OTTAWA, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today recognized the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong.
"As we mark the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, it is our duty to remember the brave Veterans and those who gave their lives in service to help protect Canada's values of liberty, democracy and the rule of law," said Minister Blaney. "Today, we pay tribute to all the men and women who sacrificed so much and whose legacy is the peace and security we continue to enjoy as Canadians."
Approximately 1,975 Canadians, from units that included the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, participated in this 18-day Second World War battle. The Allied defenders at Hong Kong, vastly outnumbered, had no choice but to finally surrender on Christmas Day, 1941. Approximately 290 Canadians lost their lives in the fighting.
The remaining Canadian troops were held as prisoners of war (POWs) for more than three and a half years. The prisoners endured cruel and desperate conditions and the harsh treatment led to some 267 additional Canadian deaths.
In the end, more than 1,050 Canadians were 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 Canadians finally returned home.
For more information on Canada's contribution in Hong Kong, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada