Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

December 04, 2011 08:00 ET

Canada Marks the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2011) - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today recognized the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong. Approximately 1,975 Canadians participated in this Second World War battle which took place between December 8 and Christmas Day 1941.

"As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, we remember the courage and sacrifices of the Canadians who represented our nation with pride and determination," said Minister Blaney. "Today, we remember the brave men and women who accomplished extraordinary things in order to protect our values of liberty, democracy and the rule of law. As Canadians we come together to pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much so that we can live in a better world."

"We can never forget the suffering that Canadians endured protecting freedom and democracy as war spread to all corners of the globe," said Minister Baird. "The enormous price they paid cannot be forgotten, nor can their exemplary courage and determination."

On Christmas Day 1941, unable to fight any longer, the Allies had no choice but to surrender Hong Kong Island. Approximately 290 Canadians lost their lives in the battle. The remaining Canadian troops found themselves in what would become almost four years of captivity as prisoners of war.

Prisoners endured extremely difficult conditions ranging from systematic mistreatment to near-starvation. The poor treatment led to more than 260 additional Canadian deaths. In the end, more than 1,000 Canadians were either killed or wounded in the Battle of Hong Kong and its aftermath.

On August 15, 1945, the Second World War finally came to an end in the Far East but it would be December of that year before many of the surviving Canadian prisoners of war finally returned home.

In honour of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, a small group of Canadians, including three Veterans, is visiting Hong Kong to participate in a commemorative ceremony at the Sai Wan War Cemetery.

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

Lest we forget.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649