OTTAWA, Dec. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orléans, today honoured the brave Canadians who fought in the Battle of Hong Kong, during a wreath laying ceremony at the "C" Force Memorial Wall in Ottawa.
During the annual ceremony, organized by the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, MP Galipeau laid a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada.
- In December 1941, 1,975 Canadians were among the Allied soldiers in Hong Kong who battled for some 18 grueling days, vastly outnumbered by invading forces.
- Approximately 290 Canadians were killed during the battle, and almost 500 more were wounded, before they were forced to surrender.
- Survivors experienced brutal conditions in captivity for three and a half years, with more than 260 Canadians losing their lives as prisoners of war.
- The "C" Force Memorial Wall, located on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, was unveiled in 2009 to honour all those who fought in the Battle of Hong Kong during the Second World War.
- Among the names appearing on the memorial wall is that of Gander, the Newfoundland dog mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada who was killed in action during the Battle of Hong Kong. Gander was awarded the Dickin Medal for saving the lives of Canadian infantrymen during the battle.
"Those who fought in the Battle of Hong Kong demonstrated great courage, tenacity, and determination against overwhelming odds. We will never forget the extraordinary sacrifices made by Canadians as a result of this battle to uphold peace, freedom and democracy."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"It was a pleasure to take part in this ceremony in honour of those who courageously defended peace and freedom in Hong Kong. Today, we remember the 1,975 Canadians who served during this battle and those who made the ultimate sacrifice."
Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orléans
"This memorial ceremony continues to show our respect and appreciation for these remarkable men. Now, seventy-three years after the Battle of Hong Kong, their memory and their sacrifices have contributed to the life and freedom that we as Canadians have come to enjoy."
Mitzi Ross (daughter of Sgt. Lancelot Ross – Royal Rifles), Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Barbara Mottram, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468