The Defence of Hong Kong
Date of Issue
November 8, 1991
The Second World War, 1941, Total War
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier.
Canada Post Corporation's on-going tribute to heroic achievements and sacrifices of Canadians during World War II continues with a set of four stamps marking 1941, the first year of "Total War". The stamps will be issued on November 8, to complement Remembrance Day ceremonies on the 11th. The Canadian Army's first real battle of the war ended in disaster at the British colony of Hong Kong. As early as the 1920's, the British knew that Hong Kong could not be defended in a war with Japan. But in 1941 the commander of the colony, having underestimated the Japanese Army and overestimating his forces' ability, convinced the British government that suitable reinforcements could hold the territory. As British troops were deployed elsewhere, Winston Churchill requested that Canadian troops be sent. Prime Minister MacKenzie King readily complied. The government selected two battalions, the Royal Rifles of Canada and Winnipeg Grenadiers. However, both units had recently returned from garrison duties and were not fully trained for combat. C Force, as the Canadian contingent was known, was also hampered by the fact that it lacked anti-tank rifles and mortar ammunition and sailed without its motorized transport. The landed in Hong Kong on November 16, 1941 and did not have time to complete their training before the powerful Japanese Army attacked on December 8. The 1975 brave Canadians bore the brunt of the battle and lost 290 men in an heroic but helpless cause. Sergeant-Major John Osborne won a posthumous Victoria Cross for throwing himself on an enemy grenade to his men. Surrender came on Christmas Day, but a further 267 Canadians died in brutal and degrading captivity before the survivors returned home in 1945.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, No. 4, 1991, p. 12-13.
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