Lest We Forget: Canadian Commemorative Service 2018
Why We Recommend it
Held annually since 1947, this ceremony honours the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers, as well as other Allied and local forces, during the Battle of Hong Kong and in the subsequent occupation years.
This annual event takes place on a Sunday in early December, marking the invasion of the Japanese forces on December 8, 1941, which plunged the city into a brutal occupation that lasted for three years and eight months.
14,564 troops spent two weeks trying to hold back twice as many Japanese soldiers, first at the Gin Drinkers’ Line, then at Devil’s Peak, then at Quarry Bay and then finally at Stanley. The Battle of Hong Kong, which lasted until Christmas Day, cost the lives of 10,000 people: around 7,000 civilians were killed, along with 2,100 Allied troops and 675 Japanese.
It was in Hong Kong that Canadian soldiers first committed to battle in the Second World War. Canada has taken special interest in the battle given the scale of its impact on its troops: about 30 percent of the Winnipeg and Quebec City soldiers who sailed for Hong Kong never returned home.
Organised by the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, the Canadian Commemorative Ceremony honours the soldiers who bravely fought to defend Hong Kong during the Second World War, and remembers those who died here, in battle or captivity.
The Canadian Commemorative Service, which is open to the public, has grown over the years from a small service attended mainly by the Canadian community to a significant remembrance event which today hosts over 400 people from around the world.
The service is held from 10:00 – 11:30 at the Sai Wan War Cemetery, the pristine resting place for 2,072 soldiers who died defending Hong Kong. Many of the tombstones read simply, “Known Unto God,” a final acknowledgement of those whose bodies were never identified.
Read more about the Battle of Hong Kong here.