The Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macau commemorated Sunday the sacrifices Canadian soldiers and other Allied and local forces made during the Battle of Hong Kong and in the subsequent Japanese occupation.
During the ceremony at Sai Wan War Cemetery, Consul General Ian Burchett expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their dedication and commitment, Sing Tao Daily reported Monday.
Ralph MacLean, 93, a Canadian veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong, was one of the guests at the ceremony this year, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Liberation of Hong Kong.
MacLean, who was 19 at that time, was assigned to the Hong Kong garrison in 1941 along with nearly 2,000 Canadian soldiers.
He and his teammates were stationed at Stanley but were discovered and pursued by Japanese soldiers at midnight on Christmas Eve.
MacLean was later captured, detained in the Sham Shui Po camp and transferred to a Japanese labor camp in 1943.
He was released after Japan surrendered in 1945.
During his imprisonment, MacLean was severely beaten. He suffered from a visual impairment due to illness.
Rapid body weight loss also made walking difficult for him.
Another guest at the ceremony, Michael Thirlwell, son of a British soldier, who was born in the Stanley internment camp, said he learned about the cruel war in which his father fought only when he had grown up and was serving at a hospital that provides medical care and treatment for retired soldiers.
The Canadian Commemorative Service is an annual event the consulate general hosts on the first Sunday of December at Sai Wan War Cemetery, where about 300 servicemen from Canada are buried.
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