Japanese Assault against Nurses
Hong Kong December 1941
Above: St Stephens
The Japanese assault on Hong Kong commenced 8 December 1941. It took 17 days before the island capitulated to Japan. The British had earlier estimated they could hold out four months. In January 1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told his top advisors he believed Hong Kong to be indefensible!
At 5pm 25 Dec 1941 Hong Kong’s Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young capitulated. Amongst the captured were two battalions from Canada. The Canadian government had agreed to Britain’s request to bolster defences. Most Canadians were unaware.
At the same time on Christmas Day a horrendous event was unfolding at St. Stephens College which had been transformed into a front-line makeshift hospital. Japanese soldiers committed against British and Chinese nurses by the soldiers of 229th Regiment (the ‘Tanaka Butai’) of the 38th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army on Christmas Day 1941, at St Stephens entered St Stephens in the early morning and proceeded to bayonet, murder and mutilate wounded Allied soldiers, medical doctors, nurses, orderlies & patients. Patients who were unable to hide were bayoneted in their beds. Nurses were gang raped & mutilated over many hours.
At the same time Japanese soldiers entered Hong Kong Jockey Club grandstand at Happy Valley Racecourse which also being used as a Temporary Civilian Hospital. Patients, doctors, orderlies and staff were systematically killed. The rape and mutilation of nurses which began in the morning, lasted throughout the night until the next day.