Battle of Hong Kong during WWII Cathcart, Cameron
Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Library's Rare Books and Special Collections. Mr. Cathcart served as a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery before choosing a broadcasting career. He worked with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 30 years, much of the time as a Parliamentary reporter in Ottawa and foreign correspondent in Washington, D.C. In the Second World War, Canadian soldiers first engaged in battle while defending the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong against a Japanese attack in December 1941. The Canadians at Hong Kong fought against overwhelming odds and displayed the courage of seasoned veterans, though most had limited military training. They had virtually no chance of victory, but refused to surrender until they were overrun by the enemy. Those who survived the battle became prisoners of war (POWs) and many endured torture and starvation by their Japanese captors. The fighting in Hong Kong ended with immense Canadian casualties: 290 killed and 493 wounded. The death toll and hardship did not end with surrender. Those Canadians who fought in the defence of Hong Kong sacrificed much in their efforts to help bring peace and freedom to the people of Asia and the Pacific. Their task was a difficult and costly one, but their sacrifice would serve as an example of the kind of effort that would be required to eventually triumph. The survivors' ordeal that followed as prisoners of war serves as an additional reminder of the great cost of war. This talk is part of the Remembrance Day speaker series, in conjunction with an exhibit at the Chung Collection curated by Clifford Pereira.
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