Canadian infantryman, Hong Kong, December 1941

Caption: Canadian infantryman, Hong Kong, December 1941

Responding to the British request for reinforcements for the Hong Kong garrison as relations with Japan grew worse in 1941, Canada sent two regiments: the Royal Rifles of Canada from Montreal, Quebec, and the Winnipeg Grenadiers from Manitoba. Both units were classed as 'unfit for combat' by the Department of Defence because of their lack of training, but the Japanese were seen as little threat. The Canadians were issued with warm-weather uniforms, and arrived just six weeks before the beginning of war in the Pacific. The men fought bravely but were quickly overwhelmed by a skilled Japanese campaign. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)