Individual Report: E30079 Bliss COLE

1st Bn The Royal Rifles of Canada

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Rifleman Bliss Thomas
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Sussex NB Eastern Quebec 1923-03-29
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 Arrive Depart
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 May 13
JP-Se-1B YumotoFukushima-ken, Iwaki-gun, Yumoto-cho, Mizunoya, JapanJoban Coal Mining Company13445 May 1345 Sep 15

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD3ATatsuta 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

No information found.

Post-war Photo

Click for larger view

Photo from 2003 approx.

Death and Cemetery Information

Date of Death (y-m-d) Cause of Death Death Class Death Ref
2011-03-19Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
St. John NB CanadaSt Joseph's

Gravestone Image

No information found.

Obituary / Life Story

It is with deep sadness that the family of Bliss Thomas Cole of Saint John announces his peaceful departure from this life on March 19, 2011, at the age of 87. Born in Turtle Creek, NB, on March 29, 1923, he was the son of the late Elmer and Dorothy (Taylor) Cole. Bliss is survived by his wife of 68 years, Eileen (Warner), children David (Anne) of Austin, Tx, Phillip (Karen) of Truro, NS, Anne Thomson of Liverpool, NS, and Margaret Cole and Kathy Whittle (George), both of Saint John; sisters, Shirley Hicks, Verna Pearson, Betty Mason, Gladys Parisi and Marjorie Arsenault; 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, all of whom are proud to have received his love and guidance. He was predeceased by brothers Frank, Rodney, Phillip, Donald, and Robert; and sisters, Elma, Isabelle, and Bea. Bliss joined the Canadian Army (Royal Rifles of Canada) in 1940 at the age of 17. He and his father were both captured by the Japanese Army during the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941. Sadly, his father did not survive the POW camp, but Bliss, along with the other surviving POW's were released just after VJ Day in 1945. Bliss moved to Sussex shortly after the war, where he met and married the love of his life, Eileen, then later moved with his young family to Saint John. He worked at the old DVA Hospital until just shortly before it closed, then worked as a uniformed customs officer with Canada Customs in the Port of Saint John. Bliss converted to Catholicism when his first child was born, and remained devoted to the Catholic Church for the rest of his life. He was a long time member of the Knights of Columbus, a Scoutmaster, and avid bowler, a proud member of the Hong Kong Veterans Association, and served on various committees for the St. Pius X Catholic Church. Against all odds Bliss survived the Japanese POW camp, but in his eyes, his greatest accomplishment in life was having a long and successful marriage to Eileen and being a father to his five children, who have always realized what a very special person he was. His family wish to express their deep appreciation for the kindness and care provided by Delores, Anne, Arlene, and Tony, as well as the extra-mural nurses, the VON regular home care workers and Father Douglas McNeill. Resting at Fitzpatrick's Funeral Home, 100 Waterloo St., with visiting on Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Pius X Church on Wednesday morning at eleven o'clock. Interment will take place in St Joseph's Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Extra-Mural Nursing Program; or St. Pius X Building Fund would be appreciated.


Read about the memory quilt and view photos

General Comments

Click for larger view

Bliss Thomas Cole and Father Elmer Cole E30215. His father did not come home.

1945 Next of Kin: Mrs. Dorothy Cole (mother nee Taylor), RR#2 Sussex NB.

Marriage July 13, 1946 in Studholm, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada to Eileen Frances Warner

Search this website for - Pearson Remembers POWS With Quilt

End of Report. Report generated: 03 Apr 2020.

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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. 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.
  3. Some birthdates and deathdates display as follows: 1918-01-01. 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 (home page - scroll down) 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. Related documentation for information published in this report may be available. Contact us if you would like us to search our offline archives.
  8. Photos are welcome! If a photo exists for a 'C' Force member that we have not included, please submit it along with any details or caption.