Canada’s first land combat of the Second World War began on December 8, 1941, when, mere hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched an invasion on the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Outnumbered and less well equipped than the enemy, the odds were not in the Canadians’ favour as they defended the peninsula, then the island itself. Over 550 of the 1,975 Canadians sent to Hong Kong never made it home; but during the 17 days of fierce fighting, they fought valiantly, even engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, as they defended Hong Kong to the very end.
Sgt. Major John Osborn, VC
It was during one of the battles on December 19th that Sergeant-Major John Osborn of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross when he threw himself on top of a Japanese grenade to save his men. Osborn was the first Canadian awarded a Victoria Cross in the Second World War. His was the only Victoria Cross awarded for the Battle of Hong Kong.
This fine silver coin pays tribute to the bravery and resolve of these Canadian soldiers throughout the Battle of Hong Kong. Lest we forget.
Composition: 99.99% pure silver
Weight (g): 31.39
Diameter: 38 mm
Face value: 20 dollars
Artist: Joel Kimmel (reverse), T. H. Paget (obverse)
Image and description courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint (http://www.mint.ca/store/coins/1-oz.-pure-silver-coin-%E2%80%93-second-world-war-battlefront-the-battle-of-hong-kong-2016-prod2800298?rcmiid=link|categorypage|1_oz_Pure_Silver_Coin_Second_World_War_Battlefront_The_Battle_of_Hong_Kong_2016|Shop-World_War&#.V_af348rLIU)
Description of Sergeant-Major John Osborne’s action courtesy of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Robert_Osborn )