Hong Kong Vets and the Defence Medal

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Hong Kong Vets and the Defence Medal

Dave King
Dave King

August 12th, 2007, 9:22 pm #1

I know from talking to several of the old boys (now alas, gone) that the Hong Kong Vets sought but didn't get the Defence Medal (their point-of-view being that Hong Kong was British soil, and the Grenadiers further felt that Jamaica was, too).

The VACC website give direction that the Hong Kong bar should be worn on the CVSM; What brought this up is that I'm just dealing with one of my old friend's effects, including his medal group: he has the Defence in there, with the HK bar on the ribbon. I'm not going to change the group (hey, it's as he wore them, regardless), but I'm curious.

Thx.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 13th, 2007, 5:34 am #2

Soldiers that went to Hong Kong were in some cases serving in the Army since 1939; some may have served in the UK and thereby qualified for the Defence Medal.
Michael Dorosh
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canadiansoldiers.com
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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

August 14th, 2007, 4:04 pm #3

I know from talking to several of the old boys (now alas, gone) that the Hong Kong Vets sought but didn't get the Defence Medal (their point-of-view being that Hong Kong was British soil, and the Grenadiers further felt that Jamaica was, too).

The VACC website give direction that the Hong Kong bar should be worn on the CVSM; What brought this up is that I'm just dealing with one of my old friend's effects, including his medal group: he has the Defence in there, with the HK bar on the ribbon. I'm not going to change the group (hey, it's as he wore them, regardless), but I'm curious.

Thx.
You've got to be kidding? Typical eh? Its like the Pacific Star for FSSF vets. However I know that while the FSSF were not entitled to the Pacific Star, some actually applied and got them. Others just wore them in spite. I called veterans affairs and they said Kiska fell outside the Pacific theater of war. Last time I checked, it was in the Pacific Ocean. So what if it is US soil, it was completely occupied by the enemy. Anyway the US gave the Asiatic-Pacific medal to their men. Totally political and cheap. What if Kiska had been another Attu? What would the Canadian Govt. do then?

Yes, Hong Kong was obviously part of the British Empire. I would not be surprised if some Bureaucrat in Ottawa totally forgot the fact that we had troops in Hong Kong and after issuing the prerequisite for the DM, refused to admit he or she had made a stupid error. Just another example of the cheap Canadian Govt. I think awarding them the DM would have been a good jesture. Just a little token for enduring hell for over three years ( at least for those that survived ). I mean how long did it take for a Hong Kong Bar to be issued. After decades fighting for compensation, they waited until there are about a dozen left to honour them. Saves em money. An example would be Afghanistan vets getting proper recognition in 2067.
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

August 14th, 2007, 7:14 pm #4

The whole problem with Kiska and the Pacific Star is that Kiska was considered by the Canadian military to be North American territory and the Pacific Star does not apply to operations in North America. This was done in order for the Canadian Army to deploy the 13th Brigade for the recapture of Kiska. The 13th Brigade was a home defence formation which contained a large percentage of NRMA men who were at that time not to be deployed outside of North America. Since Kiska was in North America, the 13th Brigade could then be used for potential combat operations on Kiska which would be classified as 'home defence'.

It is unfortunate as this means that service on the Aleutians for both 1SSF and 13th Brigade does not qualify them for the Pacific Star.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 15th, 2007, 12:51 am #5

You've got to be kidding? Typical eh? Its like the Pacific Star for FSSF vets. However I know that while the FSSF were not entitled to the Pacific Star, some actually applied and got them. Others just wore them in spite. I called veterans affairs and they said Kiska fell outside the Pacific theater of war. Last time I checked, it was in the Pacific Ocean. So what if it is US soil, it was completely occupied by the enemy. Anyway the US gave the Asiatic-Pacific medal to their men. Totally political and cheap. What if Kiska had been another Attu? What would the Canadian Govt. do then?

Yes, Hong Kong was obviously part of the British Empire. I would not be surprised if some Bureaucrat in Ottawa totally forgot the fact that we had troops in Hong Kong and after issuing the prerequisite for the DM, refused to admit he or she had made a stupid error. Just another example of the cheap Canadian Govt. I think awarding them the DM would have been a good jesture. Just a little token for enduring hell for over three years ( at least for those that survived ). I mean how long did it take for a Hong Kong Bar to be issued. After decades fighting for compensation, they waited until there are about a dozen left to honour them. Saves em money. An example would be Afghanistan vets getting proper recognition in 2067.
If you qualify for the Pacific Star, why should you get the Defence Medal for doing the same thing?
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

August 15th, 2007, 3:26 am #6

The whole problem with Kiska and the Pacific Star is that Kiska was considered by the Canadian military to be North American territory and the Pacific Star does not apply to operations in North America. This was done in order for the Canadian Army to deploy the 13th Brigade for the recapture of Kiska. The 13th Brigade was a home defence formation which contained a large percentage of NRMA men who were at that time not to be deployed outside of North America. Since Kiska was in North America, the 13th Brigade could then be used for potential combat operations on Kiska which would be classified as 'home defence'.

It is unfortunate as this means that service on the Aleutians for both 1SSF and 13th Brigade does not qualify them for the Pacific Star.
That's right Ed, that is what I meant by political. It is also a shame the guys in the 13th did not get it either. You know, I still wonder if Allied high command knew the Japanese were not going to be there well in advance. I wonder if they were reading their transmissions ie Purple/Magic. I wonder what the reaction would have been if the 13th had been wiped out on Kiska? The Force was only sent to Kiska for experience. If it was anything like Attu, it may have been their last experience.
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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

August 15th, 2007, 3:38 am #7

If you qualify for the Pacific Star, why should you get the Defence Medal for doing the same thing?
Michael I understand what you are saying. However most other members of the Canadian Army at that time got the DM in addition to the Pacific Star, France & Germany, Italy etc. etc. So I am just saying that if you consider Hong Kong as defending British soil, which at that time it was, they should get it too. They were an amomaly in comparison to other's that served in that, as well as other theatres. That being most others that were sent to India or fought in places like Burma/Malaya did spend just enough time in the UK to get the DM. Apart from the Chinese Canadians sent to Australia's SRD, these were the only veterans outside of Canada, that I can think of at the moment, that did not get the medal. I am just saying that HK should have been an acception. We are not talking a lot of medals here. Its not going to bankrupt Canada.
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Ken Joyce
Ken Joyce

August 15th, 2007, 3:45 am #8

Here are the criteria ie Veterans Affairs Website...it looks as though they were entitled.


Although the medal was usually awarded to Canadians for six months service in Britain between 03 September 1939 and 08 May 1945, the exact terms were: Service in the forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service lasted for three or more years. Service overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that such service lasted for one year, except in territories threatened by the enemy or subject to bomb attacks, in which case it was six months prior to 02 September 1945. Under the terms of this last condition, Canadians serving for one year in Newfoundland were eligible and persons serving for six months in Hong Kong were also eligible. The qualifying period in mine and bomb disposal was three months. Canadians serving in West Africa, Palestine and India, other than operational air crew, qualified for this medal. Those awarded the GC or GM for civil defence received this medal. Home Guard and others in Britain qualified for this medal.

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Clive M. Law - Service Publications
Clive M. Law - Service Publications

August 15th, 2007, 1:11 pm #9

Michael I understand what you are saying. However most other members of the Canadian Army at that time got the DM in addition to the Pacific Star, France & Germany, Italy etc. etc. So I am just saying that if you consider Hong Kong as defending British soil, which at that time it was, they should get it too. They were an amomaly in comparison to other's that served in that, as well as other theatres. That being most others that were sent to India or fought in places like Burma/Malaya did spend just enough time in the UK to get the DM. Apart from the Chinese Canadians sent to Australia's SRD, these were the only veterans outside of Canada, that I can think of at the moment, that did not get the medal. I am just saying that HK should have been an acception. We are not talking a lot of medals here. Its not going to bankrupt Canada.
Canada only has control of the CVSM, all other Second World War medals are controlled by the UK and Canada must be guided by their decision. This was the loophole that allowed Canada to develop the Dieppe and HK clasps when, orignally, the veterans groups wanted campaign stars.
If Britain were to relent and allow for these issues it would mean a major change of policy that would see all Commonwealth servicemen who were taken prisoner given a review for new medal entitlements. If approved the Canadian government would probably not be overly concerned about the incremental cost so that is probably not a factor.
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Well it appears they changed the policy Clive
Well it appears they changed the policy Clive

August 15th, 2007, 3:33 pm #10

Well it appears they changed the policy Clive , ie earlier post. I already voiced how late the Hong Kong Bar appeared. I was very much involved with their veterans association and know that many who fought for such things died well before this bar was provided.
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