1941 CASUALTY FIGURES

This first appeared in issue #1 of 'History Notes', compiled by the late Phillip Bruce. It is reproduced here on Gwulo by kind permission of Mr Bruce's family.

Major General C.M. Maltby, General Officer Commanding British Troops in China during the battle for Hong Kong attempted to assess the casualty figures in a despatch he sent to London in November 1945.

He said that his figures were approximate and that accurate information would only be obtained when the Casualty Bureau had completed a study. These battle casualty figures do not, of course, include those who died in captivity.

The figures were as follows:

Officers

Unit or Formation 

Killed or
died of wounds

Missing

Wounded

Total
Strength

HQ China Command 2 2 3 33

HQRA

_

1

-

6

8 Coast Regt RA

_

-

3

19

12 Coast Regt RA

1

1

1

16

5 AA Regt RA

_

8

1

23

1 HK Regt HKSRA

3

7

3

24

965 Def Bty RA

_

-

1

3

22 Field Coy RE

_

1

-

7

10 Field Coy RE

2

-

-

7

RE Services

-

1

1

18

2 Royal Scots

12

4

11

35

1 Middlesex Regt

10

2

4

36

Canadian Staff

2

4

3

14

Winnipeg Grenadiers

6

8

12

42

Royal Rifles of Canada

6

8

4

41

5/7 Rajput Regt

6

4

7

17

2/14 Punjab Regt

3

-

5

15

Royal Corps of Signals

1

-

-

7

RAOC

3

2

1

15

RASC

2

-

3

24

RAVC

2

RAMC

2

1

-

28

RADC

-

-

-

4

RAPC

-

-

-

5

HK Mule Corps

_

-

1

3

Indian Medical Services

-

1

-

5

HKVDC

13

6

13

89

Totals

74

61

77

538

Total Battle Casualties     212      39.5 per cent

 


British Other Ranks

8 Coast Regt RA

19

2

23

285

12 Coast Regt RA

15

2

24

200

5AA Regt RA

16

11

10

231

1 HK Regt HKSRA

2

2

10

30

965 Def Bty RA

2

4

8

58

22 Field Coy RE

8

20

9

213

40 Field Coy RE

2

7

1

220

RE Services

2

5

1

54

2 Royal Scots

96

45

188

734

1 Middlesex Regt

94

25

110

728

Canadian Staff

6

10

5

78

Winnipeg Grenadiers

28

222

60

869

Royal Rifles of Canada

42

157

160

963

Royal Corps of Signals

16

5

14

177

RAOC

13

26

4

117

RASC

23

10

11

183

RAVC

2

-

-

3

RAMC

13

3

3

146

RADC

-

-

-

6

RAPC

-

-

2

25

Mil Provost Staff Cc

>rps

1

-

3

Corps of Mil Police

-

-

-

18

Army Education Corps

-

-

-

8

HKVDC

196

139

135

1 296

 

595

696

778

6 645

Total Battle Casualties     2 069     31 per cent


 

Indian Other Ranks 

8 Coast Regt RA

_

1

4

233

12 Coast Regt RA

3

-

3

187

5 AA Regt RA

24

80

15

332

1 HK Regt HKSRA

144

45

103

830

965 Def Bty RA

2

-

4

86

5/7 Rajput Regt

150

109

186

875

2/14 Punjab Regt

52

69

156

932

RIASC

-

-

1

13

HK Mule Corps

1

5

5

250

IMD and IHC

2

-

55

 

376

311

477

3 893

Total Battle Casualties 1 164    30 per cent


 

Maltby added: "The wounded does not include lightly, or returned for duty, wounded. The total wounded shown is 1 332 but ADMS states that 2 000 wounded men passed through our hospitals alone, and many of the wounded of the 5/7 Rajput Regt fell into Japanese hands and have not been recorded. The final figures will probably be approximately:

 

Killed or
died of wounds

Missing

Wounded

Imperial Officers

74

61 )

 

Imperial Other Ranks

595

696 )

 

Indian Other Ranks

376

311

 

 

1 045

1 068

2 300

"It has been impossible to collect any reliable data regarding the casualties suffered by the 450 locally-enlisted Chinese.

"Regarding Japanese casualties:

"A local paper reported a Memorial Service held at Kai Tak Aerodrome to 1 995 Japanese who fell in the attack on Hong Kong. This figure is certain to be an under rather than an over statement.

"A Japanese Medical Major told me early in January 1942, when I was appealing for assistance for my sick and wounded, that he had 9 000 wounded on his hands in Kowloon and on the Island.

"Taking the wounded figure to be correct, and remembering that many must have been drowned in the assault on the Island, the averages of the last war should give 3 000 and NOT 1 995 killed.

"The Japanese admitted in broadcasts and in conversation to me that they had suffered severe casualties.

"The Chinese have stated that 10 000 were killed, but this is undoubtedly an oriental exaggeration.

"True figures will never be known, but from the above a fair estimate can be made:

Killed    3 000

Wounded    9 000

Total    12 000

"And many of the latter died of their wounds, for funeral pyres near their hospitals were observed regularly for some months."

Maltby was writing soon after Liberation. Can anyone supply the final official British battle casualty figures - as calculated by the Casualty Bureau?

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