Battle of Hong Kong

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Battle of Hong Kong
Part of the Pacific Theatre of World War II
Hong Kong 18-25 December 1941.png
Japanese invasion of Hong Kong Island, 18–25 December 1941
Date8–25 December 1941
Location
Result Japanese victory
Territorial
changes
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
Belligerents

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg  Canada
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  China [1]
Flag of Free France (1940-1944).svg  Free French [2]
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan [3]
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Mark Aitchison Young   (POW)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Christopher Maltby   (POW)
Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg John K. Lawson  
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Chan Chak [4]
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Takashi Sakai
Naval ensign of the Empire of Japan.svg Mineichi Koga
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army (1868-1945).svg Tadamichi Kuribayashi
Strength
14,564 troops
1 destroyer
1 gunboat
29,700 troops
47 planes
1 cruiser
3 destroyers
4 torpedo boats
3 gunboats
Casualties and losses
2,113 killed or missing
2,300 wounded
10,000 captured [lower-alpha 1]
1 destroyer captured
1 gunboat sunk
675 killed
2,079 wounded [6]
Civilian casualties: 4,000 killed
3,000 severely wounded [lower-alpha 2]

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.

Pacific War Theater of World War II fought in the Pacific and Asia

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 theatre, the South West Pacific theatre, South-East Asian theatre, and in China.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

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.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Contents

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. [8] [9]

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.

Devils Peak, Hong Kong peak in Hong Kong

Devil's Peak is a peak that lies beside Lei Yue Mun channel close to Yau Tong, Hong Kong. The area around the peak was garrisoned by the British Army in the 20th century and prior to that, by local pirates in the 19th century to control the passage of Lei Yue Mun, an important nautical passage that leads to Victoria Harbour. The remnants of a redoubt and batteries are still visible on the peak.

Lei Yue Mun channel

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.

Background

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. [10] 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. [11] 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. [11]

Anglo-Japanese Alliance

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.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

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. Some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. It is known as the War of Resistance in China.

Guangzhou Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton and formerly romanized as Kwangchow or Kwong Chow, 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 [12] 14564
British3652
Local Colonial2428
Indian2254
Auxiliary Defence Units2112
Hong Kong Voluntary Defence Corps2000
Canadian1982
Nursing Detachment136

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". [13] [14] The British military in Hong Kong grossly underestimated the capabilities of the Japanese forces and downplayed assessments that the Japanese posed a serious threat as 'unpatriotic' and 'insubordinate'. [15] 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 [16] 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". [17] 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." [18] 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. [19]

Indian Army

Indian gunners manning a 9.2 inch naval artillery gun at Mount Davis Battery on Hong Kong Island Mount Davis Battery F2.jpg
Indian gunners manning a 9.2 inch naval artillery gun at Mount Davis Battery on Hong Kong Island

During World War II, soldiers of the Indian Army were involved in the Battle of Hong Kong. [20] [21] The 5/7 Rajput Regiment [22] 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. [23] [24] Hong Kong Mule Corps was almost entirely staffed by Dogras and Punjabi Mussulmans. [25] 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. [26]

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. [27] 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.

British Indian Army 1858–1947 land warfare branch of British Indias military, distinct from the British Army in India

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." [28] [29] [30] [31] 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" [32] (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" [33] (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 Honours [34] [35] for 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). [36]

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-on [37] [38] and were the last soldiers to depart from the mainland when Kowloon was evacuated on 13 December 1941. [39] [40] [41] [42] 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. [43] [44] [45] 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 FormationTotal StrengthKilled or Died of WoundsMissingWounded
5/7 Rajput Regt. (Officers)17647
5/7 Rajput Regt. (Indian Other Ranks)875150109186
2/14 Punjab Regt. (Officers)15NA35
2/14 Punjab Regt. (Indian Other Ranks)9325269156

The 5/7 Rajput bore the heaviest casualty losses [46] [47] recorded amongst the 6 combat regiments during the battle of Hong Kong: 156 killed in action or died from wounds, 113 missing, and 193 wounded. [48] 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. [49]

Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery

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. [50]

C Force

Six weeks before the battle, a Canadian contingent arrives to reinforce the garrison. Canadian Contingent in Hong Kong - 1941.jpg
Six weeks before the battle, a Canadian contingent arrives to reinforce the garrison.

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. [51]

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. [52] 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. [53]

Royal Marines

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". [54]

Other forces

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. [1]

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. [2]

Battle

8 December 1941

Japanese artillery firing at Hong Kong Japanese Artillery Firing at Hong Kong, WWII.JPG
Japanese artillery firing at Hong Kong
Canadian infantry in Hong Kong with a Bren gun Cdn Forces in Hong Kong.jpg
Canadian infantry in Hong Kong with a Bren gun

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. [55]

Kowloon and New Territories

The Japanese bombed Kai Tak Airport on 8 December. [56] 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 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. [lower-alpha 3] The crews evacuated 275 persons including Mme Sun Yat-Sen, the widow of Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Finance Minister Kung Hsiang-hsi.

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. [56] 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). [56] 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. [56] By 10:00 the hill was again taken by the Japanese. [56] 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. [66]

Hong Kong Island

Japanese troops in Tsim Sha Tsui Battle of HK 03.jpg
Japanese troops in Tsim Sha Tsui

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. [66] 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. [66] 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.[ citation needed ] There was a further massacre of prisoners, this time of medical staff, [67] in the Salesian Mission on Chai Wan Road. [68] [69] In both cases, a few men survived.

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. [67] A British counter-attack could not force them from the Wong Nai Chung Gap [67] 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. [70]

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 [71] 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.[ 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". [72]

Massacres

Sai Wan Hill

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). [73]

Salesian Mission

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. [74]

Causeway Bay

Three captured persons were executed at Causeway Bay, including a female air raid warden with the local Air Raid Precautions (ARP).

Wong Nai Chung Gap

At Wong Nai Chung Gap, ten men of the St. John Ambulance were killed, as well as a policeman and a medic.

Jardine's Lookout

British pillbox near Jardine's Lookout Hong Kong, pillar box near Jardine's lookout.JPG
British pillbox near Jardine's Lookout

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.

Black Hole of Hong Kong

Four men were killed in the so-called "Black Hole of Hong Kong" (a house on Blue Pool Road), including two Canadian officers.

Blue Pool Road

Around thirty civilians of different ethnicities were massacred at Blue Pool Road.[ citation needed ]

The Ridge, Overbays and Eucliffe

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.

Deepwater Bay Ride

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.

St Stephen's College

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.

Maryknoll Mission

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.

Brick Hill

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.

Aftermath

Casualties

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. [75] 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. [76] 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. [77] 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. [78]

Civilians 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.

Subsequent operations

Dongjiang guerillas fighting in trenches Dongjianggu.jpg
Dongjiang guerillas fighting in trenches

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. [79] 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.[ citation needed ]

Awards

Statue of an anonymous World War I soldier from statuary collection of Eu Tong Sen. Also visible is the Battle of Hong Kong memorial plaque dedicated to all the defenders of Hong Kong in December 1941 through John Robert Osborn Hong Kong Park statue.jpg
Statue of an anonymous World War I soldier from statuary collection of Eu Tong Sen. Also visible is the Battle of Hong Kong memorial plaque dedicated to all the defenders of Hong Kong in December 1941 through John Robert Osborn
Memorial plaque dedicated to all the defenders of Hong Kong in December 1941 through John Robert Osborn and to commemorate the British Garrison at Hong Kong. HK Central Xiang Gang Gong Yuan Hong Kong Park memory of John Robert Osborn bronze statue sign Nov-2013.JPG
Memorial plaque dedicated to all the defenders of Hong Kong in December 1941 through John Robert Osborn and to commemorate the British Garrison at Hong Kong.

Commemoration

The Cenotaph in Hong Kong Cenotaph, Hong Kong 1.jpg

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.

Commemorative plaque at the entrance to Memorial Gardens at Hong Kong City Hall HK Edinburgh Place Pai Bian City Hall Memorial Garden and Shrine.JPG
Commemorative plaque at the entrance to Memorial Gardens at Hong Kong City Hall

The memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall commemorates those who died in Hong Kong during World War II.

The memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall The City Hall Memorial Garden Overview 2014.jpg
The memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall
Shrine to the war dead in the memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall The City Hall Memorial Garden Memorial Shrine 2012.jpg
Shrine to the war dead in the memorial garden at Hong Kong City Hall

Orders of battle




Notes

  1. Figures taken from Christopher Maltby, the Commander British Forces in Hong Kong [5]
  2. Figures taken from Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, the Director of Medical Services in Hong Kong. [7]
  3. Articles in the New York Times and the Chicago Daily of 15 December 1941, [57] the pilots were Charles L. Sharp, [58] Hugh L. Woods, [59] Harold A. Sweet, [60] William McDonald, [61] Frank L. Higgs, [62] Robert S. Angle, [63] P. W. Kessler [64] and S. E. Scott. [65]

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 Lai & Rava 2014, pp. 48.
  2. 1 2 Lai & Rava 2014, pp. 54.
  3. Lai & Rava 2014, pp. 29, 48, 79.
  4. Lai & Rava 2014, pp. 12, 79.
  5. Banham 2005, p. 317.
  6. Ishiwari 1956, pp. 47–48.
  7. Banham 2005, p. 318.
  8. Nicholson, K. W. Maurice-Jones ; with a foreword by Cameron (1957). The history of coast artillery in the British Army. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press in association with Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum. pp. 258, 259, 261. ISBN   978-1845740313.
  9. G.D.Johnson (1984). "The Battle of Hong Kong". After the Battle. Battle of Briton Prints (46): 2, 3, 19, 20. ISSN   0306-154X.
  10. Fung 2005, p. 129.
  11. 1 2 Harris 2005.
  12. "Operations in the Far East, From 17th December 1940 to 27th December 1941" (PDF). London Gazette. 38183 (20 January 1948): 535. 22 January 1948. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  13. The War With Japan, Parts 1, 2, And 3 (December 1941 To August 1945). United States Military Academy. 1951. p. 31.
  14. Stobie, James R. (13 September 2012). More to the Story: A Reappraisal of U.S. Intelligence Prior to the Pacific War. BiblioScholar. ISBN   978-1249373070.
  15. Terry, Copp (2001). "The Defence of Hong Kong: December 1941". Canadian Military History. 10 (4): 3–5, 7. ISSN   1195-8472.
  16. "Defeat still cries aloud for explanation: Explaining C Force dispatch to Hong Kong" (PDF). Canadian Military Journal. 11 number 4 (Autumn 2011): 46. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  17. Horne, Gerald (2004). Race war : white supremacy and the Japanese attack on the British Empire. New York: New York University Press. pp. 75, 76. ISBN   978-0814736418.
  18. Horne, Gerald (2004). Race war : white supremacy and the Japanese attack on the British Empire. New York: New York University Press. p. 76. ISBN   978-0814736418.
  19. David, Macri (2011). "The Fall of Hong Kong: The Condon Report". Canadian Military History. 20 (2): 65–80. ISSN   1195-8472.
  20. Kwong Chi Man, Tsoi Yiu Lun. Eastern Fortress: A Military History of Hong Kong, 1840–1970. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 165–219. ISBN   978-988-8208-71-5.
  21. Scudieri, James D. "The Indian Army in Africa and Asia, 1940-42: Implications for the Planning and Execution of Two Nearly-Simultaneous Campaigns". Department of Defence. School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College, FORT LEAVENWORTH. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
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  23. Kwong Chi Man, Tsoi Yiu Lun. Eastern Fortress: A Military History of Hong Kong, 1840–1970. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 144, 145. ISBN   978-988-8208-71-5.
  24. David, Macri (2011). "The Fall of Hong Kong: The Condon Report". Canadian Military History. 20 (2): 67. ISSN   1195-8472.
  25. White, Barbara-Sue (1994). Turbans and Traders : Hong Kong's Indian Communities. [S.l.]: Oxf. U.P. (E. Asia). p. 32. ISBN   9780195852875.
  26. White, Barbara-Sue (1994). Turbans and Traders : Hong Kong's Indian Communities. [S.l.]: Oxf. U.P. (E. Asia). p. 41. ISBN   9780195852875.
  27. Lindsay, Oliver; Harris, John R. (2005). The battle for Hong Kong 1941–1945: Hostage to Fortune. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. pp. 65, 75, 80, 81, 137. ISBN   978-962-209-779-7.
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  29. Prasad, Bisheshwar (1962). "Hong Kong, Malaya and Sarawak & Borneo". Campaigns In South East Asia 1941-42 (Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War 1939-45. ed.). New Delhi: Orient Longmans. pp. 1–69.
  30. "HyperWar: India-Pakistan in World War II". www.ibiblio.org. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
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  34. "The Rajput Regiment". Indian Army NIC. Official Indian Army Web Portal.[ permanent dead link ]
  35. "14th PUNJAB REGIMENT". www.defencejournal.com.
  36. Cheung, Oswald (1998). Matthews, Clifford (ed.). Dispersal and Renewal: Hong Kong University during the War Years. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. pp. 195, 231, 314. ISBN   978-962-209-472-7.
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  38. Lai & Rava 2014, pp. 22, 42.
  39. Stanford, David (2006). Roses in December (1st ed.). UK: Lulu.com. pp. 127, 128. ISBN   978-1-84753-966-3.
  40. Raghavan, Srinath (2016). India's War: World War II and the Making of Modern South Asia. New York: Basic Books. p. 234. ISBN   978-0-465-03022-4.
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  42. Luff, John (1967). The Hidden Years. Hong Kong: South China Morning Post. pp. 7, 25, 27, 28, 33, 36, 83. OCLC   205901.
  43. Ferguson, Ted (1980). Desperate Siege: The Battle of Hong Kong. Scarborough, Ont: Doubleday Canada. pp. 99, 151, 152, 168. ISBN   978-0-17-601524-4.
  44. Lindsay, Oliver; Harris, John R. (2005). The Battle for Hong Kong 1941–1945: Hostage to Fortune. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. pp. 88, 100, 105, 114. ISBN   978-962-209-779-7.
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  47. Horne, Gerald (2004). Race War: White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire. New York: New York University Press. p. 70. ISBN   978-0-8147-3641-8.
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  52. Stacey 1956, p. 449.
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  57. http://www.cnac.org [ permanent dead link ]
  58. Charles L. Sharp
  59. Hugh L. Woods
  60. Harold A. Sweet
  61. William McDonald
  62. Frank L. Higgs
  63. Robert S. Angle
  64. P.W. Kessler
  65. S.E. Scott
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  75. Mackenzie 1951, p. 214.
  76. Stacey 1956, p. 488.
  77. Official Report of the Debates of The House of Commons of The Dominion Of Canada (Volume 2) 1942 (page 1168)
  78. AP 2011, p. 2.
  79. Carroll 2007, p. 123.
  80. Turner 2010, p. 85.
  81. Woodburn Kirby 2004, p. 498.

Bibliography

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Further reading

Coordinates: 22°16′01″N114°11′17″E / 22.267°N 114.188°E / 22.267; 114.188


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