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Commemorative Plaques in Hong Kong

As part of the Government of Canada's commemorative mandate, the Consulate General of Canada, in cooperation with the Hong Kong Government, installed three permanent plaques in December 2005 at strategic sites of action, as a lasting recognition of the Canadians who fought in defence of Hong Kong in 1941. 
These three plaques honour the memory of the brave Canadians who fought in the defence of Hong Kong: the members of the Brigade Headquarters Canadian "C" Force; the Winnipeg Grenadiers, and the Royal Rifles of Canada.  Two of these plaques are located on the Wong Nai Chung Gap Trail, a historical walk developed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in 2005 to commemorate the heroes of the Second World War.  Click here for the location map.  The third plaque is located at the Gunpowder Factory in the Museum of Coastal Defence.
A fourth commemorative plaque was installed in April 2009 at St Stephen's College in Stanley to pay tribute to the sacrifice of soldiers who died at St.Stephen during the Second World War. 

Plaque at Lawson Bunker:

Inscription: "This plaque is dedicated to all members of Brigade Headquarters Canadian "C" Force."

On the morning of December 19, 1941, invading Japanese forces advanced on this strategic position where Canadian Brigadier John Lawson commanded the West Brigade from a bunker dug into the hillside. Attempts to reinforce the area failed. Refusing to withdraw, his bunker was overrun. His last words over the telephone to his Commanding Officer stated that he was ‘going outside to fight it out.' In doing so he lost his life, thereby earning the admiration of his comrades and the enemy for his heroic actions.

Plaque at Jardine's Lookout

Inscription: "This plaque is dedicated to all members of the Winnipeg Grenadiers of Canada."

In the early hours of December 19, 1941, "A" and D" Companies of the Winnipeg Grenadiers of Canada fought to stem the waves of Japanese troops attacking the strategic high ground on Mount Butler. After a vicious struggle the Canadians became divided. A group was driven downhill to Jardine's Lookout, where Company Sergeant Major John Osborn took charge of about 65 Grenadiers of "A" Company. Hand grenades were thrown at his group. Osborn responded by flinging these back at the enemy. One grenade was thrown which he could not pick up in time, and after shouting a warning he threw his body over it, thus saving the lives of several comrades. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for military valour in the British Commonwealth.

Plaque at the Museum of Coastal Defense:

Robert "Flash" Clayton, Hong Kong veteran of the Royal Rifles of Canada

Inscription: "This plaque is dedicated to all members of the Royal Rifles of Canada."

Near this site, on the night of December 18, 1941, invading Japanese forces were engaged by "C" Company, Royal Rifles of Canada, commanded by Major Wells Bishop. Fierce attacks had earlier silenced the artillery batteries and anti-aircraft guns. Counterattacks ensued, and after inflicting heavy casualties on the numerically superior invading force, the Canadians were forced to retire rather than allow themselves to become encircled. Major Bishop was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery in this action.

Plaque at St Stephen's College:

C.P. LIN, President Emeritus of St Stephen's College (left) and Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the Hon. Stockwell Day (right) at the plaque unveiling ceremony


On Christmas Day 1941, this school building stood on the front line between the invading Japanese forces and those defending Stanley. It was, at that time, acting as an emergency hospital, and overflowing with medical personnel and wounded soldiers from Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong and India. By the time the wave of war had passed through, many were dead.  An estimated 120 men and women were cremated on the lawn outside, and their ashes are buried where the St. Stephen's Memorial stands, in the Stanley Military Cemetery. Canadian soldiers who died in defence of Hong Kong are buried today, in the Sai Wan War Cemetery and Stanley Military Cemetery, where their sacrifice continues to be remembered.

This plaque is dedicated by the Government of Canada.  We will never forget.


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