At the meeting of the New Horizon Club,held on November 9, Douglas Brunton introduced the guest speaker, Terry Meagher, local historian and author of the book, “Betrayal”, which tells the story of the Battle of Hong Kong in December, 1941. Terry is originally from the Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia. When he was 18 he enlisted in the Canadian Army as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment and soon found himself a front-line soldier in the Korean War. After the war, he went to St. Francis University in Nova Scotia, received his BA and became a teacher in Northern Ontario, teaching for eleven years. He went on to teach at the Kemptville College for 21 years and is a resident of Kemptville.
The Canadian soldiers who were sent to defend Hong Kong were serving with the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Of the 1975 Canadians sent to Hong Kong, more than 1050 were killed or wounded during the battle and subsequent capture and imprisonment as Japanese prisoners of war, one of the highest casualty rates in Canadian theatres during World War II. In Terry’s book “BETRAYAL”, he answers many questions about why mainly untrained, untried Canadian troops were sent to defend Hong Kong.
This story was of special interest to many New Horizon Club members who knew Ken Ewing, a long-time member, who joined the Royal Rifles at the age of fifteen, fought in the Battle of Hong Kong and spent the remainder of the war years as a Japanese prisoner of war.
The story of the Battle of Hong Kong is particularly poignant now as we remember all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Terry and his wife Marina brought history to life as they talked about the battle and the betrayal of Canadian soldiers sent to fight an unwinnable battle. Terry and Marina were thanked by Shirley Price who presented them with a donation from the club to the Poppy Fund of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 212 in Kemptville.
The next meeting of the New Horizon Club will be held on Wednesday, November 23 at 2 pm in the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall. The guest speaker will be Ralph Raina, well known resident of Kemptville, who, after his recovery from tuberculosis in the TB hospital in Ottawa, went on to a successful career as an entrepreneur and to become Counsellor, Reeve, and Mayor of the Town of Kemptville. The annual Christmas dinner will be held on December 14 at noon. Tickets are $25.00 and must be purchased in advance. Call Jean at 613-283-6439.
The New Horizon Club meets each second and fourth Wednesday of the month. For information about club programs and membership, please call Janet (613-269-2737).