freed the Canadian POWs and liberated Hong Kong in 1945
Born in Victoria February 28, 1909, Bill Lore was the first Canadian born Chinese to join the Royal Canadian Navy, and the first Chinese officer in the whole of the British Commonwealth Navies.
He joined the RCN January 1943 at the personal request of Vice Admiral Percy F. Nelles, Chief of Naval Staff, and took his preliminary training at HMCS Montreal, followed by HMCS Cornwallis on the Bay of Fundy.
His naval career took him to Victoria, Washington, D.C., Halifax, England, Burma, Australia, and finally Hong Kong where he was ordered to lead a detachment of marines to take control of HMS Tamar, the British Navy’s shore base on the waterfront.
The date was August 30, 1945. The barracks had been taken over by the Japanese Army for use as a Prisoner Of War camp. When Lieutenant Lore approached the gate, a half dozen armed Japanese guards at first laughed at his orders to open the camp. After a few moments of discussion, the guards relented and the Liberation of Hong Kong began.
In an interview, he reported, “I went into the first building I came to and it was very dark. There were about 40 men in there, Canadians, sitting at tables and so forth. I said, ‘Hi you guys, don’t you want to see a Canadian?’
Then they ran forward and saw my cap badge. Those men were really skeletons. You could see their bones through the skin.
Then they were crying and weren’t ashamed of crying. And finally I cried, too because they were telling me what they had suffered.”