Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

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, without declaring war against the British Empire. The Hong Kong garrison consisted of British, Indian and Canadian units, also the Auxiliary Defence Units and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC).

Within a week the defenders abandoned the mainland and less than two weeks later, with their position on the island untenable, the colony surrendered.

Order of Battle

The Japanese officially reported 675 men killed and 2,079 wounded; western estimates go as high as 1,895 dead and 6,000 casualties overall. Allied casualties were 1,111 men killed, 1,167 missing and 1,362 wounded (sources vary, 1,045 killed, 1,068 missing and 2,300 wounded has also been given). Allied dead, including British, Canadian and Indian soldiers, were eventually interred at Sai Wan Military Cemetery and the Stanley Military Cemetery. 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. The 5/7 Rajput bore the heaviest losses 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. The 2/14 Punjab had 55 killed in action or died from wounds, 69 missing, and 161 wounded. 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. 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.

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. They were sent to:

  • Sham Shui Po POW Camp
  • Argyle Street Camp for officers
  • North Point Camp primarily for Canadians and Royal Navy
  • Ma Tau Chung Camp for Indian soldiers
  • Yokohama Camp in Japan
  • Fukuoka Camp in Japan
  • Osaka Camp in Japan

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.

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.