Memorial Wall - Tributes

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Do you have a special memory of the Convention and Wall Dedication? Do you wish to give thanks to someone? Why not share it here? Scroll down for the latest.

From Norma Fuchs (Ab/Sask Region)

I have many amazing memories from the weekend. I felt so happy to share the pleasure of seeing the wall for the first time with my father's (John L Doiron) two sisters. Lena Quinn made the trip from Peterborough with 7 of her children. Louise Larkin drove up from PEI with her husband Gerry. They all were at the ceremony.  Seeing Dad's name on that wall for the first time was very moving for all of us. Aunt Lena told me that she was the one who met Dad at the train station in Montreal when he came home from Hong Kong. She told me how dark his skin was and how she hardly knew him.  I never knew that she was the first one to see him. She attended some of the convention in 2005 as well.

This picture is of my sister Mae Bolger, myself and my two aunts. My husband, Glen was there, as well as my nephew Lanny Bolger from Toronto. The guys were very busy taking lots of pictures.

I am still overwhelmed by how beautiful the wall is. What a great tribute to our veterans.


From Mae Bolger (Ab/Sask Region)

My special moments in Ottawa were many, being with my sister Norma, my 2 Aunts Lena and Louise (sisters of my father) and many of my cousins and one nephew Lanny.  It was an unbelievable high to be there when the wall was unveiled. 

On the Sunday morning all of us went back to the wall for a photo session when we saw this gentleman a Mr Johnstone who had travelled up from Quebec City to see the wall.  He was not previously aware of our association and to see the raw pain this man was feeling was so sad.  His father had come back from Hong Kong when he was 4 years old.  Like the rest of us children of the prisoners he had grown up with lots of disfunction and was just now realizing what really happened over there.  I asked him to join with us as it brought us great comfort.  He said he would do that and I hope he will.  " Mr Johnstone, if you see this written somewhere please don't hesitate to contact me at any time".

When I returned home on Monday there was a message from a Mr McIvor from north of Calgary who just got interested in us also.  His father and 7 of his relatives were also in Hong Kong.  The last name was Paul.  He knew all about the history of the Battle of Hong Kong but again did not know the commemorative association existed so now has become a member.  We are looking forward to seeing him when we have our next gathering in Calgary in early Sept.  I think this convention has gotten the word  out even more and I hope we will continue to meet more and more families like ourselves. 

Thank you to all the wonderful people in Ottawa who worked so hard to put on the convention.  It was wonderful and one we will never forget.

Mae Bolger

My Memories from the HKVCA Convention Weekend and the Unveiling of the Memorial Wall August 13-15, 2009

by Marilyn Wright, daughter of Capt. Collison A. Blaver.

Although this year I did not attend the Convention itself – I did do a 2-hour volunteer stint in the Memorabilia Room, in the Lady Elgin Room, on Friday, Aug. 14. What a wonderful experience that was. I met Ron McGuire, Mai-yu Chan, Jim and Anne Trick. There was one gentleman who rushed to get his album of pictures when I pointed my dad out to him in two of the big pictures. He seemed very grateful to get another name. I had a wonderful time and conversation with Mai-yu. After our volunteering, she personally took me to the Canadian War Museum, gave me an in depth tour of the display areas. I showed her the two pictures of my dad on the walls in one section. Then I went to meet with the Collections Manager, Carol Reid, and donated some of dad’s military items to the museum. As I work in a museum, I understand what is involved with a donation to a museum. It was a great experience for both of us.

Saturday morning, I arrived at the Memorial Wall site over an hour before the start of the ceremony. Very glad I did as I got a front row (public section) seat. Only one concern I had for the whole ceremony. There was no seating for the public, the weather was plus 30C and many of the elderly had to be attended to by the paramedics. But I was so overwhelmed and so glad to have been there. The ceremony was well done, was not too long and I had the feeling from the entire audience – it was so right to do this. I had one very emotional moment during the ceremony wishing that my mom was there. She died 9 years ago.

Once the ceremony was over, I was going to wait however long it took to get up close to the wall that I waited an hour. It was well worth the wait. I just sat on a chair in the shade and people watched. It was wonderful.

Finally I got my chance. As I was on my own, I just kept handing my camera to anyone passing by and asking them to take my picture. I had a picture of dad with me and held it up under his name. Thanks to the lovely lady who had thought ahead and was handing out paper and pencils, so everyone could do a rubbing of their name. I was also there for Les Canivet, Grand Valley, ON whom I had met through my museum. Les was unable to attend the convention, so I found his name on the wall, took pictures of it and did a rubbing of his name. I phoned him when I got home, he was very grateful. I’ll deliver these pictures to him soon.

I was almost finished and deciding it was time to head for home when I was stopped by two people and was interviewed by them. The first man, Sergeant Eric Gordon, Army Reporter, did a video interview of me. He gave me his business card and said to check out the web site in a few weeks to see my interview. As he and I finished up, another person, Sharon Adams, Legion Magazine, also asked me for an interview. That written interview will apparently be in the next Legion newsletter.

All in all, I am so glad I was in attendance for this well deserved remembrance. As my aunt, who lives in B.C. and is almost 91 years old, said to me last week – both mom and dad were there with me.

From Ian Engehart

As the son of a Hong Kong veteran I was extremely pleased that this Memorial wall came to be.  The brave men and women that fought in Hong Kong and spent 4 years in Japanese prisoner of war camps deserve to be remembered for eternity.  I know that my dad was watching from up above having a drink of rye and with a big smile on his face enjoying knowing that he, along with his fellow Hong Kong comrades, were being honored by having this wall with their names on it to be remembered for the extreme sacrifice that they made for their country. We live in the best country in the world thanks to these men and women and all of the men and women in our forces that have fought for our freedom and democracy.

My dad is buried in Cambelton New Brunswick and I do not get down there very often to visit his grave as I live in Ottawa. Now I can go to the Memorial wall any time I want to and have a visit with him.  It brought me great pleasure and pride to be able to touch his name on the wall. I also have a great uncle, Rupert Englehart that died there, and his name is beside my dad's which was I also enjoyed seeing.  I enjoyed looking at all of the names of the Hong Kong veterans, some of which I recognize from having attended some of the Hong Kong reunions.

I would like to thank all those involved that worked so hard to bring this idea into being.


Marguerite, Ian, Ellen and Faye Englehart.  


"---Ron McGuire's Memorable Moment

While I had many memorable moments during the reunion, the most important had to be when George MacDonell called me over while we waiting to board the bus to the Memorial Wall unveiling. He wanted me to hear the recollections he was sharing with his Royal Rifles of Canada comrades concerning the battle for Stanley Village on Christmas Day. It was an honour and an amazing feeling to hear them talk about that event for the first time since it happened. I was fortunate that Sue Beard took the photo recording us together after the discussion. From left to right---Bill MacWhirter, Gaspe. Quebec, Doug Rees, Calgary, Alberta {Doug was one of the nine Newfoundlanders who joined the RRofC when it was with "W" Force in Newfoundland in 1940-41], George MacDonell, Toronto, Ontario, and me.

I am the HKVCA -N.E. Ontario Regional Rep and co-ordinated the Memorabilia exhibits and Product Sales in the Lady Eglin Room. It was originally to be open for 17 hours. However, because it was so popular I decided to open it earlier and later for a total of nearly 40 hours, and I am pleased I did because I understand many people still did not get to see it."


From Gerry Tuppert

My Ottawa pilgrimage to the wall dedication could not feel complete if I did not write a few lines in appreciation.

I attended the AGM and heard for myself the saga of bureaucratic minutia that the wall committee had to negotiate through. The end result is what stands in the park at the intersection of Sussex Dr. and King Edward. To this, I can say for myself and from what I've overheard during the convention, the Memorial Wall has exceeded all expectations  and then some. I am and will always be thankful for the relentless effort and leadership shown by the committee members.

Its quite normal (especially Ottawa) for the culmination of a project this size to attract a few politicians and professional speech makers to the festivities. However, the words that still resonate with me and I'm sure everyone that heard them, were spoken by our very own Hong Kong Veteran and President Mr.Phillip Doddridge. It was as if my very own father stood beside me and said those words from beyond, " My name is written there, I am remembered". 

The following moments were filled with a cherished blend of emotions. Amidst the cheers and applause there seemed to me a collective wave of love, respect, and gratitude for the 1975 souls that sacrificed so much, so long ago.

Someday I will return to see the completed wall and landscaped surroundings. 

If someone inquires as to why I'm there, I can say with  pride and joy in my heart, my Dad's name is written there, he is remembered!

Bless our Hong Kong Veterans.

Gerry Tuppert, in Duncan, BC.


From Melissa-Marie Cormier, granddaughter of "Reggie" Law

Mr. Phil Doddridge all others concerned,

I wish to express sincere appreciation on behalf of my family to the Memorial Wall Committee Members.

My family and I attended the unveiling of the wall ceremony held in Ottawa on August 15th 2009. We were all particularly impressed with the organization of the ceremony and wish to command those of you who participated in the planning and orchestrating of the event. Moreover, I wish to congratulate you Mr. Doddridge on your moving speech, as I was amazed by your eloquence.

My grandfather was Reginald "Reggie" Law who left us on December 31, 2006. A huge part of his identity, what defined who he was, what he believed in, lied in the fact that he was a Hong Kong veteran. My mother and her siblings were raised to be so proud of their freedom, to be proud to have faith and furthermore to be proud to be Canadian. Fortunately, those values were transferred to my generation.

I came to Ottawa as a young University student to be a Parliamentary Tour guide, in part because of this strong sense of patriotism enlisted in me by my grandfather, or "Pop" as we called him. I was so proud to be an Ambassador of my home and native land to visitors from abroad visiting Canada. People around the world recognize Canadians as being amongst the friendliest in the world. While showing friends around the world our majestic Parliament buildings, I always mentioned that Canada has always fought for peace in every war. Something for which we should ever be so proud.

As a current resident of the city of Ottawa, I am grateful to have this monument as an emblem of remembrance. Future generations in Canada will hopefully comprehend war as a foreign concept but those of us who had the opportunity to learn stories from out veterans will always remember. I am thrilled that some of our Hong Kong veterans had the chance to see their own names on this grandiose monument; a symbol of our families' past and a symbol of our futures, and our freedom.

Once again, thank you.

With warmest regards,

Melissa-Marie Cormier