Author: Brad St. Croix
Supervisor: Galen Roger Perras


This dissertation examines how the Battle of Hong Kong’s negative legacy has developed in Canada. By using the concept of “zombie myths,” which was first introduced in Zombie Myths of Australian Military History, this study will examine how many individuals, including historians, journalists, and authors, contributed to these myths’ creation and propagation for starting from the Second World War and continuing today. The study draws its conclusions from official texts and histories, personal recollections, newspaper articles, popular historical works, and academic monographs and articles, all relating to the battle.

This thesis is separated into two halves. The first part of the study focuses on the history of the battle by exploring several myths that surround it. One of the most contentious myths concerns why the Canadian troops were sent to the colony in the first place. The relationship between the British and Canadian armies from 1914 to 1941 plus the defence planning of Hong Kong from 1841 to 1941, are two crucial elements that will be analyzed in order to vital context about the Canadian reinforcement. The selection of the units of “C” Force and their training are subject to many myths that seek to present the Canadian units as untrained. These will be dispelled through an investigation of training records. The memory of the battle itself has been influenced by overtly nationalistic myths that seek to blame the other nationalities in the garrison for the fall of the colony while simultaneously presenting one’s own national troops as the garrison’s best fighters. Canadian authors and historians are no exception to this trend. Records created by various soldiers, including British, Canadian, and Indian sources, demonstrate that the Canadians at Hong Kong fought just as well as the rest of the garrison. The second part of the dissertation focuses on the memory of the battle. Discussions of the Hong Kong Inquiry and the television miniseries The Valour and the Horror bookend a discussion of the factors relating to the battle’s legacy since the Second World War including the Canadian government’s treatment of the Hong Kong veterans and the lack of official recognition.

This study delivers a much-needed re-examination of the battle and its legacy in Canada. By explaining and dispelling the numerous myths related to the Battle of Hong Kong, a clearer understanding of the battle’s legacy can be achieved.