Individual Report: H6359 Ferdinand POITRAS

1st Bn The Winnipeg Grenadiers

Red River Métis

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Private Ferdinand Walter
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
St. Vital MB Manitoba 1920-08-03
Appointment: Company: Platoon:
B 12 Plt

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 Arrival Date Departure Date
HK-SA-01ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong KongCapture42 Jan 22
HK-NP-02North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island42 Jan 2242 Sep 26
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong42 Sep 26 44 Apr 29
JP-Se-2B YoshimaFukushima-ken, Iwaki-gun, Yoshima-mura, Kamyoshima, JapanFurukawa Mining CompanyCoal mining44 May 3045 Sep 09

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD6Naura Maru44 Apr 2944 May 27Moji, JapanStopped over in Formosa, went through Nagasaki and Hiroshima to POW campTony Banham

Transportation: SE Asia to Home

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
2008-05-28Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Whiteshell Provincial Park Manitoba CanadaBig Whiteshell LakeLot 22 Block 4Yes

Gravestone Image

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Obituary / Life Story

It is with both sadness and joy for his release that we announce the passing of our dear father and grandfather (Papa), Ferdinand Walter Poitras, at Deer Lodge Centre on May 28, 2008, in the arms of his daughter, Pam. Dad was born in St. Vital, MB on August 3, 1920, one of ten children born to Gabriel and Zoe (Missiaen) Poitras. He grew up in St. Vital and in September, 1939 joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, with whom he saw active duty in Jamaica, followed by Hong Kong. Dad took part in the Battle of Hong Kong and, along with the other Winnipeg Grenadiers, was taken prisoner of war on Christmas Day, 1941. He was interred as a PoW for almost four years in both Hong Kong and at Sendai No. 2, Japan, where he was put into forced labour in the coal mines. He was returned to Winnipeg from Japan in the fall of 1945. Dad was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion No. 9 as well as the Hong Kong Veterans Association. He enjoyed music and dancing and was proud of the fact that he used to jig. He went on many trips, including Alaska, Jamaica, and three pilgrimages back to Hong Kong and Japan with the Hong Kong Vets Association. The last trip to Hong Kong, in 2000, was very special as he was accompanied by his daughter, Pam, and her husband and three children. Dad was an avid card player, especially cribbage, and right up until the end, he usually won! More than anything, he loved being at his cottage at Big Whiteshell Lake. Dad's home for the past four years was on T5 at Deer Lodge Centre where he was cared for with the utmost gentleness, dignity, and affection. Dad was very frail in his last months, but up until the very end, always maintained that he was fine and good. Predeceased by his parents, and all his brothers and sisters, he is survived by his daughter, Pam and her husband, Bert Heinrichs, and their children Lauren, Heather and David. Also survived by his son Terry, granddaughter Sherri and great-grandsons Justin and Jorden, as well as many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 7 at 11:00 a.m. at the Unitarian Church, 603 Wellington Crescent In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Deer Lodge Centre, or the Hong Kong Veterans Association Memorial Wall, Box 381, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 2H6. For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance. -Kahlil Gibran NEIL BARDAL INC. 949-2200

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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End of Report.

Report generated: 18 Jul 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.