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(1939-1945) WWII
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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3248
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/21/2020 9:08:36 PM

Simple question coming up. But first, a bit of background of me as a war buff.

I make charts. And graphs. I draw maps and profile a/c. I have mooncharts for WW2, and calendars offering summaries of actions. I’m a visual kinda guy. Some of you folk – in the particular instance I’m about to raise I think of George and John R, but Phil always comes to mind as well – think in terms of numbers.

Recently, I’ve reactivated one of my unfinished charts, and found the following entry for 25.12.1941, the Christmas that Hong Kong fell. It reads: “HK falls to J troops. 11,848 Commonwealth troops lost”.

I got that number from somewhere, but no longer know where. More important, however, is that IIRC there were British regulars and perhaps some Colonial troops there as well.

For the purposes of this chart, I could leave the number of troops lost entirely off the board. But my entry is pretty damned specific, and the reference to Commonwealth troops seems unnecessarily specific, so I’m curious both about the number cited and the specific statement that these were “Commonwealth” losses. Hell, I don’t even know if “lost” means killed, killed and wounded, killed, wounded and captured, or something else entirely.

Do any of you numbers types have an approximation of 11,848 lost at Hong Kong that fits any specific group of defenders?

Any help or insight would be appreciated.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan
MI USA
Posts: 5930
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/21/2020 9:34:33 PM

Hi Brian,

It seems numbers given as troops lost in battles change with each researched history on it? For example here is Wikipedia's take on it, no numbers come specifically for 11,848 you list but then the research you did was how long ago, & do you remember the source you used??

[Read More]

Good luck with your findings,
Regards, & safety, back at ya!
MD

BTW It would be really cool to see any copies of your maps, charts, or graphs on WWII. Is it possible to post a few on MHO?? From as you know, a fan!
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3248
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/22/2020 12:30:10 AM

MD, you say: Quote:
BTW It would be really cool to see any copies of your maps, charts, or graphs on WWII. Is it possible to post a few on MHO?

That is kind, but I wonder if anybody would have any use for them?

Most of them are very personal devices to keep the broader world before me. So I have single-page “moon charts”, and devices showing RAF and USAAF raids against Italy, and the like. Many date back 20 years; some are still under development. They are designed simply to help me maintain focus.

Cheers. And – still – stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4693
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/22/2020 7:19:27 AM

Hi Brian,

A brief foray into one or two volumes is enough to convince me that the Wiki article cited by MD is right on the money.

You might be aware that the actor Mark Rylance has family folklore here : his GF was in the volunteer force at HK and witnessed the fighting and its aftermath.

I cite from memory, so might have got this wrong.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 11090
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/22/2020 1:09:59 PM

Hello Brian, just to be clear, are you seeking the casualty figures (KIA, wounded and POW) for each of the British, Canadian, Indian and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force?

George
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Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3248
Numbers for Hong Kong
Posted on: 9/23/2020 8:07:08 PM

Sorry for the delay; I wrote two responses yesterday and lost them both. They were my 3rd and 4th lost responses this week, and I just quit trying.

Thanks for responses to date. In terms of what I was looking for, I think the quickest explanation is that I was questioning my own values out loud. That suggests a touch of arrogance, IMHO; I didn’t know why I’d noted something, and expected some MHO member to tell me.

Most of you know that as a military buff I am not a numbers man. E.g., the numbers killed during the bombing of Hamburg, while horrendous, is of less interest to me than the arguments for their deaths or the techniques by which they were killed.

Right now I am creating an aide-memoire of sorts I’m calling a Boffin Calendar. At 11 pages total as a calendar, it is very short of space but gives a view of 4 months of WW2 per page. Each day has only about 5/8 x 9/16”. Even using 6 pt type leaded tighly, that allows only 4 lines of type/entry. Its primary purpose will simply be to help me keep track of (largely air) technical developments (everything from Knickbein to Oboe to proximity fuses).

As the calendar developed, I decided to add other information which might relate to technology. E.g., on 13/14 May 1940 Germany was threatening the Netherlands that should they not cease hostilities against German invaders, Germany would bomb Rotterdam. One argument (I believe the German one) is that the Netherlands surrendered to save Rotterdam, after which the Germans attempted to stop the bombers heading towards Rotterdam. Lack of air/ground communications meant that the a/c bombed anyway. A second argument (the Allied one) is that Germany bombed Rotterdam and threatened the same treatment against Utrecht. The results of the raid on Rotterdam caused the Netherlands to surrender. Maybe that’s a bad example, but I wanted to note it in 4 lines of text.

So when I come to 25 Dec 1941, I find I had written “HK falls to J troops. 11,848 Commonwealth troops lost.” Those words take up all the space for the day, so two days ago I ask why I wrote so much detail, when “HK falls to J” gives the important data. Is there some significance in noting these 11,848 “losses” as Commonwealth? And when I can’t find any significance, I ask MHO if they can solve the mystery.

I tracked down where the numbers and Commonwealth label came from: Robert Goralski’s World War II Almanac: 1931-1945. Goralski , some of you might remember, was an NBC journalist; I seem to remember him from the days of the nightly Huntley-Brinkley Report.

I still have not, however, found any reason to note so precisely the number of Commonwealth losses. And although Goralski served in the USN at the end of the war, I can see no reason why he would have an axe to grind.

So. Tempest in a Teapot. Much Ado About Nothing. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Mea Culpa.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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