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Doing what Must be Done for Remembrance

Heroes Remember

Doing what Must be Done for Remembrance

Interviewer: Mr. Ewing, how do you feel toward the Canadian government that sent you to Hong Kong in the first place? Well, I think they should have done a little bit of studying. They, they made a mistake, there is no doubt about it and they, but at, I suppose at that period of the war there were many other things that were demanding their attention and, they didn't do their, their homework, but I don't, you know, I, as I said, I'm sure they made a mistake. Unfortunately, the, their results of that mistake were, were that we were prisoners for the length of time we were. But, I don't condemn Mackenzie King, who was, nor his cabinet. And, and I'm sure one of the reasons that our regiment was, was picked to go to Hong Kong was the fact that Chubby Powers was in the, was in the cabinet and his son was, was in, in the Royal Rifles and they wanted, he wanted to get where the action was, so I'm sure that that's, but, so it's all past and gone and I don't feel any animosity towards the government for making that decision. Interviewer: Is it important to you, Mr. Ewing, that other Canadians come to have an appreciation and an understanding of what you men went through? Well, that's the reason I am here, because I do think that. Originally, when I was approached about being interviewed, I said "No," I didn't think that I had anything to add to what you probably knew. But then I was asked by the legion in Kentville to see, go around to some of the schools and, and answer, give them a short talk on Hong Kong and the, the part that Canada played in the defence of Hong Kong, and there was so, even among the teachers, there was so little knowledge of what actually transpired that, that when I was approached again about interviews, I said, "Yes, I will do it." Interviewer: When you think back on your involvement and that of the members of C-Force, "C" Force, the Winnipeg Grenadiers, and the Royal Rifles of Canada, in the battle of Hong Kong, and in the subsequent captivity, when you think about those men that you served with, that are your comrades, what do you think of when you think of them? Well, I, first of all I guess that I am, that I'm very, a very fortunate person. I really shouldn't be here, I really should probably against all, it's against all odds that I am here, but, and I also think of, you know, in a way the wasted lives, the, of those who didn't make it. I knew, of course, many of the ones who were killed, some of them were very good friends. So, I think that the way they were and sometimes even wonder what they would have, what they would have come to, you know, had they survived. Interviewer: Are you proud of them? Yes, I think so. I, yes, I would say they did what they had to do, what they were capable of doing. It may not have seemed to be very much, may not have affected very much but they, they did what they had to do.

Mr Ewing holds no grudge towards the government that blindly sent him in a hopeless situation and explains what he does to make sure it does not happen again.

Kenneth Alexander Ewing

Kenneth Ewing was born in 1925, the 4th oldest of 12 children. His father was a civil engineer for the province of New Brunswick which enabled them to manage fairly well during the Depression. His father was a Lieutenant in the First World War and signed up as an engineer in the Second World War from 1942 to 1945. Mr. Ewing quit school in Grade 10 at the age of 15 to join the army. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to join the Merchant Navy and joined the militia in the spring of 1940. He then joined the N.B. Rangers (militia). In November 1940, he went active with the Royal Rifles. He did his basic training in Botwood, Newfoundland, guarding the port. He did further guard duty in Botwood, Gander, and St. John's, Newfoundland, Valcartier, Quebec, and Saint John, New Brunswick. He was posted to Hong Kong as a rifleman in "A" Company. He was taken POW and sent to a slave labour camp in Japan where he endured beatings, disease, and very poor living conditions but considered himself lucky since other Canadians had been executed.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Kenneth Alexander Ewing
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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