It seemed unlikely that the Pacific Ocean British colony of Hong Kong, guarded by only four battalions at the outbreak of war, could be held if the Japanese chose to mount a serious attack. Nevertheless, military leaders in London convinced themselves that the Japanese might be scared off by a show of force. They asked Canada for help. Prime Minister Mackenzie King, usually cautious but not this time, agreed. For this duty, the army staff selected the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers.