HKVCA - Summer 2022 - Contents

WASURERU-NAI

"Never Forget"

National Newsletter of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association

Summer 2022

President's Message

The horrendous war taking place in Ukraine is a vivid example of the devastating impact of military actions on civilians, virtually none of whom offer any threat to their attackers. Civilians are suffering loss of life, ruptured families, mental and physical damage, and loss of income and property, none of which can ever be satisfactorily recovered.

This unjustified attack on a civilian population has a parallel in the 1941 attack on Hong Kong by Japan. As I mentioned in my last report to you, there were over 300,000 civilians killed or gone missing in Hong Kong, and many residents fled Hong Kong for mainland China and other refuges. One of our recent virtual events presented the story of the civilian internment in Hong Kong, which you can watch on our YouTube channel. The very moving documentary “The Fence” dealt with the impact of the Japanese occupation on Hong Kong’s civilians. This film can be seen free of charge on CBC Gem, and you can watch a discussion with the director and one of the subjects of the film in another of our virtual events .

Milestones

On a happier note, there are some significant milestones to celebrate among our group of Hong Kong Veterans: George MacDonell will celebrate his 100th birthday on August 5, joining Phil Doddridge who turned 100 years young on April 2. Hormidas Fredette has them beat, having turned 105 on April 11! And the youngster of the group of remaining Hong Kong Veterans, Eugene LaPointe, turned 98 earlier this year. We wish them all the best!

Virtual Events

Our virtual events program is on hiatus at the moment, but will resume in September with a fascinating presentation by Fred Hurd about his father, Capt Lionel Hurd on September 19 (this is a change from the previously published date). This will be followed by a fact-filled talk by author and historian Nathan Greenfield on November 21 about life in the POW camps. Watch your email for your invitation to register for these free events.

V-J Day

As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, our Memorial Wall in Ottawa will be the site of a V-J Day commemoration ceremony, and everyone is welcome to attend. Obviously, this will in practice mean Ottawa-area residents, but I encourage all of our members across Canada to commemorate this significant date at a suitable local site. If you send a photo, we will publish it in our next newsletter!

Display Panels

Over a year ago the Niagara Military Museum prepared and exhibited an excellent set of display panels about the Battle of Hong Kong. They have very generously offered to make the panels available for use in events elsewhere. You can see the panels on our website. If you are interested in using them, please contact me at president@hkvca.ca .

Virtual Mapping Project

In previous newsletters I’ve mentioned the Battle of Hong Kong Spatial History Project, which is a superb resource for information about the Battle. The project team and its head, Dr Kwong Chi Man of the Hong Kong Baptist University, continue to enhance this truly awesome site, and I encourage you to look at it and see it for yourself.

Commemorative Plaque Project

Now that life is beginning to return to more or less normal and gatherings are permitted, we can restart our program of installing commemorative plaques in Legion branches and other locations. The plaques are free, so please look for suitable places for them. You can find out all the details on our website and in Lori Atkinson Smith’s article elsewhere in the newsletter.

Indigenous Veterans Project

Pam Heinrich continues her work to research ‘C’ Force members of Indigenous heritage, and you can get further details in her article elsewhere in this newsletter. We’ve submitted a grant application for funding to enable us to hire a researcher to assist Pam and are eagerly awaiting a decision! You can see our current list of Indigenous ‘C’ Force members and find relevant information on our Indigenous Members and Resources webpage.

Summer arrives shortly, and I wish all of you a most enjoyable one!

We Will Remember Them

In Remembrance

In Memoriam

Lorraine Swansburg, daughter of F40923 Hercules Buchanan on Feb 14, 2022.

Leon Buchanan, son of F40923 Hercules Buchanan on Feb 23, 2021.

HKVCA member Grayson Laite (son of Uriah Laite) in 2022.

Yvonne Southworth- widow of C65332 Donald Southworth on March 22, 2022.

Kittie Smith, widow of RRC Thomas W. Smith, F29871, on Jan 26, 2022.

Patricia Metallic Gray of Listuguj, QC, daughter of RRC Patrick Metallic, E30097, on May 8, 2022.

Kay Hurd, widow of Lionel Hurd RRC, on June 6, 2022.

The Folster Brothers Reunited

A few months ago an email from Carol Hadley popped up on my computer screen and I noticed a familiar name on it – Folster. Carol’s message told of how three sets of medals had been received by a Winnipeg Legion. Two of the sets were mounted and bore the names of Herbert Thomas Folster, and his brother, Donald Hector Folster. A third set of medals were thought to belong to a third brother, James, but there was some uncertainty, as this set didn’t bear a name and included a medal for Italy. Apparently, the unit that James served with, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, hadn’t been in Italy. The person at the Legion who had the medals, Paul, wanted to find out who this third set of medals belonged to, find the family (or families), and then either return the medals to the family, or, with their permission, give them to a museum housed at another Legion branch. Carol and Paul were looking to identify who the third set of medals belonged to and to find the Folster family.

As I said, the name Folster was familiar to me. In my dad’s last years, he lived at Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg, a personal care home for veterans. During my dad’s first week at Deer Lodge, a nurse told me that another resident, a Mr. Folster, said he knew my dad. I asked my dad and he didn’t remember the name but we wandered around the unit and found Mr. Folster. Upon meeting him my dad still couldn’t place him, but he did remember the fiddling and jigging that Mr. Folster reminded him they did as young Métis boys growing up in St. Vital! A few days later I visited Mr. Folster on my own and we chatted for a while.

To begin with, he told me of how a week or two earlier, when he saw the name “Ferdinand Poitras” (my dad) across the back of a wheelchair going down the hall in front of him, he thought to himself “it must be him! How many people could there be named Ferdinand Poitras?” Well, he told me, the last time he saw my father, he was 16 years old and my dad 19 - it was when my dad joined the army in 1939! Mr. Folster didn’t know until that day at Deer Lodge, in 2004, if my dad had returned from Hong Kong.

James Folster’s medals, (right) Herbert’s and 
				Donald’s medals

(Left) James Folster’s medals, (right) Herbert’s and Donald’s medals

He then shared with me a wartime memory of his. I listened intently, sitting on a chair in his room while he lay in his bed, motioning with his hands as he spoke. He wanted to join the Winnipeg Grenadiers with his two older brothers, but he was too young – only 16 when they joined in 1939. He did eventually join the Army and was sent to Europe. He told me of how, when he was in Holland, he was very badly injured during the fighting. He lay there, covered in rubble and debris from blasted buildings, and knew he was dying. One of his brothers who had joined the Grenadiers appeared quite vividly before him and told him that he had to live and he had to go home to Mom. He fought against all odds and managed to stay alive, eventually returning home to his mom. What he told me next brought more tears to my eyes. After recovering from his injuries, he found out something that he didn’t know when he was dying under the rubble - when his brother appeared before him and told him to go home to Mom, his brother had already been killed in Hong Kong. The two Folster brothers that went to Hong Kong both died in the Battle on December 19, 1941. Of the three brothers that went off to war, only James returned home to their mom. His brother, he said, saved his life.

Herbert Folster

When I saw the email about the medals I remembered all of this, and that Mr. Folster had passed away in 2007. I found his obituary online and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to find contact information for his daughter. I asked her about the medals and if her dad had served in Italy. Unfortunately, she didn’t know about Italy; like so many veterans he hadn’t talked much of the war. She also said that the family would like the medals placed in safekeeping in a museum.

Paul, from the Legion, was able to do a bit more digging into the military history. Lo and behold, James Folster and a few others from the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders had served about a month in Italy before being sent to Holland. It was confirmed that the third set of medals did indeed belong to James.

Donald Folster

Herbert Thomas Folster and Donald Hector Folster, two young Métis brothers from Manitoba, were both declared Missing in Action on December 19, 1941. Their names are engraved on the Memorial at Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery and they each have a place named in their honour in Manitoba – Herbert has Folster Island in Namaypin Lake and Donald, Folster Point at Britton Lake.

The medals belonging to the three Folster brothers are now being prepared to be displayed together at the museum in the Norwood Legion in Winnipeg.

As Paul said, the three brothers reunited.

VJ Day: 77th Anniversary - Ceremony


The Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association will be hosting a commemorative ceremony on August 13, 2022 at 11:00 am, to honour the Veterans of the Defence of Hong Kong and to mark the 77th year of Victory over Japan at the end of the Second World War.  

The ceremony will be held at the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall located at the corner of Sussex Dr. and King Edward Ave, Ottawa. Free parking is available at the National Research Council of Canada parking lot across the street.

If you would like to lay a family wreath, please let Ian Englehart know by calling 343 984-6672 , or by filling out the Contact Us form found at the top of our web pages, and provide the name of the veteran that you are laying a wreath for, as well as your name, so we can announce it during the family wreath laying portion of the ceremony.

After the ceremony, we will be going to the Lord Elgin Hotel, 100 Elgin Street, Grill 41 for lunch. Hopefully you can join us. If you plan on joining, let Ian know by Monday, August 8th, 2022 by calling 343 984-6672 to confirm your attendance for lunch. The closest underground parking is at Ottawa City Hall 110 Laurier Ave. W. Weekends: 6 am to 6 pm: $1.00 per hour/$2.00 max. There is also underground parking 3 blocks away at the World Exchange Plaza, 45 O'Connor Street, free on weekends. 

All attendees are requested to observe all applicable COVID-19 health and safety regulations that are in place at the time of the ceremony. Our plan is to live stream this ceremony. Watch for the notice.

HKVCA Online

There are so many ways to help spread the news about our Hong Kong Veterans. Thanks to Dan, Elaine and Stephen, we have put our Hong Kong Veterans out to the Facebook and Instagram world. 

Have you noticed the new way Dan James is posting the daily birthday honouring our Hong Kong Veterans? If you notice there isn't a veteran’s picture and know where we could get one, please contact us. Let's help our Hong Kong veterans be remembered by more than just a regimental number.

Dan encourages you to check out the Facebook page. Just over a year ago Dan was hacked and the years spent growing the original page was wiped out. He has been working on expanding the new page as it has never been the same. Please give us a "like"

We've made it to the big times. We are now on Instagram!! Thanks to Dan James. Once you are on Instagram, find our account- hkvcacanada and Follow it. Tell your friends.

If you are posting anything anywhere, please use the hashtags #hkvcacanada AND #battleofhongkong . That will help connect others to our social media account posts.

Invite your friends to:

Google Search and Subscribe to -  YouTube HKVCA Docs

Ralph's Legacy

Several years ago, I gave my copy of Mark Sakamoto’s book “Forgiveness” to my friend Tyler, who is a High School teacher in Calgary.  He was so interested in what he read that he asked to meet Ralph. He visited Ralph a few times and of course they hit it off.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Tyler called me asking for help in reaching Mark Sakamoto. A Grade 11 English Class was reading Mark’s book and wanted to invite Mark to attend their class virtually. They were interested in his experiences with writing and having his book published. When I contacted Mark, he was very willing to zoom into their classroom. I was also able to attend as a virtual observer. Mark really touched so many of those students. There were many questions about how he could write in such detail about a story that happened so long ago. He talked about his long sessions with both his grandfather Ralph, and his grandmother, Mitsue. The students were from many different cultures and were impressed with the diversity of the story found in the book. One student who was Japanese, thanked Mark for writing a positive story about the Japanese culture.

“Forgiveness” is essentially about Mark’s family, with the Battle of Hong Kong and the internment of the Japanese here in Canada highlighted. We understand that “Forgiveness” will become part of the curriculum next year, both in the English and History classes. There are 60,000 books in circulation! Theatre Calgary will be premiering a play based on Mark’s book in January 2023. The story lives on.

(Book listed on our Suggested Reading page)

Indigenous Veterans of 'C' Force Project

In Canada, June 21 of each year is National Indigenous Peoples Day – a day to recognize, learn about, and commemorate the history, heritage, and diversity of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada. One way to commemorate this day is to visit the Indigenous Veterans section of our website and learn more about some of the Indigenous members of ‘C’ Force.    

My work on this project to identify and recognize the Indigenous Members of ‘C’ Force comes from a mixed perspective. My heritage is both Indigenous and non – Indigenous, being Métis, British, and Belgian. Working on this project from my non-Indigenous “side”, I feel this project is a step towards reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. We are learning who the Indigenous members of the regiments were, and in cases where information is available, learning their history and their stories. Learning about them can bring understanding about circumstances and differences in their families and lives and also bring knowledge of the similarities amongst us all. Reading or listening to peoples’ stories is a way of learning about and respecting them. I view every story or bit of information received or uncovered as a gift and I am grateful and honoured to receive these gifts and in turn, to share them in this space.   

I am so pleased that the HKVCA has initiated this recognition project and provided space where our indigeneity can be proudly claimed;  that has not always been so and in fact, in some cases, was actively hidden or denied. Family members of other Indigenous ‘C’ Force members have told me of their gratitude for this space and I share two of their comments here:

“Thank you to the HKVCA for giving me the opportunity to tell my great uncle’s story. His name was Robert Blanchard and he was 27 years old when he was killed in action on December 23, 1941 during the Battle of Hong Kong. His mother was Métis (Red River) and Anishinaabe (Sagkeeng First Nation).

I didn’t grow up around my Indigenous side, but I undertook an extensive ancestry search in the summer of 2021 to confirm what I had been told, and that is when I found out about my great-uncle’s death in WWII. I was lucky to be able to access his 121-page military file, which gave me a lot of insight during that time of his life. His mother was unaware that he had left for Hong Kong until she received a letter from him on his way there. His death wasn’t confirmed to her until a year after he had been killed, and his exact date of death was confirmed to her 4 years later. I felt a deep connection reading through his file, and I must admit that I was emotional thinking about him and his life. I can’t even begin to imagine what that time was like for them, along with all the other soldiers and their families.

I’ve been on a reconnecting journey for the last couple of years by learning and practicing the traditional Indigenous ways of living. During that time, I’ve also been able to obtain my Métis citizenship as well as connect with newly found relatives from Sagkeeng First Nation.

It is important for me to honour my great-uncle’s legacy as an Indigenous veteran. I’m on this amazing journey of reconnecting with my Métis and Anishinaabe roots, thanks to him and all of my other Indigenous ancestors. I encourage everyone to learn more about Indigenous veterans and to do what they can to advance reconciliation in Canada.” –

- submitted by Julie Carver

“Like many other Métis people, I grew up with more questions than answers about who I was (am I Métis?) and what was my family's history. I knew nothing of my family because nothing was ever spoken about. If I had questions regarding the family, answers if given at all were generally vague. I heard that I had a grandfather in the war. I didn't know what war or any other information. 

Years later in my life as an adult, I started to investigate my family through Ancestry and through DNA. I finally found out that I did have a grandfather that fought in WWII. Joseph Alfred Philias Ouellette. I was so happy to finally know something about my history. During this time I also found out that I was indeed Métis and that my Métis ancestry followed my father's paternal line. My grandfather Joseph Ouellette was Métis. I can't tell you the pride I felt to find out this information. I not only knew he was a veteran of WWII, was a Winnipeg Grenadier, died in Hong Kong on Christmas day 1941 but he was Métis! I can't help but wonder what my life would have been if I had known about him at an earlier age. I am so proud to be a Métis Canadian and I am very happy to have my grandfather Joseph Alfred Philias Ouellette listed as an Indigenous Veteran on the HKVCA website.”

– submitted by Robert Alan Ouellette

As our project continues, I hope to be able to share more stories about the Indigenous Veterans of ‘C’ Force. 

By way of an update on the project,  I am excited to say that with the assistance of the Centre du patrimoine/St. Boniface Historical Society, to date we have been able to identify approximately 65 more Indigenous members of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. As we sort through the information and hopefully contact their families, their names will be added to the Indigenous Veterans page on our website. I am told that the Métis Veterans Legacy Program will be meeting in June and our project proposal will be considered at that time. In the meantime, we continue to work on the project with the funds made available by the Prairie Region and through volunteer time. The time/work contributed by Jim Trick and Lori Atkinson Smith is invaluable!

Gravestone Marker Project Update

Greetings to all fellow members. Thanks for stopping by to read this short article on this exciting project.

My name is Helen (McCarron) Wedge. My husband Pierre and I have retired to Shediac, NB. I am the daughter of the late Maurice “Red” McCarron. He enlisted with the RRC and was a Japanese Prisoner of War survivor.

I have been a HKVCA member for several years and appreciate all the hard work being done by this association to honour and remember these Veterans through various initiatives and venues. One such initiative was producing the gravestone marker back in 2008/2009. It was the vision of HK Vet Phil Doddridge, now a centenarian, to have as many headstones marked with this medallion as possible. Visit the HKVCA Store for ordering details.

As history tells us, 1975 men and women of the ‘C’ Force (Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada) were sent to defend the British Crown colony of Hong Kong in WWII: - 290 were killed in action, - 267 died in internment camps, many of whom are buried in the Sai Wan Cemetery in Hong Kong, - 1,418 returned home.  It is these veterans that I would like to focus on in this project.

My inspiration came from watching the Virtual presentation by a group of Port Perry students who visited that cemetery in 2005. One particular slide stood out – the rows upon rows of white headstones. My vision is to produce a short video clip, to show the hundreds of cemeteries in Canada where a Hong Kong Veteran has been laid to rest. The gravestone may or may not have a marker. It would be a satellite view with coloured markers of these locations hopefully with background music. I have no technical background so if anyone can point me in the direction of someone who can help I will be ever so grateful.

This is where we need your help. The HKVCA is often advised of a veteran’s passing, but not the location of burial. If you are a family member or friend of a Canadian Veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong, check out our 'C' Force site and enter your veteran's name. It would be greatly appreciated to receive missing information. This will be a huge undertaking but it is my wish and that of others, that we do this to make Phil Doddridge’s vision a reality.

We Will Remember Them…..

Contact me by filling in the Contact Us form found at the top of our webpages.

Commemorative Plaque Update

Over the last 6+ months, a small group within the HKVCA has been updating the HKVCA Commemorative Plaque. We are pleased to continue to offer this unique commemorative plaque for installation in publicly accessible venues. It will soon be available both vertically and horizontally.

For complete details and a listing of installations already completed visit our Plaque page.

New plaque in horizontal format

New plaque in horizontal format

We would really like to connect with the Royal Canadian Legion (National Headquarters) and have these plaques placed where our Hong Kong Veterans 'gathered'. If you would like to head this up, let us know by filling in our Contact Us form found at the top of our web pages. We would love to have you on board!

More Highlights from Veterans Books

Researched by Shelagh Purcell and Kathie Carlson

Many books have been written by Hong Kong Veterans, and many family members have also written books and articles. We continue publishing extracts as we’ve done in the Winter and Spring editions.

Thoughts of Food were All Consuming

Excerpt from The Endless Battle by Andy Flanagan

The Japanese set up a mess area outside where the POWs cooked rice in rusty barrels. The rice tasted like metal, but Andrew was so hungry he ate it anyway, the portions were minuscule. When one fellow was caught trying to get seconds, several Japanese guards beat him brutally. When the Japanese told the POWs to eat the same leftover rice that they had cooked three days earlier, they scraped the bottoms of the barrels and divided up the scraps. “Thank God it was dark,” Andrew said, “The portion was tiny, but it had more protein. I could feel something wiggle in my mouth. In time I got used to eating maggots.”

Quote from Sgt. Lance Ross, Royal Rifles, who kept a diary throughout most of his interment. “We are terribly hungry. Just talk about food. Another Canadian prisoner, Company Quartermaster Sargeant Colin Standish said “The favourite past time was taking down recipes''

Dark Humour

Excerpts from A Hong Kong Diary Revisited by L.B. Corrigan:

One or two faintly amusing circumstances arose last night due to a complete change-over of our guard. It seems some of the guards, since it was their last night and all, delved a mite too deep into their “juice of the grape” supply, the result being one or two became quite plastered. Sometime in the” wee small hours”, one of them wandered into our hut and from all reports, just sat down on one of the beds and “unlaxed”. Another guard, apparently not in as fine shape, wandered into one of the Rifles’ company huts where, being worn out by his day’s labours no doubt, he climbed into bed with a Sergeant and went to sleep. This might have escaped notice, had he not left his rifle standing by the foot of the bed, in such a position that commuters to the latrines managed to knock said rifle to the floor with a great crash. Someone evidently reported the performance to the N.C.O. of the Guard, who came in and proceeded to knock hell out of the ex-sleeper.

Dental Issues

Excerpt from 17 Days Until Christmas by Leo Paul Berard.

Many of us were starting to worry about the condition of our teeth. The lack of proper nutrition and dental care was starting to take its toll. Many of the slaves lost their teeth, The gums would be so bad that they could pull them out easily or they would fall out on their own accord. Luckily, a parcel arrived for me on the 24th of February 1944, sent by my cousin, and delivered by the Red Cross. It contained, among a few other comforts, a tin of Dr. Lyon’s tooth powder. We had the idea of trying to improve the condition of our teeth and gums, so I brought a chunk of tar back to camp from one of the barrels at Nippon Kokan (Factory). We then took small pieces of this tar and molded little cups that we filled with tooth powder, then chewed it like gum. It tasted awful, but most mornings we went through this procedure, and this kept our teeth and gums in fairly good condition.

On August 17, in the latter part of the day, we suddenly heard a roar. Our camp (Japan) was in a valley surrounded by hills and the American planes with crooked wings and dark color (F6F-5 Graumman Hellcats) started swooping down on our camp. One chap came down and passed over us and gave us the victory roll and everybody just jumped in the air. Some of us were laughing and happy, and some of us cried with relief. Then one pilot kept on diving across the camp after most of them had flown away. The first time he came over, he threw his hat down. The second time he flew over he threw his leather jacket, and then he threw down his trousers, his shoes, his shirt, and a scarf. He must have gone back to the aircraft carrier in his briefs. We thought that was a really good show. It really lifted our spirits.

The Role that cigarettes played

Our search for smokes today unearthed a new brand – “My Buddha.” For the benefit of posterity, I’ll list a few I remember - “Silver Fish, Flag, Spear, Gold Crown, Coronation, Door Fook, Pirate, May Blossoms, Horse (more truth than poetry in the choice of that name). These are only the few I can recall, there are dozens more.  We know they contain some tobacco – because it says so on the box!

No smokes again today – which means we’ll feel the pangs of hunger that much more. It’s remarkable the difference smoking makes to the satisfaction of appetites, and I never would have believed we would become as dependent on them as we are. What a treat we will have - later.

Excerpts from 17 Days Until Christmas by Leo Paul Berard

The men would save their money for a chance to buy cigarettes. At long intervals, the camp commandant would bring in cartons so the men would be allowed to buy some. Sometimes the men went without, and they would crave a smoke. They would smoke tea leaves from the kitchen and the bark of the wooden slabs that made our camp. They were so addicted that they would give up their food for a smoke.

*(Smoking was a high level of currency for trade, and a substitute for dealing with hunger pangs.)

Sabotage

Excerpts from George MacDonell’s They Never Surrendered

George recounts the destruction at the Nippon Kokan shipyards by two Canadian POWs of Prison Camp 3D outside Yokohama. They managed to collect a medley of combustibles guaranteed to cause an instant inferno when lit. The fuse would be a candle timed to burn down several hours before igniting the incendiary material. It took a year acting in secret. On the night of January 18,1944, at eight o’clock at night, a raging inferno left the shipyard largely out of action. The investigation concluded spontaneous combustion. Claims of innocence from Canadian POWs were accepted. The heroes- Staff Sergeant C.A. (Charlie) Clark. and Private Stanley Cameron.

Not much has been written about what life was like at home for the wives/mothers and children. Here are a couple of memories.

Excerpt from Leonard Corrigan’s A Hong Kong Diary Revisited – daughter Pat

I don’t recall there being much discussion of the war at home. I’m sure Mom made a point of trying to protect us from the truth of the matter for as long as she could. I think I can recall everyone’s relief at learning about a year or so after Hong Kong fell, that Dad was known to be alive. When I was in Winnipeg, more was said because Grandma and her friends were always knitting socks and working at the Red Cross, where they packed boxes to send overseas. I spent some time packing boxes when I was 9 or 10 years old.

Excerpts from The Home Front by Margaret Dennis Owen.

My Mother Lucy was a bright and talented woman who had taught music education for several years at the Provincial (Manitoba) Normal School before her marriage to my father. Because married women were then not permitted to teach, she had been forced to resign after their wedding in December 1932. Following the outbreak of war, the Winnipeg School Board had passed a motion that Winnipeg teachers who were married to members of the armed forces would be retained, or rehired for the duration of the war, but because Mother by then had three children to care for, she was unable to return to teaching.

Check out our Suggested Reading page for a listing of these books and many others (ed)

Prairie Prose

Greetings from the Prairie Region.  We have soggy Manitoba with many floods; damp Saskatchewan and cool wet Alberta. When will it end? We are hoping that the sun and warm weather will be here soon. Even with the floods, rain, and snowy weather we are still moving forward with events.

To commemorate the service and sacrifice of ‘C’ Force, the Manitoba Legislature allows us to have the Hong Kong Veterans flag fly in August and December at the Cenotaph on Memorial Blvd in Winnipeg. Thank you to Stan Lopata for looking after getting the flag there and picking it up.

Prairie Region has continued with the monthly lunch meetings at the Viscount Gort Hotel on Portage Ave in Winnipeg. Everyone is welcome to attend but please let me know to arrange seating.

Indigenous Project Update – Pam Heinrichs coordinator – Pam has accomplished great communication in this work on the Indigenous Veterans of 'C' Force Project. We are very grateful for her dedication and research on this project. Please look for her article in this issue for more information.

Last Post project – We continue to look for any damaged gravestones that need to be replaced and any unmarked graves that need to be identified. Also, the addition of traditional names for indigenous veterans can be included and wives’ names may also be added to a veteran’s stone. Please contact me if you know of any gravestones that need attention.

Grave Markers - We have a supplier for the metal grave markers for the HK veterans gravestones and hope to take delivery of them soon. So if you have been thinking of purchasing one, please fill in the Contact Us form found at the top of any of our web pages to contact Barry Mitchell to be put on his list.

Lawn Signs – Big thank you to Judy Preston for coordinating the Lawn Signs for this Region. There are still a few left so please let her know if you want one - just fill in the Contact Us form found on our web pages.

Judy sold 31 signs and has 19 signs left to sell. Signs went to:  3 - Russell, MB  14 - Winnipeg, MB  2 - Winnipeg Beach, MB 1 - Regina, SK  1 - Swan River, MB  1 - Picture Butte, AB  2 - Edmonton, AB 1 - Selkirk, MB  2 - Los Angeles, California  1 - Sioux Lookout, ON 3 -  Moosomin, SK. Thank you Judy and all who purchased the signs.

Plaques – With the lifting of the health restrictions we were able to have plaques dedicated. The first one was for Unit 283 ANAVETS in Winnipeg on March 11, 2022 at the Unit. There were about 50 people in attendance with some dignitaries present and members of other veteran associations. Thank you to the Colour Party, Alex Taylor and Stan Lopata; Board members Barry  Mitchell & Stephanie Mitchell and Allan Hadley.

L -R Marty Morantz, MP; Scott Gillingham, City Councilman 
				and Scott Johnson, MLA)

L -R Marty Morantz, MP; Scott Gillingham, City Councilman and Scott Johnson, MLA)

The second plaque was at Carman Legion, Carman MB on May 7, 2022.There were about 40 people present. Thank you to the Branch for arranging to have HK family there. - Family members of Frederick Colvin and Alexander Colvin were present as well.  Thank you to the Colour Party, (Alex and Stan) Barry, Stephanie, Allan and Marilyn for making the trip.

-The Thunder Bay plaque has been sent to the local Legion and a date will be arranged through Darlene Gilmore for its dedication.

(L-R)  Rod McPherson, brother of John McPherson of Roseisle, MB helped unveil the plaque with the Branch President Ken Minty

(L-R) Rod McPherson, brother of John McPherson of Roseisle, MB helped unveil the plaque with the Branch President Ken Minty

-The Dryden plaque will be delivered to them to and a date arranged for the dedication.

These are the last requests that I have received. So presently we have in the Prairie Region - 3 plaques in Saskatchewan, 7 in Alberta, and 24 in Manitoba. Thank you to all who made this happen.

On August 5, 2022 George MacDonell will turn 100 years young. Congratulations George and Happy Birthday!!

I hope that you, your family and friends stay safe and healthy. God Bless!!

Ontario Offerings

London Ontario VJ Day Celebration

On Sunday, August 14th, there will be a celebration for VJ Day in London. At 1pm in Remembrance Gardens, there will be an unveiling of a "Battle of  Hong  Kong" monument in memory of Lawrence Ross. It was commissioned by his children in an effort to continue educating the public about this little-known battle. We will never forget.

Remembrance Gardens is located at the corner of Veterans Parkway and River Road. There is an off-ramp from Highway 401. After the dedication,  coffee and snacks  will be provided. Bring a picnic lunch and explore the grounds, it's very beautiful. We look forward to seeing you there.

Bill's iRacing cars

Bill's iRacing cars with HKVCA logos

Proud Nephew Honours his Uncle - HKVCA Goes iRacing

Bill Calder, Nephew of Vincent Calder RRC

Update to the Spring newsletter - The NASCAR Piston Cup Super-Speedway Series took place at Indianapolis with a race on May 14, 2022, featuring the next gen cup cars.

It took a little while but I am proud to say I finally made the Podium and am able to show off my HKVCA logo. I think it looks great.

I keep in touch with our Ontario members who do not have email. When I started my calling list on May 21st, 2022, I had no idea the terrible storm would soon be upon us, and there would be some personal involvement. Reaching Barry Fair, (John Grey Fair RRC) in London, his apartment was without power. Outside his home many of the lovely old trees London is known for had come down. A devastating site. Margaret MacDonald, (Allison MacDonald RRC) was out in Oshawa for a medical appointment and had to get home through wind, rain and falling trees. She has just been through a serious cancer session. Jim Hurd, (Edmund Lionel Hurd RRC) was in the Norwood, Ontario area with his son, dodging fallen trees blocking the road back to Belleville. The storm appears to have followed Highway 401 from London right through to Quebec. Fortunately all three made it home safely.

Irene Firlotte, (Lawrence Firlotte RRC) at 96 is doing well living with the Covid 19 restrictions at her retirement residence. After  “personal visits” were lifted, she was happy to see her grandson recently. Jean Killoran, (John Killoran RRC) has good days and bad days, the latter when watching the terrible war news on TV. Donna Drimmie, (Victor Oliver Fehr RRC), now has her HKVCA sign in the window (not the lawn). She explained that her father had gone to Hong Kong with the WG but was switched to the RRC when it was learned he was a crack shot!

Quebec Report

Greetings all from Quebec Region.

Hopefully everyone is slowly getting back to a more normal routine with some activities after these last long months.  Here things are slowly getting back to normal with many gatherings with smaller groups.  

As summer is with us and time is rushing by, our executive has decided to continue with our plans for early fall rather than the summer months, hoping the health situation will be more stable and easier to hold gatherings.  

During the next few months we will continue our plans for installation of more of our HKVCA Plaques etc.

We invited all our members to take a few moments to Remember and Commemorate V-J Day in their respective area in company of family and friends. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM!

We wish everyone a nice and safe summer with family and friends.

Take care and stay safe.

Updated Membership Payment Options

We have updated our membership payment system across Canada so that members in all regions can now pay their dues using the Interac e-transfer method. Please visit our membership page for details.

Announcements

Our thank​s to Phil McBurney for his ​helping in finding many of our missing Hong Kong Veteran cemetery locations over the last while.

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