CANADIAN PARTICIPATION IN
THE DEFENCE OF HONG KONG, DECEMBER, 1941
1. LCol Trist includes the T.S.M.G. as a weapon not "seen by the Winnipeg Grenadiers prior to embarking on H.M.T.S. Awatea (HQC 5393-13, Trist to D.H.S. loc cit).
2. "FERVOUR" was the code name for G.O.C., Hong Kong.
3. The Senior Naval officer, Hong Kong, gives one destroyer, four gunboats, eight M.T.Bs., seven A.P.Vs. (Auxiliary Patrol Vessels), and an auxiliary craft used for minefield duty (not a fighting unit). (Interview with Commodore A.G. Collison, C.B.E., R.N. (retired), at C.M.H.Q., 27 Jun 46).
4. Further information regarding H.K.V.D.C. may be found in Notes on Interview LCol H.B. Rose, M.C., 8 & 9 Jun 46.
5. Pearl Harbour was attacked at 0755 hours, 7 Dec 41, Honolulu Time, which is 1255 hours 7 Dec Ottawa Time, and 0125 hours 8 Dec, Hong Kong Time. It will be noted that the Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour attacks were, from the viewpoint of local time, delivered simultaneously, i.e., just after first light.
6. It may be noted that this action involved the first engagement by a Canadian infantry battalion in the 1939-45 War.
7. The civilian viewpoint is given in Jesuits Under Fire, a composite narrative of the experiences of a band of Irish Jesuits missionaries during the siege of Hong Kong. After describing the looting and banditry which terrorized Kowloon between the time of the defenders' withdrawal and the entry of the Japanese forces the account proceeds:
We had, according to the official statement, "withdrawn to our island fortress," and we were a target for the enemy's guns at point-blank range. Mention of a "fortress" conveys a suggestion of strength and security, but it is a misleading word when it is applied to a city which is open to every form ofattack from cannon and aeroplane. Militarily, it must have seemed a feasible plan to withdraw to the Island and let the enemy do its worst, but to the civilian population it seemed a move that could only lead to oneconclusion. Up to this the greater part of the suffering caused by the warfell on the civilian population; henceforth it would fall on its more heavilystill, and in greater proportion. There was never for a moment anyweakness on the part of the people, and all did their part to the fullest extent--but there was no enthusiasm.
Weary and wounded soldiers had crossed the harbour up to a late hour on the previous night, and praise was lavished on them by the B.B.C. Very rough estimates were made of their losses in dead and missing. There was genuine sympathy for them, but the universal comment was:
"They have come off lightly in comparison with the civilians."
(Thomas F. Ryan S.J., Jesuits Under Fire,
Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd. London and Dublin, pp 55-6)
8. The request by the War Office for an additional Canadian battalion (see para 16) was made at the instance of General Maltby, who hoped thus to have a battalion to use as brigade reserve on the Island. ("C" Force--Interviews and Correspondence for Preliminary Report: Notes on Interview with Major-General C.M. Maltby at C.M.H.Q. 25 Jun 46, para 8)
9. In September 1946 Lieut-Gen Sakai was executed at Chungking as a war criminal.
10. The R.R.C. War Diary infers that the "coolies" in the second truck were Fifth Columnists or Japanese soldiers. It records more than one instance of the enemy wearing coolie dress.
Major Bishop ... ran into a patrol coming from the direction of Sai Wan Fort, as they were throwing hand grenades. At one of the platoon positions he opened into them with Tommy Gun. Accompanied by Lt. Scott he went to investigate the result and found seven dead Coolies three of which were in regular Japanese uniform and four in coolie dress, two were wearing arm-bands with crowns.
(W.D., R.R.C., December 1941, p.24)
11. "D" Bn was R.R.C; "E" Bn was Wpg Gren
12. Brigadier Wallis lists the order of march rather differently: Adv Gd Comdr: Major MacAulay, R.R.C.
Tps: Carriers No. 1 H.K.V.D.C.
No. 1 Coy (less carriers)
Coy "D" Bn. 3" Mortar Det:
Main Body: "D" Bn H.Q. and Adv Bde H.Q. close at hand.
One Coy "D" Bn and 3" Mortars
No. 2 Coy H.K.V.D.C. One Coy "D" Bn.
(W.D. East Inf Bde, p.47)
13 R.R.C. officers generally spoke in French when using the civilian telephone lines as a precaution against successful eavesdropping by the enemy. (Interview with Major Young.)
14. Major Young states that on receipt of Colonel Newnham's message Lt-Col R.A.P. McPherson, R.A.O.C., who was in command of the British troops at "The Ridge", decided to risk a break-out through the enemy lines. He was killed in the attempt. Major Young felt that chances of getting through would be better after dark, and held the Canadians in their position. (Interview with Major Young, op cit).
15. The formal capitulation of Stanley Force was not ordered by Brigadier Wallis until early on 26 Dec. He gives the following explanation of the delay:
On the arrival of the White Flag party, which consisted of Lt.Col. R.G. Lamb, R.E., and Lt. J.T. Pryor, Ft. H.Q. Staff, Brig Wallis debated with himself as to whether heshould accept their verbal instructions to surrender. "Could I trust these two excited officers? Surely the G.O.C. would have given me someconfidential warning to enable me to destroy big guns and importantequipment in time ... After careful consideration I decided I could not surrender at a time when this action seemed to be locally unwarranted, without written confirmation." This happened at 2000 hrs. The Bde Major, Major Harland, 2 R.S., was despatched with the returning White Flag party toobtain confirmation or otherwise. He returned with written authority, and about 0230 hrs the Bde Comd ordered the hoisting of the White Flag and the Cease Fire for STANLEY FT.
(W.D. East Inf Bde, p.82)
16. According to the Maltby Despatch a platoon of Wpg Gren reached a point (237524) between Jardine's Lookout and Mt. Butler. It is referred to as a platoon of "D" Coy Wpg Gren (see para 164) but, judging from the time given (0200 hrs 19 Dec) it is more likely to have been Lieut French's flying column. (Maltby Despatch, Appx "D", p.2).
17. The Staff Captain's Report refers to these casualties:
Lieut. Blackwood and Q.M.S. Pacey A.P.T.S. [Army Physical Training Section] conducted a search through "Shelters" on E. side Bluepool Road and Bde HQ and had found some ammunition, together with Bren Guns. During this search of Bde shelters, Lieut Blackwood came across Capt G.M. Billings, R.C.C.S. with some of his staff wounded. There was a number of wounded lying on the hill above Bde H.Q. (Mount Nicholson). These were collected and brought down to "Shelters".
("C" Force HQ Report, p.12)
18. See footnote to para 157.
19. It should be noted that the West Bde attack here referred to was that delivered by the single company of Wpg Gren.
20. Captain Banfill's report gives a detailed account of his experience at the hands of the Japanese in the Mt. Parker--Wong Nei Chong area on 19-20 Dec. During the night 19/20 Dec he was held at the Wong Nei Chong Police Station with a group of Canadians captured on Mt. Parker.
Wong Nei Chong was occupied by a concentration of Japanese troops... I was there and there was certainly a Battalion and there may have been a Brigade.
(Force "C" Reports of Medical Officers, Captain C.M. Banfill)
21. This Liaison Officer, Maj Cecil Boon, R.A.S.C., was court-martialled and acquitted in London in August and September 1946 on charges of having voluntarily aided the Japanese while a prisoner of war in Sham Shui Po Camp (The Times, 29 Aug to 21 Sep 46).
22. According to War Office intelligence reports supplied by the Military Attaché, Chungking, Japanese forces mounted for the Hong Kong operation consisted of 18 and 104 Divs, supplemented by 2000 storm troops and artillery organized on an army basis. The whole force seems to have gone under the name of the Twenty-Third Army, and was commanded by Lt-Gen Sakai (see para 110). It is estimated that there were one and a half Japanese divisions on Hong Kong Island at the time of the surrender. (Information supplied by Capt. W. Miles, Offices of Cabinet, London, 25 Sep 46).
23. It should be noted, however, that the H.K.V.D.C. and the H.K.R.N.V.R. included a large number of Chinese and other non-British personnel. Of the total strength shown above, it is estimated by the G.O.C. China Command, that a maximum of 11,000 were "fighting troops" (Notes on Interview, Maj-Gen C.M. Maltby, at C.M.H.Q., 25 Jun 46).