Individual Report: X14 Edmund HURD

1st Bn The Royal Rifles of Canada

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Captain Edmund Lionel
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Sherbrooke QC Eastern Quebec 1907-02-03
Appointment: Company: Platoon:
Quartermaster Bn HQ QM

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 Arrival Date Departure Date
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 Aug 19
HK-AS-02Argyle StreetKowloon, Hong Kong20, 3343 Aug 19 44 May 11
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong20, 3344 May 1145 Sep 10

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
2001-02-02Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Sawyerville Quebec CanadaMaple Leaf CemeteryEngraved

Gravestone Image

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Obituary / Life Story

HURD, Capt. Edmund Lionel (U.L.) 1907-2001 (Royal Rifles of Canada, Japanese P.O.W. 1941-1945) A great husband, father, grandfather, uncle, soldier and historian. At home in Sawyerville, Quebec, on Friday, February 2, 2001. Capt. Edmund Lionel Hurd, beloved husband of Kathleen Ward. Dear father of Jim (Shirley) of Smiths Falls, Fred (Sandra) of Toronto and Ann (John) McIlmurray of Windsor. Poppa of David, Wendy, Joanne and Lawrie. Predeceased by his wife Irene Matthew (1980), grandson Murray (1972), brothers Fred (1984) and Arthur (2000). Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held in Sawyerville, Que. Arrangements entrusted to Cass Funeral Home, Sawyerville, Quebec, 1-800-567-6031. In remembrance, donations to Maple Leaf Cemetery, Sawyerville, Quebec, JOB 3A0, would be appreciated. LEST WE FORGET


Lionel Hurd's Story

General Comments

Click for larger view

This veteran was interviewed by Veterans Affairs. To view, visit the VAC Video Gallery page and use the search tool. Note: VAC moves pages around constantly, so you may have to work to find the video. Currently the best way to access the Hong Kong veteran interviews is to select the "Heroes Remember" category, then use the advanced search option and click on the "Hong Kong" campaign option.

Short Bio

Lionel passed away February 2nd, 2001, short one day from observing his 94th birthday. He was born at Maple Leaf, township of Newport, Compton County, at a farm that formed part of the legacy of Newport, of the first settlements in this area. He was a direct descendant of Capt. Edmund Heard. Lionel was a surveyor, Army Officer, farmer, landlord, historian, genealogist, record keeper, and fighter.

He was awarded The Soldier of the Soil, a service pin given to boys that were too young for the first draft of WW1, in recognition of working the land to support other families. This pin was considered very rare.

He graduated from Grade 10 at the original Sawyerville School, and Grade 11 in Richmond, Quebec. He liked the military and first joined the 7th Hussars operating in Cookshire/Bury. He took several Militia courses and was commissioned an Officer in 1929. He graduated from Belleville Business College in 1932. His young working years took place during the Depression. To pay back the loan he had taken for College, he worked for his uncle in lumber camps as well as on his farm for three years at $1 a day. He also helped to build the present Sawyerville High School in 1932. He worked at odd jobs from 1935 to 1938 at Kirkland Lake; took a course in surveying and landed a surveyor job in the gold mines at Arnprior, and his first permanent job drafting mine claims in their engineering offices in 1938. He then decided to enjoy life and married his first wife, Mary Wood in 1938.

From 1940-45, he served in the Canadian Army. The 7th and 11th Hussars who had been amalgamated in 1933 contributed 383 men and 16 officers mostly from this area, to the newly amalgamated Quebec Royal Rifles of Canada, who served in Newfoundland and then in Hong Kong. Lionel Hurd was captured Dec. 25, 1941 at Hong Kong, and held prisoner until released in August 1945. He kept a diary.

The first internment camp was at North Point, Hong Kong Island. The second camp was on an island known as Argyle Street Camp. At Argyle, the Japanese became very suspicious and made frequent searches for documents and other records. A few years ago he was interviewed by local newspapers and said, ‘I made entries in my diary nearly every day. Before they moved to Camp Sham Shui Po, Kowloon on the mainland, I had put the papers into an empty can, then covered the can with a lid and sealed it with pitch – buried it six inches under the step in the barracks. I kept track of the building and the number on the door, and continued to make notes at Camp Sham Shui Po on pieces of scrap paper. After we were freed, I asked someone to dig it up. It was safe.’

Another entry read, Having trouble with my heart today, due to lack of food, my pulse two weeks ago was 110, last week 86, today 74. In an interview with the Sherbrooke Record in June 1998, it was stated that Capt. Lionel Hurd was the oldest surviving Hong Kong veteran living in the Eastern Townships.

Through the years, being a Hong Kong veteran, the dedication was always there, the commitment he felt to other veterans, the importance of Remembrance Day, the Hong Kong reunions, and sadly for him, his comrades’ funerals. Lionel attended the impressive ceremony that took place on Remembrance Day in 1994, at Sai Wan Cemetery in Hong Kong, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Liberation. There have been several books and articles written on the Hong Kong Battle, the capture and interment, and most of them reference Lionel - Royal Rifles of Canada in Hong Kong, No Reason Why, Hell on Earth, At the Going Down of the Sun, and The Valour and the Horror, a CBC documentary which listed Lionel in the credits, but at which he was extremely upset because the Royal Rifles were hardly mentioned.

After Lionel’s return home he married Irene Matthew in 1947, and together they rebuilt and operated the old Luke Hurd farm at Newport (Maple Leaf) from 1947-1970. Lionel also supervised spraying operations in Ontario with Standish Brothers. He served as President of the Quebec/Maritimes Hong Kong Veterans Association, and two terms at National President of the Association for Canada. He was also Director of the Quebec Farmers’ Association.

In the eulogy, his son Fred stated that he was seven years old when he came to live with his Dad and stepmother in Sawyerville in 1947. You see, for me, Dad had put on the uniform of Canada and risked everything for the cause of freedom and had come back! An accomplishment in itself was to have survived imprisonment, the physical torture and mental consequences of his maltreatment; to never know if he would be allowed to live to the next day; to see death all around him, his men, his comrades, his friends… yet to have survived and to have lived to 94 is indeed another accomplishment. He lived a rich and full life. Fighter to the end, I am proud to have been able to know him and call him my Dad.

Lionel was a great historian and genealogist, and for his legacy he prepared an extensive Hurd genealogy dating back to 1632, and he organized a Hurd Reunion at Bishop’s University at Lennoxville. He wanted to ensure that the family, extended families, and descendants from his community would meet and know each other, and especially to continue through the younger generations to keep in touch, know family, and to remember their roots.

Lionel is buried alongside many Hurd/Heard generations at Maple Leaf cemetery near his Loyalist ancestor Edmund Heard.

Rank: When he joined the Royal Rifles of Canada, he was a Captain in rank with the 7/11 Hussars. He took a lesser rank to join the Royal Rifles and in six months he was reinstated as a Captain. Because all the positions of "Captain" were filled, he took on the role of Quartermaster when they went overseas. So he has always been referred to as Captain.

End of Report.

Report generated: 29 Sep 2023.

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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 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 via shared resources on Google Docs by following this link. Use the first letter of the individual's service number to choose the correct folder, then scroll to the specific service number of your interest.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.