HONG KONG VETERANS' ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Box 381 Winnipeg, MB R3C 2H6
July, August, September 2001
Editor: Carol Hadley, (204) 837-6754
Greetings .. I hope you are all enjoying your summer and that when you get this newsletter that it will be a little drier than it has been in Winnipeg lately.
There is not too much to report at this time, but there will be some interesting information revealed at the Convention. Hopefully all the Manitoba fellows will be able to attend this history making occasion.
I have attended the funerals of Len Seaborn, Fred Gard, Borge Agerbak and Harry Short in most cases, accompanied by Harry Atkinson and Dick Wilson, Bill Maltman.
On your behalf, I attended the 526 RCACC Winnipeg Grenadier Cadet Corp, Annual Ceremonial Review held at Minto Armories June, 2001. The HKVA trophy was presented to the Most Efficient cadet, along with a monetary award . Harry Atkinson, National President, also attended and presented a trophy in memory of his brother, to the Most Efficient NCO cadet.
On July 8, 2001 at Brookside Cemetery the Veteran's Memorial Service will be held. Pat and Bill Maltman will be laying a wreath on our behalf.
We will be flying our colours at the Cenotaph in the month of August, thank you to Tim Klumper for looking after this for us.
The Manitoba Commemorative group are progressing well with Convention plans and I sincerely hope everyone will be able to attend.
Have a safe and happy summer, see you on August 15, 2001.
Respectfully, George Peterson
Winnipeg Grenadier's Hong Kong Trust Fund
We are still seeking donations for the Winnipeg Grenadiers Hong Kong Trust Fund and cheques should be made out in that name (not HKVA). The Hong Kong Veterans' Association make a donation to this fund in memory of each deceased veteran member .
Contributions can be directed to Donna Remillard at 303-740 Kenaston Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB R3N 1Y3 or phone her at 489-0008.
Hong Kong Veterans' Commemorative Association
Hello to all!
Summer is finally here. The Convention is drawing nearer, hopefully you have made your hotel reservations and registration has been sent.
To attend all the functions it is $90.00; DINNER ONLY $60.00. Memorial Service will be open to all. This is the Reunion dinner for this year and the next one will be in October, 2002.
We need all of you to attend to make this the most successful convention ever. The "Passing of the Torch" is a once in a lifetime event. Don't miss out and have regrets later. If you have any questions, please call me at: home - 338-3354, cell - 294-9335.
PS Contributions for the Silent Auction will be gladly accepted ... call me at the numbers above if you have anything.
Our website, as some of you may already be aware, has a great new address!! And it truly reflects who we are. You can find us at http://www.hkvca.ca how's that for easy!!!
We also have a great new look, and are working on a lot of great new features for the site.
Next to come is the nominal roll. This is almost ready to go, and may even be up before the newsletter comes out.
We are desperately seeking photographs for use on the site - any thing having to do with the HKVA or the HKVCA, the reunions, and of the functions that we have, or war time pictures would be great. If you have a scanner, you could scan them in and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org If you dont have a scanner, you could mail them to Linda May, 121 Daubigny Road, Brantford, ON, N3T 6J4. I will scan them and return them to you.
For all you computer literates, check out this web site, www.geocities.com/rcwpca. This web site contains the memoires of Major M.A. Parker, from Quebec City, Quebec, who was the Officer Commanding "D" Company of The Royal Rifles of Canada. This site is in his honour and for the men of 'C' Force.
Ron Parker, son of Major Parker, with the help of his family, have produced the story, accompanied with pictures, as related in his father's diary. More information has been added to this site ... check it out.
This acronym stands for Children (and Families) of Far East Prisoners of War. I have recently met Carol Cooper (over the internet) who is the Director of this group. She has a wonderful web site located at www.cofepow.org.uk.
National Memorial Arboretum (Britain)
We are in the process of negotiating with the Director of the National Memorial Arboretum Mr. David Childs, with the purpose of creating a place in the National Forest in memory of the Far East Prisoners of War.
Mr. Childs is in complete agreement with our aim to display and preserve the story surrounding the Far East Prisoners of War and is delighted that COFEPOW wants to establish a place for visitors at the Arboretum to enable them to see, learn and never forget this chapter in our history which we are striving to preserve.
The National Memorial Arboretum is a Millennium Project and is being created at Alrewas in Staffordshire, as a living tribute to the people of the Twentieth Century and a gift to their memory for future generations to reflect upon and enjoy. It was launched by the Prime Minister in 1994 and has since raised £4M for the work of restoring a 150 acre site.
It will be planted with species native to Britain and with rare and exotic trees from around the world. It will include:
A Millennium avenue; "The Beat" planted with a collection of Chestnuts
A Rose Garden planted as a tribute to Britain's War Widows
An Avenue of the United Nations
A Golden Grove and many more and throughout there will be memorial areas and trees planted in tribute to the men and women of the twentieth century
COFEPOW will now strive to reach agreement as to how we can best portray what happened in the Far East during the Second World War. Whatever shape or form this will take, it will be surrounded by trees dedicated to the Fepows.
** I agree with the COFEPOW that our soldiers should be remembered in some way and what could be more fitting than trees. Environmental issues aside, the trees would symbolize the strength, endurance and steadfastness of our soldiers. Even though the enemy destroyed the body, we their seed have inherited their qualities and will always remember the sacrifices they endured on our behalf. On our recent Pilgrimage to Japan in December, a Canadian Maple was planted in Yokohama cemetery where so many of our soldiers were murdered in prison camp.
With this thought in mind, maybe HKVCA would entertain a project of this type.
(Editor: I borrowed this from Phil Dodderidge's Banjo Telegraph ... it was so good.)
JEAN NAPOLEON ROGER CYR
Roger is dead. After years of courageously fighting the dreaded disease, he finally succumbed to cancer on May 26, 2001.
His leadership over the years, his dedication to his fellow Hong Kong Veterans, will be remembered as long as there is a Hong Kong Veteran alive.
Roger's part in achieving the settlement of the claim for slave labour is only one of his efforts for which we should be grateful.
One had to admire his ease of expressing himself in French and in English, and his mastery of both languages served him well, in his chosen vocation as well as in his untiring efforts on behalf of his fellow HK Vets.
He was laid to rest in Ottawa on May3O after a very moving ceremony conducted by his son, The Reverend Father Terrence Cyr. Hong Kong Veterans in attendance were as follows: Arnold Ross, Lance Ross, Bob Barter, Flash Clayton, Al Babin, Phil Lawlis, Harry Atkinson, Oswald Clark, Dempsey Syvret, Bruce Cadoret, Ken Ewing, Phil Dodderidge.
Roger was 79 years old. I am proud to be able to say that I have known Roger since we were
children in the small town where we grew up. For both of us, joining the Royal Rifles was our first venture into the big world. Since returning home in 1945, Roger and I have been in contact over the years, both socially and in the interest of Hong Kong Vets.
We will remember him.
† Angus Aimoe, July 31, 2000
† Jack Goodey, September 9, 2000
Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families and friends.
"We will remember them"
Notes from Barry Mitchell, Treasurer and Membership
Greetings to all the members of the Hong Kong Veterans' Association and the Commemorative Association. I'm sure you are looking forward to summer and of course are preparing to attend the HK Veterans' Assoc. convention in August!
But first I must scold you. You haven't been keeping your Treasurer nearly busy enough and idle hands can lead to no good. The weekly trip to the mailbox has not yielded nearly enough mail and in particular the kind where we find neatly addressed envelopes with a cheque inside. Slowly but surely we have been receiving registrations for the convention but alas, very little response to our reminder about dues. In fact, we are at about half of where we were this time last year in the revenue column so I appeal to you to send in your 2001 dues if you haven't already done so. A few extra dollars over and above the fees will go a long way to helping us meet our expenses. I'm sure you remember but just in case, the fees for Veterans are $15.00 while Associate Members are assessed $7.50. Membership in the Commemorative Association is $15.00 annually, with all widows included free of charge. All dues are to be sent to P.O. Box 381, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 2H6.
We received a terrific note from Helen Thompson in Coquitlam, British Columbia, whose husband Frank Drier and brother Ken Vidal both passed away as a result of captivity in Japanese POW camps. Helen passes along her best wishes to all veterans and her regrets at not being able to attend the convention this summer due to poor health. However, she is paying her dues in advance and is now in good standing to the end of 2002!!
By the way, to those in the HKVA who are sending in dues for 2002, you will receive a receipt but not a membership card as all our administrative procedures will be changing this August. At our National Convention, our two organizations will be merging and the result will be a single association with a single membership card. Once all the paperwork has been completed and we can incorporate the "new look" into cards, letterhead, etc., we will send out the new cards. However, don't let all this discourage you from submitting your dues for both this year and next!
We wish to extend a special welcome from the Commemorative Association to two new members. Tom Clarke of Miniota, Manitoba, has an interest in our group as his mom's first cousin is Glenford Mann of the Royal Rifles of Canada. Farther west, Gerry Rempel of Castlegar, British Columbia, a nephew of Abe Peters of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, has signed up as well. Gerry's note also points out that his cousin, Ernest Boswell, died as a POW in 1943 after serving in Hong Kong. As a member of the Canadian Forces Reserve, Gerry will be travelling to Hong Kong this summer as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange Program and will take the opportunity to visit Sai Wan Bay Cemetery where his cousin is buried. 'Thank you' to both new members for sending in your dues and for including a note with your comments.
That's about it for now folks. I look forward to meeting many of you at the convention this summer--by then I'm sure you will all be fully paid-up members. In any event, have a terrific holiday season and make my day by filling up that mailbox.
Winnipeg Grenadier Quilt
Editor: The following article was given to me by Yvonne Hogle and is an exerpt from the Christmas Newsletter 1980:
One of the highlights; was the QUILT that was on display. It was made during the war, by mothers, wives and girlfriends of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. They had formed an Auxiliary to send us cigarettes and parcels while we were overseas.
At the centre of the quilt is an embroidered W.G. Crest which was done by the GREY NUNS ORDER. The balance of the quilt is made up of 984 names of every man that served with the Battalion in Hong Kong. As the dead and missing were reported they were given to different ladies to embroider in panels of four. These names were then placed in the first layer around the crest. As the names of those that were prisoners continued to come in they were added in the same fashion, until all of our names were in the design. THIS IS A TRULY MAGNIFICENT EFFORT ON THE PART OF THESE LADIES AND THEY ARE TO BE FOREVER REMEMBERED. The Quilt was raffled off while we were P.O.W's to raise money for the cigarettes etc. The winner was Bill Hardings' sister and on his return home she presented it to him. Bill's feelings were that this should not belong to any one man and he looked around for a safe keeping place for it. As the Hong Kong Veterans did not have a Club Room and as Bill had spent many enjoyable days and visits in Pilot Mound, Manitoba visiting with Keith Stewart and the Agerbaks, he felt the Legion Branch there, if they were agreeable, would he a good place for it to repose.
The Legion has done a tremendous job on it. The display case with glass windows hangs in their club room for all to see. It is mounted on rollers inside so that one can start at the top and read every name on it. The Quilt has a place of honor and will be cared for till time runs out. MANY THANKS TO BILL HARDING FOR HIS THOUGHTFULNESS AND THE PIIOT MOUND LEGION FOR THE CARE THEY HAVE GIVEN IT.
I am sure if any of you that wish to see this Quilt and travel to Pilot Mound, the Legion members there, will be only too glad to show it to you. A special Thanks to our Alf Mathews who was the man who located it for us. The history of the quilt was provided to the writer by Bill Harding's good wife, many thanks to her also.
- Author unknown
Also from the 1943 edition of the "Home Front" here is an article by Anne Francis
A unique honor roll of 945 gallant names The Hong Kong group of the Auxiliary to the Winnipeg Grenadiers made it.
About a year ago, Mrs. G.W. Macfarlane had the bright idea of embroidering the names of the Hong Kong - Grenadiers into a quilt. The ladies of the auxiliary set to work at once, and they've just finished the job.
Letters went far and near to Grenadier families in the country. Each sent in a name and a dime to cover expenses. Patrol Sgt. John Kelso whose two sons fell on that tragic Christmas morning two years ago, wrote the 940 names on six-inch strips of cotton - clear, neat writing. The women embroidered them in red and blue, the regimental colours.
The Grenadier crest in colour holds the centre of the big white quilt. The names of the men who died for their country are set around the crest, with the survivors around the edges. The ladies spent two days checking to make sure no brave name was omitted.
For the last three weeks, the quilt has been on frames in the livingroom of Mrs. W.H. Corrigan, while the quilting went on. You can see this moving piece of craftsmanship in Eaton's window today. You can take a chance on owning it if you go to the Grenadier's tea next Saturday, November 6, at the headquarters, 194 Main Street. The silver you spend at the tea will help those fine women with their welfare work among the regimental families.
By the way, the Grenadiers' ladies are planning to pack 6,000 Prisoners of War parcels on their day instead of the usual 4,000.
The Russians have given permission for parcels for Prisoners of War in Japan to be shipped through Vladivostok. So the ladies are full of hope that at long last cigarettes and small comforts may reach their men.
Editor: On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all the Hong Kong family for your expressions of sym.pathy at the recent loss of our Father and Grandfather, Borge Agerbak. Your caring has helped to strenghten us in this vulnerable time. Special thank you to the HK colour party, Harry Atkinson, George Peterson and all the wonderful fellows that were the Honour Guard at the funeral.
My brother, Bill and his family in Edmonton and I with my family here, have enjoyed the reminences that you have shared with us, both through email and snail mail. We are extremely proud of our parents and appreciate the friendships and experiences they were able to share with you and through this great Association. God Bless You All!
I commend Phil Dodderidge on his newsletter and his dedication to this Association and appreciate his wisdom and experiences. In his latest newsletter Phil is informing his 'troops' that it would be his last newsletter. He explains that with the merging of the HK and the Commemorative, the newsletter will be a national one with contributions from the various regions - Phil, I hope you continue to contribute to the newsletters that are produced as it will help to educate us all.
The HKVCA in Manitoba would like to find a permanent place to display Winnipeg Grenadier memorabilia, pictures, etc. - anything related to that unit Any suggestions??? Please call us with any ideas in this matter.
The following is an excerpt from the writings of W. S. Ashton (Robbie) entitled Barbed Wire and Green Horror, H-6780 The Winnipeg Grenadiers (H. K.)
The time was just prior to Christmas 1944, and reads as follows-.
"Causing more than a little excitement was the announcement that we would be allowed to broadcast home. The jubilation was short lived as we were told that only a few chosen men would be allowed to send messages. The band would be allowed to perform and I was permitted to sing "I'll never Say Good-bye Again", a song Elmer McKnight had composed. The few men who were allowed to send messages filled them with double meaning phrases and we -hoped the folks at home would get the true meaning of the message - the Japs didn't.
(The broadcast was picked up by a few "ham" operators on the west coast of California, who sent a record of the program to my Mom. By the time I got back it was absolutely worn out.)
*** Thanks to Muriel Ashton for this contribution.***
Here is part of an article from Winnipeg Free Press, dated Sunday, June 18, 1994.
Savage (left) and Harding, with Rev. John Holmen of All Saints, have found a final resting place for their flag.
Hong Kong Vets find holy place for pennant ...by Manfred Jager
Winnipeg's surviving Hong Kong veterans are becoming concerned they are fading away like all the old soldiers who have gone before.
Now they've found a final resting place for their official flag.
"We want to get these colours tucked away in a sacred place while we're still able to do it," said Frank Harding, President of the Canadian Hong Kong Veterans' Association. "At the rate our fellows are passing away now, time seems to be more and more of the essence".
The flag will be officially "laid up" at All Saints Anglican Church at the corner of Broadway and Osborne Street in Winnipeg.
A reissued replacement of the Winnipeg Grenadiers regimental flag -- which led the Hong Kong vets into battle -- has been in the church since the mid-1960's. The original was buried in Hong Kong an hour before the Canadians surrendered on Christmas Day 1941 and were taken prisoner by the Japanese. A search party looked for the flag in 1945 but it had already turned to dust.
A framed roster with the names of Winnipeg Grenadiers who went to Hong Kong will also be placed in the church. A memorial plaque containing the names of Manitoba branch association members who have died since returning in 1945 has been in the church for years and is frequently updated.
Bill Savage, 73, Sargent at arms for the veteran's association, said military service and captivity welded the old Hong Kong soldiers into a tightly-knit unit.
Reminder .... this is an election year for the National Council and the Manitoba Branch of the HKVCA. If anyone would like to take a more active role on a committee or the executive, please call us and let us know. More information in this matter will be forwarded to you at a later date.
Some truth and wisdom
1. Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. There can be a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
3. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
4. You should never confuse your career with your life.
5. No matter what happens in life, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
7. Never lick a steak knife.
8. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.
9. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
10. Nobody can give me a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
11. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.
12. Your friends love you, no matter what.
Three Irish brothers had a ritual that on Friday night they went to the pub and ordered three beers. This was repeated twice more with each brother paying for a round.
One night only one of the brothers came into the pub but he still ordered three beers. The barkeep inquired about the absence of the other brothers and was told that one had migrated to Canada and the other had migrated to Australia and he was ordering the three beers in their memory. As was the previous custom he repeated the order twice more, drinking all nine beers and leaving the pub quite drunk. This went on for over a year and some Friday nights the barkeep had some problems with the one brother. Then one Friday night the brother came in and ordered only two beers. The ever curious barkeep inquired if one of the absentee brothers had passed away. "Oh no" replied the brother, "I've quit drinking".
I have become a little older since I saw you last, and a few changes have come into my life since then. Frankly, I have become a frivolous old gal. I am seeing five gentlemen everyday. As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go to see John. Then Charlie Horse comes along, and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves,
Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn't like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day, I'm really tired and glad to go to bed with Ben Gay. What a life.
Oh yes, I'm also flirting with Al Zymer.
P.S. The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking of the hereafter. I told him, "Oh I do it all the time. No matter where I am, in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement, I ask myself, "Now, what am I here after?"
An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer. You are in the wrong place."
So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of the comfort in hell and starts designing and building improvements. After a while they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and esclators and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day God calls up satan on the telephone and asks with a sneer, "so how's it going down there in hell?"
Satan replies, " Hey, things are going great, we have air conditioning, flush toilets and esclators and who knows what this engineer will com up with next?"
God says, "what? You have an engineer? That was a mistake. Send him up here. All we have are architects and everything looks great but nothing works."
Satan laughs, "No way, I like having an engineer on staff and I'm keeping him.."
God says, "You send him up here, or I will sue."
Satan laughs uproariously, "Yeah right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"
An engineer was walking across a road when a frog said to him , " Kiss me and I will turn into a beautiful princess." The engineer picked up the frog, smiled at it and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I will stay with you one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me into a princess, I will stay with you and do anything you want." Again the engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "what is the matter? I told you that I am a beautiful princess, I'll stay with you for a week, and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend. But a talking frog - now, that's cool!"
Sai Wan Bay Cemetery 1945
Monthly lunches at noon at Rae & Jerry's Restaurant on Portage Ave. every 2nd Thursday of the month; except June and December.
Veterans' Memorial Service at Brookside Cemetery at 2 p.m. on July 8, 2001.
- Convention 2001 AUGUST 15 - 19, 2001 Registration packages are out and we would appreciate your immediate attention. Any questions or if further information is required, please call Carol at (204) 837-6754 or Julie at (204) 338-3354.
Your Branch Council Phone Numbers - Keep Them Handy:
George Peterson, President 256-7174
Bill Maltman,1st Vice 669-4941
Carol Hadley, Secrtry/Newsletter 837-6754
Barry Mitchell, Treasurer/Membership 269-1497
Juliet Lafortune, Social 338-3354
Terence Jackson, Memorials 452-1460 Harry Atkinson, Nat'l President 1-613-392-8074