Individual Report: E29979 Dempsey SYVRET

1st Bn The Royal Rifles of Canada

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Corporal Dempsey Aaron
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Gaspe QC Eastern Quebec 1921-09-03
Appointment: Company: Platoon:

Transportation - Home Base to Hong Kong

Members of 'C' Force from the East travelled across Canada by CNR troop train, picking up reinforcements enroute. Stops included Valcartier, Montreal, Ottawa, Armstrong ON, Capreol ON, Winnipeg, Melville SK, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Vancouver, arriving in Vancouver on Oct 27 at 0800 hrs.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers and the local soldiers that were with Brigade Headquarters from Winnipeg to BC travelled on a CPR train to Vancouver.

All members embarked from Vancouver on the ships AWATEA and PRINCE ROBERT. AWATEA was a New Zealand Liner and the PRINCE ROBERT was a converted cruiser. "C" Company of the Rifles was assigned to the PRINCE ROBERT, everyone else boarded the AWATEA. The ships sailed from Vancouver on Oct 27th and arrived in Hong Kong on November 16th, having made brief stops enroute at Honolulu and Manila.

Equipment earmarked for 'C' Force use was loaded on the ship DON JOSE, but would never reach Hong Kong as it was rerouted to Manila when hostilities commenced.

On arrival, all troops were quartered at Nanking Barracks, Sham Shui Po Camp, in Kowloon.

Battle Information

We do not have specific battle information for this soldier in our online database. For a detailed description of the battle from a Canadian perspective, visit Canadian Participation in the Defense of Hong Kong (published by the Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters).

Wounded Information

No wounds recorded.

Hospital Information

No record of hospital visits found.

POW Camps

Camp ID Camp Name Location Company Type of Work Reference Arrival Date Departure Date
HK-SM-01StanleyFort Stanley, Hong Kong Island20, 31, 33Capture 41 Dec 30
HK-NP-01North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island41 Dec 3042 Sep 26
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong42 Sep 2643 Jan 19
JP-To-3DTsurumiYokohama-shi, Tsurumi-ku, Suyehiro-cho, 1-chome, JapanNippon Steel Tube - Tsurumi ShipyardsVariety of jobs related to ship building943 Jan 1945 Apr 16
JP-Se-4B OhashiIwate-ken, Kamihei-gun, Katsushi-mura, Ohashi, JapanNippon Steel Company13445 Apr 1645 Sep 15

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD3ATatuta Maru43 Jan 19, left Shamsuipo Camp, 0500 hrs; left Hong Kong 1300hrs43 Jan 22, 0400 hrsNagasaki, JapanBoarded train, arrived in Tokyo on 43 Jan 24 at 0700 hrs, boarded electric train for 10 mile ride to campTony Banham

Transportation: SE Asia to Home

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No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

Post-war Photo

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Other Military Service

No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

Death and Cemetery Information

Date of Death (y-m-d) Cause of Death Death Class Death Ref
2016-08-12Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Point Claire Quebec CanadaField of Honour Cemetery

Gravestone Image

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Obituary / Life Story

SYVRET, Dempsey Aaron

Born September 3rd 1921 Gaspe Quebec

WW II Veteran, Royal Rifles of Canada, POW – Battle of Hong Kong.

Died on Friday August 12th 2016 at St. Anne’s Veteran’s Hospital.

Beloved husband of the late Rita Snell. Dear father of Ann (Randy Williams), Mary and Rita (Michael Bergevin). Cherished grandfather of Kelly (Christopher Morin) and Casey. Also survived by his brother Leonard of Prince Edward Island and many extended family members. As per his wishes, there will be no visitation. A private graveside service will take place at the Field of Honour Cemetery, Pointe Claire. If so desired, a donation in his memory to the “Bay Chaleur Military Museum”, 351 A Perron Blvd. West, New Richmond, Quebec, G0C 2B0 would be greatly appreciated by the family.

Thank you to all the staff at St. Anne’s Veteran’s Hospital.

Dad, Grandpa, Dempsey: thank you for the sacrifices and suffering endured during and after World War II, especially the four years spent in a prisoner of war camp in Hong Kong and Japan. You are and always will be our hero.

You may send condolences by going to: www.

Links and Other Resources

There may be more information on this individual available elsewhere on our web sites - please use the search tool found in the upper right corner of this page to view sources.

Facebook has proven to be a valuable resource in the documentation of 'C' Force members. The following link will take you to any available search results for this soldier based on his regimental number. Note: results may be contained within another related record. Facebook Search Results

Related documentation for information published in this report, such as birth information, discharge papers, press clippings and census documents may be available via shared resources in our HKVCA Vault. It is organized with folders named using regimental numbers. Use the first letter of the individual's service number to choose the correct folder, then scroll to the specific sub-folder displaying the service number of your interest.

General Comments

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Taken from the Bay Chaleur Military Museum

Artifact of the Week - Dempsey Aaron Syvret’s Small Pack

Dempsey Aaron Syvret was born September 3rd , 1921 in the town of Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie, Gaspe. He had two brothers and three sisters. His father William was a cod fisherman and woodsman. His mother Ida Mae passed away from tuberculosis when Dempsey was 10. Believing a single father could not raise a family, the church put the children in an orphanage in Quebec City.

At the age of 14 Dempsey took on the job of a houseboy for a well off family in Quebec City. As Dempsey was turning 18 when the war broke out, he joined the Army and became part of the Royal Rifles of Canada. They were stationed in Newfoundland where he was a rifle instructor. Soon the Royal Rifles were shipped to Hong Kong to protect the British colony from a possible “but unlikely” Japanese attack. However, the Japanese did attack on December 7th , 1941. The Canadian troops put up a valiant fight for 17 days but on the 25th of December the survivors were captured by the Japanese and put into POW camps. He spent time in the shipyards and the coal mines in China and Japan.

After the Americans dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on August 6th , 1945 the Japanese surrendered. The Canadian POWs were left unattended until American troops found them in their camp. Dempsey was put on an American Hospital ship and with a few stops along the way made his way back to Canada. He spent almost a year in a Quebec City hospital recovering from his war internment.

Upon his discharge Dempsey returned to Gaspe to try and find his family, but they had all moved away. He found his sister, brother and father had moved to Montreal so he made his way there to be with them. He found a job at Bell Canada where he remained until his retirement in 1986. During this time, he married Rita Snell and had three daughters, Ann, Mary & Rita. He built a cottage in Noyan, Quebec and enjoyed his summers fishing, sailing, gardening and watching his family grow up. During a trip to PEI in 1974 he found his youngest brother Leonard and they became best friends after not seeing each other since the orphanage. He spent each summer visiting PEI to be with his brother.

In 1999 his wife Rita passed away. After her death Dempsey remained in their home with the support of his family. In 2014 Dempsey had a stroke with paralyzed his right arm and leg and left him in a wheelchair. Unable to live on his own he moved into Ste. Anne’s Veterans Hospital, where he remained for almost two years. He passed away three weeks shy of his 95th birthday, on August 12th , 2016.

End of Report.

Report generated: 27 May 2024.

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Additional Notes

(These will not be visible on the printed copy)

  1. Service numbers for officers are locally generated for reporting only. During World War II officers were not allocated service numbers until 1945.
  2. 'C' Force soldiers who died overseas are memorialized in the Books of Remembrance and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, both sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada. Please use the search utility at VAC to assist you.
  3. Some birthdates and deathdates display as follows: 1918-00-00. In general, this indicates that we know the year but not the month or day.
  4. Our POW camp links along with our References link (near the bottom of the 'C' Force home page) are designed to give you a starting point for your research. There were many camps with many name changes. The best resource for all POW camps in Japan is the Roger Mansell Center for Research site.
  5. In most cases the rank displayed was the rank held before hostilities. Some veterans were promoted at some point prior to eventual post-war release from the army back in Canada. When notified of these changes we'll update the individual's record.
  6. Images displayed on the web page are small, but in many cases the actual image is larger. Hover over any image and you will see a popup if a larger version is available. You can also right-click on some images and select the option to view the image separately. Not all images have larger versions. Contact us to confirm whether a large copy of an image in which you are interested exists.
  7. In some cases the References displayed as part of this report generate questions because there is no indication of their meaning. They were inherited with the original database, and currently we do not know what the source is. We hope to solve this problem in future.
  8. We have done our best to avoid errors and omissions, but if you find any issues with this report, either in accuracy, completeness or layout, please contact us using the link at the top of this page.
  9. Photos are welcome! If a photo exists for a 'C' Force member that we have not included, or if you have a higher quality copy, please let us know by using the Contact Us link at the top of this page. We will then reply, providing instructions on submitting it.