On Friday evening, January 18th, the Gravenhurst Legion, and a full house of
attendees from the Community had an opportunity to learn about a little known
story of a couple of Canadian Military Battalions who were sent to Hong Kong in
WW11, in late 1941.
The story was narrated by Fred Hurd, a son of one of these veterans who was lucky to make it home. It is a gripping story about ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. This is a powerful story of courage, humility and tragedy.
His father was one of 2000 Canadians who were dispatched in late 1941, to help defend the British Colony of Hong Kong, a group of lost heroes who became POW's; prisoners subjected to starvation, sickness and forced labour for three and a half years by the Imperial Japanese military, most often referred to as America's war...this was also his father's war.
With assistance from Veterans Affairs Canada, funding from both Hong Kong veterans and their children, the HKVCA have put together a combination video and general script, complete with veteran interviews so that the children of these veterans could tell their story across the country.
In this way a little known part of Canada's contribution in the war effort that took place in the Pacific during WW11 could be kept alive for the younger generations. The intention is that this piece of history would become part of the WW11 history lesson when presented at schools. By having each Veterans sons or daughters personally presenting their story; their own personal accounts that have been handed down by these veterans would place a much more personal and meaningful sense of the why, how and where this took place.
The presentation took approximately one hour. The story came alive with real live bombing video clips and visuals encompassing the Battle of Hong Kong, their capture and their lives during three and one half years of imprisonment, along with personal interviews of some of the veterans who survived.
Through this presentation, the audience experienced ‘an inside story from behind the wire”
The audience was able to see some of the artifacts that his father had buried in three separate prison camps: his personal diary, compass, and many other supportive memorabilia and articles. Had he not survived, perhaps these may never have been found and lost forever.
They were boys of a common virtue; called to duty; brothers, sons; friends, neighbours, and fathers. It’s as simple as that.
A stunning Commemorative plaque was also presented to the Gravenhurst Legion on behalf of the HKVC Association of Ontario, so that others would have to opportunity to learn of this important part of our military heritage.