Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

August 15, 2009 11:02 ET

Minister Unveils Memorial Wall Honouring Veterans of the Battle of Hong Kong

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2009) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today unveiled a memorial wall to honour all those who fought in the Battle of Hong Kong during the Second World War.

Veterans of the battle attended the ceremony. Also there to mark the occasion were The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, The Honurable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Senator Vivienne Poy, who was born in Hong Kong; Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission; and General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. The wall is located on National Capital Commission property at the corner of King Edward Avenue and Sussex Drive.

"The memory of your brave service and sacrifice will live on in all those who are here and all who will pass this way," said Minister Thompson. "Your mission to keep the memory alive for all Canadians is as important as your mission to defend Hong Kong 64 years ago."

"The National Capital Commission is proud that this monument will stand in the heart of the Capital Region to tell Canadians and visitors the story of those who fought to defend Hong Kong and to ensure that we as a nation do not forget their efforts," said Marie Lemay, CEO, National Capital Commission. "The NCC is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association of Canada to achieve this significant and meaningful monument."

In 1941, the British decided to reinforce their outpost in Hong Kong to deter hostile action by Japan. To help defend the Crown colony, Canada sent a force of 1,976, consisting of two battalions-the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, a brigade headquarters group and various specialists including a signal section, two medical officers, two nursing sisters and three chaplains.

Over 17 days of fighting in December 1941, 290 Canadians were killed and 493 were wounded. Those who survived the heavy fighting were in prisoner of war camps until Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945. More than 260 men died in the camps and never returned home. They endured forced labour, torture and starvation by their captors. Of those who fought, approximately 90 survive today.

More information on the Battle of Hong Kong can be found on the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Heather MacDonald
    A/Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7428
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649