Manitoba Branch

Box 381 Winnipeg, MB R3C 2H6

January, February, March, 2001

Editor: Carol Hadley, (204) 837-6754

Email: cahadley@videon.wave.ca

Happy New Year!

President's Report

Please help us. First of all Seasons Greetings and a very Happy New Year to everyone! May the Good Lord keep you safe and well in the future.

As the time draws closer to the 2001 Convention, August 15 - 19, 2001 in Winnipeg, we the Hong Kong veteran, must make some decisions. These decisions will be needed to assist our Commemorative Association with what we see as their role in the future affairs in the Hong Kong Veterans' Association of Canada.

A copy of this letter and a list of questions, posed to us by Derrill Henderson, President of the National Hong Kong Veterans' Commemorative Association, at the last Annual Reunion, October of 2000, was recently mailed to all our veteran members. Your answers to this questionaire, will offer guidelines to our Commemorative Association as they endeavour to serve our needs and ensure that the part the Canadians played in the Battle for Hong Kong, will live on in the education of all Canadians and Commemorative Association activities.

To accomplish this goal, please reply to this request and assist your Manitoba Branch to make these decisions on your behalf. We ask that your wishes be sent to us by the end of March 2001 in order to be able to act on same.

As you are all aware we cannot close our Association down because of the sunset clause in our Charter. So please, please send us your answers.

Respectfully yours 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 Veteran's 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.

Notes from Barry Mitchell, Treasurer & Membership

Greetings to all the members of the Hong Kong Veterans' Association and the Commemorative Association!!! I hope you had a joyous Christmas Season and are thoroughly enjoying the abundance of cold weather that Mother Nature is providing (at least those of you in Manitoba).

May I first applaud the membership as a whole for the attention you have paid to seeing that your dues are paid! Many of you sought me out at the Reunion Dinner in October and we collected lots of the dues which were outstanding. The pre-addressed envelope, which was provided to some of you with the last newsletter, certainly brought results. Some of our members may not have been too pleased with this not-so-subtle reminder but the results speak for themselves and we now have most of the dues collected for the year 2000. But of course we are now in a new year and once again the call goes out to all of you to send in your fees. It's a lot easier for us if you send in your cheque at the beginning of the year, so now is as good a time as any!!! The fees for Veterans are $15.00 per year 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.

I appreciated the note from Bob Lytle. Sorry you received a dues reminder when you shouldn't have, Bob--you proved that my record keeping isn't perfect. All dues are recorded in two places as soon as they are received and in your case, one of the lists wasn't marked. You certainly were forgiving and included next year's dues as well. Much appreciated!!

Thanks to Harry White of Okanagan Falls, BC, for his note and a cheque for dues and a donation. It's not often that, as a grandfather, I get addressed as "young fellow", but I'll take it whenever I can get it…..Welcome to Alfred Babin of London, Ontario. Alf is a member of the Ontario Branch, having served with the Royal Rifles from 1940 to 1945……A little note from Lloyd & Roberta Hanna of Nanaimo, BC, who send their best wishes to all members……Also a hello from Henry Lyons of Matapedia, Quebec, who was with the Royal Rifles and is also a member of the Quebec-Maritimes Branch……Getting up-to-date with dues was Wilma Thom and son Sandy, with fees to cover both the H.K. and the Commemorative Associations.

John Pollock of West Hill, Ontario, sent us a note along with his 2001 dues. John tells us he flew to Winnipeg for the Reunion Dinner in October but unfortunately took ill with the flu upon his arrival. He spent six long days at the Delta Hotel and missed his annual visits with his many friends. Hope you got over this, John, and look forward to receiving more of your cheerful letters.

Following many weeks of procrastination, I received a tear-stained cheque from Grant Shepherd of Winnipeg for his 2001 dues. Grant's explanations of the difficulties he has in parting with his money don't wash with this Treasurer and I'm glad to finally sign him up. Anyway, thanks for the note, Grant!!……Also thanks to Ilene Ford of Winnipeg for her membership and those of her daughters, Denise Murray and Corlene Lynne Matenchuk, both of Winnipeg as well. One cheque for all three, along with postage, is gratefully acknowledged……Iva Stodgell of Woodlands, Manitoba, dropped us a note to say hello to everyone. While she doesn't get out very much any more, she's "holding her own" health-wise by diligently looking after herself.

To those who sent Christmas cards (you know who you are), a very sincere thank you!! Their sentiments are shared with others and they certainly brighten up my little basement office. We love to hear from our members, and you don't have to wait for Christmas to say hello!! Please drop us a line to let us know how you're doing and where possible, we'll pass along your comments in the newsletter.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!!!!!!

Barry M.

Last Post

† Adam Schnell, L 22237

† Francis Andrews, H6512, August 3, 2000

† Joseph (John) Miller, H6661, August 8, 2000

Our sympathy is extended to the bereaved families and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We Will Remember Them

Sound of Silence

I recently had occasion to write to an associate in Hong Kong on various matters but primarily to offer background and insights prior to the arrival of our delegates on Pilgrimage 2000. I thought I would share one paragraph with you and although I didn't make the trip to Hong Kong, I like to think I was there in spirit.

……………" World War II in general and for us Hong Kong in particular, drastically altered (shaped) our lives. I was born before the war, so I guess my life was altered. In any event, we tend to sometimes feel that we chug along in obscurity as we try to bring forward the story of those who served. But a couple of weeks ago, I attended a football game (played with a ball with two pointy ends) whereby the Western Canadian University Championship would be decided. My son (named after my father) is one of the coaches for the University of Manitoba, who were playing the University of Regina. There were about 5,000 fans whooping it up, all in a very festive mood while sitting in a snow covered stadium. Parties were underway in the parking lot and in the stands. And it was Remembrance Day. November 11. Just before the singing of the national anthem and the kickoff, the crowd were asked to stand and recognize the day with two minutes of silence. NOT A SOUND---no sniffing---no coughing--no babies crying--complete silence for the entire time. Absolutely everyone was at attention, party gear and all!!!!! I was so proud. It was a reminder to me that Canada does remember and we must continue in our efforts so that the next generation will appreciate history and their heritage".

Barry Mitchell

November, 2000

Miscellaneous Items

I had a request for the address of George LeBlanc's widow, Margaret, - she lives at 102 - 4494 Chadderton Way, Victoria, BC, V8X 5Y7.

Do you have pictures of Canadian Veterans who were killed at Hong Kong or died during the war while a POW of the Japanese?

Veterans Affairs are requesting the public's help to build the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. The Canadian Virtual War Memorial database contains information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served valiantly and gave their lives for their country. The site has been expanded to include direct links to the commemorative inscriptions in the electronic version of Canada's Books of Remembrance.

You can search the Canadian Virtual War Memorial database for information about Canada's wartime casualties. Using the family name, you can find: Service Number;

Age and Date of Death;

Force, Regiment and Unit;

Citations, Honours and Awards;

Burial Information; and

Links to other information.

Veterans Affairs has now expanded this service to include photos of the war dead, scans of letters and post cards. Do you have photos of a Canadian who died during one of Canada's wars that you would like to preserve for future generations?...or wartime letters and postcards you would like to share with others? The CVWM can be found at:



I have been in touch with Tony Benham in Hong Kong, and was fortunate to meet him on the recent Pilgrimage. Tony is the creator of the above web site and seeks information for a book he is writing about the war in Hong Kong. He would like to contact any Company or Platoon commanders or their families for information. Any information may

be placed on his web site or you can contact me and I will pass it onto him.

40th Biennial Convention of the Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, hosted by Brandon Branch #3 will be held in Brandon, MB from June 24 - 27, 2001. The Official Opening Ceremony and Business Sessions will be held in the Royal Oak Inn, 3130 Victoria Ave., Brandon, MB. Anyone planning to attend is requested to make their arrangements as soon as possible.

Hurrah!!! for Ann Axent

Wednesday, December 20, 2000 is the day that Ann finally received the Memorial Cross from the federal government, which marks the sacrifice that William made during the Second World War.

There are many other application forms that have been submitted, however the process time is extremely long, due to the lack of staff. This Association has made many appeals to VAC to have this changed and until now - we have seen no results. Let's hope this means others will be forthcoming also.

Congratulations to Doreen and Art Lousier on their 55th Anniversary on January 5th - have fun on your cruise in March.

Commemorative Web Site

This web site http://members.nbci.com/hkvca/ has an abundance of information for people to view. One of the areas is the "discussion forum" where people post questions or answers or just supply some information. Three of the more recent questions are:

If you can help with these requests, send us the information and we will post it, if you don't have internet.

Pam Heinrichs was asked by her church, Unitarian Church on Wellington Cres., to talk to a Lunch Group about her trip to Hong Kong. As a result of that talk, she was contacted by CBC Radio for an interview. I caught most of it and she did a fine job. Well Done, Pam!

HKVCA President's Report

Hi all! Well here is our first newsletter for 2001. Let me begin by saying THANK YOU to all who attended the Reunion in October. The turn out was great - 212 in all. Thank you to all who helped that evening - there were so many donations and all greatly appreciated.

Hopefully the holiday season was good to you. Some of you caught the virus going around and are still recuperating. Maybe by the time you receive this newsletter you will be feeling better.

My daughter, Bridget and husband Scott, gave me a beautiful granddaughter for Christmas.

Linda May (daughter) and my grandson Liam, from Ontario, are coming to visit me at the end of January. Congratulations to Linda and Bill on the up and coming addition. This will be my 5th grandchild.

Now on to the 2001 Convention and Reunion, held August 16 - 18, 2001. A registration package will be sent to you with more information. Please keep these dates open. This is a historical event with the amalgamation of the HKVA and the HKVCA.

Thank you to the people who have come on board to help with this great event.

Please contact me if there are any questions at 338-3354 or fax 334-7078. Bye for now - see you soon.

Juliet Lafortune, Entertainment Chair HKVA

President, HKVCA, MB Region

2000 Pilgrimage

What a trip!! This trip was truly an experience of a lifetime. It was an honour and a privilege to travel to Hong Kong and Tokyo with the veterans and their families. From the roller-coaster emotions experienced at the plaque and memorial ceremonies to the shopping (bargain - hunting?) on the streets of Kowloon, this trip was exhausting, exhilarating, educational, and extremely unbelievable.

For many of us 'kids' that were able to take this Pilgrimage, it was enlightening to see the places that we had read of in books or heard of in quiet discussions among the veterans. It was incredulous for us to hear the stories of cruelty and depravation first hand from the survivors. The sad, warm, appreciative feelings that come over you when you hear of the heroic actions of others to save their 'buddies'. The unbelievable part of the trip was the concept of so few men, with so little resources, over such rugged terrain, were able to defend Hong Kong for as long as they did. This defence speaks highly of the caliber of men, with their persistence, stubbornness, and fortitude.

As we walked along the rows of tombstones at Sai Wan and viewed the ages of the men who laid there, we were reminded of our children at home being of similar ages. A profound feeling envelopes you as you try to comprehend the families of these men, 60 years ago, waiting for word of their survival and then getting the message. This sadness changes to anger as you view the many tombstones in Yokohama. These men didn't have to die, - they had survived the battle of war - only to be crushed by disease, mistreatment, slave labour and murder.

This journey back in time, has served many purposes. It has strengthened the family ties, both blood and the HK family. It has made us more aware of the importance of peace-keeping and the vigilance of political happenings to prevent a similar disaster from occurring again. A greater determination has evolved to keep the Battle of Hong Kong and the horrors of Japan in the annals of history so that future generations have a better understanding of Remembrance Day and gratitude for their freedom.

I was fortunate to meet a few dedicated 'Brits' in Hong Kong that I had previously met on the internet. Tony Benham, Chris Bilham, and Brian Kiernan have a great interest in the Battle of Hong Kong and search many avenues for information. We have been exchanging information to clarify some of the confusion that was rampant during the Battle. As I have mentioned previously, any information that you may have can be sent to me and I will forward it on.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that the members of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the travel agency, the guides and the drivers with the touring companies in Hong Kong and Japan did an outstanding job of coordinating 115 people through these events, meeting every need as it became apparent. Senator Gil Molgat and his lovely lady, Allison, did a marvellous job of leading our Pilgrimage. The Senator's military and political background added insight to the history that surrounded our journey. Together, their interest, thoughtfulness and caring endeared them to our members. To our military entourage, we salute you. Your uniforms, your youth and your dedication added poignancy to this journey with an awareness of continuity. We sincerely appreciated all of you - your presence, your talents and most of all your friendship.


Meanwhile a timely article in Arthur's newsletter deals with cramped airline flights. 25 people have died at Narita airport from blood clots caused by cramped airline seating. Thank goodness we had a wonderful medical team traveling with us, encouraging everyone to get up and move around. Maybe they should build the planes to fit bigger western people, then there would be loads of room for the smaller Asians .


By Barry Mitchell

Did you know that the Hong Kong Veterans' Association is visible in Winnipeg, albeit in a most subtle way?

Our Association symbol can be seen in five different locations in Manitoba's capitol, as far as public display is concerned.

Firstly, the Hong Kong Veterans' flag flies at the Winnipeg Cenotaph annually during the months of August and December. The cenotaph is just north of the Legislative Building on Memorial Boulevard.

Secondly, the Tower of the Deer Lodge Centre was dedicated on December 19, 1991 in the name of John Robert Osborn, V.C. This dedication is commemorated by a plaque on the wall outside the entrance to the Tower.

Inside the entrance to the Deer Lodge Tower is a handsome memorial to CSM John Osborn, dedicated on the 50th anniversary of his acts of heroism.

Within the Centre itself, a beautiful stained glass window can be found in the Chapel. It was dedicated on August 14, 1991, the 46th anniversary of the end of World War II, in memory of our comrades of "C" Force who paid the supreme sacrifice, perished during incarceration, and those who have since passed away because of the affects of the POW conditions endured for forty-four months.

Lastly, there is a plaque permanently fixed to the wall in a hallway of the Legislative Building for all to see. It was dedicated on October 25, 1991, and unveiled by Hon. George Johnson M.D., Lieutenant Governor, and Hon. Gary Filmon, Premier of Manitoba. It is inscribed as follows:











OCTOBER 25, 1991


Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark...

One: Don't miss the boat.

Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Six: Build your future on high ground.

Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.

Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.


There were some backwoods ignorant hillbillies living across the river from each other, who feuded constantly. John hated Clarence with a passion and never passed up a chance to throw rocks across the river at Clarence. This went on for years until one day the Corps of Engineers came to build a bridge across that river. John was elated; he told his wife that finally he was going to get the chance to cross over and "whip Clarence butt". He left the house and returned in a matter of minutes. His wife asked what was wrong, didn't he intend to go over the bridge and

"whip Clarence butt?" He replied that he never had really seen Clarence up close and didn't realize his size until he started over the bridge and saw the sign: "CLARENCE 10 FT 3 IN."

I was working in a furniture store when a customer entered and asked to see the bookcases.

I reviewed the different cases for her, describing the available sizes and finishes. As I went along, I mentioned the different names:

"The Library Case," "The Standard Case," "The Modern Case," "The Video Case" and "The Lawyer Case."

The customer stopped me and asked, "Why do they call it 'The Lawyer Case'?"

I replied, "If you look carefully, you will notice how many of them are made just a little crooked."

Senior Golfers

"How was your golf game, dear?" asked Jack's wife Tracy.

"Well, I was hitting pretty well, but my eyesight's gotten so bad I couldn't see where the ball went."

"But you're seventy-five years old, Jack!" admonished his wife, "Why don't you take my brother Scott along?"

"But he's eighty-five and doesn't even play golf anymore," protested Jack.

"But he's got perfect eyesight. He could watch your ball," Tracy pointed out.

The next day Jack teed off with Scott looking on. Jack swung, and the ball disappeared down the middle of the fairway.

"Do you see it?" asked Jack.

"Yup," Scott answered.

"Well, where is it?" yelled Jack, peering off into the distance.

"I forgot."

What happens when a president gets elected in a

year with a "0" at the end?

1840: William Henry Harrison (Died in Office)

1860: Abraham Lincoln (Assassinated)

1880: James A. Garfield (Assassinated)

1900: William McKinley (Assassinated)

1920: Warren G. Harding (Died in Office)

1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Died in Office)

1960: John F. Kennedy (Assassinated)

1980: Ronald Reagan (Survived Assassination Attempt)

And to think that we have 2 guys duking it out in

the courts to be the one elected in 2000!


Monthly lunches at noon at Rae & Jerry's Restaurant on Portage Ave. every 2nd Thursday of the month; except June and December.

- Convention 2001 AUGUST 15 - 19, 2001 Registration packages will be out at the beginning of February and we would appreciate your immediate attention

Your Branch Council Phone Numbers - Keep Them Handy:

George Peterson, President 256-7174

Borge Agerbak, 1st Vice 897-3213

Roy Robinson, 256-3756

Carol Hadley, Secrtry/Newsletter 837-6754

Barry Mitchell, Treasurer/Membership 269-1497

Juliet Lafortune, Social 338-3354

Terence Jackson, Memorials 452-1460

Harold Atkinson, Nat'l President 1-613-392-8074