- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
For King & Country
EPISODE TWO: HOUR OF DARKNESS: Canadians in Hong Kong: 1941
With its ultra-modern skyscrapers and crowded streets, Hong Kong is a city aimed at the future. However, scattered amidst its hills and forests, Norm Christie unearths pillboxes, bunkers, and shell fragments – the detritus of a desperate past: the battle for Hong Kong.
In November of 1941, Canada volunteered two battalions - some 2000 young, untried, and ill-equipped troops - to reinforce the British garrison in Britain’s colony of Hong Kong. One of these young Canadians is Alfred Babin.
On December 8th, 1941, just three weeks after the Canadians arrive, Japan launches all-out war in Asia and in the Pacific. In just days, Japanese troops smash through the first British defenses of Hong Kong, occupy the mainland, and bombard the island itself.
After a week of attacks, the Japanese invade. With Norm Christie we follow the out-numbered and out-equipped allied forces - Canadians, British, local, and Asian – as they fight for Hong Kong. Despite inflicting huge loses on the Japanese, the allies are overwhelmed and surrender the island on Christmas Day, 1941.
Battle survivor Alfred Babin leads viewers to the site of one of the most gruesome massacres of the battle – that of St Stephen’s hospital. Not a single Canadian escapes from this battle – all are dead or prisoners. More than 200 of these men will later die in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
This is just one episode in the series of For King and Country documentaries.