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We have 12 Hong Kong Veterans in our region, 6 in Calgary, 1 in Edmonton, 1 in Cardston, 1 in Drumheller and 3 in Saskatchewan. We are missing those who have passed away since our last convention. We do have four Veterans in attendance, John McGee (with 20 of his family members), Ralph Maclean, John Deardon and Doug Rees. I know for sure the rest of them would be here if they could. They are with us in our thoughts.
We also have 11 HKVCA widows in our region. 4 of them are here this weekend, Mary MacAuley, Isobel Saunders, Leona Kashton and Leona Micholov.
To date we have 36 regular members who have renewed their memberships for 2009. We have picked up a few new members because of this convention. Many of them are here this weekend to pay tribute to their fathers. We are still inviting family members to join our association. Several of our members have made generous donations to the Memorial Wall.
Over the past year we have been in communications with the The Military Museums of Calgary. They have a 20 x 10’ Mural Mosaic at the entrance of the Museum. We have purchased one painting in the mural for the HKVCA. They are also setting up an interactive display which will have information about the Battle of Hong Kong. They have a 7 hour video interview with one of our Veterans, Gord Durrant, who passed away late in July. The Coordinator on this project would like us to provide more interviews and any information we can add to this display. We will be meeting with them in September to see how we can help. The Mural Mosaic will be available on line on The Military Museums website by the end of August. Please check it out. They are also planning on having a display on the Battle of Hong Kong in 2011. We are hoping to make a donation to that project as well.
I bring warm greetings from our Region. I wish they could all be here to see the unveiling of the Memorial Wall. We would like to extend a special thank you to the Wall and the Convention Committees who made it all happen.
Secretary HKVCA AB/Sask Branch
Good afternoon to all the Veterans and HKVCA members!
At our last general meeting in Calgary, 2 years ago, I started my presentation with a western Canada welcome: yahoo! My family made me promise that I’d not do anything like that this time. Ottawa is, after all the home of sober and somber politicians and bureaucrats where not much exciting happens except in Question Period … so I guess a simple "hi" is all that’s needed.
Before I give you my report, a few "thank yous" are in order. First to the convention organizing committee for putting together such a splendid program. And to the Memorial Wall committee and in particular Carol Hadley, who have worked so hard to create the wonderful monument we will see tomorrow. And thank you to the members of our Ontario Region executive: Mark Purcell, Lori Smith and Pat Turcotte, for their hard work. We also have 6 area reps in Ontario whose task it is to keep in touch with the Veterans and members in their geographic area, and I appreciate all of their efforts in this regard. Thanks, too, to Tim Hodkinson, our newsletter editor and Vicky Hedelius who handles our Honour Wreath program.
Since our last general meeting we have lost ten of our Veterans. Their loss is a painful one. We will remember them.
Let me remind you of the HKVCA’s mission statement:
Our mission is to educate all Canadians on the role of Canada's soldiers in the Battle of Hong Kong and on the effects of the internment of the battle’s survivors on both the soldiers and their families. We also assist in the support and welfare of Hong Kong veterans and their widows.
We’ve taken the "education" part of our mandate to heart in Ontario, and I’d like to tell you a bit about what we’ve been doing since our last meeting two years ago to fulfill the mandate.
We have focused on two areas: telling the Hong Kong story to high school students; and engaging the Chinese-heritage community.
First, our focus on educating high school students.
At our last meeting I told you that we had obtained funding from Veterans Affairs to produce a multimedia presentation to be used in high school history classes. That presentation is complete, and is available in both English and French. This is a fully scripted presentation that’s intended to be used by our members to make it easier for you to prepare for and deliver the Hong Kong story. It also includes material on running a seminar for teachers to introduce them to the topic. I ran a workshop this morning on how to use the presentation. The CD is available free of charge to anyone. You can request it via the HKVCA web site.
And speaking of our web site, Pat Turcotte in collaboration with Jim Trick and Earl Gyselman, has created a "Teachers’ Zone" on our web site that pulls together a terrific collection of materials that are of use to high school teachers. Putting all of this information in one easy to access location makes life easier for teachers, which can only help improve the chances that they will include the Hong Kong story in their curriculum. Recently, Earl has revamped the appearance and organization of the Teachers’ Zone to make it even more useful.
You all know about the "Ten Lessons" … the excellent book of lesson plans and resource materials for teachers which we published some years ago, and which is now being used by some 800 teachers across Canada. We used to charge $20 for it, which we found was sometimes an impediment to teachers using it. We have now made that material completely free of charge for teachers to download from our web site, which should help alleviate the problem.
Everything I’ve talked about so far we’ve made available to everyone across Canada. Now I’ll mention some things that are more local to Ontario.
Each year we’ve participated in the Ontario High School History and Social Studies Teachers Association convention in Toronto, where hundreds of history teachers from across the province come together to attend workshops on various topics in history.
We ran a booth at the Canadian International Military Tattoo in Hamilton, which gave us exposure to hundreds of visitors to that event.
Our second priority in Ontario has been to build on our relationship with the Chinese-heritage community. This was an idea that sprang from the excellent job Alberta/Saskatchewan Region did making that connection for the last convention.
You may be interested to know that the third most-spoken language in Canada is Chinese (if you add both Cantonese and Mandarin together). There are tens of thousands of Canadians who emigrated from Hong Kong or who are descendents of Hong Kong immigrants. Most of them are not aware that Canadians and Hong Kongers fought side by side against a common enemy. When they hear about it, they are fascinated, and are keen to learn more.
Last fall we participated in a public seminar at the University of Toronto’s Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library. George MacDonell and Flash Clayton spoke, and Ken Skelton mounted a fantastic display of memorabilia that stayed in the library for several months and was seen by a very large number of people.
Around Remembrance Day last year we participated in a terrific remembrance ceremony and concert at the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church dedicated to the Hong Kong Veterans. We received $500 in donations to the Wall at that event.
Pat Turcotte and Bud Mann and several other HKVCA members spent a weekend at one of Toronto’s enormous Chinese malls, talking to people and handing out flyers about the Hong Kong story. They were helped out by volunteers from the Royal Hong Kong Regiment and several students from a local high school who were able to tell our story in Chinese to many of the passers-by. In addition to the educational value, they collected over $900 in donations to the Wall!
Just last Saturday we held our most significant event yet: the Let There Be Peace on Earth Concert in Toronto. Over 700 people attended a fabulous concert by the Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra, and we raised $15,000 for the HKVCA! Even more, we received a significant amount of media coverage, primarily in the Chinese-language media. In conjunction with the concert, CBC radio interviewed George MacDonell, and that interview was broadcast last Friday in Toronto and is being rebroadcast across Ontario today.
You will get a chance to hear this very talented orchestra tomorrow afternoon at the War Museum. I encourage every one of you to attend. Not just because it will be a terrific musical experience, but also as a show of appreciation to these young people who travelled all the way here from Hong Kong - at their own expense, I might add - to commemorate the Hong Kong Veterans and help raise money for us.
The second part of the HKVCA mandate is "to assist in the support and welfare of Hong Kong Veterans and their widows".
As I mentioned at the outset, our Area Reps do a fantastic job of staying in touch with the Vets and widows, and don’t hesitate to bring forward any issues that arise. We also held a number of luncheons across the province so our members could get together, and hear about the goings-on in the HKVCA and reminisce a little.
We have a program we call the "Honour Wreath". As a token of our respect, when a Veteran passes away we provide a wreath to his family for the funeral (if we can get it there in time), which the family keeps and can use at his grave or the local cenotaph or other commemorative occasions.
I don’t have enough time to tell you more, but I hope you can see that in Ontario we’re very focused on executing the HKVCA’s mission.
We do have some challenges, though.
First, we need to continue our fundraising efforts. All of our focus right now is on raising money for the Wall. But once that hurdle has been overcome we can’t just stop. Our association can’t survive on the $15 per year we all pay in dues. To carry out our education mandate properly takes money, and that can only come from a continuing program to bring in funds.
Second, our membership is declining in some regions … in Ontario it is stagnant. To continue our work we need to bring in new members, and this means engaging the younger generation. And we need to find ways to keep families involved in the HKVCA once the Veteran passes away.
And finally, we need more members to volunteer to help carry out our
mandate. There are lots of challenging and fulfilling jobs to be done in
the HKVCA, but very few members who are actually engaged in doing them.
In particular, we need for the grandchildren of the Vets to step up to
If you have creative ideas on how to deal with these challenges, please bring them forward!
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s unveiling ceremony and to the concert and gala. Have a great convention weekend!
Regional Director, Ontario
Greetings from Quebec to all our Veterans, Widows, Members, Board of Directors and Guests
Since our last Convention 2007 in Calgary things continue to be busy. Sadly we are loosing many veterans, widows and friends of the Association. They will be sadly missed "We will remember them"
Throughout the year we hold two or three executive meetings, extras if the need arises and once a year we hold a joint-executive meeting with our Veterans.
We attend the monthly BOD on-line meetings for discussions for the welfare of our Veterans and our Association.
Each November, we attend our local Commemorative Ceremonies and deposit a wreath in memory of all our fallen HK Veterans.
Four times per year, QC Region keeps our local members and a few guests from other regions informed on the local news with the publication of "The Torch".
August 14-17, 2008, we held our bi-annual reunion in Granby. The weather was just beautiful. Five Veterans, five Widows, family members, friends of the Hong Kong Family, guests from Manitoba, Ontario as well as QC were present for the banquet dinner. This was time to renew old friendships and make new ones.
On Friday we held our joint general meeting with the usual Opening Ceremony, reports and the results of the regional elections. All members of the executive were re-elected to their chair. All this was followed by a social evening.
Saturday morning 55 people were present for our Commemorative Ceremony and laying of the HK Veteran, HKVCA and Widows’ wreath followed by the deposit, by each Veteran present, of a small Canadian flag for each QC Region HKV and one for all other HKV deceased since our last reunion.
Our membership, like many other regions is having growing pains. We have our ups and downs but, we are holding our heads above water.
Financially QC Region is in a fair situation. We have a great group of members and friends how help our region with their donations. For this we thank them all very sincerely.
"C" Force Memorial Wall. After a long overdue time our Veterans will have their Monument thanks to the great efforts and hard work of the Wall Committee and the generous donations of many veterans, members, families, regions, private and corporations. QC region made a donation to the Wall and also a loan to the National Committee to help finance the extra rising costs involved in the completion of this Memorial.
This lasting tribute will be there in memory of their great sacrifices in war, as POW’s and later in their lives.
In May 2009, we attended the Royal Canadian Legion QC Command bi-annual Convention in Granby. As always this was a good experience and a nice way to keep up with the changes for our veterans and widows’ welfare.
On July 1st 2009 in Montreal we attended the Canada Day Ceremonies including the oath Ceremony of our new Canadians.
August 6, 7th 2009, we were special guests, Marcel Mondou first Vice represented the Veterans, to meet the athletes and for the Opening Ceremony of the Dominion Command 33rd Legion Canadian National Youth Athletic Championships in Sherbrooke.
As mentioned many times, "our youth are beautiful" and they want to know more about the war. After watching a short clip on the Juno Beach massacre and the following standing ovation to the Veterans, they were asking questions to the Veterans while they were shaking their hands and even patting their backs. It was serious and yet very emotional to watch them.
The QC organisation recently invited Irene Dallain, wife of Jean Paul Dallain to be our correspondent from the Gaspee Coast, which she graciously accepted. Thank you Irene and welcome on the team.
All in all we will continue to be there for our Veterans and Widows.
There are always new projects to think about and bring to life.
This is my report at this time. Hope you all have a bit of time to renew old friendships and make new ones. This is as always a special time for all and more so this year with the Unveiling of the Memorial Wall.
Thank you, enjoy your weekend and have a safe trip back home, take care and
Submitted by: Lucette Mailloux Muir
I want to say that it is an honour to be here in Ottawa this weekend to see the unveiling of the Memorial Wall. It is a great day for the Hong Kong Veterans of Canada and the HKVCA.
The reports from our BC executive members: Murray Doull, Bev Campbell and Lee Naylor very capably summarize all of the activities within the HKVCA in BC since our last bi-annual convention. I am very proud of them and all that they have accomplished during the last two years. I cannot add anything more to their reports. They have covered it all. Thank you - Murray, Bev and Lee for all your dedication and hard work. It is appreciated by all of the HKVCA.
Linda Stewart-Quesnel – Regional Director for BC.
I would like to express warm greetings to all of our Hong Kong veterans, widows, HKVCA members and guests.
At the HKVCA convention in Calgary in 2007, the National Board of Directors established 3 immediate goals for both National and the Regions to work toward.
The first goal was the construction of the Hong Kong Veterans’ Memorial Wall to be built in Ottawa. Fundraising was one of the main components required in order for the Wall to become a reality. On the floor of the Calgary Convention one of our HK vets, Aubrey Flegg, presented our National Treasurer with a cheque for $5,000.00 from the members of the BC Region. Many of our BC members have subsequently stepped forward and as of July 25, 2009 have generously donated a further $28, 299 for the Wall. The BC Region has made a further loan in the amount of $7,000.00 in order to help ensure this important project becomes a reality. Our Region’s contributions for the Wall as of July 26, 2009 total $40,299.00. Thank you very much to our BC members for their dedication and commitment to the ‘C’ Force Memorial Wall.
The second goal was education. Due to the initial efforts of our Regional Director Linda Stewart and further work by our Education Chair Lee Naylor, the BC Region now has a very thorough and permanent display outlining accurately the history and sacrifices of ‘C’ Force. We initially unveiled our display at a "Tribute to our Veterans" event at the Burnaby Village Museum on BC Day in 2008 where it was very well received.
The third goal was membership. As of June, 2009 the BC membership included 12 Hong Kong veterans, 39 widows and 96 regular members for a total of 147. The National membership total for the same period was 898. The BC membership therefore represents 16.37% of the National total. We are hopeful these numbers will increase as we do our best to reach out to the families of our HK vets and generally increase the awareness of the public through education and information. Bev Campbell, the Chair of our Phone Pal Program along with one of our regional members, Sandra Brain, is establishing the link with the families. We are hopeful that our educational display combined with our attendance at public events and information brochures will generate interest and increased membership from the public at large.
I trust that everyone will enjoy a memorable and historic weekend as we gather to unveil the Memorial Wall and pay tribute to the Hong Kong Veterans of Canada.
HKVCA Treasurer/Membership Chair, BC Region
Phone Pals Program Report:
The Phone Pals Program was initiated this year with Bev Campbell as the coordinator and Sandy Brain assisting with the phone calls. The program's aim is to keep in touch with our Veterans and Widows, let them know that we are there for them in any way we are able to help, also, keep them up-to-date with news from the HKVCA and, mainly, just to have a friendly chat.
We are, at present, in contact with close to 30 HKVCA members and look forward to keeping in touch with them.
Submitted by Bev Campbell – Secretary – BC Region.
My Father was a Hong Kong Veteran who continued to serve in the Canadian Army for twenty five years; I in turn served in the Canadian Armed Forces for over twenty seven years. This past experience has given me much more insight into the organization of "C" Force, the Battle for Hong Kong and the ill treatment of our POW's. I have been researching the Battle of Hong Kong for a number of years gathering numerous books, pictures, videos, documents, material, and memorabilia for lecture and slide show presentations on my own prior to accepting the education chair position for the BC Region. Linda Stewart, last year put together an excellent display for the events and presentation purposes.
I am continuing to work very hard on putting together a presentation for adults. Recently I received the new Ontario presentation from Mike Babin, it is excellent for the school system and I plan to add more information to the CD. In regards to the presentation in the school system, I am planning to liaise with school teachers in the BC Region for the purpose of having this subject become part of their curriculum. At the moment I have been in contact with Graeme Stacey, a school teacher in West Bank who does teach the subject as part of their school curriculum, Graeme informed me that he would list information in regards to the HKVCA on the teacher's web site on my behalf.
During a past Legion meeting, I had spoken with the Zone President for the Legions in the BC Region and plan to lecture at their different locations in the near future. It has also come to my attention to lecture at the different Cadet Corps in the region.
Since taking on the education chair for the BC Region, the position has become much more than one had expected, past interviews with veterans which have passed away, were recorded on tap. I have been busy transferring these tapes to CDs for the wives and family members of the deceased. Arrangements have been made for further interviews with our veterans which is extremely important for my research. "Every Soldier has his own story to tell."
At our annual Luncheon in Vancouver I quickly put together a small slide show for the first time to see how it would go over. At the end of the presentation I stated that each soldier has his own story to put forward. Family members came forward and volunteered information on their husband and Father which I am pleased to add to my files for research material and reference.
Let me also state that I am extremely honoured to have as part of my badge display, "Captain Uriah Laite's," Regimental Chaplain to the Winnipeg Grenadiers, cap badge. After the luncheon in Vancouver Captain Laites's daughter, Florence Hughes had offered me her Father's cap badge for the display.
On August 9, 2009 I will be representing the HKVCA at the Celebration of Life for Thomas P. Jackson Royal Army Service Corps. Tom was and had been a member of the Hong Kong Veterans of Canada.
My Mother and I are looking forward to the unveiling of the Memorial Wall activities and meeting people in person that have been most helpful with correspondence and my research.
Lee E. Naylor CD
Education Chair for the BC Region