Decision to Reinforce Hong Kong


In November 1941 the Canadian government, reacting to a British request, despatched “C” Force to reinforce the garrison at Hong Kong. Shortly after the Canadians arrived, the Japanese army attacked and captured the British colony. The entire Canadian contingent of almost 2,000 men was either killed or captured in the battle. Recriminations began immediately as Canadians tried to understand the reasons behind the despatch of the force. This argument was neatly summed up by Carl Vincent in his book titled, No Reason Why. Ignoring the simplicity of hindsight, this article re–examines the political and strategic situation of 1941 to better understand the decision–making process which led to the despatch of “C” Force. The article concludes that there were many reasons why the Canadians were sent to Hong Kong.