Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

December 02, 2010 17:34 ET

Minister Blackburn Remembers the Events Surrounding the Defence of Hong Kong

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2010) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), made the following statement today regarding the 69th anniversary of the defence of Hong Kong.

"This year marks the 69th anniversary of the defence of Hong Kong. This battle came at a great human cost. The courage of the men and women who fought in it is remarkable and must not be forgotten.

These 1,975 Canadians bravely stepped to the frontlines to defend the British colony of Hong Kong, to counter an enemy attack. With little military training and no battle experience, they became the first Canadian soldiers to fight as a unit in the Second World War. Leaving their families and the safety of their homes back in Canada, these men and women found themselves in the midst of a battle that would last 18 days and claim more than 290 Canadian lives. The battle ended on Christmas Day, 1941 when the Allied forces were overrun. Those who survived were forced into prisoner-of-war camps where more than 260 additional Canadians lost their lives.

History usually tells us stories of the victories that we as Canadians can claim. But we must never forget the determination and strength of these men and women, who bravely fought until the Allies had to surrender. The Battle of Hong Kong had one of the highest casualty rates of any Canadian battle during the Second World War. This was the battle that truly showed the spirit of Canadians to the world. This spirit was then echoed in victories that followed.

Of the 1,975 Canadians who came to Hong Kong, more than 1,000 were either killed or wounded. We must always remember not only the sacrifices of these soldiers, but also the pride with which they represented our nation.

Lest we forget."

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3465
    Cell.: 613-608-3252