Across the Nation
BC Banter ….
- Linda Stewart-Quesnel
Greetings to you all from a very soggy West Coast. We have had our umbrellas in almost constant use the past few weeks. The Cowichan Valley, just north of Victoria, had flooding that required the area to call a “state of emergency”. So, of course, we were extremely grateful that Remembrance Day in Victoria had blue skies and sunshine. Wreaths commemorating the Hong Kong Veterans were laid in Victoria, Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Armstrong, Fort Nelson, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge.
Our Education Chair, Lee Naylor, made a connection with Keith Black of Veterans Affairs Canada at the George Derby Centre event in September. As a result of that net-working, we got involved in the "Remembering the Past, Hoping for the Future" exhibit at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria during Remembrance week from November 5th to 11th. Janet MacDonald of the Royal BC Museum was very helpful to us and she was outstanding in organizing the event.
The BC Region along with many other veterans’ associations and groups were in attendance. We had our tabletop display set up. It was a wonderful opportunity to reach out to a great many people about the story of “C” Force. Janet told us that last year 12,000 toured the displays. During the week days local high school students visited the exhibit. We provided their teachers with information about our Canada-wide Essay Contest. We also had the opportunity to present our Association’s story in one of the conference halls in the Museum at an hour-long session on Saturday, November 7th. I presented a power-point presentation about the Battle of Hong Kong and Gerry Gerrard (HK vet) provided the answers during the question and answer period, which followed. It was very well received. Linda and Kent Graber attended this event. Linda is the daughter of Francis Robertson (d) RRC. We were happy to have them at the presentation. Here are some photos from the event.
Another upcoming educational event that our region will be involved in will be held at the Vancouver Education Centre next week on December 10th (International Human Rights Day) and 11th, 2009. Over 360 students will attend the Student’s Symposium from Greater Vancouver. Graeme Stacey is a history teacher who has pioneered the inclusion of the Canadian Hong Kong veterans’ material in classrooms in B.C. He has been invited to present the story of “C” Force at this event and feels that our regional display and video material would be an asset and we will assist in any way we can.
Continuing a Victoria Christmas tradition, we will be laying a wreath at the Cenotaph at the Legislative Buildings at 2 PM on Sunday, December 20th, 2009. It is a “Hong Kong family” event, so there will not be any media or public attending. Please come out for this short remembrance, which commemorates the day that Hong Kong surrendered. Gerry Gerrard has invited us to come to his Legion after the wreath laying to share a cup of coffee and spend some time together.
Please take very good care of each other. May God bless you and keep you, until we meet again.
Linda Stewart-Quesnel – submitted on behalf of Murray Doull, Bev Campbell and Lee Naylor
Our Hong Kong Veteran’s family has had three events since the last newsletter. On September 20 we met at the Haddon Road Legion for lunch. There were about 25 people in attendance. Doug Rees, John Dearden, Ralph MacLean and Ed Shayler were very happy to meet some new members and those of us who have been around for a while.
Karen Koonar from the The Military Museums gave us the history of the Mural Mosiac titled “”Heroes”. Our Branch has supported this project by purchasing one square (picture attached).
She invited us to come to the Museum where we could all see the Mural. On November 8th we gathered in the Atrium, right in front of the Mural Mosiac(attached picture).
It is so amazing to see! There is so much potential for our story to be told here. Karen encouraged all of us to participate by writing stories and finding pictures about our Veterans. It was a great way to kick of Veteran’s week.
In Calgary we laid wreaths at three ceremonies. Ralph MacLean and his granddaughter participated in the service at the Jubilee Auditorium. Gary and Karen Boland were thrilled to lay the wreath at the Calgary Military Museums. This is the first year that we were a part of their ceremonies. Terry Kwok and I went to The Cenotaph on 12 Avenue.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and record crowds were reported at all three venues.
I spoke to Leona Kashton in Edmonton, it sounds like the Hong Kong Veterans were well represented there on Remembrance Day. Her and her 2 granddaughters, Elyssa & Amy, laid a wreath at the Norwood Legion. John McGee’s daughter, Marilyn and her husband, Gord attended the service at the Butterdome and laid a wreath. There was also a wreath laid at the Beverely Cenotaph.
I am sure there were many other wreaths laid on behalf of our Veterans. Thanks to all of you participated.
This is the time of year that memberships have to be renewed. I will be sending a reminder to all of our members along with a membership form. Please take a look around to your families and friends and encouraged them to join our great organization.
Wishing you all a wonder filled Christmas season and all the best in 2010.
Secretary AB/SK Region.
Manitoba Moments ….
Well we are having a great Fall in Manitoba. Here it is December 1st and no snow. Hope you are all doing well.
We have had a few special occasions. In September our Tea & Tidbits for the ladies was well attended. Also in September was the unveiling of the Winnipeg Grenadier plaque at Bardal’s Funeral Home on Notre Dame. Neil Bardal Sr was a Lieutenant in the Winnipeg Grenadiers and a recording of his words were very poignant in the ceremony that involved the Colour Party, George Peterson and Larry Stebbe.
Picture – L-R: Wayne Stebbe, Neil Bardal Jr, Ann and Larry Stebbe.
Our Reunion on Oct 24 saw 119 people attending with veterans and widows who come out with their children and grand children.
Picture – L-R standing are our widows – Myrtle Lytle, Joan Watson, Alexandra Slovinsky, Mary Sellers, Ann Richardson, Angie Bourbonniere. Sitting L-R Grant Shepherd, Ladena Mabley, Marcine James, George Peterson, and Larry Stebbe.
Bonnie Korzeniowski, MLA and Special Envoy for Military Affairs, Province of Manitoba presented Carol Hadley, Chair of the Memorial Wall Committee, with a $5000 cheque for the Wall. What a great surprise that was!
I would like to thank our Colour Party, along with the Piper who of course did a great job as always; and all the people who donated prizes for the silent auction. I would also say a big thank you to the following people who helped me out the night of the Reunion - Bonnie Wiebe, Violet Mead, Lora Wachtendorf, Bridget MacDougall, Marlene Bell and last but not least Constance Mitchell. What a great feeling to know these people can always be counted on when needed. Vince Lopata had a great slide show of the Memorial Wall dedication in Ottawa. Barry Mitchell had a table set up with books, shirts, pins and most of the goodies from his Emporium. I would like to thank DJK Music (Lucy) for the great music and getting the people involved in dancing.
Picture – L-R Carol Hadley and Bonnie Korzeniowski, MLA and Special Envoy for
Military Affairs, Province of Manitoba.
Our tabletop display was in the Manitoba Museum from November 2 – 16 with information on our Association and our Education endeavours for the 5000 people who go through the museum at this time of year. On Remembrance Day several of our members attended the service at the Convention Centre. Our Colour Party (Vince, Stan Lopata and Alex Taylor) was involved in the service with George Peterson laying a wreath with me as his escort. George Peterson and Vince Lopata attended the War Amputation Dinner on November 6th while Carol Hadley was guest speaker at the Remembrance Dinner in Pilot Mound. Vince Lopata was speaker at the Remembrance Day event in Pinawa.
We will be holding our Christmas Tea and Tidbits on December 12th and with luck we will have a good turn out.
George Peterson - Wishes you all the Best of the Holiday Season and all the best in 2010 and to stay well.
From our entire Executive we wish you all the best for the coming Holiday season – good health, peace and happiness in 2010. Feel free to call or email me anytime, I would love to stay in touch with you firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-338-3354.
Juliet Lafortune, Regional Director
There are several events to mention involving the Ontario Region. First of all, we were asked by the Parliamentary Library’s Teachers’ Institute to be a part of their Resource Fair which was held on Nov. 3rd at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. We had conflicting events in the Toronto area, but recognized that it was important for us to be present. Fortunately, we were able to arrange for the event to be in the capable hands of Ted Terry, his wife, Ann, and Ian Doull. This was quite a significant opportunity, in that we were able to connect with specially chosen delegates from across the country, which were part of the Teachers’ Institute programme. Ted reported afterwards that the event was quite successful, as the teachers received free-of-charge several important documents from us including copies in English and French of the Ten Lessons, samples of our new Cross Canada Writing Contest in both languages, and the newly-created CD-ROM for teachers and members of our HKVCA organization, also in both English and French.
Our next event was the OHASSTA Conference on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7th. Over two days, from 8 am to 5 pm, we engaged quite a number of the 350 History teachers from across the province that were delegates. There was much interest in our new CD-ROM presentation, our All-New HKVCA Cross Canada Writing Contest and the details of Gander’s story, as well as the other items we had brought with us. Many thanks to the volunteers who helped us through the two days - particularly Gordon Coyne, Linda Guglick, Sandra Strom, Bud and Ruth Mann, Mark Purcell and Mike Babin. All felt that the two days had been very worthwhile.
Coming up on December 15th, we are participating in the Durham District School Board’s “Highlights of History” workshop situation. Our new HKVCA CD-ROM will be the focus of the workshop. This is a presentation geared to High School students as well as HKVCA members who may one day want to make presentations to the schools about the Battle of Hong Kong. Very well written, it has a complete script for the presenter to use, as well as slides, pictures and videos of the events before, during and after the Battle of Hong Kong. Mike Babin and Nick Brune will share the presentation. That in itself should make for a very special opportunity for students to become more aware of our Canadian soldiers’ place in the history of World War II.
The All-New HKVCA Cross Canada Writing Contest is already underway. The deadline for the event is Friday, May 21, 2010. The Contest is featured in the Teachers’ Zone on the HKVCA Website, and may be downloaded from there. Ministers of Education in almost every province and territory have expressed an interest in the contest. Responses have been very positive, and the Saskatchewan example is probably one of the most encouraging. The person in charge of the “Perspectives” magazine, which goes to all of the teachers of Social Studies in Saskatchewan, has written saying that they have decided to put the whole of the contest in their magazine’s next issue. The OSSTF in Ontario has also has responded to say that they will put the information about the contest into their winter issue which comes out in February.
The accounting for the “Let There Be Peace on Earth” concert by the Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra on April 8 in Toronto is now complete, and the final total raised is $24,200! The Ontario Region has forwarded a cheque for this amount to our national treasurer to be applied towards the completion of the Memorial Wall in Ottawa. This brings the total of donations to the Wall from Ontario to over $76,000.
We were saddened with the news that Bryce Craig RRC of Callander had passed away. Our sympathies are extended to his son Brian and the family. Marcine James (John James WG) had a fall and is recuperating. We wish her a speedy recovery. Everyone else seems to be holding their own. No point in complaining they said, nobody listens.
Ken Pifher (RRC) continues with an active lifestyle in Grimsby, Ontario, the grape harvest this year has been bountiful in his area and his health is quite good, with just the normal amount of medical tests required from time to time. Ken is dedicated to lunching each day with his ‘cronies’ He will attend Remembrance Day services, as usual in Niagara Falls, where he is a long-time member of Branch 479 Royal Canadian Legion.
Gerry “Sunny” Sunstrum (RRC) is living well in his own home in Niagara Falls, Ontario. When I called him he had just come in from attending an evening church service in Chippewa, as is his Sunday custom. He remains quite active at age 92, and says he has no serious health problems. Both of Gerry’s eyes are working better for having had cataract surgery. Now both are in need of surgery to relieve excessive pressure. One surgery has been completed, and was very successful. The second surgery is currently “on hold due to the swine flu outbreak”. Gerry is devoted to his regular lunch group that meets at Tim Horton’s every day. One other member of the group is a veteran like himself. For many years, he says, he was a “golf addict”, but now the clubs have gone away for good.
Widow Elizabeth Chesser is living in a Nursing Home in Mississauga, Ontario. She is in process of dictating her memoirs to a nephew. Her daughter, Kathleen Chesser, is in regular contact with her.
Widow Marion Jamieson has been living in Heritage House (retirement home) in Guelph, Ontario for the past year, and “enjoying it”. She says she has regular family contact through her son, Allan Jamieson, living nearby in Milton, Ontario. Her daughter, Catherine Hudson, living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, attended the Memorial Wall Unveiling & Dedication. Marion says she continues to enjoy good health.
Linda Nicholson is a member through her late mother, Velma Nicholson. Living in Oakville, she is Principal of the nearby Meadowvale Village Public School. She is particularly fond of the story of Sgt. Gander, and has had great satisfaction relating it to students in the classroom.
Widow Dorothy “Dot” McColm is living in St. Joseph’s Villa (Nursing Home) in Dundas, Ontario. Her daughter, Elaine Dorey, who lives nearby, contacts her frequently. The family is keen about the work of the HKVCA and our Newsletter. They attended the Memorial Wall Unveiling & Dedication and have supported this project financially.
We have a new area rep for the Greater Toronto Area, Bud Mann, 53 Oak Lea Circle, Markham, Ontario, L3P 3M3, 905-294-5342, email: email@example.com. Feel free to contact Bud if you have any questions or concerns regarding members in the GTA.
From Lori Smith: I was visiting Dorothy Sauson earlier this week in London. She didn't lay the wreath but had her picture taken after. Her son Les was with her.
That's all the news from the Ontario Region. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season.
Quebec Quotes ….
Greetings on this sunny, almost summer feeling day from the Quebec Region.
Another year is fast coming to a close. 2009 was a very busy year with the Convention and specially the Unveiling of our Memorial Wall. Again we owe a great deal of thanks to the Organizing Committee for their very hard work on this project. Thanks to all our members for their support and a great round of applause goes to Mike Babin from Ontario Region and his group for their great financial support with their very successful concert held in Toronto.
Thanks to the work of our Web Master Jim Trick, we have a very nice Photo Gallery of the Unveiling/Commemorative Ceremony on the HKVCA Site. Although probably a bit short, we had some coverage of the Wall Unveiling in the recent edition of the Legion Magazine, our Hong Kong Veterans present in Ottawa were there in full colour! WE WILL REMEMBER THEM!
We recently held our fall executive meeting. As usual we had detailed reports from our treasurer, membership chairman, the reading of the mid-year reports which were to be presented to our members last August in Ottawa with time permitting.
During Armistice week and days prior, we attended many functions honouring all Veterans. We also attended our local Armistice Banquet. Renay Perrier, QC Deputy Director laid our wreath in honour of all our Hong Kong Veterans during our local Commemorative Ceremony, in the absence of yours truly, due to a prior commitment.
That is it at this time.
We would like to wish Season Greetings to all Veterans, Widows and Members
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THE BEST FOR THE NEW YEAR.
Take care, till next time. Lucette Mailloux
QC Regional Director
Maritime Region extends
best wishes to all their members for a Joyous, holiday season and a Healthy,
Peaceful and Prosperous New Year