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Remembering Sergeant Gander

Aim

To increase youth awareness of the Defence of Hong Kong in the Second World War, and remember the sacrifices and achivements made by Canadians, including Sergeant Gander, a brave Newfoundland dog.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts in the Defence of Hong Kong;
  • develop a basic understanding of the story Sergeant Gander, the canine mascot and his devotion to duty during the Battle of Hong Kong; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those humans and their mascot friends who served and died.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 5 to 7.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame (approximately 30 minutes)

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introductory discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read aloud [5 minutes]
  • Dot-to-Dot activity [10 minutes]
  • Gander Colouring Sheet [10 minutes]

Materials

Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

 

Before starting this activity, you may wish to read the Canada Remembers the Defence of Hong Kong historical sheet.

Have a brief discussion with your youth about what makes a person a friend. Discuss sharing, playing together, helping, etc. Then shift the conversation to what they think a whole country could do to be a friend to another country.

Provide the youth with a bit of an understanding about the Second World War. Talk about how the war began, well before their parents and even some grandparents were born! Look at a world map and locate Hong Kong in Asia. See if they can spot their own province or territory, and then show Hong Kong again. Discuss how far away from each other these places are. Ask if anyone has ever been to Hong Kong or Asia.

Mention that the Second World War started when some countries were “bullying” some other countries. In places like Hong Kong, people and families lost their homes, and many people were cold and hungry. Canada decided to help make this bullying stop, and they sent thousands of soldiers to help.

Some of these brave people were fathers or young sons. It was probably hard for them to leave their families in Canada and go so far away to risk their lives. What would their families be feeling? What would the young men be feeling? Does any child in the class have a parent who has to travel far away for work? If so, how did it make them feel? Or how do you think it would make you feel?

The Canadian soldiers fought in many difficult battles during the Second World War, and one of them was the Defence at Hong Kong.  It was hard for them serving so far away from their families. Sometimes animal mascots travelled with the soldiers such as dogs, cats, and even bears.  It was nice for the soldiers to have a furry friend. The animals were a comfort for the soldiers and often reminded them of home.  

Read aloud [5 minutes]

Share with your youth the handout Remembering Sergeant Gander to help students understand how Canadians served in the Defence of Hong Kong, and that their mascot dog provided comfort and saved some of the soldier’s lives.  Show them the image of Sergeant Gander and point out his dog tag has his name on it.

Talk about how brave the mascot Gander was. Discuss his devotion to the soldiers.

Remembering Sergeant Gander Dot to Dot activity [10 minutes]

Provide the students with a Remembering Gander Dot-to-Dot activity sheet. Once completed, you may wish to display them on the wall in your school, and perhaps you could take a picture and share it on social media, such as the Canada Remembers Facebook page.

Remembering Sergeant Gander Colouring Sheet

If time permits, provide the youth with a Remembering Gander Colouring Sheet. They could as well hang these in the classroom or hallway of your school.

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