calling, and they were prepared to answer. While defending the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong against a fierce enemy attack, Canadian soldiers would see major action for the first time during the Second World War. Of those who served in the 18-day Battle of Hong Kong, 290 would lay down their lives. On Christmas Day 1941, unable to fight any longer, the Allies had no choice but to surrender. The remaining Canadian troops, including two nursing sisters, were taken prisoners of war.

"We struggle to imagine how those who survived the fierce fighting were then able to endure almost four years as prisoners of war in some of the most cruel and desperate conditions possible. More than 260 Canadians died during that period. The war in the Far East would finally come to an end on August 15, 1945, but it would be December before many of the remaining Canadian prisoners of war finally returned home. These 1,976 courageous Canadians have earned their place among our nation's truest heroes.

"On this 68th anniversary of the defence of Hong Kong, we remember the brave Canadians who suffered so others would enjoy freedom, democracy and the rule of law. They fought for the same values and beliefs that our service men and women continue to defend today in areas of conflict around the world."

For more information on Canada's contribution in Hong Kong, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Lest we forget.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649