Canada’s first engagement in land combat during WWII occurred in the Battle of Hong Kong. 1,973 men and two women (nursing sisters) arrived in the British colony of Hong Kong in November 1941 and defended the colony valiantly before Britain surrendered the colony on December 25, 1941.
But who were these Canadians? What were their experiences like? In this activity students will create a profile of a soldier (or nurse) and outline their experiences in the army, in Hong Kong, as prisoners of war and after their return to Canada.
After completing research on their own, students will get into groups of 3-4 and informally share information about the person they each profiled. They then will pick one veteran to present to the class. They must explain why they chose to tell that person’s story rather than those of the others. The teacher can ask students to consider question 10 regarding the power of hope. Suggested presentation options include creating a podcast, a video, or a PowerPoint presentation. An individual (or group) written report option is included as well.
Note: The Je me souviens virtual exhibition has several profiles and detailed information about general conditions. For information on and profiles of many more soldiers, check out the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association.
Goals of the Activity
These activities were created for the Je Me Souviens education program as educational tools to complement the QEP secondary IV history and secondary V contemporary world courses.
In addition, the activities can be used as language tools in the following QEP courses: Francais langue maternelle secondaire V, IV, III, English Language Arts and FSL or ESL secondary V, IV, III.
The goal of these activities is to allow secondary cycle two students to have a greater understanding of World War II and Canada’s role in the Battle of Hong Kong. Students will also learn to appreciate the contributions of Canadian Armed Forces personnel from Quebec.
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