WASURERU-NAI

Oct-Nov-Dec '10 Page 7
 

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Across the Nation

Reports from the Regions
BC Banter
Ab/Sk Action
Manitoba Moments
Ontario Offerings
Quebec Quotes
Eastern Breezes
 

BC Banter ….

(by Murray Doull, for BC Executive)

As Christmas and a New Year approach, our best wishes for peace, health and happiness are extended from British Columbia to everyone in our Hong Kong Family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Richard (Dick) Maze and Ida Speller. Dick, who was a Lieutenant with the Winnipeg Grenadiers, passed away at the age of 99 on September 25, 2010 in Chilliwack, BC. He is survived by his wife Ann who is approaching her 100th birthday.

Ida Speller was a very special woman to all of us who knew her and she passed away on October 20, 2010 in Kamloops, BC. Ida was the widow of Lionel Speller (RCCS) who was the president of the BC branch of the HK vets for over 30 years until he passed away on April 30, 2006.

On October 23, 2010, Lee Naylor and I were privileged to attend the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers Conference at Burnaby Senior Secondary High School. Grade 11 and 12 social studies teachers from around the province were in attendance.

Lee and Graeme Stacey provided a 75-minute lecture about the history of 'C' Force along with a Q&A session. The photograph shows Lee and Graeme preparing for their session. They are to be commended for their detailed presentation (which pulled no punches), teamwork and commitment to expand this story in the BC social studies curriculum. Our educational display was on exhibit.

The teachers in attendance left with written handouts as well as a copy of the educational CD Rom provided by the Ontario Region. Thank you Ontario! I encourage other regions to use this valuable asset.

 Cam Fraser, an HKVCA member and a social studies teacher in Coquitlam BC, was in attendance for the session and it was good to see Cam again. Cam is the grandson of Anthony Grimston (RCCS, deceased). You know that this topic is being taught in Cam's classrooms!

Congratulations to Graeme who was elected Vice President of the BCSSTA at the conference. It is certainly a good thing for our association to have such a strong supporter of the HK vets and the HKVCA sitting on the executive of the Teachers Association in our province.

By invitation, Lee and I, representing BC Region, set up our display for Veterans Week celebrations at the CFB Chilliwack Heritage Museum from October 25 to 29. Many students and teachers passed through the museum during the event. Lee and I attended Monday and Friday and left the display for all to see on the days we couldn't be present.  We were fortunate to talk to not only students and teachers about ‘C’ Force, but many WWll, Korean and Afghanistan veterans who we met. All Canadian veterans are cognizant of the story of the HK vets.

There was a luncheon for the veterans on the 25th, which we attended. There was a Dixie band and Linda Jones sang the songs from the forties. The lady in the photograph with Lee is Alberta Rafferty, the widow of Joe Rafferty, WG. Alberta has always been a supporter of the HKVCA and lives in Chilliwack and it was very nice to finally meet her in person.

On October 25, Lee and I agreed to accept the Royal BC Museum’s invitation for our Region to participate in Veterans’ Week from November 5 - 10 in Victoria. Although this was a huge commitment on our part, we felt that the effort would be well worth the exposure our display would receive as well as the opportunity to speak about ‘C’ Force in a world renowned museum.

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This proved to be an incredible opportunity for us to reach out to many classes of students and their teachers, as well as the general public as they passed through our prominent display area. Some encounters were very emotional as many had their own stories related to ‘C’ Force. Many of the men who formed the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals were originally from Victoria and several public members we talked to had personally known some of them.

We would like to extend special thanks for all their help to Linda Quesnel and Jim Trick. Linda made a Power Point presentation and lecture in the auditorium on Saturday and Lee did the same on Sunday. Jim was a huge help in the display area, talking to many and he helped Lee tear down and pack up the display for the return trip. We are also very grateful to June and Sherry for their support.

I have included a photo of Lee and his Mom and one of Lee and Jim.

We don’t have a total tally yet of all the wreaths laid on November 11. We do know that Bill Doull (RRC) laid a wreath in Sardis for the HK vets and Gerry Gerrard (RCCS) laid one in Victoria. HKVCA wreaths were laid by our members in Hope, North Vancouver, Armstrong, Kelowna and Victoria.

In the picture, David Acton, the son of Robert Acton (RCCS, deceased), laid a wreath in Ladner to honour his Dad and the Hong Kong veterans.

As I write this submission, our Region is participating in the 2nd Annual International Human Rights Day Student Symposium: Human Rights in the Asia Pacific 1931-1945 at the Vancouver Technical Secondary School in Vancouver on December 9 & 10. The sponsor for this symposium is the Vancouver Board of Education and the organizer is BC Alpha (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWll in Asia).

Lee set up our educational display and Lee and Graeme Stacey will be presenting lectures to students and teachers about ‘C’ Force. They will be distributing to the teachers in attendance the Ontario CD Rom. This venue is providing yet another opportunity for us to educate and relate the story of our Hong Kong veterans. We express our thanks to Lee and Graeme for their hard work to create a very powerful educational presentation for this event.

We hope to see you at the National Convention next August in Granby, Quebec; many thanks to Lucette and the Quebec Region for agreeing to be our hosts.

Ab/Sask Action...

(by Norma Fuchs)

We have been busy out here over the last couple of months.

In September we had a visit with Carol and Al Hadley. They were in town at a Conference and had some time at the end of the weekend. We were able to visit with Ed and Lorna Shayler and their daughter Donna. We then had a quick dinner and were able to get them to the airport in time for their flight.

The Calgary Chapter of ALPHA (Canadian Association for Learning and Preserving the History in Asia) held a “Historical Photos Exhibition” at the University of Calgary from October 26 – 29.  Terry Kwok invited Ralph Maclean to attend the service on the final day of the event. There were many moving pictures and stories to review and the organizers of that event warmly welcomed us.

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Our dinner on November 6 was a huge success. We were so happy to see Ed and Lorna Shayler and family, Ralph Maclean with several of his family members, Cornelius (Corny) Nickel (Drumheller) and family, and David Vidalin. Gertrude Bliss and her daughter and friends were the first to sign up for the dinner. Leona Michalkow came in from Cardson with her daughter, Cynthia and several of their friends. Elsie Smith (picture) also attended with her grandson, Brice and his wife Jodie. Several members of the Chinese Community and the ALPHA group joined us as well. I can’t forget to mention all of the Regular members of our Alberta/ Sask Branch who came in from all over the province. We were fortunate to hear Cathy Carlson speak about the book her and her sisters published recently. Michael Palmer also talked briefly about his recently published book.  In total we had 59 people enjoy a traditional Chinese Feast. Thanks to all those who helped make this happen and to all whom attended.

November 11th ceremonies were well attended by our members and thousands of others.

In Calgary our Association laid wreaths at 3 different services. Ralph Maclean, his son, Doug, Grandson, Keith and Great Grandson, Austin laid a wreath at the Jubilee Auditorium. Gary and Karen Boland participated in the service at the Military Museums and Elsie Smith and her Grandson Brice laid the wreath at the downtown cenotaph. I have reports from all over the Region of our members attending and/or laying wreaths:

Elsie Hanel-Jones in Saskatoon, Mae Bolger, Cletus Doiron and Bev in Medicine Hat, David Ewing in Okotoks, Irv and Audrey Doiron in High River where the MLA, George Groeneveld, spoke about having been in Hong Kong last year on November 11th and attending a service at Sai Wan Cemetery. Up until that time he had no knowledge of the Battle of Hong Kong.

Leona Kashton and her granddaughter in Edmonton.

Kathy and Granddaughter in Lethbridge (Picture)

Thanks to all of you who honour our soldiers by taking the time to remember!

We have been very successful in collecting our dues for 2010 and are about half way there for 2011. If you haven’t paid your dues, you can send them to Mae Bolger in Medicine Hat.  We are always looking for new members; please encourage any members of your families, or friends to join us.

I am envious of the group going to Hong Kong this month. I am sure it will be a great trip for all. Terry Kwok is the only one I know of who is going from our Region. We wish her all the best.

By the time this letter is out, I am sure we will all be busy with Christmas and all that entails. I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2011.

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Manitoba Moments ….

(by Juliet Lafortune, Region Director)

Hello everyone, We held the Reunion Dinner at the Holiday Inn in October, which was a success with a 100 people attending. There were two veterans, George Peterson and Larry Stebbe with eight widows (Angie Bourbonniere, Joan Watson, Mary Sellers, Alexandra Slovinski, Dorothy Morris, Anne Richardson, Myrtle Lytle and Ladena Mabley) with their children and some grandchildren. Our Colour Party (Vince & Stan Lopata and Alex Taylor), Piper Craig Munnoch and three Winnipeg Grenadier Cadets with their Officer also with Reverend Gordon Shields officiated at this event. I wish to thank everyone who helped with the success - Constance Mitchell, Bonnie Wiebe, Marlene Bell, Bridget MacDougall and all the people who donated so may beautiful items for the silent auction. Thank you is also extended to DKJ Music and The Holiday Inn’s Lynn Ostrow for their cooperation.

From the Education Committee: A CD presentation was made to a few Canadian history teachers of the Battle of Hong Kong at the Manitoba Social Science Association’s sponsored teachers conference in October where 350 – 400 teachers participated. Barry Mitchell and Patricia Bale manned the display of The Hong Kong Story giving out book marks, information on the Cross Canada Writing Contest and general information that is on our website.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights contacted the Manitoba Region to attend a session to review the proposed Zones that make up the museum. It was apparent that more work is needed if we intend to have the Hong Kong Veterans story in it. We hope to form a committee of various people across Canada for assistance – more to come.

Around Manitoba: in November, many of our members participate in Remembrance Services throughout the province. This year Larry Stebbe, Juliet Lafortune, and the Colour Party attended the large service at the Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

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Life has slowed down for Grant Shepherd, HK Vet, as he had to surrender his driver’s license, not that he did anything illegal, just an age thing. Compounding his lack of mobility is the fact that he is now diabetic and thus major changes in his eating habits. Grant says “hello to all the Hong Kong Vets and all the associates in the Commemorative Association”. He sent along a contribution to the Memorial Wall but most of all wants to wish a “Merry Christmas to all in the HK family!”


Helen Prieston, widow of Riley Prieston, WG, H41803 is very active in her community of Swan River, Manitoba, even though she recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Helen has had some health issues but keeps on going as she speaks at Legion events about the Hong Kong Battle and lays a wreath in memory of Canadians who served there. She encourages those families in the area to speak about the Battle and promote it. There were 21 boys from that area and she stays in touch with their families. She volunteers as a hostess at Whitefish Lake in the summer keeping track of the visitors. She has 6 children, 17 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren. She was disappointed when the sign for Prieston Lake in their area went missing and in contacting various government groups was unsuccessful to have it replaced.

Judy Preston, Helen’s daughter, lives in Russell Manitoba, and continues with the Pocket Posties campaign that her friend in Ontario started. Pocket Posties are a mini postcard size note that people use to send messages to the armed forces that are deployed outside of Canada. So far since 2007 12,000 Pocket Posties have been sent to the troops in Afghanistan. Judy has received a lot of positive feedback for this effort from the troops. She also talks to schools, Legion, etc about the Battle of Hong Kong. In November they attend several schools in their area to talk about WWII and promotes our website for more information to the teachers and students. Well done ladies, keep up the good work.

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Renate Christensen, widow of Frank Christensen, WG, H20604, lives in Brandon. She has some health issues now, but in the past, has laid a wreath for the Prisoners of War at Remembrance Day services in Brandon. She is in good spirits and, although tires easily, she continues to stay in touch with retired teachers that were former colleagues. She also promotes our website as she is a frequent visitor letting people know of the events and information that is there. She lives close to one of her sons and daughter-in-law, who are good company for her and they often travel together. Her other son lives in Regina with a busy career, but they visit frequently. In the summer she likes to golf at a small 9-hole course close by.

We appreciate all the efforts that our members are doing to help our Association grow and encouraging people to see our website for more information.

George Peterson and Larry Stebbe were to be honoured at the Legislative Building on 7 December at a special memorial service to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbour and on Hong Kong. Unfortunately Larry had a heart attack and was in hospital so was unable to make it. On behalf the Hong Kong Veterans, George received the standing ovation and a gift. Bonnie Korzeniowski attended our General Meeting on Thursday December 9 and presented George with the framed proclamation of the announcement that Premier Salinger made in the Assembly – another copy will go to Larry.

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba – His Honour Philip Lee (c); Winnipeg Grenadier cadets, and their officers. (Click for larger image)
 

December 8th, the Winnipeg Grenadier cadets held the Battle of Hong Kong Parade at Bardal’s Funeral Home on Notre Dame. The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba – His Honour Philip Lee; Lieutenant Colonel L Brodeur, Chief Warrant Officer R Bidder, George Peterson – Manitoba HKVA President and Juliet Lafortune, MB Regional Director were present. In honour of the Canadians who served at the Battle of Hong Kong, wreaths were laid by the Lieutenant Governor; George Peterson and the Cadet Chief Warrant Officer - Kerry Mark. Following the brief ceremony the cadets were able to hear George speak of his experiences in battle and as a prisoner of war and to ask questions. For more pictures go to
http://prairiecadets.smugmug.com/Army-Cadets/Army-Corps/526-Grenadier-Hong-Kong-Mem/14993557_BVEr5#1119995317_j47th.

Larry Stebbe is home and resting comfortably with new parts and he feels like 20 something, which is good news. Anne Richardson unfortunately has been ill for a couple of months and seems to be in limbo in our wonderful medical system. Hope things work out soon, Anne.
Our Christmas Tea and Tidbits was on December 11th at St James Legion and we had several of our female members join us.

A different type of Reunion is in the works for October 2011 and any ideas you might have for the format would be welcome by contacting Juliet by phone (338-3354) or email jlafortune@mts.net.

A reminder that your memberships need to be renewed and to consider giving a little time and helping on one of the projects.

Until the next newsletter, we wish for you a Great Christmas and all the Best in the New Year - be well. Till We Meet Again.

Juliet Lafortune
(jlafortune@mts.net)

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Ontario Offerings….

Mike Babin, our Regional Director reports:

From our Regional Director, Mike Babin:

We’ve had a remarkable run of great weather here in Ontario right through the summer and fall (or at least in the Toronto area!), but as I’m writing this today there are snowflakes falling.

By the time you read this, our group of 53 members will have returned from our commemorative trip to Hong Kong and Japan. Look for photos and a write-up on our web site.
 

One of our members, Fred Hurd (son of Capt Lionel Hurd, RRC), has taken up the gauntlet of telling the Hong Kong story in a big way. Fred first presented it using the HKVCA CD-ROM presentation to his local Probus group (a business association). He said of that session:

“ … afterwards many people came forward to say what a powerful story it is. Many people left with tears in their eyes. One man commented "it's not often that a speaker brings tears to my eyes, but today that happened. Congratulations on a very moving presentation." Also, a retired surgeon from Sunnybrook [Veterans’ hospital in Toronto] who tended to HK vets in residence was too emotional to ask questions. Later this evening I've been receiving calls that even in the barber shop they were talking about this and wondering when and where it could be shown again.”

Fred followed up some weeks later with a presentation to a high school audience, and has now been asked to speak to a church group and the Legion. Congratulations to Fred for such great work in spreading the word!

I was pleased to be invited to attend a luncheon of HKVCA members in London, ON in October. There were 28 in attendance, and everyone really enjoyed it. 3 veterans joined us: Lawrence Ross, Harold Baker and Alfred Babin.

Hong Kong Veterans in front row (l to r): Alfred Babin, Lawrence Ross, Harold Baker.

Thanks to Marilyn Morgan and Lori Atkinson for making it happen!

One of our members in Kitchener, ON is Jeff Allan. Jeff is a radio talk-show host there, and has been very vocal in his support of Canada’s veterans on his show, including the Hong Kong Veterans. Jeff made a luncheon speech recently to his Rotary Club about the Battle of Hong Kong. He invited Ken Pifher and his daughter Pam to be his guests, and sent a limo to pick them up and take them home! Needless to say, Ken was very pleased.

As you will read in Pat Turcotte’s report, other members have also been busy with various educational events and I’d like to thank them and the rest of our members who are working so hard to tell the Hong Kong story.

Sadly, I must add that our West Central Area Representative, Gordon Coyne's wife, Dorothy, passed away on Nov. 26 after a long illness – we extend our sympathy to Gordon and family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Bud Mann, GTA Area Representative, (905.294.5342 or e-mail bud.mann@sympatico.ca reports:

It was a pleasure to represent our Association at the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen Association Regimental Dinner 2010 at Legion 210 in Etobicoke, Ontario on November 27. It was great to see so many of the members again who have helped us on numerous occasions with our educational displays.

The Association was invited to lay a wreath on November 7 at the Salute Canada memorial service held at the Markville Mall in Markham Ontario. The service is held each year in remembrance of those who gave up their lives in WW2. The Jubilee Centre for Christian Social Action sponsors the service.

Word from Pat Rosa is that her mother Dorothy Soper is now in the veteran’s wing at Sunnybrook hospital. She is in room 116 L-wing and her phone number is 416.422.2801. Pat says her mother loves company so if you are in the area around Sunnybrook drop in and say “hello”.

Had a get together with George MacDonell recently. George is busy as usual and is getting along just great. He has recently published a second book, which is a memoir of his life as a soldier, a businessman and as a deputy minister with the Ontario Government. Anyone wanting a copy of the book should contact the publisher: www.orbitdesignservices.com or phone 888.336.7248. The title of the book is “George” and the price is $34.95 plus taxes and shipping.

My wish to all the Greater Toronto Area members is a very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes in 2011.

Gordon Coyne, (905)607-2367, gcoyne@sympatico.ca) West Central Area Representative reports:

Ken Pifher (RRC) has had a good summer at home in Grimsby, Ontario. Fantastically, he will be joining the group going to Hong Kong and Japan in late November to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of “C” Force POWs …… AND he will be accompanied on the journey by his daughter, Pam Newhouse, and grandchildren Jordan and Jill Newhouse. Bravo, Ken!

Gerry “Sunny” Sunstrum (RRC) too, has had a good summer at his home in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In late October he had more eye surgery in Mississauga. While it was successful, his doctor has told him the healing process will go on for three months until things are right again. Fortunately, it is not holding him back from any of his usual activities. We were saddened to learn that Gerry’s “best friend” for fifty years passed away very suddenly. They golfed and worked together and had lunch together daily for the past few years.

Birthday congratulations are in order for Elizabeth Chesser (Ken Chesser RRC), who reached 90 years young on October 12th! “Many Happy Returns, Elizabeth”. Elizabeth is being cared for very comfortably at Extendicare in Brampton, Ontario. She feels she is “truly blessed” to have three daughters in Ontario, another in Montreal, and a son in BC, who she says “wait on me hand and foot”. Unfortunately, her late husband, Ken, wasn’t so blessed, for she says he lived his post-war years with very poor eyesight and painful memories. Elizabeth enjoyed an outstanding birthday present in the form of a five-day visit by motor home to Fredericton, NB, courtesy of two daughters and their husbands. There they visited Elizabeth’s brother Charlie McGarvie. He is 93 and lives in a Veterans Home, having served with the Army in Europe. Elizabeth looks forward to receiving our Newsletter, describing it as “very interesting, and so thorough”. She feels that the story of “C” Force has been neglected for far too long; and lauds the many things that are being done by the HKVCA to overcome this.

Widow Sylvia Doucette (Gerald Doucette RRC): I am indebted to Roseann Middel, Sylvia’s daughter, for this update on her mother. The good news is that Sylvia is now “doing really well”, following a six week stay in hospital and on-going rehab since she was hit by a car almost a year ago. She has been left with permanent disability in one arm, but continues to live independently in her own home in Brampton, Ontario. Roseann is very proud of her nine-year-old son, Curtis, for the interest he has taken in his grandfather’s experience as a member of “C” Force. Curtis participated in last year’s Remembrance Day service by wearing his grandpa’s medals and beret, and by reciting In Flanders Fields. Well done, Curtis!

Widow Doris Murray (Gordon Murray RRC): This update has come to us courtesy of Doris’ son Bert. He lives in Brampton, Ontario, very close to where his mother is living in a long-term care facility. Bert says “although her health is deteriorating, she is being well cared for, and is happy in her own little world”.

Widow June Smith (Harold Smith RRC): It is eighteen months since Harold died, and June is gradually conquering her loneliness. She continues living independently in her home in St. Catharines, Ontario, watched over by two sons and a daughter who live nearby, as well as a large network of caregivers. She says she is “not walking much, and is doctoring all the time”. One of her newest treasures is the DVD of the Memorial Wall. She says “I am very proud of the Wall, and hope to be able to see it sometime: those men deserve it”. The Newsletter, too, is much appreciated. June’s memory of Harold’s return in 1945 remains crystal clear. She says, “he was discharged on December 17th, and we were married on the 18th”. She adds “we had a good life: he got over his experiences”. Today June is blessed with about 25 grandchildren and great-grand-children.

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Education Committee Report by Pat Turcotte:

Resource Fair in Ottawa: Nov. 2, 2010 - Ontario Region participated in the Parliamentary Library’s Teachers’ Institute for the third time. On Nov. 5th, Ted Terry, Ann Hyland and Ian Doull represented us at the Resource Fair held at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. Ted and Ann had just returned on October 25th from a Battlefield/Cemeteries tour of Europe, and their agreeing to take it on speaks volumes for their dedication to the HKVCA cause.

In a report to the Ontario Executive, Ted noted that the event was quite a success. He, Ann and Ian managed to connect with most of the 70 delegates, providing them with copies of the Ten Lessons, the Cross Canada Writing Contest, and other materials. In addition, they had samples of various books to give the teachers, among them George MacDonell’s “One Soldier’s Story”, Bernard Castonguay’s Diary (in French), and “A Hong Kong Diary Revisited – The Family Remembers”.

Ted commented that many teachers seemed more aware of the Battle of Hong Kong, as well as a number who are currently teaching it. A few had no knowledge of it, but were impressed to hear about it, and happy to get the teaching resources provided.

Ted mentioned that Ian Doull managed to participate even though he had just recently recovered from pneumonia; Ian’s bilingualism was a great asset in conversations with the teachers. One teacher explained she would not be teaching the material in her grade 6 class as it did not fit into the curriculum, but the boys in her classes were really interested in war history. She was going to assign the story to a group of them to research and do an after school presentation. That’s certainly one way to make use of the material in a very crowded curriculum!

We extend our appreciation to Ted, Ann and Ian, who made the Ottawa Resource Fair a positive learning experience for many teachers from across the country.

OHASSTA Table: Nov. 5 & 6, 2010 - We have participated in the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association’s Conference (OHASSTA) for at least six years, and are always welcomed as a very special group. The Co-ordinator, Larry O’Malley, has always waived the exhibitors’ fees associated with that conference for that reason, and we do thank him for that.

Normally, about 350-400 teachers attend this province-wide Conference. For some reason, the number of exhibitors was down, probably related to the shift to e-books in some areas, and the fact that some of the publishing companies have closed. For this reason, the number of teachers who visited the exhibitors’ area was smaller than usual.

However, we had great chats with the teachers, and passed along such materials as the CD-ROM, developed by Mike Babin and Sue Beard. The word is getting around as to the importance of this Powerpoint presentation and it is being used increasingly in classrooms across the country. Samples of the Cross Canada Writing Contest were distributed to everyone, as well as a series of handouts, including the one-pager created by Carol Hadley about the Memorial Wall, the Gander bookmark and other items of interest. We also made use of two laptops, which were flashing messages about HKVCA - a new idea first developed by Gail Angel.

Many thanks to those who volunteered for the Conference - Mark Purcell, Mike Babin, Bernard Turcotte, Shelagh Purcell, Sandra Strom, Linda Guglick, Ruth Mann and Bud Mann. Your help was much appreciated!

HKVCA volunteers (l. to r.) Sandra Strom, Shelagh Purcell, Linda Guglick
 

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Flora Fung’s Workshop: Nov. 5, 2010

Flora Fung had come to me some months ago to ask if she could present a Workshop involving teaching teachers to fit in the Hong Kong Battle and its aftermath into an already crowded curriculum. I was quite happy to agree. The workshop was an excellent effort on her part.

Flora started the session by providing the teachers with a quiz about Hong Kong that they were given just a few minutes to answer. Then, a short film, with very appropriate music, was played. A friend of Flora’s had prepared the film, which summarized the whole Hong Kong story in about 5 minutes…and answered all the questions that had been asked in the quiz. It was very nicely done. Following a discussion of her approach in the classroom, Flora handed the teachers a CD she had prepared which included all the pertinent material that they might find relevant in their classrooms.

George MacDonell spoke eloquently at Flora’s workshop leaving the teachers wanting to hear more.

Following George’s part in the session, I thanked Flora for her presentation and announced to the assembly that she had been nominated as an Honorary Member of the Ontario Region for all her efforts in creating the Cross Country Writing Contest, as well as working on other projects as Head of Canadian and World Studies at Oshawa Central Collegiate. The Ontario Executive felt strongly that she was a perfect candidate to be considered as a member of HKVCA. Welcome, Flora!

The Cross Canada Writing Contest:

The Contest is now on the Website, in both French and English, as is an Introductory section in both languages that was recently prepared for the Teachers’ Zone. Students will have more immediate access to the information about the Contest.

The deadline for the Contest is May 21, 2011, with the winners announced in June 2011 - before the school year ends.

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Quebec Quotes ….

Lucette Mailloux Muir, Regional Director

Greetings All from Quebec on a snowy stormy winter’s day.

Another year is fast coming to a close with the last few months being quite busy with Remembrance Activities in schools and the Commemorative Ceremony. We need to remember that this is a very difficult time for many of our Veterans, while we tend to rejoice during the coming festive season.

As usual we called our Veterans and Widows, attended the BOD meetings and held our own executive meeting.

The Quebec Region will be hosting the next National Convention August 11-14, 2011. Do take the time to add this date to your calendar and we sincerely hope to meet you all in Granby.

A bit of personal time will be in the making during the next few weeks and in January we will be in full shape for the final preparations for the convention.

Take care of each other and hope to meet you then.

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Eastern Breezes

-Emmie Flanagan

Greetings Every One:

During the Belledune, NB Municipal Public Meeting - Oct. 19th 2010, my mom (Clara), widow of James Andrew Flanagan (E30353) sent a letter to Mayor and Council requesting them to send a letter to the New Brunswick Department of Education. Her concern is the lack of historical events during WWII, specifically Mayor Duivenvoordn was so moved, that he sent a request to the NB Minister of Education to look into this matter and reply to Clara.

Clara’s letter made it to three major NB newspaper editorials as well as two of our local papers. She received at least twelve messages, all 100% supportive of her quest to see this WWII tragedy taught in the high school curriculum. Many of these people were not aware of the HKVCA and are interested in joining up. I sent out membership forms to all who are interested. My brother Steve, said he had many friends responding to the letter via his face book, again all in favour. The Mayor of Belledune is eagerly awaiting a reply from the NB Minister of Education.

I am working on building up our membership here in the Maritimes as Bernard will soon recognize. There is on-going work with our HKV Memorial in Belledune but I can’t say much until our budgets are finalized. I must admit I never realized the cost of a "Gander" hero dog would cost in the tens of thousands and he may be put on hold for awhile.

To all Veterans, Widows and Members...
May the Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this blessed season - And may you have a Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.

I close this letter with a poem my mother wrote to her husband - my dad, on December 25, 1981, titled "Prisoner of War Christmas".

Let’s turn back the pages of history
To a time and a place far away
Where a troop of Canadian Soldiers
Became prisoners on Christmas Day.

After the soldiers were captured
They were placed in a small dingy room
Not knowing the fate of their comrades
Or if they had met their own doom.

Crowded and cold, not able to rest
No food to eat, no water to drink.
Weary and tired - eyes heavy with sleep
These survivors were hardly able to think.

Their mind was a mixture of sadness and fear
Not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
Some were just kids trembling and fearful
Like birds with broken wings.

The memory will live on forever
In the hearts of those who know well
Of the very first day in prison camp
Which resembled the tortures of hell.

Why was Hong Kong chosen for them?
How come they were dealt such a blow?
These are questions that have never been answered
And an answer they may never know.


- Clara Flanagan