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The Battle of Hong Kong

            On December seventh, 1941, the Japanese government scheduled and initiated an attack on the British colony of Hong Kong. This battle is known as "the fall of Hong Kong". At the time, Hong Kong consisted of the Hong Kong Island and the bordering mainland areas of Kowloon and the New Territories. As a descendent of the British Empire, Canada felt the need to join and support Britain in the battle. Therefore alongside the British Empire, Canada declared war on Japan. The Battle of Hong Kong went extremely wrong and the Japanese gained control of Hong Kong in less than a month. The battle lasted from December seventh until December twenty-fifth. The battle of Hong Kong is a significant aspect of world war two and Canadian history because: it was the first battle in the Pacific campaign of World War II, it was the first major battle that Canadian soldiers engaged in the pacific and Asian regions of the world, and it lead to a four year struggle of survival for Canadian soldiers.
             In 1941, many Canadian soldiers were sent out to defend Hong Kong but never returned home. For four years Canadian soldiers struggled to survive after being captured by the Japanese military. A total amount of 1975 Canadian soldiers who had very little hands-on combat training were sent out to Hong Kong in order to defend the British Colony.1 Out of the 1975 soldiers, 290 were killed, 493 were wounded, and over 1000 of the remaining soldiers were taken as "pows" (prisoners of War).2 Out of the remaining 1000 soldiers who were taken as prisoners, 557 were killed or died in prison camps.3 The prisoners of war were forced into years or hard working labour in filthy work camps with very brutal conditions. Prisoners would work up to 12 or more hours a day, hauling gravel, digging in mines, labouring in shipyards and or killed due to starvation or torture. Conditions were very cold and illnesses such as malaria, diphtheria and infections spread rapidly through the camps with no medicines accessible to cure the prisoners.

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