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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

John Harry Wills

In memory of:

Rifleman John Harry Wills

December 23, 1941

Hong Kong

Military Service

Service Number:







Royal Rifles of Canada, R.C.I.C.


1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal 1939-1945, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp.

Additional Information


July 3, 1920
Toronto, Ontario


July 15, 1941
Toronto, Ontario

Son of Harry George Wills, Veteran of the First World War and the Second World War. Harry George enrolled with the 109th Battalion, CEF, service number 163166, deployed to the 84th Battalion on 18 September 1915, the 73rd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada) on 29 June 1916, to serve in France, and the 13th Battalion on 19 April 1917. He was demobilized on 20 April 1919 in Montréal, Québec, and he was awarded the Military Medal (MM), The London Gazette, on 3 July 1919, number 31430. Harry George Wills enlisted again on 11 June 1940, service number B-28467, and served in England with the 2nd Canadian Construction Company, Royal Canadian Engineer; he was accidentally killed in England on 12 January 1942.

John Harry enrolled with the Royal Canadian Regiment, he served in Ontario before being deployed to the 1st Battalion, Royal Rifles of Canada, on 18 October 1941 to serve in Hong Kong with Force C. He had 162 days of service, including 57 overseas.

Commemorated on Page 48 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Victoria, Hong Kong

Grave Reference:

VIII. G. 6.


SAI WAN WAR CEMETERY is in the north-east of the island of Hong Kong, in the Chai Wan area, about 11 kilometres from the centre of Victoria, the capital of Hong Kong. At the entrance to the cemetery on Cape Collinson Road stands the memorial to those who died in Hong Kong and have no known grave. From it, the cemetery slopes down towards the sea and originally, the view towards the main land was magnificent. The easiest way to reach the cemetery is by the mass transit railway (MTR) Hong Kong line to Chai Wan Terminus. From the Terminus one can either walk up to the cemetery following Chai Wan Road to the roundabout, turning west into Wan Tsui Road, then south east up Lin Shing Road which leads to Cape Collinson Road. The CWGC road direction sign is fixed to a wall facing down Lin Shing Road. The Cape Collinson area has many cemeteries. Walking up this narrow one way traffic road, one will pass the Catholic Cemetery situated on the hillside to the left of the road, and the Hong Kong Military Cemetery on the right. SAI WAN WAR CEMETERY is about half way up Cape Collinson Road and faces the Muslim and Buddhist cemeteries. One can also get a taxi from Chai Wan Terminus and follow the same route. Alternatively one can board a public light bus, Route No. 16M, which runs from Chai Wan MTR Terminus to Stanley where the CWGC has another cemetery, the Stanley Military Cemetery. En route to Stanley the minibus will pass Sai Wan War Cemetery, stopping only on request.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

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  • Newspaper clipping– From the Toronto Star January 1943. Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Grave Marker– Rifleman JOHN HARRY WILLS is one 283 Canadian soldiers, 107 of whom are unidentified, who are buried at Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong.  He was one of 290 Canadian soldiers who were killed during the defense of Hong Kong, from December 8th to December 25th, 1941.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Rifleman JOHN HARRY WILLS was reported to be Missing in Action in the Canadian Army's 243rd overseas casualty list of the war published in the Globe and Mail on January 8th, 1943.
  • Canada and the Defence of Hong Kong– Source: Veterans Affairs Canada.
  • Canadian Casuatlies in the Defence of Hong Kong– Source: Veterans Affairs Canada.

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