Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association receives funding to honour Hong Kong Veterans 


August 19, 2023 

Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association receives funding to honour Hong Kong Veterans 

Winnipeg, MB – Today, the Métis Veterans Legacy Program (MVLP) is proud to announce funding to the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association (HKVCA), allowing the HKVCA to find, honour and remember Métis and other Indigenous veterans who fought for Canada during the Second World War.  

The funding was announced at a service and luncheon on August 19, 2023, at Brookside Cemetery, to commemorate the end of the war and the survivors’ return home to Canada. The funding will be used to identify and honour Indigenous members of the two regiments that served in Hong Kong.  

“It was 1941 when Canada sent the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Quebec to Hong Kong to assist in its defence in case of an attack by the Japanese Imperial Army,” said Jack Park, MVLP Commissioner.  “After a short but fierce battle in which the Allied forces were greatly outnumbered by the Japanese, all survivors were taken prisoner. The prisoners of war endured almost four years of horrendous treatment by their captors until Japan surrendered in 1945. We’re proud to support the HKVCA as they remember and honour the sacrifices of these brave individuals.”  

Many of the soldiers in the Winnipeg Grenadiers were likely from Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario and Saskatchewan and there is evidence that some of these soldiers were Métis. Unfortunately, Métis soldiers were not able to claim their Métis identity when signing up to serve, so identifying those who served and sacrificed in Hong Kong is a significant undertaking. The MVLP supports the HKVCA’s commitment to the important work of identifying and honouring Indigenous soldiers, allowing their families to proudly claim their Indigenous identity, and share their stories about the role of Indigenous people in Canada’s military history. 

“To date, and through the work of volunteers, we have identified over 150 Indigenous members of ‘C’ Force, as the two regiments were known”, said Pamela Poitras Heinrichs, an HKVCA member who is coordinating the work. “This funding will allow us to engage the services of professionals to research all 1,974 personnel of ‘C’ Force so we can do more to ensure that none of the Indigenous members are overlooked. Together, we will provide recognition for these Indigenous soldiers, where none was provided before.   

The program’s efforts are currently concentrated on finding Indigenous members of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, which has already helped identify and honour many Métis soldiers who were part of the regiment. The program will further support sharing information with the public through presentations, educational materials, social media, and the HKVCA website.    

About the MVLP 

The project was funded under the Métis National Council’s Métis Veterans Legacy Commemoration Program. The Commemoration Program invites Métis Citizens to propose projects that will honour, respect, and preserve the legacies of Métis Veterans to promote awareness of their contributions. It will support and expand the efforts that Métis communities have traditionally undertaken to honour our Veterans such as hosting ceremonies and erecting monuments, along with establishing and developing new Métis Veteran-focused initiatives.  

To learn more, visit the MVLP website: https://metisveterans.ca/commemoration-program/ 

About the HKVCA 

The Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association (HKVCA) is a national association with over 600 members, mostly family members of Canadian soldiers who were sent to Hong Kong in 1941 to help defend it from attack by the Imperial Japanese Army. Of those nearly 2,000 soldiers, 290 were killed in action after a pitched 17-day battle which began on December 8, 1941, and a further 267 died while held for nearly four years under brutal conditions as prisoners of war. 

As of August 2023, only one Hong Kong veteran is still living. The mission of our association is to ensure that the sacrifices made by these soldiers are not forgotten by Canadians. To this end, we produce and distribute educational materials, deliver presentations in schools, work with school boards and teachers’ associations, maintain a comprehensive database of information about the soldiers and make it available to the public via our web site, and engage in many other commemorative activities, all with the intent of preserving this important legacy. 

Please visit the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association website to learn morewww.hkvca.ca

For more information, media may contact: 

Pamela Poitras Heinrichs 

Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association 




Métis Veterans Legacy Program 


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