Ataque japonês a Hong Kong. Janpanese atack on Hong Kong. (Mainichi Newspaper, Japan - Jornal Maichini, Japão) Public Domain/ Domínio Público

Portuguese and Portuguese descendents from HKVDC. On top, from left to right : Thomas Castilho, not identified, Private Delano Lopes (or Lopez). Sitting: Lance Corporal Noel Barretto and Corporal Guilherme Augusto Noronha.

Picture from Camille Castilho Bishop

The British colony of Hong Kong was attacked by the Japanese on the same day as Pearl Harbor - December 8, 1941 - and the battle continued until the 25th when the local garrison was forced to surrender.

Among the allied forces involved in the fighting was a militia of volunteers - the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps (HKVDC) - which had about 2000 thousand men and between them two companies, the 5th and 6th Coy's, constituted essentially by volunteers of Portuguese or Portuguese-descendants origins.

HKVDC was founded in 1854 and initially had only 90 Europeans of various nationalities, including Portuguese. It reached its peak at the end of the 1930s with around 2000 volunteers, mostly English, German, French and also two hundred and a half Portuguese.

To learn more about this volunteers, the battle and what happened afterwards, you can log on to the Hong Kong War Diary website, organized by Tony Banham.

After the surrender many volunteers had died or been captured, including women who were prominent in the nursing and communications corps. Held in prison camps, taken on marches, ordered into forced labor, victims of abuse and multiple illnesses, many did not survive Japanese incarceration .

In this section of the website “Portugal 1939-1945” we will try to bring you the stories of these Portuguese and Portuguese descendants.

This research work was conducted by António Fragoeiro.




Know their stories: 

Soares, Carlos Alberto

  Private Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Unit –   Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – Death date – 03/01/1944 Father – Mother –  Alberto Soares was a volunteer in the Hong Kong Volunteers Defense Corps of Hong … Read More

Pinna, Carlos Luiz

  Private Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Military Unit – 5 Coy (Portuguese)   Birth place – Hong Kong Birth Birth date – 31/05/1903 Death date – 20/11/1973 Father – Honorato Vicente Pinna Mother – Vitelina Maria Pinna Cordeiro Carlos Pinna … Read More

Castilho, Thomas Manuel

    Private Hong Kong Volunteers Defense Corps Unit –  6 Coy HKVDC Birth place  – Hong Kong Birth date – 21/ 12/ 1913 Death date – 04/12/1976 Father – Francisco Apolónio Castilho Mother – Eldmira Castilho Thomas Manuel Castilho was a … Read More

Guterres, Joaquim Jeronymo

  Lieutenant Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps Unit/ Unidade –    Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 30/09/1909 Death date – 27/07/1942 Father – Luís E. Guterres Mother – Constança R. Jorge Joaquim Guterres was a lieutenant in … Read More

Prata, Alfredo José Maria

    Private Hong Kong Volunteers Defense Corps Unit – 6 Coy HKVDC Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 31/10/1920 Death date –  Father – Pedro Francisco da Cruz Prata Mother – Maria José Gomes Prata Alberto Remédios was a voluntary … Read More

Ribeiro, António Eduardo Vieira

  Private Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Unit –    Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 25/10/1920 Death date – Father – Fernando Alfredo Vieira Ribeiro Mother – Maria Roberts Ribeiro António Ribeiro was a voluntary soldier in the “Hong Kong Volunteers … Read More

Noronha, António Eduardo

        Corporal Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Military Unit – 5th Company   Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 17/05/1920 Death date – 27/02/1997 Father – Eduardo José Noronha Mother – Helena Maria Noronha António … Read More

Noronha, Augusto António

  Private Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Unit –    Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 28/06/1916 Death date – Father – Eduardo José Noronha Mother – Helena Maria Noronha Augusto Noronha was a voluntary soldier in the “Hong … Read More

Pereira, Augusto Pedro

    Corporal Hong Kong Volunteers Defense Corps Unit/ Unidade –   Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date  – 21/03/1909 Death date – 29/01/1972 Father – Augusto Pedro Pereira Snr. Mother – Augusto Pereira was a volunteer corporal in the “Hong Kong … Read More

Joanilho, Augusto Francisco

  Private Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps Unit – Food Control Department   Birth place – Hong Kong Birth date – 04/05/1922 Death date – Father – Francisco Joanilho Mother – Irene Joanilho Augusto Joanilho was a voluntary soldier in … Read More