On 4 December 2016, Danish Chamber of HK was in attendance as the General Consulate of Canada hosted a ceremony at the the Sai Wan War Cemetery to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. 9 Danish men, working in HK at the time for Danish Companies like Jebsen & Co, The East Asiatic Company (EAC) and Nordisk Fjer, signed up to join the HK Volunteer Defence Corps and battled the Japanese invasion along with the British Army, the Canadian Army and other Allied forces for 18 days from 8 December until HK surrendered on Christmas Day 25 December.
During those 18 days 1,500 Allied soldiers and some 4,000 civilians died as they fought the Japanese invasion, amongst them 2 of the Danish volunteers. Upon HK’s surrender, approx. 11,000 soldiers were held as POWs for the next 4 years. 2,300 people died in captivity, amongst them one of the Danish volunteers. In memory of the Danish Volunteers, Birgitte Wilkens, niece of Kurt Wilkens (20 years old in 1941) who died during the invasion, and Frank Jensen, Past-Chairman Danish Chamber of Commerce, lay a wreath on behalf of the Relatives of the Danish Volunteers and the Danish Community in Hong Kong.
The amazing bravery of the 9 Danish Volunteers is captured in Frode Z. Olsen’s book “Ikke en jordisk chance”. The book can be purchased at a special price including delivery to a HK address by clicking here.
Hans Schlaikier (retiree Jebsen & Co), Birgitte Wilkens (niece of Kurt Wilkens*), Benjamin Lee, Solveig Steen (wife of Frode Olsen), Elaine Polglase (widow of Jorgen Vibe Christensen**), Ole Christoffersen (Secretary General – Denmark-Hong Kong Trade Association), Frank Jensen (Past Chairman DCC), Anna Eckhoff (niece of Jorgen Vibe Christensen**), Frode Olsen (Author of “Ikke en jordisk chance”), Anders Skaaning Andersen (Danish Seamen’s Church HK), Preben Dalsgaard (husband of Birgitte Wilkens) and Hans Michael Jebsen (CEO Jebsen & Co).
Kurt Wilkens* died during the battle of Hong Kong in 1941.
Jorgen Vibe Christensen** was captured and sent to a POW camp in Japan for 4 years but survived.