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Books are not men and yet they are alive

They are man's memory and his aspiration,

The link between his present and his past

The tools he builds with

(Stephen Vincent Benet {1898-1943})

If you would like to know more about the events leading up to the Battle for Hong Kong, the battle itself, life as a prisoner of the Japanese or the difficulties encountered when the veterans returned home, we suggest the following reading (and viewing).

A title in red indicates that the book is available for purchase through HKVCA. Cost is in brackets, with a link to postage rates if postage is not included. See bottom of page for ordering instructions.

A list of other books "Phil's Picks" is available. These are more general in their focus. You might also check out Stone&Stone and search their catalog.

Hint: there may be used copies of the book available - try a web search using the book title and author's name.

Looking for videos?

 

Books

(latest additions at the top)

Title Description Author ISBN/
Publisher
They Never Surrendered This is a story about Canada's soldiers who, despite their defeat and capture by the Japanese at Hong Kong in World War II, never gave up and never stopped fighting.

On the battlefield, suffering heavy casualties, they fought with determination and courage until they were ordered to lay down their arms by the British Governor of Hong Kong.

As prisoners of war they were shipped to Japan as slave labourers. In unimaginable conditions in their camps in Japan many died of starvation, overwork, disease, and savage abuse.

During nearly four years of their captivity they remained undaunted. They never failed in their duty to try and resist, and they never submitted to the demands of their cruel enemy.

While prisoners of war in the very heartland of their enemy, their sabotage was astonishingly successful in crippling the Japanese war effort.

Their courage and defiance are part of our history - and one we can be proud of.

George MacDonell Published in Oct 2014

Order from Volumes

Forgiveness (From HarperCollins Canada) - When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. more... Mark Sakamoto HarperCollins
'C' Force Decorations, Medals, Awards and Honours

This book is dedicated to the men and women of 'C' Force who displayed outstanding courage, tenacity and valour during the Battle for Hong Kong as well as their trials and tribulations while prisoners of war of the Japanese. Their actions are among the finest in the long tradition of Canada's soldiers. The book contains the citations and other honours for those soldiers so honoured.

Vince Lopata Cost: $20 including shipping.

Make cheque payable to:
Vince Lopata
P.O. Box 261
Pinawa MB R0E 1L0

A Dog Named GANDER



This book is dedicated to the 2,000 Canadian soldiers of "C-Force" who, in the face of an imminent Japanese threat, were sent to reinforce the far distant British Crown Colony of Hong Kong in October of 1941.

It is also dedicated to their mascot who was an unusual and heroic Newfoundland dog named Gander, who fought bravely until, in a final act of heroism on the battlefield of Hong Kong, gave up his life for his comrades.

The Story of brave Gander and the Canadian defenders of Hong Kong is not about how they were defeated by vastly superior Japanese forces, but how together, in their gallant defence of the island, they showed the world the mettle of which they were made.

40 Pages, Photos - Size 11" x 8.5"

George S MacDonell & Sue Beard
 

 

WRITTEN, DESIGNED & PRINTED IN CANADA

ISBN10: 0986609916

ISBN13: 9780986609916

Order from website
or
Order from HKVCA:
Soft cover. $20.00 plus postage (see rates at bottom of this page.

Mail cheque payable to HKVCA,
P.O. Box 381, Winnipeg, MB R3C 2H6.

The Home Front: Hopscotch & Heartache While Daddy Was at War Margaret Dennis was seven years old in 1941 when her father, Lieutenant Victor Dennis, was sent with the Winnipeg Grenadiers to defend Hong Kong against the Japanese Army.

The battle of Hong Kong was a fiasco and on Christmas Day 1941, the Canadians surrendered. They spent the next four years in a prisoner-of-war camp.

The Home Front is the story of his loved ones at home. Told through the eyes of young Margaret, it portrays her mother, Lucy, and younger brother and sister during the four long years their father was away. With poignancy and humour, the author offers a colourful picture of Canadian life during the dark days of World War II.

Margaret Owen

A Winnipeg writer and a retired school teacher. She has been
writing since 1972 and has published many articles. The Home Front is her first book.

9781896150642

McNally Robinson

Uncle Mac's Hong Kong Diary

This book, 185 pages long, has two distinctive sections; events before surrender, and while a POW. The subject matter has often been written about in the recent past, but this rendition covering December 1941 contains some very emotional language.

Following the surrender, as to be expected with any publication with the words “Hong Kong Diary” in the title, the theme focuses on the lack of food, medicine, and freedom.

Whether due to illness or the lack of paper, or that it just got lost, the portion of the diary for 1943 is missing.

Not an easy read, but one every collection of the history of “C” Force should have.

Diary was compiled by his niece Betsy in 2010.

Philip J.M. (Mac) Gallie, RRC To purchase, call Betsy at 1-519-744-6633

Cost: $25, postage included

My Life with the Samurai

(HOW I SURVIVED JAPANESE DEATH CAMPS)

From the author:

The first edition of My Life With the Samurai received excellent reviewsand was recognized as an important contribution to the study of the Pacific Theatre during WW ll. This new, limited edition 3rd printing includes maps, photos, the names of those who fell in camp, in addition to new chapters which document the brutality experienced by many nations of S.E. Asia during the Japanese reign of terror. My Life With the Samurai tells the true story of a 17 year old boy (AUTHOR) captured by the Japanese in Indonesia.
He survived a horrendous death rate and beat the odds against starvation and brutality. This book is an inspiration to all. Definitely a must read. Compelling yet disturbing truths emerge about the captured British POWs' and what they had to endure at the hands of the Japanese. Anthony "Tony" Cowling tells of great suffering at the hands of the Japanese from a perspective found only in someone who was there. It is so well written that one begins to see history no one wanted you to hear. This is your chance to read TRUE WWII experiences from 1941-1945.

Anthony Cowling Can be purchased from the author's web site
Hong Kong Internment 1942-1945 Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley

This book tells the story of the more than 3000 non-Chinese civilians: British, American, Dutch and others, who were trapped in the British colony and interned behind barbed wire in Stanley Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945.

Geoffrey Charles Emerson Author's web site
The Damned: The Canadians at the Battle of  Hong Kong and the POW Experience, 1941-45  Book coverThe Damned tells the largely unknown saga of Canada's first land battle of the Second World War -- fought in the hills and valleys of Hong Kong in December 1941 -- and the terrible years the survivors of the battle spent as slave labourers for the Empire of Japan.

Their story begins in the fall of 1941 when almost 2,000 members of the Royal Rifles and Winnipeg Grenadiers were sent to bolster the British garrison at Hong Kong. In the seven-day battle for the colony 290 men were killed and another 500 wounded for a casualty rate of some 40%—the highest rate of any battle the Canadians fought in the Second World War save for Dieppe.

The second part of their story lasts 1,378 days—more than three and a half years—and is of how the Canadians survived the horrid conditions of Japanese POW camps. Four were executed for trying to escape. Another 260 died from diseases brought on by malnutrition, effects of beatings, and slave labour in shipyards and coal mines. Hundreds more suffered from beriberi, diphtheria, typhus and other diseases, and malnutrition, which in many cases led to blindness. Scores of Canadians were tortured; hundreds of were turned into slave labourers in factories, shipyards and dangerous coal mines.

Media articles: Globe and Mail

Nathan Greenfield Ph.D., is the Canadian correspondent for The Times Education Supplement and a contributor to Maclean’s, Canadian Geographic and The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of Baptism of Fire: The Second Battle of Ypres and the Forging of Canada, April 1915, which was a finalist for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction, and the widely praised The Battle of the St. Lawrence. Greenfield lives in Ottawa.

On Facebook

Released in Oct 2010. Order from Chapters

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10:1554682193
ISBN - 13:9781554682195

Veterans with a Vision – Canada’s War Blinded in Peace and War The book outlines the history of Canada’s war blinded beginning at the turn of the 20th century up to the present.  It documents the rehabilitation of these men, and their trials and tribulations in getting our government to provide pensions, job retraining and other social programs that allowed them to achieve a good measure of independence. (Visit the Amazon.ca web site for a further description)
 
Serge Marc Durflinger Sir Arthur Pearson Association of War Blinded and the Canadian War Museum

ISBN-13:978-0774818551

Purchase from: amazon.ca

Dark Side of the Sun

(Cost: $25 plus postage)

 

(240 pages, paperback format) story about my grandfather's (George Palmer from PEI) journey in WWII where he was involved in the battle of Hong Kong. He was shot, captured, had plans to escape across China to friendly lines, but was then sent on a POW ship to Japan where he and his comrades endured brutalities, slave labour and starvation for a few years at the Omine POW Camp. They were close to death by the time the Americans rescued them (and they were only 160 kms from Nagasaki - where one of the atomic bombs was dropped). One interesting note: It's the only published book in existence containing in-depth information on the happenings at the Omine POW camp.

Read a book review | Article in "The Guardian"
Calgary Herald | CBC Interview with author (audio) (6MB)
Dark Side of The Sun - Casket Article - 03Nov2010.pdf
Dark Side of the Sun-Remembrance Section-Casket-Page 1 of 2 - 03Nov2010.pdf
Dark Side of the Sun-Remembrance Section-Casket-Page 2 of 2 - 03Nov2010.pdf

Interview with CBC on 11 Nov 2010 (mp3, audio)
 

Michael Palmer, Grandson ISBN 9780888873897

Publisher: Borealis Press
Copyright: 2009

Order from Chapters

Sergeant Gander: A Canadian Hero A fascinating account of the Royal Rifles of Canada's canine mascot, and its devotion to duty demonstrated during one of Canada's biggest military tragedies, the Battle of Hong Kong of the Second World War. Armed only with his formidable size, an intimidating set of teeth, and a protective instinct, Gander fought alongside his fellow Canadian soldiers. As the Royal Rifles' position became more precarious, the men were forced to retreat into the hills of Hong Kong and it was here that a group of wounded Canadians, threatened by a live grenade, came to fully appreciate the loyalty of Gander. Of all the Canadians who took part that day, only one was awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross for humans. This honour is dedicated to animals displaying gallantry and devotion to duty while under any control of the Armed Forces. Sergeant Gander is the 19th dog to receive this medal and the first Canadian canine to do so.

Published in September '09

Robyn Walker
  • ISBN-10:1554884632
  • ISBN-13:978-1554884636
  • Available through Amazon.ca

    Beyond The Call

    (Cost:  $30.00 plus postage)

    Beyond the Call tells the story of the thirty-three members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals who were part of “C” Force, the Canadian contingent sent to bolster the British garrison at Hong Kong in October, 1941.  It follows the men through their enlistment and training, the voyage to Hong Kong, their participation in the battle following the Japanese attack of December 8, 1941, their years as POWs and their eventual repatriation to Canada.  D. Burke Penny

    Read Burke's insights

    Burke's Blog

    Published by the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, 2009

    ISBN 978-0-9733350-1-9

     

    We Shall Suffer There A text book covering the Hong Kong POW and Internee experience from capture to liberation. Like Not the Slightest Chance, it takes a chronological approach to the subject, and attempts to cover each and every camp, draft, and movement so that the experiences of all individual POWs can be understood. It also investigates the deaths of each individual lost in the camps.
     
    Tony Banham

    Website

    Publication was in  March 2009.

    Please visit this page on Tony's web site for other details.

    UK: Link
    US: Link
    Canada: Amazon
    A Hong Kong Diary Revisited- The Family Remembers

    ($30. plus s. &h.)
    This is the diary kept by Lieut. Leonard Corrigan, WG, during 3 1/2 years in Hong Kong as a POW. This unique inside story includes daily journal entries buried during the years of imprisonment and brought home after liberation.

    Lieutenant Corrigan’s four daughters have added their reflections on the time before, during and after the war, the readjustments to his homecoming, and his life until his death in 1994.
    Leonard Corrigan

     

    Editors:
    Mik Bergersen,
    Kathie Carlson,
    Shelagh Purcell,
    Pat Turcotte

    ISBN No. 978-0-978-3430-3-3
    Copyright: 2008

     

    Contact Frei Press at P.O.BOX#38
    Baltimore, ON
    K0K 1C0

    For further information:
    E-mail: hkdiary@hotmail.com
    Phone: (905) 373-0490

    Kartoons by Kelso At the outbreak of the Second World War two brothers, Henry and John Robert Kelso, enlisted with the Winnipeg Grenadiers. John was also a gifted cartoonist and with sponsorship from T. Eaton Companywas to have attended a prestigious art school in Chicago following the war. A few months into training the brothers along with the Winnipeg Grenadiers were posted to garrison duty in Bermuda and Jamaica. It is there, while stationed in the Caribbean, that John sketched 40 cartoons of military life that you now see on these pages John Kelso Copyright: © 2007 Curtis J. Phillips. Available at lulu.com for download or purchase
    Passing the Torch: Our Youth Remember Hong Kong A collection of war stories produced by the students from Ontario who adopted a Hong Kong veteran and contributed a commemorative piece to show their thanks for the sacrifices. Edited by Nancy & Michael Strahl Available at lulu.com for download or purchase

    or

    Derrill has six copies of this one for mailing costs ($4.00) only. Use address at bottom of this page.

    'C' Force Decorations, Medals, Awards and Honours The book documents the decorations, medals, awards and honours including citations given to soldiers of the Canadian Army that fought at the Battle of Hong Kong, December 1941. Following the battle they became Prisoners of War of the Japanese from January 1942 until August 1945. Vince Lopata Available at lulu.com for download or purchase
    DEADLY DECEMBER The Battle of Hong Kong The Royal Rifles of Canada, The Winnipeg Grenadiers Click for larger imageFor the first time the saga is told from a Canadian perspective, using the words of those soldiers who fought that, long ago, almost forgotten battle. Ronald C. Parker

    Ron's Web Site

    Available at lulu.com for download or purchase.

    Also available at Amazon.com. Link

    Royal Rifles in Hong Kong 1941 - 1945

     

    ($50, all costs included)

     

    Click for larger view

    This reprint contains a few more photographs than the original and it has a foreword by the author of Part 1, Grant Garneau.

    For those unfamiliar with this book, Part 1 deals with the historical aspects of the reforming the Royal Rifles in 1939; the Crown Colony of Hong Kong; the battle as seen by the RRC; and the imprisonment following the surrender. Part 2 is illustrations and photographs supplied by the veterans. Part 3 is mainly personal accounts. The book has 436 pages in total.

       
    Prisonnier de guerre au Japon (1941-1945)

     

    ($20 plus $3 postage)

    *Not available in book stores*

    Click for larger imageÀ 19 ans Bernard s’engage volontairement dans le régiment des Royal Rifles du Canada, dont 35 à 40% sont des Canadiens-français bilingues.Un an plus tard, son régiment est envoyé à la défense de Hong Kong. Ils ont eu à peine trois semaines pour se préparer à la bataille. Malgré une résistance courageuse contre toute attente de victoire possible, après dix-huit jours de combat féroce ils se sont rendues le jour de Noël 1941.Les pertes canadiennes étaient lourdes.

    Les survivants des Royal Rifles et les Winnipeg Grenadiers demeureront aux mains des Japonnais comme prisonniers de guerre durant 3 ans et 8 mois.

    Bernard à tenu son journal presque quotidiennement pendant toute cette période. Dans ce journal Bernard nous raconte ce qu’il a vécu au jour le jour.

    Bernard Castonguay, auteur Renée Giard, rédactrice ISBN 2-9808972-0-5 (Jun 05)
    Hong Kong Prisoner of War Camp Life A visual record of the conditions in which the prisoners of war of the Japanese lived in Hong Kong. Alexander Skvorzov, risking his life, secretly sketched and hid his work during his imprisonment in Shamshuipo and Argyle Street camps. Lieut. A.V. Skvorzov Details

    Note: as of mid-Nov '08 the following message was posted on the vendor's web site:

    "This product is out of print and no longer available from the publisher"

    Letters to Harvelyn From Japanese POW Camps: A Father's Letters to His Young Daughter During World War II Major Kenneth G. Baird 0-00-200096-2
    Behind the Fence

    Life As A P.O.W. in Japan 1942-1945

    Card cover 288 pp 6x9”

    Les Chater, a Canadian with the Royal Air Force, was captured by the Japanese in 1942 at Singapore, and remained a prisoner until liberation in 1945.  During that time he kept a secret diary, recording life in the camps day by day.  b/w photos, illustrations, Appendices.

    Les Chater & Elizabeth Hamid

     

    Details

     
    Not the Slightest Chance Click for larger imageQuote from the jacket: This book assembles a phase-by-phase, day-by-day, hour-by-hour account of the battle. It considers the individual actions that made up the fighting as well as the strategies and plans and the many controversies that arose.

    Published: 2003

    Tony Banham

    Website

    0-7748-1044-0
    UBC Press
    One Soldier's Story ($20 plus $3 postage) Click for larger image

    Canadians who were sent to Hong Kong with only the munitions they carried off the troop ships and without any air or naval support, after seventeen days of battling overwhelming enemy numbers, soon found themselves as prisoners-of-war in Japanese camps.

    Many POWs have taken different routes in coming to grips with the memories that haunt them still. Sgt. George MacDonell wrote a book.

    Brings together the micro details surrounding a military action which took place during the battle for Hong Kong in December 1941

    George MacDonell 1550024086

    Dundurn Press

    No Reason Why ($45 all costs included) Click for larger image

    This book, of which we have a limited number of copies, has been called the best book written about Canada's involvement in the defence of Hong Kong. It covers the background of the regiments; the politics involved; the battle; years of imprisonment; and the return to Canada. No library on the subject on Hong Kong is complete without this book!

    Carl Vincent 0-920002-12-9

     

    Published: 1981 by Canada's Wings Inc, Stittsville, ON

    Desperate Siege: The Battle for Hong Kong Click for larger imageBased on interviews with survivors of the battle and the POW cages, Desperate Siege is a powerful tale of human courage in the face of impossible odds.

     

    Published: 1980

    Ted Ferguson 0-385-14694-9
    In Enemy Hands Click for larger imageCanadian Prisoners of War 1939-45

     

    Published: 1983

    Daniel G. Dancocks 0-88830-240-1
    Banzai You Bastards Allied Prisoners of War on Taiwan Jack Edwards 962-7290-03-3
    A Handful of Rice Canadian Prisoners somewhere in Malaya William Allister Martin Secker & Warberg Ltd. London Eng.

    Try a web search using these words: "book handful of rice allister"

    Hostages to Fortune The fall of Hong Kong...The horrors of Shamshuipo Camp...The tragedy of the Lisbon Maru...The last days before the atom bomb. Tim Carew 241 02001 8
    From Jamaica to Japan Click for larger imageThe diary of a Hong Kong Prisoner of War

     

    Published: 1995

    Read an excerpt

    Thomas S. Forsyth  
    17 Days Until Christmas (sold out) Léo Paul Bérard's first hand account of his WWII experience as a prisoner of war of the Imperial Japanese Army after the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. Léo Paul Bérard 0-9683049-0-7
    Where Life and Death Hold Hands   William Allister 0773722688
    Guests of Hirohito ($20 plus postage)   Ken Cambon  
    Three Military Leaders  The conflicts between feudalistic ideas of the samurai's role and the realities of modern warfare made dramatically evident in this triple biography of the Japanese WWII military learders - Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto and Tomoyuki Yamashita Edwin P. Hoyt 4-7700-1737-5
    Hell On Earth Aging faster, dying sooner; Canadian Prisoners of the Japanese during WWII, painting a vivid picture of the experiences of the Canadian POWs and their brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese Dave McIntosh (Edited by Legion Magazine) 0-07-552821-5
    Diary of a Prisoner of War in Japan 1941-1945 Available in English and French, the author's journal portrays the harrowing experience of Canadian POWs in Hong Kong and Japan, and a strong French Canadian perspective of the war that is both moving and informative. The author was one of them. The English edition is available from: VERO, 400 Saint-Eugene, Apt #5, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada, G5L 8S3 or phone 418-723-1423 Georges "Blacky" Verrault English Edition
    2-9804980-1-7
    French Edition
    2-9804980-0-9
    "C" Force to Hong Kong; a Canadian Catastrophe Recounts the formation of "C" Force in WWII and its departure to Hong Kong as well as the story of life and death in the prison camps of Hong Kong and Japan Brereton Greenhous 1-55002-267-9
    The Ruins of War Full of interesting pieces of information and history which appears in narratives on pill-boxes, gun emplacements, batteries, shelters, casualty lists, buildings and more Ko Tim Keung and Jason Wordie  
    Escape to Life A novel, in which patriotic guerillas liberate 1000 human guinea pigs from a Japanese run experimental death camp. Please remember, it is an historical fact that NO ONE escaped from the hideous camps Jan J Solecki  
    At the Going Down of the Sun Click for larger viewHong Kong and South/East Asia 1941-45. Quote from the jacket cover:

    "the first factual account of what happened to the allied prisoners and to the British, American and Dutch families who were subjected to the callous brutality of their captors for almost four years. It also covers the activities of the British Intelligence Organisation in China which was initially extraordinarily successful in establishing contact with the POWs and internees..."

    Published: 1981

    Oliver Lindsay 0-241-10542-0

    Published by: Hamish Hamilton, London, England

    The Lasting Honour Click for larger imageThe Fall of Hong Kong 1941

     

    Published: 1978

    Oliver Lindsay  

     

    Videos

    Slaves of the Rising Sun

    ($20 plus $5 postage)

    DVD CoverThis excellent summary of the Battle of Hong Kong and the role of ‘C’ Force was prepared by History Television in 2002. This documentary is 49 minutes long and includes the history of the HKVA and the eventual formation of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association. Our story is well portrayed and is both interesting and educational. History Television  
    Dedication of the 'C' Force Memorial Wall

    ($25 including postage)

     

    Produced by the War Amps, this bilingual DVD is a valuable keepsake, documenting the dedication ceremony which took place in Ottawa, ON on 15 Aug '09 War Amps  
    Canada's Hong Kong Veterans:
    The Compensation Story
    Hosted by Cliff Chadderton, War Amps CEO and Patron of the Hong Kong Veterans Association of Canada. It was Chadderton who started the claim, marshalling the strength of six Allied nations and the Human Rights Community in Geneva.

    To order this excellent DVD call 1-800-250-3030.

    The cost is only $12.00 postage paid to Canadian addresses. Add $8.00 if sent to the USA or $15.00 if sent to International addresses."
    Cliff Chadderton  

     

    Postage Rates

    (where not specified elsewhere)

    Maritime provinces and NFLD: $11.25

    Quebec, Ontario & Manitoba: $8.50
    The three western provinces and the North: $12.50

    All items shown in red above may be ordered by sending a cheque to:

    HKVCA
    Suite 164
    1861 Robertson Road
    Ottawa, ON K2H 1B9

    Questions? Contact our librarian.

    If you know of other books, videos or articles that you feel should be included in our list, please let us know.