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British sending Canadian Troops to Fight in HK during WWII
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76 / Planet Earth
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Posted 3/30/08

Shinjy wrote:

all i know is that the british r evil!



I am? wow thanks for pointing that out for me, here I was thinking I was a nice guy

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29 / M / Monterey
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Posted 3/30/08
well, what were the circumstances, were the germans on the brink of destruction? from what i had read on a previous post, it didn't seem like it at all, seeing as it took place before pearl harbor and america's decision to fight

you have to maintain a good strategy, if the commander had sent in veteran troops against the japanese, then the war would have been over very quickly, you cannot forget about the nazi soldiers, they too were veterans, and they were the ones winning the war on Europe

would you have sent the canadians against the nazis instead of helping out hong kong while the british soldiers fight off the japanese? ---or would you have abandoned hong kong completely?

sending the troops to hong kong was the better choice, the european nations were losing to the nazis, badly.. and the commanders relied on the veteran soldiers to keep the lines from falling apart, you cannot rely on untrained soldiers to keep the line for you, especially when your veteran soldiers are having a hard enough time doing it themselves. but at the same time, you cannot keep your inexperienced soldiers under someone else's wings for long either. the first soldiers to die against the nazis, do you think they were experienced at all? not even the ww1 veterans were experienced enough, mostly because ww1 was fought more like the revolutionary war rather than ww2

well. let's say. the inexperienced soldiers could have fought just as well, or even better, than the veteran soldiers against either nazi germany or japan. that's fair right? well, if they could have. then it wouldn't matter which soldiers are sent to hong kong, but no commander can know for sure that inexperienced soldiers could fight and win a battle if they have not yet proven themselves in real combat, the commander can only hope for the best to come, and perhaps a little miracle to help

if the canadians(the inexperienced troops) stayed on europe and fought the nazis, then they would have died against the nazis instead of the japanese.
meaning, you now have a hole that needs to be filled, and where are the soldiers that can fill up the hold and possibly hold it? well, it's in asia fighting off another dog from digging a hole

if you have veteran soldiers fighting off the nazis while the inexperienced soldiers are in hong kong, your frontline can be kept intact, hopefully atleast, but at the sametime, the soldiers defending hong kong can prove their worth to the world, if they cannot. then it was better off sending them there than having them stayed just to die against a foe nearer to your headquarters and possibly, the only people that could lead the war to victory for the allies













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33 / M / Toronto, Canada
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Posted 3/30/08
Dude, what are you talking about? Canadians did fight the Nazis in Europe. They fought on D-Day in Normandy and also during the invasion of Italy... Before that, in Dieppe and other battles. Not to mention the missions on the North Atlantic by the merchant navy.

The OP wasn't saying that all Canadian troops were inexperienced and that they were all sent to Hong Kong. The point is that whether having non-British soldiers take up an indefensible to face certain doom in the stead of British soldiers was the right thing to do.

If you realize that it's not worth the cost in British troops to stay and defend Hong Kong, why bother sending the Canadians? You could have had them train some more and used them later in the war... instead they were killed and tortured in Japanese prison camps.
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29 / M / Monterey
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Posted 3/30/08
well. weren't the ones sent to hong kong inexperienced?
if so, then probably because all the experienced canadians were chosen to fight the nazis to help other experienced soldiers.. while the inexperienced soldiers drew the short stick, sadly

but what you're saying is that you'd absolutely abandon hong kong?
think of the political problems that could lead to.. and furthermore, it would have given japan an extra few weeks ahead of schedule towards their march throughout china, west asia, and eventually europe.. and that can be very costly don't you think? especially since the americans were standing firmly in isolation and showed no sign of attending the war

i was trying to give a view why they were sent.. something like, there was no other choice
and he did say they were sent for "political reasons"


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29 / M / Monterey
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Posted 3/31/08
it's not why should WE care, it's why should YOU care. that makes it easier for me to say, you should find out for yourself
plus, i don't like to be part of those "we"

well, it's your choice, really, to care or not. there are plenty of intelligent people that know little about certain parts of history
but they atleast, however, know the history according to their line of work(scientists and such)(art masters)(geeks and nerds)

but anyway, didn't you asked that like an hour ago? why should i keep i talking. answer it yourself..

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76 / Planet Earth
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Posted 3/31/08
Well, Churchill in his series of books on the second world war claimed,
' Hong Kong had been attacked by Japan....I had no illusions about its fate under the overwhelming impact of Japanese power...Their loss was certain and they should have been reduced to a symbolic scale, but I had allowed myself to be drawn from this position and reinforcements had been sent. From the outset they were faced with a task beyond their powers'

In Arthur Bryant in his book 'Turning of the tide', which consists largely of diary entries by the British CIGS (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) quotes him saying 'The situation is far from rosy! I doubt weather Hong Kong will hold out a fortnight and Malaya a month' He goes on to say that the garrison of Hong Kong 6 British and Canadian battalions without air cover, faced the assault of three divisions.

John Keegan in his book 'The second world war' mentions the 'Anglo-Canadian garrison capitulating on Christmas day.

From what I know there were 6 battalions; 2 British, 2 Canadian and 2 Indian. So, lets not forget the British and Indians who fought out there, I don't think it was a conspiracy, the British Empire was over stretched and Britain was in dire peril of being invaded by a larger and superior German Army. Isolated garrisons were frequently over whelmed by superior numbers throughout the second world war on all sides, that is the nature of warfare sadly.

++In defense of the CIGS, I think he was rather banking on American intervention if Japan attacked, what he didn't take into consideration was that the Japanese would skillfully attack the Americans at Pearl Harbor, thus destroying the capacity of the Americans to help the British even if they wanted to.

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24 / M / Singapore
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Posted 3/31/08
it is a cruel decision but if u put yourself in Churchill's position u would hav done the same thing
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Posted 3/31/08
The Canadians in HK were inexperienced, many of them hadn't even gotten real training. I don't think the British were specifically evil in sending them there, they just underestimated the Japanese attack. The Canadians were told that if they did attack, it would be during the daytime, since Japanese people have 'small eyes' and therefore 'can't see at night'.
What a lot of bullshit.
The Japanese came in the middle of the night and decimated the Canadians.

If the British really did have intelligence that there would be a night attack, I doubt they would have sent the Canadians, OR if they did, they would have sent backup after hearing news of the attack.

I think Britain was still in a very colonialist state of mind though, and this was exactly what resources (including people) from their colonies were supposed to go toward.

Oh and by the way, the cruel, cruel guy who was in charge of the prisoner camp was a Canadian who defected to the Japanese side because of the racist tauntings he'd had to endure as a child.

Altogether a depressing episode in history, I must say.
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76 / Planet Earth
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Posted 3/31/08

ruee102 wrote:

The Canadians in HK were inexperienced, many of them hadn't even gotten real training. I don't think the British were specifically evil in sending them there, they just underestimated the Japanese attack. The Canadians were told that if they did attack, it would be during the daytime, since Japanese people have 'small eyes' and therefore 'can't see at night'.
What a lot of bullshit.
The Japanese came in the middle of the night and decimated the Canadians.

If the British really did have intelligence that there would be a night attack, I doubt they would have sent the Canadians, OR if they did, they would have sent backup after hearing news of the attack.

I think Britain was still in a very colonialist state of mind though, and this was exactly what resources (including people) from their colonies were supposed to go toward.

Oh and by the way, the cruel, cruel guy who was in charge of the prisoner camp was a Canadian who defected to the Japanese side because of the racist tauntings he'd had to endure as a child.

Altogether a depressing episode in history, I must say.


I have heard the 'small eyes' story but I am not sure about the source, so it could be apocryphal. However it makes no difference either way, British Imperial forces were massively out numbered, and the Japanese moved with lightning speed. Also the Canadian government was responsible for providing Canadian soldiers, I doubt the British asked for a bunch of untrained troops, its just that was all there was available. However to be honest this event pales into insignificance compared to other events that took place in the war, you want to talk about tragedy read about Stalingrad or Okinawa.

Also the Canadians like the Americans are colonialist, there were natives in both Canada and America before Europeans turned up. So the Canadians were also in a 'colonialist state of mind' and as responsible for empire building as the British.

++Finally as I have already stated there were British and Indian troops there as well, so Canadians don't have a monopoly when it comes to Hong Kong.

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24 / F
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Posted 4/2/08
I don't think we can say whether the British decision was right or wrong because it was during war. Canadian troops lost to the Japanese and the soldiers were either killed or put into concentration camps. The conditions in the Japanese camps were worse than the German ones. They were forced to work in mines and had a little to eat. At the end of war, I think only a few thousands returned to Canada.
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30 / M / Cebu City, PH
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Posted 4/3/08
Well, the British (and Canadian, as you say) garrison in Hong Kong may have been more fortunate compared to the USAFFE (American) forces in the Philippines.

The British surrendered after a week or less of fighting, but the Filipino-American forces surrendered after 4 months in a war of attrition, disease, and starvation in the Bataan jungle. They suffered more in the Death March and in POW camps. More than 5000 of the American POWs died in Japanese hands throughout the war.
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23 / M / Yew Nork
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Posted 4/3/08

7nmelz wrote:
These soldiers were as young as the age of 18.


During WWII, young soldiers, even at age 18, were not uncommon. Some even lied about their age to get in.
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25 / M / supposidly the "b...
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Posted 4/12/08
it did show Britian's dependence on its territories
but the sad part was Japan's harsh mistreatment
of POWs
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76 / Planet Earth
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Posted 4/15/08

ChaosUnleashed wrote:

it did show Britian's dependence on its territories
but the sad part was Japan's harsh mistreatment
of POWs


All countries are dependent on their territories, without a territory a nation does not exist.

Well, the US killed over 100,000 civilians firebombing Tokyo alone, and we wont even include the use of two A-bombs later on. So we cant point fingers at particular nations.
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