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Captain Uriah Laite

Honorary Captain Honorary Captain Laite was Regimental Chaplain to the Winnipeg Grenadiers at Hong Kong in December 1941.

On 18 December at Wong Nei Chong Gap he was with a small group of men holding a position which denied the use of the main road across the Island to the Japanese. Early on the morning of 19 December the enemy attacked this area and the position was cut off from all contact. Practically all personnel at Wong Nei Chong were casualties, including officers. Water, food and ammunition were rationed. No medical personnel were present. Due to the strategic value of the position it was constantly under attack, but due to the determination and gallantry of the defenders, held out for three days until 22 December when, with all ammunition, food and water gone, no further resistance was possible. Of a total of approximately forty, thirty-six were wounded.

During this long and trying period Honorary Captain Laite tended the wounded night and day without medical supplies, as well as giving spiritual and moral comfort. Undoubtedly his efforts not only saved some lives, but assisted materially in the recovery of health of many of these men. Due to his efforts in interceding with the Japanese after the capitulation of the post; many of the wounded were taken prisoner instead of being murdered on the spot, as the Japanese intended to murder all those who could not walk. The Japanese were so impressed with the good work of Honorary Captain Laite in attending to the wounded that they released him and directed him to return to the Battalion Headquarters.

Throughout the term of imprisonment, Honorary Captain Laite worked tirelessly for the benefit of his men, frequently endangering his health by close contact with the many dangerous diseases ravaging the prisoners of war. In every respect this good man possessed the finest qualities of his corps and cannot be too highly commended/or his courage and selfless devotion to duty.

 


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