The Battle of Hong Kong

  • Pre-Battle

    Pre-Battle
    On this particular morning, the entire garrison were ordered to gather at war stations. We Canadians (specifically the Winnipeg Grenadiers, the Royal Rifles and a brigade headquarter) were transported from the Kowloon Peninsula to the Hong Kong island during this time. In the middle of the island, Canadian Brigadier John Kelburne Lawson's headquarters were set up at Wong Nei Chong Gap. By 5 p.m. all the troops were ready to take action. The photo depicts Brigadier Lawson.
  • Pearl Harbour

    Pearl Harbour
    Japanese aircraft bomb Pearl Harbour in Amercia. The same day, the Japanese military launches a series of bomb attacks on Northern Malaya, the Philipines, Guam, Wake Island and then bomb British Hong Kong, commencing the battle of Hong Kong (due to time zone differences, the battle officially started on December 8). The photo represents the destruction of Pearl Harbour as a result of the Japanese military.
  • Period: to

    The Battle of Hong Kong

  • Japanese Invade Hong Kong (Official start of the battle)

    Japanese Invade Hong Kong (Official start of the battle)
    At 8:00 a.m, Japanese aircraft attack Kai Tak airport and damages/destroys the few Royal Air Force aircraft. The Allies are vastly outnumbered by a ratio of more than 3 to 1. The Allies didn't anticipate this at all;British intelligents estimated that only 5000 Japanese soldiers would fight, but the number was about 50 000 (ten times the number!). This enormous pressure pushed the defenders Gin Drinkers' Line. This is illustrated by the picture, and is essentially a British defensive line.
  • Shing Mun Redoubt

    Shing Mun Redoubt
    On this night, the Japanese manage to capture a key position: Shing Mun Redoubt (a high ground area). With this victory, the Japanese have captured the most important strategic position on the left flank of the Gin Drinkers' Line. This is significant because the Japanese launched this attacke during the night, which displays how much the British General Maltby had underestimated the Japanese. They thought that there wasn't a threat of night attacks because Japanese couldn't see well at night.
  • Collapse of Gin Drinker's Line

    Collapse of Gin Drinker's Line
    The Gin Drinker's Line collapses and so the allies (including Canadians, British, and Indians) withdraw onto Hong Kong island.
  • Rejection

    Rejection
    The Japanese demanded that Hong Kong be surrendered, but this request was denied.
  • Rejection AGAIN

    Rejection AGAIN
    Again, the allies (specifically the Governor of Hong Kong Sir Mark Young) obstinately refuse to surrender Hong Kong upon the Japanese's demand. This is done even though the allies were running out of ammunition, food, and hope of relief as two British relief ships were sunk and the U.S. was still dealing with the Pearl Harbour catastrophe. The Chinese were in no position to give substantial aid either.
  • Island Attack

    Island Attack
    During this night, the Japanese invade Hong Kong Island via the Lyn Mun Channel. They launched 4 amphibious attacks on the beaches located on the northern parts of the island.
  • Death of Lawson

    Death of Lawson
    Brigadier Lawson died after bravely reporting to the Fortress Headquarters that he was going to "fight it out" with the surrounding Japanese. He last carried two pistols in his hands near the West Brigade Headquarters.
  • Death of Osborn

    Death of Osborn
    While defending Mount Butler, Company Sergeant Major John Robert Osborn of the Winnipeg Grenadiers passed away. During this battle, Osborn heroically challenged a Japanese soldier single-handedly so that his comrades could fall back. He also jumped on top of a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. Although posthumously, he was the first Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in World War II.
  • Success for Japanese

    Success for Japanese
    The enemy manages to reach central Hong Kong island, specifically the Wong Nei Chong and Tai Tam Gaps. This is significant because it again contradicting the stereotype of many of the soldiers that the enemy wouldn't travel at night. By nightfall, the allies had established a new defensive line: from Palm Villa to Stanley Mound. At Stone Hill, the brigade headquarters is set up. The allies have suffered heavy casualties at this point. The photo illustrates the Wong Nei Chong Gap.
  • Unsuccess for Japanese

    Unsuccess for Japanese
    Most of allied groups were not holding well, but the "D" company of the Grenadiers managed to stop the Japanese from advancing to the one main north-south road on Hong Kong island. However, this defence lasted a mere 3 days (December 22th), after which the soldiers were exhausted of ammunition, food and water. The Japanese had also damaged their shelters.
  • Desperation

    Desperation
    The Allied troops are reduced to defending their last line, "The Ridge" at Stanley Peninsula.
  • Despair

    Despair
    The last defensive line "The Ridge" collapses and the Japanese make further gains on Mount Cameron.
  • St. Steven's College Massacre

    St. Steven's College Massacre
    A few hours before the Allies surrendered, Japanese military soldiers entered this college (which was being used as a hospital for the wounded British, Canadian, and Indian soldiers) and killed massively. These soldiers raped and killed 5 out of 7 of the nurses present at the time, and tortured and killed 60 injured soldiers.
  • Surrender

    Surrender
    Also locally called "Black Christmas", on this day at 3:15 p.m., Britain's Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered to the Japanese forces. The 17 and 1/2 days of fighting finally had reached its terminus. However, the causalties (290 Canadians killed and 493 wounded up until surrender) did not cease there. Of the Canadians taken as POWs, 264 died due to the horrible conditions.