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Stanley Market

Located on Stanley Village Road and surrounding alleyways this is a part covered, part outdoor market open around from 10am (some shops open a little later) to 6:30pm daily. All shops will be closed at nights. The market is popular with both tourists and locals and gets particularly busy at weekends. There is a variety of shops and stalls selling a variety of casual export clothes, sportswear, accessories, artworks, antiques, jewellery, toys and souvenirs. Prices are generally cheaper than most other shopping districts but some shops here do not allow the practice of allowing customers to “bargain” for prices which is commonplace in many of Hong Kong’s street markets. Go and find out what you can expect in our Shopping section.

Military Cemetery

THE DEFENCE OF HONG KONG - DECEMBER 1941

Hong Kong was regarded, in the event of war with Japan, as an outpost to be held for as long as possible. Isolated by Japanese occupation of the mainland and command of sea and air, the garrison could hope for no outside help.

The defending force, organized in two weak brigades, comprised two battalions each of British, Canadian and Indian Infantry - the 2nd Royal Scots, 1st Middlesex, Winnipeg Grenadiers, Royal Rifles of Canada, 5/7th Rajputs and 2/14th Punjabis -two Mountain and three Medium Batteries of the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery and the 22nd and 40th Field Companies of the Royal Engineers. In addition two Coast Regiments and an anti-aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery were deployed statically. The regular troops were augmented by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps. Other resources comprised a destroyer, eight torpedo boats, four gunboats and five obsolete aircraft which were destroyed by bombing at the start of hostilities.

The attacking force comprised the nine infantry battalions of the Japanese 28th Division with a heavily augmented artillery component which added overwhelming artillery superiority to complete control of the air. This Division was a well-equipped and highly trained formation with recent battle experience; by contrast the Commonwealth troops were less well equipped, lacked both battle experience and training (the Canadians disembarked only three weeks before hostilities started) and had been hastily allocated to extemporized formations. The attackers did not greatly outnumber the defenders but their plan of attack was based upon accurate knowledge of the defenses.

The long anticipated attack came early on 8th December 1941 against the fortified line on the mainland held by one Brigade (Royal Scots, Rajputs and Punjabis), the other Brigade being retained on the Island against a possible seaborne landing. The defense plan, to hold this line for at least a week to permit removal of stores and equipment from Kowloon and the destruction of the port installations, might have been achieved but for the unexpected loss, on the night of the 9th/10th, of the Sing Mun Redoubt on the left flank where the main weight of the Japanese thrust fell. In the subsequent fighting a company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, brought over as reinforce¬ment, became the first Canadian Army unit to see action in the Second World War. The loss of the Redoubt made it doubtful whether the defense line could much longer be held and the Kowloon denial scheme was put into operation by the Navy, the port installations destroyed and all vessels scuttled. By the 12th the Royal Scots and Punjabis, with all their equipment, had been evacuated to the Island; the Rajputs withdrew to positions on the Devil's Peak Peninsula and crossed over next day.

That morning a Japanese emissary summoned the Governor to surrender on pain of sever artillery and aerial bombardment. The summons was refused. The continuous and intense bombing and shelling which followed caused widespread military damage as well as uncontrollable fires and rupture of water mains in Victoria; nevertheless an attempted landing on the north-east corner of the Island was repulsed with considerable loss to the attackers. On the 17th a second summons to surrender was rejected.

Although attack from the mainland seemed the likely threat, the possibility of a seaborne attack meant that the seaward defenses could not be weakened and that the whole perimeter must be defended. The Island was therefore divided into East and West Brigade Commands.

That morning a Japanese emissary summoned the Governor to surrender on pain of sever artillery and aerial bombardment. The summons was refused. The continuous and intense bombing and shelling which followed caused widespread military damage as well as uncontrollable fires and rupture of water mains in Victoria; nevertheless an attempted landing on the north-east corner of the Island was repulsed with considerable loss to the attackers. On the 17th a second summons to surrender was rejected.

Although attack from the mainland seemed the likely threat, the possibility of a seaborne attack meant that the seaward defenses could not be weakened and that the whole perimeter must be defended. The Island was therefore divided into East and West Brigade Commands.

During the night of 15th December the Japanese landed in strength on the Island's north-east corner and by the 20th had captured the dominating central ground, thereby cutting the garrison in two. Over the next four days the greater part of the East Brigade was forced into the Stanley Peninsula and the West Brigade driven back to a line covering the City of Victoria and the Peak. Fighting throughout was bitter and losses on both sides were heavy. Men of many races and all services - sailors, soldiers, airmen, volunteers, policemen and prison warders - fought as infantry and continued to fight on in circumstances they knew to be without hope.

On Christmas morning a third call to surrender was ignored but by afternoon, with troops that had fought to a standstill and an exhausted water supply, further effective resistance was impossible and the Governor formally surrendered the Colony. Hong Kong had been temporarily lost but lasting honour had been won by its defenders, of whom 4,500 died in the battle or subsequent captivity.

STANLEY MILITARY CEMETERY

This cemetery was opened in the early days of the Colony for the burial of members of the garrison and their families. Closed for 70 years, it was re-opened in 1942 for the burials of those who died in Hong Kong while prisoners of war or in civil internment. After the war, battlefield burials from the 1941 fighting, particularly those of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps, were moved in.

Those buried in this cemetery include members of the British Army Aid Group, a military organization with a large staff of civilian employees operating in Japanese held territory in China to facilitate escapes from, and get medical supplies into, the prisoner of war camps, to collect military intelligence and to act as an evasion and escape organization for American airmen shot down over Japanese held territory. The burials from this group are of members who were captured in the course of these activities and subsequently executed.

The cemetery contains 691 burials - 37 Navy, 467 Army, 3 Air Force, 23 Merchant Navy, 98 civilian internees and 41 other civilians (including 39 of the British Army Aid Group) and 22 unknown - of whom 488 are British, 20 Canadian, 5 Indian, 157 Hong Kong, 11 Allied and 10 entirely unidentified.

The soldiers who died in the campaign and subsequently and whose graves are unknown are commemorated by name on the Memorial at Sai Wan War Cemetery, the sailors on the memorials at their home ports and the airmen on the Air Forces Memorial at Singapore.