A few Chinese Canadian families paid the ultimate price for loyalty to Canada: they lost their children to war. Some waited months, even years, to find out what happened to their sons. Most never had the money to visit the graves of their children, buried in some far-off land.
Mrs. June Hong of Windsor, Ontario had eight children. She ran a restaurant and supported a blind husband. Although not considered a full citizen, she was loyal to Canada. Three of her boys enlisted. She bought Victory Bonds and encouraged her children to do the same (shown here in an undated Windsor Star newspaper clipping).
On May 23, 1944, Mrs. Hong’s life was shattered. Her son, Flying Officer Joseph Hong (21), went missing after a night bombing mission over Alnecon, France. She waited over a year before the RCAF determined what happened to his plane. Joseph was buried at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, near Caen, France. The inscription on his headstone reads “Union Of A Chinese Heart With A Canadian Spirit.”
Six months later, September 8, 1944, Mrs. Hong’s younger son George (19), was killed in Italy. Serving in the West Nova Scotia Regiment R.C.I.C., his war records do not indicate how he died, but he appears to be the only one from the regiment who was lost that day. George’s body rests at Ancona War Cemetery near Ancona, Italy.
The personal effects of every soldier Killed in Action were sent back to his family.
The list of Joseph’s items included a $40 typewriter, a rosary and cross, and a book entitled Sexual Knowledge.
Among George’s personal effects that were returned to his grieving mother: a certificate for Victory Bonds he had bought with his own money.
Read more about Joseph Hong’s last flight: