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About the Project

On 8 December 1941, the Pacific War broke out. Japan, which had been at war with China since 1937, attacked British, American, and Dutch possessions in Asia before the declaration of war. Hong Kong, a British possession, was among the first to be attacked. On 8 December 1941 Japanese aircraft attack Hong Kong, marked the beginning of eighteen days of fighting that saw the 13,500 garrison facing an invasion force of 35,000. Hong Kong then entered a period of Japanese rule that lasted for three years and eight months (25 December 1941 - 30 August 1945).

The spatial history project “Hong Kong 1941” uses geographic information systems (GIS) to build a web map about the Battle of Hong Kong and a database of British military installations in Hong Kong during the Second World War. It offers an easy-to-use historical database for educators, tourists, and conservation professionals. This version, funded by the Quality Education Fund (Ref: 2018/0753), is suitable for classroom use as some of the details concerning the battle (such as unit names, etc) are simplified. Teachers can use this version to introduce the battle to the students or prepare their lessons.

This web map contains the following layers of data:

  1. Unit disposition: the map will divide the Battle of Hong Kong campaign into 51 “time-steps”, each showing the positions and status of the units on both sides.
  2. The location of various military structures: including coastal Defence batteries, anti-aircraft batteries, pillboxes, headquarters, shelters, medical posts, etc. The data granularity is up to individual buildings (such as individual pillboxes).
  3. Faces of War: twenty stories of those who had experienced the battle.
  4. Objects of War: objects and artefacts related to the battle, such as weapons, vehicles, military aircraft, vessels, personal equipment, and others.
  5. Images of War: fifteen photos taken during the period.
  6. Units: basic information about the units on both sides participating in the battle.

More information about the battle can be found at the Database of the 1941 Spatial History Project.

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