Individual Report: L28212 Fred MALBEUF

1st Bn The Winnipeg Grenadiers

Red River Métis

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Private Fred
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Ituna SK Saskatchewan 1912-01-04
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

Name of hospital Date of admission Date of discharge Comments Reference

POW Camps

Camp ID Camp Name Location Company Type of Work Reference Arrival Date Departure Date
HK-NP-01North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong IslandN/AN/A
HK-AS-01Argyle StreetKowloon, Hong KongN/AN/A
HK-SA-01ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong KongCapture42 Jan 22
HK-NP-02North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island3342 Jan 2242 Sep 26
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong42 Sep 26 43 Aug 15
JP-Os-3BOeyamaKyoto-fu, Yosa-gun, Yoshizu-mura, Sutsu, JapanNippon Yakin Nickel Mine & RefineryMining nickel & work at the refinery843 Sep 0145 Sep 02

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD4AManryu Maru43 Aug 1543 Sep 01Osaka, JapanBrief stopover in Taihoku (Taipei), Formosa (Taiwan); then 2 day stopover at northern point for stool testsTony 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

No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

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 Death Ref
1994-11-03Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Indian Head Saskatchewan CanadaIndian Head Cemetery

Gravestone Image

Click for larger view

Obituary / Life Story

On Thursday, November 3, 1994 Fred Malbeuf, Indian Head, Sask. age 82 years. The funeral mass will be celebrated in St. Joseph's R.C. Church, Indian Head, Sask., on Monday, November 7, 1994 at 10:30 a.m. by Rev. John R. Prince. Interment in the Indian Head Cemetery. Prayers will be held in the church Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Predeceased by his parents, three brothers Ernest, Emil and Pat Malbeuf and one sister Delia Cardinal, and one daughter-in-law, Shirley Malbeuf. Mr. Malbeuf is survived by his wife Mary Ann, two sons: Bernard (Laura) Malbeuf, Indian Head; and Harvey Malbeuf, Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask. Three daughters: Winnie Malbeuf, Indian Head; Eileen (Joe) Hand, Coca Beach, Florida; and Muriel Malbeuf, Indian Head. Grandchildren: Robbie, Sheldon, Joe, Scott, Brent, Ryan, Jay and Marley Malbeuf and Chelsey Hand. Mr. Malbeuf is also survived by his nieces and nephews. If friends so desire contributions to the Indian Head S.R.C. c/o The Indian Head High School may be tokens of remembrance. Arrangements in care of the Tubman Funeral Home, Indian Head, (1-800-667-8962).

Ituna brothers back from camp
Two brothers were among seven Saskatchewan soldiers, liberated from Japanese prison camps, who reached the province at the weekend. They were: Pte. Fred Malbeuf, Ituna, who was hospitalized at Saskatoon, and Pte. Ernest P. Malbeuf, who went to Ituna.
Others who returned were: Lieut. Richard Maze, Assiniboia; Pte. Orville N. Hallquist, Tompkins; Pte. Earl H. Vermette, Prince Albert; Pte. A. N. Hoff, formerly of Kyle, who is spending leave at Swift Current, and Pte. G. I. Price, Saskatoon.
The Leader-Post 15 Oct 1945, Monday Page 3


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.

General Comments

Fred Malbeuf - POW in Hong Kong and Japan
story by John Kort, based on an interview with Winnie Malbeuf
In 1941, Japan took the opportunity of Germany's war with the British to try to dismantle the British Empire in Asia (and the French and the Chinese) with the intention of establishing their own empire. Their monarch was not "King Hirohito" but "Emperor Hirohito". The overall Japanese goal was to control all of oriental Asia, including China, Korea, all of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Britain, seeking to defend its possessions but spread too thin because of Germany, called on its colonies (India, Ceylon) and its former colonies (Australia, New Zealand, Canada) to help oppose the Japanese expansion.
Winnie Malbeuf told me the story of her Dad. Fred Malbeuf, a tall, strong young Métis man from Indian Head, Saskatchewan, was one of the many prairie boys who heeded the Canadian government's call to join up. Along with his brother Ernest, Fred joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Within a few months, they were on a ship to the Philippines, where they underwent basic training.
With very little training, they were suddenly sent to defend Hong Kong, arriving there on December 8, 1941. They were assured that their heavy equipment and big guns would soon follow - they never did. The defence of Hong Kong was short-lived. The Japanese troops arrived in overwhelming numbers and with superior weaponry and, by Christmas Day, Hong Kong had surrendered. Fred and his comrades found themselves POWS, Ernest being sent to Hong Kong's North Point Camp and Fred to Sham Shui Po Camp, near Kowloon, which he described as, "like being in hell."
Of the almost 2,000 Canadians that were part of the Hong Kong defence force about 14,000 in total - 500 were wounded. 290 were killed in the battle or were executed by the guards and almost as many died afterwards in the POW camps.
The Japanese, not recognizing the Geneva Convention, treated the prisoners brutally with starvation diets, hard work and physical abuse. Living conditions in the camps were atrocious with prisoners sleeping on concrete floors, with all of their clothes on, in unheated, overcrowded huts where lice and bed bugs spread disease. Many prisoners suffered from beri-beri, pneumonia and other illnesses, which were often fatal. Food supplied by the International Red Cross for the prisoners were generally intercepted by camp guards.
Already weakened, Fred Malbeuf and many fellow POWs were transported to camps in Japan, where they were forced to work in mines, sustained only by rice and tea. Sometimes they got small amounts of vegetables at suppertime. The prisoners, desperate for protein, would trap rats, snakes, birds or any other small animals that strayed into the camps and they would end up in a stew.
Terrible though the living conditions were for the prisoners, Chinese civilians had it worse. Fred told Winnie a traumatic story about seeing a Chinese woman and her baby shot while fetching water from a river.
Fred Malbeuf survived three and a half terrible years - but just barely. Six feet and four inches tall and well over 200 pounds when he enlisted, he weighed only 103 pounds when he arrived back in Saskatchewan. He went directly into the Regina General Hospital and doctors gave him three days to live.
But Malbeuf proved them wrong. He lived to the age of 82, although he never recovered his health and his weight never exceeded 165 pounds. After he left the hospital, he married and started a family, but then he came down with tuberculosis and ended up in Fort San for two years. After losing part of a lung, he overcame the TB and was able to work - helping to build grain elevators. He was a faithful member of the Legion.
As Winnie grew up, her Dad always kept his war experiences to himself and sometimes morose and, at other times, angry for no apparent reason. Winnie said it is clear to her now that he had PTSD. One evening, he entered the room when, as a teenager, she was watching "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence". After watching silently for several moments, he said, "Oh my God, Winnie" and then sat down with her and told her what he had gone through.
Pensions and disability supports for veterans were poor or non-existent after the war. The Hong Kong Veterans Association to which Fred belonged, fought for many years for government support and, finally, in 1987, the Canadian government paid POWS for the suffering that they had endured. Fred Malbeuf's payment was $24,000, but it did not come until after his death. Instead, it went to Winnie's Mom.
The extraordinary suffering that these POWs went through was finally acknowledged by the Japanese government in a public apology in 2011.
Indian Head - Wolseley News, September 3, 2020, p.5

End of Report.

Report generated: 03 Jun 2023.

Back to 'C' Force Home Page

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 Second World War Book 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. Related documentation for information published in this report may be available. Researchers have added significant content on some 'C' Force members in the public group "Hong Kong Veterans Tribute" on Facebook, which you can search by using the member's service number.
  8. Our librarians have collected thousands of documents from Facebook and other resources. When requested, we will provide any additional information we have on an individual in the form of a zip (compressed) file and make it accessible from the Individual Report. Use the Contact Us form to request an offline search.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.