HKVCA - Summer 2021 - Contents


"Never Forget"

National Newsletter of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association

Summer 2021

President's Message

By the time you read this, well over half of Canadians will have received their first COVID vaccination, with a great many having been jabbed twice. At long last we seem to be nearing the end of this drawn-out ordeal. Woo hoo!!

Virtual Events

COVID has encouraged us to look at new ways of staying in touch. A good example is our Virtual Event Series. We’ve run three of these monthly events so far, with a fourth coming on June 21. Your feedback has been extremely positive, and so we plan to continue these at least through the end of this year, and perhaps beyond. Our aim has been to highlight stories and aspects of the Battle of Hong Kong that many of you may not be familiar with, and your post-event comments indicate that we are accomplishing that goal. 

If you have not been able to attend these events, you haven’t really missed them. We’ve recorded each one, and you can watch them on our YouTube channel. Try it!

Make sure you attend our last summer event:

Date Time Topic
June 21 7:00pm (Eastern) Canadian Nursing Sisters in the Battle of Hong Kong, and RCMI Virtual Tour: Details-→

(Registration Link)

Our fall event schedule will be in the next newsletter and published on our HKVCA home page.

Virtual Mapping Projects

Several exciting projects are underway to use the latest technology to bring the Battle of Hong Kong and the members of 'C' Force vividly to life. One of them is described in “The Passion Project” in this newsletter. Another project, which we hope will be unveiled late this year, will enable anyone to visit the battlefields in Hong Kong virtually, and to learn about how the battle unfolded and who was involved. You can see an example at this website which maps the Allied advance from D Day to VE Day. As interesting as these projects are to us as descendants of Hong Kong veterans, they are invaluable tools to teach the next generation of students about the Battle and what followed. With so few veterans still with us, this kind of technology will help to keep their experiences and sacrifices in the minds of Canadians.


This year’s Annual General Meeting will be on Tuesday,  June 29 at 2pm ET. Details are at the bottom of this this newsletter. This year we are using Zoom so that you can see your HKVCA Board of Directors! Those without a computer will also be able to call a toll-free phone number to join in. Please plan to attend!

V-J Day

Last year many of you held your own commemorations for V-J Day. Please consider doing the same again this year on August 15 at your local cenotaph, veterans’ section of a cemetery, or another appropriate location. Send your photos and a brief write-up to and we will publish them on our website and include a selection in the next newsletter. Read Pam Newhouse’s article elsewhere in this newsletter about our new lawn flag, and think about ordering one from your Regional Director for your own lawn!

Pension Error Status

A couple of years ago, the Veterans’ Ombudsman revealed that the government had made an error in veterans’ pension calculations beginning in 2002. As a result, the pensions of some 250,000 veterans have been underpaid, likely including those of Hong Kong Veterans. The government says that as of January, around 100,000 of these errors had been corrected, and about $77 million paid out to veterans and their families. Some of you have asked where this stands, and what you should be doing to receive the corrected pension amounts. No action should be necessary, as the government has said it is continuing to work through the list of veterans and will make the rest of these payments in time. In addition to this, a class action lawsuit has been initiated on behalf of pensioners (and their estates).

Indigenous Veterans

'C' Force members came from all walks of life, faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Among them were a number of men of Indigenous heritage, whether First Nations, Métis or Innuit. The HKVCA wants to recognize these Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canada’s military history. Please read Pam Heinrich’s article in this newsletter for more information on what we are doing and why.  

Have a Great Summer!

With the likelihood of many Canadians being fully vaccinated in the next few months, the prospects for an enjoyable, family summer are good. Please be sure to continue to follow the government’s advice to stay safe and have a super summer!


In Memoriam

Helen Prieston, widow of Riley Prieston, Winnipeg Grenadiers, on 19 May 2021

Online Updates

Recent Additions

Randy Steele’s Story - submitted by his son, Jason

Web Statistics

Google gives us a snapshot each month which goes into details on visits to our various sites including tidbits such as visit duration, popular pages, devices used and current country of the visitor. Here are some selected stats for the last month:

Unique visitors: 1515

Devices used:

  • Desktop: 60%
  • Mobile: 35%
  • Tablet: 5%

Not surprisingly most of our visitors are from Canada, with the USA second, and Hong Kong third.

Social Media

From: Dan James

Many of you may be wondering what happened to the Facebook page and why you were not seeing the birthdays and announcements. Well, at the beginning of March, I was hacked, and my Facebook account was subsequently deactivated and deleted. When that happened, it also led to the Facebook page being deleted. After that I had to create a new Facebook page for the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association. 

Please like us again on Facebook.

Recognition Project

The HKVCA is pleased to announce a project to recognize our Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) veterans. This project is undertaken as a way for our Association to contribute to reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) defines reconciliation as the process of “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country.” The TRC went on to say that in order for reconciliation to happen in Canada, “there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.” Through this project, the HKVCA hopes to partake in the reconciliation process.

Pamela Poitras Heinrichs, HKVCA member and daughter of HK Vet/Winnipeg Grenadier Ferdinand (Fred) Poitras, will be coordinating our efforts. Pam introduces herself and our plans below:

Hello everyone,

By way of introduction, I will do so in the traditional way, naming my families and homeland….

My name is Pamela Poitras Heinrichs. I am Métis, from the Métis Homeland of Red River, and I reside there to this day. My father and our Métis ancestors were from Red River. My grandmothers and grandfathers are from the Poitras, Beaugrand dit Champagne, Fisher, and Grant families. These families are some of the roots of the Métis people and all were involved in the fur trade, buffalo hunts, and the Red River Resistance. I am very excited to work on this project and provide you with the following information:

Indigenous Peoples in Canada have been involved in all aspects of Canada’s military since World War I, including fighting on the front lines of every battle Canada has been involved in. It is estimated that over 7,000 First Nations peoples served in WWI, WWII, and Korea.  An unknown number of Métis and Inuit have also served.

The HKVCA wants to recognize and honour its Indigenous veterans.  We are looking into ways to do this. Some examples of how this may be done are:

To begin, we need to identify our Indigenous veterans. As the records do not indicate if a veteran is Indigenous, and as we do not have contact with all HK families, we are asking for your help.If you know of a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit HK vet or if your family’s veteran is First Nations, Métis or Inuit, and should you feel comfortable doing so, please let us know.  We will then follow up on any information received. At this point, we are looking for the following details:

Once we receive your information we will contact you to discuss the project.  Your information, or any questions you may have, please use the Contact Us button on our website or send by regular mail to HKVCA  Suite 164, 1826 Robertson Road, Ottawa, ON K2H 1B9. 

Our work is in the very beginning stages. Updates will be provided as we gather information and move forward with development. Thank you in advance for providing your assistance, and I look forward to working on this project!

The Passion Project

Hello, my name is Hope Hinchey, and I am a student at Balmoral Hall School in Winnipeg. I am completing an individual passion project for school concerning the Battle of Hong Kong. Exploring the website, I was happy to learn how the HKVCA continues to spread awareness about this significant battle and the valiant grenadiers and officers who fought and sacrificed their lives for our country. I believe it is extremely important that Canadians recognize the sacrifices these young men made for our country, and the hardships they faced not only in the POW camps, but also when they were repatriated to Canada.

Google Earth view screenshot

Google Earth view screenshot (Click for larger view)

I was interested in the geographical features in Manitoba that were named after the deceased from the Winnipeg Grenadiers regiment. However, I could not find a digital version of a map marking the commemorative features. Consequently, I decided to create a digital map on Google Earth that displays every commemorative geographical feature named after deceased grenadiers from 1941-1945. If you click on one, it displays information about the individual, their commemorative feature, and their picture. 

(More info can be found in Carol’s Prairie Report below)

Sgt Gander Update

I wanted to pass on to you how things on the “Gander Film” front are going:

I have been watching the monthly HKVCA virtual events and find them very interesting. After watching the latest one with Craig Mitchell, I asked him questions in regards to the possibility of finding Gander’s collar. He said since the temperatures are going up more, they won’t be going out to search, but they will work on research in the libraries till the temps cool. 

I sent a question to Professor Kwong Chi Man, Professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, regarding if there was any idea as to the road where Gander’s body laid in the morning of December 19th, and where ‘C’ Company of the Royal Rifles of Canada were at during December 18/19th?

He wrote me:

“The short answer to your question is yes, the company fought along what is now the northern section of Tai Tam Road. In fact, we are finishing an interactive map of the battle and I can show you some of the screenshots of the whereabouts of the ‘C’ Company if you are interested!”  

“We also tried to locate Gander as an entry of the “Faces of War” part of our interactive map and we located its story along the road too. In fact, the story is quite well known in HK!” 

I am passing this information on to Craig, so he can see if his team can locate this area where the unit was, and where Gander’s body might have ended.

Adding to some of my excitement, I am working with Canadian Director/Producer, Andrew Wall, whose team is helping me with grants that can help with the production monies for the film. In fact, he is having an Illustrator to assist the making of a film using Illustrations, Interviews and Re-enactments to tell Gander’s story and the Battle of Hong Kong… 

Well, I am just so glad that things are moving, and with the help of so many good and dedicated people, who knows, maybe we will have a “finished product” to show at next year’s Reunion/Convention… 

I would like to also mention how honoured I am to have the many friends in the HKVCA and to mention how much respect I have for All!  I especially would like to mention Mitzi Ross and her husband, Alan Sandeman… As you probably know he performs the song, “We Are Canadian” and they were so kind to send me the music, without the video, so I could put it on my I-Pod for me to listen to in my car. 

In preparation for the US Memorial Day holiday, May 31st, I asked my Pastor if I could read the poem written by LTC John McRae, “In Flanders Fields”.  When I was young, my father was the Parade Marshall of our hometown’s Memorial Day Parade, and he made it a point to always have the poem read at the ceremonies. 

Being raised hearing that poem, I want to take a moment to not just say, “Thank You for Your Service” to all Veterans, but, because I am a Vietnam Veteran, I want to say, “WELCOME HOME” to all the Battle of Hong Kong Veterans for as it is said:


Please Stay Safe and know, I am staying the course to get “Their Story” told…

Gravestone Markers

Have you considered the purchase of a unique gravestone marker to honour your Hong Kong veterans' gravestone?

The creation of the Gravestone Marker is based on the shoulder flash the Canadian government gave our veterans as they returned from Hong Kong in 1945.  This shoulder flash can only be worn by a Hong Kong veteran. For this reason alone, the Gravestone Marker is unique.

Gravestone Marker

Gravestone Marker

Check this picture out. Don't you agree the red brass HK of the gravestone marker makes these 2 gravestones stand out?

You can order from 'our' store here- store/index.php or mail to HKVCA, P.O. Box 381, WINNIPEG, MB R3C 2H6

$75.00 each. Postage included. The 3" cast metal disc comes with instructions to affix to the headstone, and a registration form 

Follow up on Memorial (Silver) Cross by Derrill Henderson

Last newsletter- Spring 2021- we told a delightful story of lost and found pertaining to a Memorial Cross. Did you know our Hong Kong vets may qualify for it?

If any family member is interested in it, it must be a direct family member.

It officially is restricted to Mother; Father; eldest living sibling, (in that order), but I understand they are now considering grandchildren. Veterans Affairs will handle the cases on a case-by-case basis.

Memorial Cross

Memorial Cross

The following documentation is required:

Veteran Information
Full name
Date of birth
Date of death
Service number
CSDN ID or VAC File number (if applicable)
Medical certificate of death

Applicant information

Phone number
Relationship to the Veteran

If you are interested in the possibility of receiving the cross, each case will be looked at as it arrives. To start this process, fill in the "Contact Us" form which is accessible from most of our web pages.


Prairie Prose

The Prairie Region has had some unusual weather the last few months with snow, drought conditions, fires and occasional sunshine, but hopefully summer will come soon and we can enjoy some time outdoors.  Due to the health restrictions in Manitoba, we cannot meet in person but things are opening up in other provinces to celebrate events.  Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday greetings were sent to George Peterson on his 100th birthday on February 8. We also celebrated birthdays for:

Eugene Lapointe on Jan 16, 2021 who turned 97 years young;

Phil Doddridge on April 2, 2021 who turned 99 years young;

Hormidas Fredette on April 11, 2021 who turned 105 years young; 

And to George McDonell on August 5, 2021 who will turn 99 years young.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Helen Prieston, widow of Riley Prieston WG, and mother of Judy Preston, on May 19, 2021.  Helen and Judy have been great supporters of the HKVCA and all veterans. We appreciate their efforts.

The HKVCA Board of Directors meet monthly, and are working on ways to recognize the “80th Anniversary” of the Battle of Hong Kong. There will be an update in this newsletter for you to review with everything that is current in the HKVCA across Canada, but current information is always available on the website (  

Hopefully, you have your dues paid up so you can attend the Annual General Meeting on June 29th, 2021 at 2 pm ET (1 p.m. in Manitoba and 12 noon in Saskatchewan and Alberta) if not, you may pay them online or contact Barry Mitchell as soon as possible.

As part of the “80th Anniversary” of the Battle of Hong Kong, the Association has arranged for virtual presentations with time for questions and answers, on aspects of the action and the effects on the Canadians that were prisoners of war.  At each presentation, we have had over 150 people view and participate, who have said they were informative and educational.  Please refer to our website to see what has been presented to date and to learn of the upcoming events.

Education:  The students that attend the Red River Heritage Fair, which is held at the beginning of May, is not happening this year. We are usually a presence at these events but this year they will be virtual with the individual schools.   

I was invited to attend a presentation by a grade 10 Balmoral Hall student, Hope Hinchey, who has spent this past year researching the 250 Canadians who were killed or died in Hong Kong, and who has a geographical place in their name in Manitoba.  She also incorporated this information into Google Earth with a poppy placed at the geographical place. In her presentation, when you click on a poppy, the name and picture, if available, comes up and the story of the person.  It is such a wonderful asset for our members, teachers, students and anyone researching or looking for a family member. I have her permission to put this on our website.

 I was impressed with her knowledge and her deportment as she presented her project.  Not only did she learn more about the Battle of Hong Kong and the Canadians that were sent there, but by putting all the pieces together, it was a tremendous learning experience for her. The link for her project is

We invite any family member or friend of the members of ‘C’ Force to review the information that we have on our website and add to it with a picture, family history or write a short story to give us more insight into the amazing Canadians. You can do this by visiting our website, selecting the Contact Us button found at the top of any page, and filling in the form.

Another HKVCA project we would like to initiate nationally is to recognize our Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) veterans.  To do this we require the assistance of our members, families and friends, if they are comfortable doing so, to supply information on their ‘C’ Force member.  We are pleased to have Pam Heinrichs (daughter of Fred Poitras) to coordinate this project.  She will be introduced in a separate article and give you an outline of this project. As she is from a Métis family, she has some insight into the issues that others experienced.  

Ontario Report

I am the newest volunteer news correspondent for HKVCA Ontario Region. My two sisters Jackie, Linda and I have been involved in HKVCA for many years. One of our favorite parts was when we manned the information table for over five years at the annual OSSTF History teacher conferences in the Niagara and Toronto regions, and truly enjoyed sharing the history and also enjoyed spending sister time together.

As I write this, at last we can see light at the end of the Covid tunnel! Hopefully, life will be back to normal in the fall.

Just a quick announcement that I am waiting until May or June of 2022 to hold my next HKVCA luncheon at the Burlington,  Ontario Legion.

HKVCA Lawn Sign

HKVCA Lawn Sign

I have included a photo of the new HKVCA lawn sign that I ordered from Lori Atkinson Smith. I think it looks great in my garden, especially with my Canadian flag. So far, 3 neighbours have asked about its significance, so I've been able to tell our veterans' story, so it's also an educational tool! (Note:“Contact your Regional Director if you would like to order a sign”)

Let's hope we can have a fairly normal summer, even if it is just the later months before vaccinations make our local and international world safe enough to physically be with our loved ones, back to our jobs and favourite activities.

Eighty years ago in 1941, Canada sent 1,975 men to Hong Kong to help protect the British Colony from the Japanese.  Members of HKVCA know the story well.

With lots of time to think during the “Ontario lockdown” I began to wonder how many children were left behind when the Dads left Canada.  My sister was 7 years old and I was 2 when our father (Leonard Corrigan WG) was taken as a Prisoner of War.

My survey was very limited and many of the widows I spoke to were married after the war (listed below).

Esther Jane Geraghty (Donald Geraghty, RRC) Jean Killoran (John Killoran, RRC) Mrs. Nugent (William Nugent, WG) Dorothy Sauson (Oliver Ray Sauson, RRC) Yvonne Southworth (Donald Southworth, RRC) Margaret MacDonald (Allison  MacDonald, RRC)

Barry Fair, (John Gray Fair, RRC) recalled family connections to Hong Kong Veterans, but found it difficult to say how many children were affected.

(The next para was edited in July 2021 to reflect changes submitted by Fred, Jim's brother)

Jim Hurd (Edmund Lionel Hurd, RRC) was also 2 years old in 1941 and had one brother, Fred, 1 year old, leaving two children in his family when his father went to Hong Kong.

There must be all kinds of stories not yet told about those years, 1941 to 1945.

Quebec Report

Greetings from Québec Region. For months, everyone has been living with many health restrictions and confinement. Hopefully, we will return to a more normal life soon.  

Things are quiet and we hold virtual meetings. We stay in touch with our members by email, by post or by phone. 

So far this year we welcomed three (3) new members to our Hong Kong Family. Welcome and Thank You for your support. 

We invite and encourage our members to take a moment to honour our Veterans for the” 80th Anniversary” of the Battle of Hong Kong.   

In early May, I attended a virtual Change of Command Ceremony for Les Voltigeurs de Québec. It was a very nice but brief ceremony due to the health restrictions. Congratulations were made to the incoming Commander Lt.Col Bernard Pettigrew.

Take care and stay safe.

From Our "InBox"



James Downey contacted us, as he has acquired a medal group originally belonging to a Hong Kong veteran, and is asking for our help in identifying the original recipient. Note the Coronation Medal (1953) and Centennial Medal (1967).  James acquired it on eBay from a seller in Quebec who found it at a flea market. If you can help, please visit our website and fill in the “Contact Us” form.

Memory Project

An initiative of Historica Canada, the Memory Project is a volunteer speakers bureau that arranges for past and present members of the Canadian Armed Forces to share their stories of military service with school and community groups across the country. The program operates year-round, and our speakers have reached more than 3 million Canadians since we started in 2001.

We are looking for new speakers to join our team, and we hope that you might help us get the word to potential speakers.

Every story matters. Help us help veterans bring military history to life for Canadians.

Best regards, Katharine and the Memory Project team

RCMI Newsletter Cover

RCMI Newsletter Cover

George MacDonell’s Medals

Received from Sue Beard: Hong Kong Veteran George MacDonell is donating his medal set to the Royal Canadian Military Institute. We hope to provide a link to the story when received.

A Photo Tribute to FEPOWs

From FEPOW Gallery: We are collecting photos of Far East prisoners of war/internees (of all nationalities) as a tribute to all the men, women and children who suffered so much. We are aiming to collect 1000 photos for VJ Day, 15th August, so if your relative was a FEPOW/internee, please join our group and post their photo with brief details of their service. Photos may also be sent to and we can be found on twitter @FepowGallery.



No Reason Why - Cover

No Reason Why - Cover

“No Reason Why”

– by Carl Vincent. This book, of which we have a limited number of copies, has been called the best book written about Canada's involvement in the defence of Hong Kong. It covers the background of the regiments; the politics involved; the battle; years of imprisonment; and the return to Canada. No library on the subject on Hong Kong is complete without this book!

Ordering details below.

Hong Kong Veterans Merchandise

Barry Mitchell

Lapel Pin..........................................................$5.00

License Plate Holder (front plate).....................$5.00

Gravestone Marker..........................................$75.00

Winnipeg Grenadier Tie....................................$20.00

DVD—Slaves of the Rising Sun.........................$10.00

Golf Shirt—Large or XL.....................................$20.00


Postage Stamps—sheet of 50............................$65.00 


No Reason Why.......................................... $20.00

From Jamaica to Japan................................$20.00

17 Days Until Christmas...............................$20.00

Where Life & Death Hold Hands..................$20.00

One Soldier’s Story......................................$20.00

To order send cheque to HKVCA, P.O. Box 381, Winnipeg MB R3C 2H6

Want more books? Visit our Suggested Reading Page.

Annual General Meeting of the HKVCA

The Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association will be held on

Tuesday, June 29 at 2pm (Eastern Time).


• Approval of Minutes of last AGM, held July 7, 2020

• Presentation of 2020 Financial Statement

• Election of Directors

• Appointment of Officers

• Brief presentations by Regional Directors

• President's Remarks

• Questions from Members

• Close

To join the meeting:

• From any telephone dial toll-free 1 855 703-8985 and at the prompt enter the meeting ID: 848 5476 1194 followed by #. Then wait until the meeting begins.

• Or you may use Zoom. Instructions will be sent via email to HKVCA members in good standing. (Renewal instructions)


Want a Printed Copy of This Newsletter?

You have two choices:

  1. You can print a copy of this newsletter right from your browser (right-click and select "Print" in most browsers, or select from the menu). You may find that there are some layout issues, especially with photos.
  2. You can print an exact copy of the PDF version that was mailed out.

Note: there may be items in the online copy of the newsletter that are not included in the PDF version.