The Battle of Hong Kong (8–25 December 1941), also known as the Defence of Hong Kong and the Fall of Hong Kong, was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II. On the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the British Crown colony of Hong Kong. The attack was in violation of international law as Japan had not declared war against the British Empire. The Hong Kong garrison consisted of British, Indian and Canadian units besides Chinese soldiers and conscripts from both within and outside Hong Kong.
The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States' formal entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.
Locations which played an important role in setting the pace of military operations during December 1941 include TaiPo Road, the Shing Mun Redoubt trench and tunnel complex in the Gin Drinkers' Line, Devil's Peak, Ma Lau Tong, Lyemun (also spelt as Lye Moon or Lei Yue Mun), North Point, Aldrich Bay (Quarry Bay), Shaukiwan, Saiwan Hill, Wong Nei Chong Gap (Wong Nai Chung Gap), Tytam (Tai Tam Gap & Reservoirs), Shouson Hill and Stanley Fort. Coastal defence batteries including those at Stonecutters Island, Pak Sha Wan, Lyemun fort, Saiwan, Mount Collinson, Mount Parker, Belchers, Mount Davis, Jubilee Hill, Bokara, and Stanley provided artillery support for ground operations till they were put out of action or surrendered.
Tai Po Road is the second longest road in Hong Kong. It spans from Sham Shui Po in Kowloon to Tai Po in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Initially, the road was named Frontier Road.
Devil's Peak is the peak besides Lei Yue Mun on New Kowloon, Hong Kong. The area around the peak was garrisoned by the British Army or local pirates to control the passage of Lei Yue Mun, which is an important nautical passage in South China. The remains of a redoubt and batteries are still visible on the peak.
Lei Yue Mun is a short channel in Hong Kong. It lies between Junk Bay and Victoria Harbour, separating Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The channel is an important passage for the city, forming the eastern entrance of Victoria Harbour.
Within a week the defenders abandoned the mainland and less than two weeks later, with their position on the island untenable, the colony had raised the white flag of surrender.
Britain first thought of Japan as a threat with the ending of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the early 1920s, a threat that increased with the escalation of the Second Sino-Japanese War. On 21 October 1938 the Japanese occupied Canton (Guangzhou) and Hong Kong was surrounded.British defence studies concluded that Hong Kong would be extremely hard to defend in the event of a Japanese attack, but in the mid-1930s work began on improvements to defences including along the Gin Drinkers' Line. By 1940, the British determined to reduce the Hong Kong Garrison to only a symbolic size. Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Far East Command argued that limited reinforcements could allow the garrison to delay a Japanese attack, gaining time elsewhere. Winston Churchill and the general staff named Hong Kong as an outpost and decided against sending more troops. In September 1941, they reversed their decision and argued that additional reinforcements would provide a military deterrent against the Japanese and reassure Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek that Britain was serious about defending the colony.
The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed in London at Lansdowne House, on 30 January 1902, by Lord Lansdowne and Hayashi Tadasu. A diplomatic milestone that saw an end to Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and expanded in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921. It was officially terminated in 1923.
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.
Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.
|Strengths of all personnel mobilised at Hong Kong Garrison on 8 December 1941||14564|
|Auxiliary Defence Units||2112|
|Hong Kong Voluntary Defence Corps||2000|
Contemporary research and literature about the Battle of Hong Kong is overbearingly focused on the British and Canadian military, leaving the Chinese and Indian war narratives almost entirely untold.
According to the history manual of the United States Military Academy: "Japanese control of Canton, Hainan Island, French Indo-China, and Formosa virtually sealed the fate of Hong Kong well before the firing of the first shot".British military in Hong Kong grossly underestimated the capabilities of the Japanese forces and downplayed the Japanese threat as 'unpatriotic' and 'insubordinate'. US Consul Robert Ward, the highest ranking US official posted to Hong Kong in the period preceding the outbreak of hostilities, offered a first-hand explanation for the rapid collapse of defenses in Hong Kong by saying that the local British community had insufficiently prepared itself or the Chinese populace for war besides highlighting the prejudiced attitudes held by those governing the Crown Colony of Hong Kong:"several of them (the British rulers) said frankly that they would rather turn the island over to the Japanese rather than to turn it over to the Chinese, by which they meant rather than employ Chinese to defend the colony they would surrender it to the Japanese". According to US Consul Robert Ward, "when the real fighting came it was the British soldiery that broke and ran. The Eurasians fought well and so did the Indians but the Kowloon line broke when the Royal Scots gave way. The same thing happened on the mainland." Colonel Reynolds Condon, a US Army assistant military attaché who witnessed the battle and was taken prisoner by the Japanese wrote up his observations on military preparedness before the commencement of hostilities and also the execution of operations thereafter.
During World War II, soldiers of the Indian Army were involved in the Battle of Hong Kong.The 5/7 Rajput Regiment took up garrison at Hong Kong in June 1937 followed by the 2/14 Punjab in November 1940. Indian troops were also incorporated within several overseas regiments as for example the Hong Kong Singapore Royal Artillery Regiment which had Indian (Sikh) gunners. Hong Kong Mule Corps was almost entirely staffed by Dogras and Punjabi Mussulmans. Medical personnel from the Indian Medical Service tended to those injured in combat. Ex-servicemen from India serving as security guards in Hong Kong also suffered "appallingly huge" casualties.
Two of the three battalions stationed at the Gin Drinkers Line were from the Indian Army: the 2/14th Battalion, Punjab Regiment in the centre section and the 5/7th Battalion, Rajput Regiment in the eastern sector. The 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots were assigned to the western sector.When Mainland Infantry Brigade was ordered to retreat to Hong Kong Island, the Rajputs were tasked with defending the North East sector and Punjab to the North West sector including Victoria City (Hong Kong city). Royal Scots were reassigned to the Wanchai Filter Beds.
The Indian Army (IA), often known since 1947 as the British Indian Army to distinguish it from the current Indian Army, was the principal military of the British Indian Empire before its decommissioning in 1947. It was responsible for the defence of both the British Indian Empire and the princely states, which could also have their own armies. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First World War and the Second World War.
Details regarding the involvement of military personnel from the Indian subcontinent in the Battle of Hong Kong has been published in "Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War, 1939-45. Campaigns in South-East Asia, 1941-42. Hong Kong, Malaya and Sarawak & Borneo."which draws significantly from the UK War Office reports which appeared in London Gazette No.38183 "Operations in the Far East, from 17th October 1940 to 27th December 1941" (Despatch by Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, Commander-in-Chief, Far East) and London Gazette No.38190 "Operations in Hong Kong from 8th to 25th December 1941" (Despatch by Major-General C.M.Maltby, General Officer Commanding British Troops in China).
Battalions from both Indian Army regiments from the British Raj earned Battle Honoursfor the defence of Hong Kong: 5th Battalion of 7th Rajput Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of 14th Punjab Regiment saw combat during the Japanese assault on Kowloon peninsula (TaiPo Road, Shing Mun Redoubt, Ma Lau Tong and Devil's Peak) and Hong Kong Island (Lyemun, North Point, Quarry Bay, Sai Wan, Leighton Hill, Shouson Hill, Brick Hill, Wan Chai, Happy Valley, Wong Nei Chong Gap, Mount Parish).
First significant exchanges of fire with troops of the Imperial Japanese Army was through 2/14 Punjab at 1500 hours after the invaders had crossed into Laffan's Plain. On 8 December 1941, Forward Troops of 2/14 Punjab drew first blood by eliminating a detachment at 1830 hours and virtually wiped out a Japanese platoon on Taipo Road at 1930 hours.
During the Battle of Hong Kong, the 5/7 Rajputs faced the onslaught of Imperial Japanese Army troops very early-onand were the last soldiers to depart from the mainland when Kowloon was evacuated on 13 December 1941. At the beginning of the Pacific War, 5/7 Rajput was tasked with front-line defence of the Eastern section of the Gin Drinkers Line on mainland Kowloon Peninsula. Despite being subjected to dive bombing and heavy mortar fire, the Rajputs succeeded in holding Devil's Peak on the mainland until ordered to retreat across Lyemun Strait to Hong Kong island. On Hong Kong Island they were assigned to defences located all along the North Shoreline. On 18 December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army launched the invasion of Hong Kong Island by landing first at North Point. The first troops to engage them were the Rajputs who continued to offer resistance until the regiment virtually ceased to exist. In his despatch, Major-General C.M.Maltby, wrote about the conduct of troops under his command in Hong Kong and mentions the 5/7 Rajput Regiment: "This battalion fought well on the mainland and their repulse of the enemy attack on Devil's Peak was entirely successful. The full force of the enemy's initial attack on the island fell on this battalion and they fought gallantly until they had suffered heavy casualties (100% of British Officers and most senior Indian Officers being lost) and were run over".
The numerical composition and outcome of the two Indian Army regiments (5/7 Rajput & 2/14 Punjab) involved in the defence of Hong Kong are published in Major-General C.M.Maltby's war despatch (London Gazette No.38190) which also notes that "many of the wounded of 5/7 Rajput Regt. fell into Japanese hands and have not been recorded". Total battle casualties of "Indian Other Ranks" is given to be 1164 out of a total of 3893 military personnel from India who were garrisoned in Hong Kong.
|Unit or Formation||Total Strength||Killed or Died of Wounds||Missing||Wounded|
|5/7 Rajput Regt. (Officers)||17||6||4||7|
|5/7 Rajput Regt. (Indian Other Ranks)||875||150||109||186|
|2/14 Punjab Regt. (Officers)||15||NA||3||5|
|2/14 Punjab Regt. (Indian Other Ranks)||932||52||69||156|
The 5/7 Rajput bore the heaviest casualty lossesrecorded amongst the 6 combat regiments during the battle of Hong Kong: 156 killed in action or died from wounds, 113 missing, and 193 wounded. The 2/14 Punjab of the Indian Army also bore heavy losses: 55 killed in action or died from wounds, 69 missing, and 161 wounded.
Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery, which was raised with troops recruited from Undivided India, also suffered heavy casualties during the Battle of Hong Kong and are commemorated with names inscribed on panels at the entrance to Sai Wan War Cemetery: 144 killed, 45 missing and 103 wounded.
In late 1941, the British government accepted an offer by the Canadian Government to send a battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada (from Quebec) and one of the Winnipeg Grenadiers (from Manitoba) and a brigade headquarters (1,975 personnel) to reinforce the Hong Kong garrison. "C Force", as it was known, arrived on 16 November on board the troopship Awatea and the armed merchant cruiser HMCS Prince David. A total of 96 officers, two Auxiliary Services supervisors and 1,877 other ranks disembarked. Included were two medical officers and two nurses (supernumerary to the regimental medical officers), two Canadian Dental Corps officers with assistants, three chaplains and a detachment of the Canadian Postal Corps. A soldier of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC), had stowed away and was sent back to Canada.
C Force never received its vehicles as the US merchant ship San Jose carrying them was, at the outbreak of the Pacific War, diverted to Manila, in the Philippine Islands, at the request of the US Government.The Royal Rifles had served only in the Dominion of Newfoundland and Saint John, New Brunswick, prior to posting to Hong Kong and the Winnipeg Grenadiers had been deployed to Jamaica. Few Canadian soldiers had field experience, but were near fully equipped, except for having only two anti-tank rifles and no ammunition for 2-inch and 3-inch mortars or for signal pistols, deficiencies which the British undertook to remedy in Hong Kong, although not at once.
During the battle of Hong Kong, there were 40 Royal Marines attached in HMS Tamar. When the battle began, the Royal Marines fought against japanese force in Magazine Gap, alongside with HKVDC and Royal Engineers. Commanding officer, Major Giles RM instructed his men to defend the island "…to the last man and last round".
The Chinese Military Mission to Hong Kong, initiated in 1938, was headed by Rear Admiral Chan Chak and his aide Lieutenant Commander Henry Hsu; it had the objective of coordinating Chinese war aims with the British in Hong Kong. Working with the British police, Chak organized pro-British agents among the population and rooted out triad factions sympathetic to the Japanese. On Christmas morning, Young informed Chak of his intent to surrender. Chak intended to break out and was given command of the five remaining Motor Torpedo Boats; 68 men, including Chak, Hsu, and David Mercer MacDougall were successfully evacuated to Mirs Bay where they contacted Communist guerrillas and were escorted to Huizhou. For this feat Chak was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
A squad of Free French under Captain Jacques Egal happened to be in Hong Kong when the battle broke out and fought alongside the HKVDC at the North Point power station; they were all World War I veterans (as were the local HKVDC) and acquitted themselves well.
The Japanese attack began shortly after 08:00 on 8 December 1941 (Hong Kong Time), four hours after the Attack on Pearl Harbor (difference in time and date is due to the day shift that occurs because of the International date line). Commanded by Major-General Christopher Maltby, British, Canadian, Indian, as well as the local Hong Kong Chinese Regiment, and the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, resisted the Japanese attack by the Japanese 21st, 23rd and the 38th Regiments (Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai) but were outnumbered nearly four to one (Japanese, 50,000; Allied, 14,000) and lacked their opponents' recent combat experience. The colony had no significant air defence. The RAF station at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport (RAF Kai Tak) had only five aeroplanes: two Supermarine Walrus amphibious aircraft and three Vickers Vildebeest torpedo-reconnaissance bombers, flown and serviced by seven officers and 108 airmen. An earlier request for a fighter squadron had been rejected and the nearest fully operational RAF base was in Kota Bharu, Malaya, nearly 2,250 km (1,400 mi) away. Hong Kong also lacked adequate naval defences. Three destroyers were to withdraw to Singapore Naval Base.
The Japanese bombed Kai Tak Airport on 8 December. Thracian, several gunboats and a flotilla of motor torpedo boats remained. On 8, 9, and 10 December, eight American pilots of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) and their crews flew 16 sorties between Kai Tak Airport and landing fields in Namyung and Chongqing (Chungking), the wartime capital of the Republic of China. The crews evacuated 275 persons including Mme Sun Yat-Sen, the widow of Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Finance Minister Kung Hsiang-hsi.Two of the three Vildebeest and the two Walruses were destroyed by 12 Japanese bombers. The attack also destroyed several civil aircraft including all but two of the aircraft used by the air unit of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corp. The RAF and air unit personnel from then fought on as ground troops. Two of the Royal Navy's three remaining destroyers were ordered to leave Hong Kong for Singapore. Only one destroyer, HMS
The Commonwealth forces decided against holding the Sham Chun River and instead established three battalions on the Gin Drinkers' Line across the hills. The Japanese 38th Infantry Division under the command of Major General Takaishi Sakai quickly forded the Sham Chun River over temporary bridges.Early on 10 December, the 228th Infantry Regiment (Colonel Teihichi) of the 38th Division attacked the Commonwealth defences at the Shing Mun Redoubt defended by the A Company of 2nd Battalion Royal Scots (Lieutenant Colonel S. White). The line was breached in five hours and later that day the Royal Scots also withdrew from Golden Hill until D company of the Royal Scots counter-attacked and re-captured the hill. By 10:00 the hill was again taken by the Japanese. This made the situation on the New Territories and Kowloon untenable and the evacuation to Hong Kong Island started on 11 December, under aerial bombardment and artillery fire. As much as possible, military and harbour facilities were demolished before the withdrawal. By 13 December, the 5/7 Rajputs of the Indian Army (Lieutenant Colonel R. Cadogan-Rawlinson), the last Commonwealth troops on the mainland, had retreated to Hong Kong Island.
Maltby organised the defence of the island, splitting it between an East Brigade and a West Brigade. On 15 December, the Japanese began systematic bombardment of the island's North Shore. [ citation needed ] There was a further massacre of prisoners, this time of medical staff, in the Salesian Mission on Chai Wan Road. In both cases, a few men survived.Two demands for surrender were made on 13 and 17 December. When these were rejected, Japanese forces crossed the harbour on the evening of 18 December and landed on the island's north-east. They suffered only light casualties, although no effective command could be maintained until the dawn came. That night, approximately 20 Commonwealth gunners were executed at the Sai Wan Battery despite having surrendered.
On the morning of 19 December fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island but the Japanese annihilated the headquarters of West Brigade, causing the death of Brigadier John Lawson, the commander of the West Brigade.A British counter-attack could not force them from the Wong Nai Chung Gap that secured the passage between the north coast at Causeway Bay and the secluded southern parts of the island. From 20 December, the island became split in two with the British Commonwealth forces still holding out around the Stanley peninsula and in the west of the island. At the same time, water supplies started to run short as the Japanese captured the island's reservoirs. On the morning of 25 December, Japanese soldiers entered the British field hospital at St. Stephen's College and in the St. Stephen's college incident tortured and killed a large number of injured soldiers, along with the medical staff.
By the afternoon of 25 December 1941, it was clear that further resistance would be futile and British colonial officials headed by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered in person [ citation needed ] (British Somaliland fell to the Italians in August 1940 but this was a protectorate.) The garrison had held out for 17 days. This day is known in Hong Kong as "Black Christmas".at the Japanese headquarters on the third floor of the Peninsula Hong Kong Hotel. This was the first occasion on which a British Crown Colony had surrendered to an invading force.
This section does not cite any sources . (November 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Perhaps as many as 28 people were massacred after the fight for Sai Wan Hill.[ citation needed ] These men were members of the 5th Anti-Aircraft Battery of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC).
At Shau Kei Wan there was a Salesian mission being used as an Advanced Dressing Station. On the night of 18 December it was surrounded by troops of the 229th Infantry Regiment. At 07:00 on 19 December, Captain Martin Banfill of the Canadian Medical Corps surrendered the station. Two injured officers of the 7th Rajput Regiment were murdered upon arrival in an ambulance. The Japanese separated the male medical staff from the female (two nurses, whose lives were spared). All but three of the men were killed, most of the victims were of the Royal Army Medical Corps but also at least two men of the Royal Rifles of Canada and two civilians.
Three captured persons were executed at Causeway Bay, including a female air raid warden with the local Air Raid Precautions (ARP).
At Wong Nai Chung Gap, ten men of the St. John Ambulance were killed, as well as a policeman and a medic.
Four men each of the 3rd Company HKVDC and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were massacred after battle at Jardine's Lookout. One grenadier, a Private Kilfoyle, was killed on the forced march to North Point, according to witnesses.
Four men were killed in the so-called "Black Hole of Hong Kong" (a house on Blue Pool Road), including two Canadian officers.
Around thirty civilians of different ethnicities were massacred at Blue Pool Road.[ citation needed ]
In the worst massacre of POWs of the battle, the Japanese killed at least 47 after taking The Ridge. Among the dead was Major Charles Sydney Clarke of China Command HQ, two men of the 12th and 20th Coastal Regiments of the Royal Artillery (RA), six men of the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) and two of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC), nineteen men of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) and three of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC) and fourteen men of the RASC Company of the HKVDC.
The Japanese also executed at least fourteen captives at Overbays, men of the same units as at The Ridge but also including three Royal Rifles of Canada and an officer of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. A further seven were killed at Eucliffe and another 36 known victims cannot be placed precisely at one of the three locations (Ridge, Overbays, Eucliffe). Ride, who was present at the surrender, stated later that he saw fifty bodies lying by the road, including six Middlesex men among them. These men may have been some of those attached to the Hong Kong Chinese Regiment. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission report also states that five men of the Royal Air Force went missing near The Ridge on 20 December, perhaps captured and killed.
Six men of the Middlesex were killed defending PB 14 at Deepwater Bay Ride (Lyon Light). It is uncertain whether they were killed in action, or murdered after capture.
The massacre perpetrated at St Stephen's College is the least well known.[ citation needed ] Only thirteen victims can be confirmed at the location but reports and estimates put the real number as high as 99. The names of all the reported victims may never be known. Between 75 and 150 bodies were cremated by the victors in the aftermath of the battle but this total includes the victims of the fighting around Stanley Fort, such as the men of 965 Defence Battery. Although it is the "most infamous massacre", it "has been the hardest to match with records". Three British and four Chinese nurses were said to have been raped and murdered and one Canadian, Captain Overton Stark Hickey of the RCASC, murdered trying to stop the rapes. Besides the raped nurses, the medical staff suffered two deaths, a doctor shot in the head whilst attempting escape and 25 orderlies of the Indian Hospital Corps (IHC) and St John Ambulance personnel.[ citation needed ] The 55 St John victims of the battle of Hong Kong are memorialised at the present headquarters in Hong Kong but since no dates are given on the memorial it is impossible to identify those killed at St Stephen's. Four Chinese servants and one civilian, Tam Cheung Huen, were killed. Tam is the only Chinese victim of this massacre known by name. Among the soldiers receiving treatment at the college, two riflemen were mutilated and murdered and a further 56 men were reportedly bayoneted in their beds. Some of these men may have been Royal Rifles whose deaths are incorrectly reported as occurring elsewhere on 26 December.
At least eight men—six of the Middlesex and two Royal Engineers—were killed after capture at Maryknoll Mission. Four members of the 8th Coastal Regiment RA may have been killed here as well; estimates of the number of men murdered vary from 11 to 16.
Twenty-six prisoners are believed to have been killed after the fighting for Brick Hill but some of these may have died in the fight, including some of the seventeen men of the Heavy Anti-Aircraft, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery (HKSRA) known to have died there. Most of the soldiers here murdered were Muslims, including one religious teacher.
The Japanese had at least 1,895 men killed of an estimated 6,000 casualties. Allied casualties were 1,111 men killed, 1,167 missing and 1,362 wounded.Allied dead, including British, Canadian and Indian soldiers, were eventually interred at Sai Wan Military Cemetery and the Stanley Military Cemetery. C Force casualties in the battle were 23 officers and 267 other ranks killed or died of wounds, including five officers and 16 other ranks of the brigade headquarters, seven officers and 123 men of the Royal Rifles and 11 officers and 128 men of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. C Force also had 28 officers and 465 men wounded. Some of the dead were murdered by Japanese soldiers during or after surrender. Japanese soldiers committed a number of atrocities on 19 December, when the aid post at the Salesian Mission near Sau Ki Wan was overrun. A total of 1,528 soldiers, mainly Commonwealth (predominantly Indians and Canadians), are either buried or commemorated there. There are also graves of other Allied combatants who died in the region during the war, including some Dutch sailors who were re-interred in Hong Kong after the war.
The nearby Sai Wan Battery, with buildings constructed as far back as 1890, housed the Depot and Record Office of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps for nearly four decades after the war. The barracks were handed over to the government in 1985 and were subsequently converted into Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village.
At the end of February 1942, The Japanese government stated that numbers of prisoners of war in Hong Kong were: British 5,072, Canadian 1,689, Indian 3,829, others 357, a total of 10,947.They were sent to:
Of the Canadians captured during the battle, 267 subsequently perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps, mainly due to neglect and abuse. In December 2011, Toshiyuki Kato, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, apologised for the mistreatment to a group of Canadian veterans of the Battle of Hong Kong.
Enemy civilians (meaning Allied nationals) were interned at the Stanley Internment Camp. Initially, there were 2,400 internees although this number was reduced, by repatriations during the war. Interned persons who died and prisoners executed by the Japanese are buried in Stanley Military Cemetery.
Isogai Rensuke became the first Japanese governor of Hong Kong. This ushered in the three years and eight months of Imperial Japanese administration. During the three and half years of occupation by the Japanese, an estimated 10,000 Hong Kong civilians were executed, while many others were tortured, raped, or mutilated. [ citation needed ]The local population in the rural New Territories, a mix of Hakka, Cantonese and other Han Chinese groups, waged a guerrilla war with limited success. The resistance groups were known as the Gangjiu and Dongjiang forces. The Japanese razed several villages in reprisal; the guerillas fought until the end of the Japanese occupation. General Takashi Sakai, who led the invasion of Hong Kong and served as governor for some time, was tried as a war criminal and executed by a firing squad in 1946.
The Cenotaph in Central commemorates the defence as well as war-dead from the First World War. The shield in the colonial Emblem of Hong Kong granted in 1959, featured the battlement design to commemorate the defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War. This Coat of Arms was in place until 1997, when it was replaced by the regional emblem. After the war, Lei Yue Mun Fort became a training ground for the British Forces until 1987, when it was vacated. In view of its historical significance and unique architectural features, the former Urban Council decided in 1993 to conserve and develop the fort into the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence.
The memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall commemorates those who died in Hong Kong during World War II.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Hong Kong .|
The British Indian Army during World War II began the war, in 1939, numbering just under 200,000 men. By the end of the war, it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia.
The 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles,, was originally a rifle regiment of the British Indian Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin. The regiment was first formed in 1890, taking its lineage from a police unit and over the course of its existence it had a number of changes in designation and composition. It took part in a number of campaigns on the Indian frontiers during the 19th and early 20th centuries, before fighting in the First World War, the Third Anglo-Afghan War and the Second World War. Following India's independence in 1947, the regiment was one of four Gurkha regiments to be transferred to the British Army. In the 1960s it was active in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation. It was amalgamated with the other three British Gurkha regiments to form the Royal Gurkha Rifles in 1994.
The Essex Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 to 1958. The regiment served in many conflicts such as the Second Boer War and both World War I and World War II, serving with distinction in all three. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 44th Regiment of Foot and the 56th Regiment of Foot.
The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army based in the county of Kent in existence from 1881 to 1961. The regiment was created on 1 July 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms, originally as the Queen's Own , by the amalgamation of the 50th Regiment of Foot and the 97th Regiment of Foot. In January 1921, the regiment was renamed the Royal West Kent Regiment and, in April of the same year, was again renamed, this time as the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
British Forces Overseas Hong Kong comprised the elements of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The Governor of Hong Kong also assumed the position of the Commander-in-chief of the forces and the Commander British Forces in Hong Kong took charge of the daily deployment of the troops. Much of the British military left Hong Kong prior to the handover in 1997. The present article focuses mainly on the British garrison in Hong Kong in the post Second World War era. For more information concerning the British garrison during the Second World War see the Battle of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Military Service Corps (HKMSC) was a British army unit and part of the British garrison in Hong Kong. Throughout the history of Hong Kong, it has been the only regular British army unit raised in the territory made up almost entirely of Locally Enlisted Personnel (LEP).
The Royal Hong Kong Regiment , formed in May 1854, was a local auxiliary militia force funded and administered by the colonial Government of Hong Kong.
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags ("colours"), uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible.
The British Army Aid Group was a para-military organisation for British and Allied forces in southern China during the Second World War. The BAAG was officially classified in the British Army's order of battle as a MI9 unit that was responsible for assisting prisoners of war to escape from the Japanese Army's POW camps.
The Gin Drinkers Line or Gin Drinkers' Line was a British military defensive line against the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941, part of the Pacific War.
Hong Kong has a long-established South Asian population. As of the 2016 by-census, there were at least 44,744 persons of South Asian descent in Hong Kong. Many trace their roots in Hong Kong as far back as when most of the Indian subcontinent was still under British colonial rule, and as a legacy of the British Empire, their nationality issues remain largely unsettled. However, recently an increasing number of them have acquired Chinese nationality.
The Winnipeg Grenadiers was an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army formed on 1 April 1908 under General Order No. 20. Initially it was raised with headquarters at Morden, Manitoba, and companies at: A Company at Morden, B Company at Morden, C Company at Manitou, D Company at Carman, E Company at Roland, F Company at Pilot Mound, G Company at Cartwright and H Company at Boissevain. The unit did not have any active personnel enrolled at the formation.
Stanley Military Cemetery is a cemetery located near St. Stephen's Beach in Stanley, Hong Kong. Along with the larger Hong Kong Cemetery, it is one of two military cemeteries of the early colonial era, used for the burials of the members of the garrison and their families between 1841 and 1866. There were no further burials here until World War II (1939–1945).
The 36th Indian Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Indian Army during World War II. The division was subsequently redesignated as a British Army formation, the 36th Infantry Division in September 1944. It served in India and during the Burma Campaign. After the end of the war it was disbanded and its remaining British units were transferred to the British 2nd Infantry Division.
Sai Wan War Cemetery is a military cemetery located in Chai Wan, Hong Kong which was built in 1946. The cemetery was created to commemorate soldiers of Hong Kong Garrison who perished during both the First World War and the Second World War. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the commemorative graves/plaques of 914 soldiers from Undivided India are grouped in 3 memorial locations within the Sai Wan cemetery complex : 104 Indian soldiers whose tombstones are located on the slopes of Sai Wan Cemetery, 287 more Indian soldiers interred at Sai Wan Memorial while a further 118 Indian soldiers whose remains were cremated according to their religious customs are inscribed on commemorative plaques at the Sai Wan Cremation Memorial. The Sai Wan War Cemetery contains the graves of 228 Canadians.
The Rajput Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It is composed primarily of troops from the Rajput, Ahir, Brahman, Bengalis, Dogra, Gurjar, Jats, Muslims, and Sikhs. During the Second World War, the class composition of the regiment was 50% Rajput and 50% Muslim.
The 12th Indian Division was formed in March 1915 from units of the British Indian Army. It formed part of the Tigris Corps, for service during the Mesopotamia Campaign of World War I. The Division arrived in Mesopotamia in April 1915 and remained there until it was broken up in March 1916. The Division's brigades remained in Mesopotamia as independent formations until forming part of the 15th Indian Division in May 1916. During its short existence it fought in a number of actions including the Battle of Shaiba between April 12–14, 1915, the Battle of Khafajiya between May 14–16, 1915, the Battle of Nasiriya between July 5, 13-14, 24 1915, where 400 British and Indian soldiers were killed in the battle and up to 2,000 Turkish Soldiers. The Occupation of Nasiriya and the affair at Butanuja, January 14, 1916.
The Royal Rifles of Canada was a rifle regiment in the Canadian Army and fought alongside The Winnipeg Grenadiers in the Battle of Hong Kong during World War II.
The Hong Kong Chinese Regiment (HKCR) was a regiment that had started to be raised by the British Army shortly before the Battle of Hong Kong during World War II.
The organisation of Divisions and Brigades of British Army in 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, is listed below.