Unlike soldiers returning home from fighting in the Second World War in Europe, there were no parades waiting for servicemen who fought in the Pacific theatre.
In November 1945, when the HMSC Ontario finally returned to port in Victoria, only family members greeted René Bertrand and the 1,100 other crewmen who had been away for five years. “It was as if we were a fishing boat that had just come back in,” said Bertrand.
Yesterday, the Canadian military men and women who served in the Far East, were honoured in a ceremony held in the Government Conference Centre to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory in the Pacific.
“I’ve always been disappointed that we were forgotten for many years,” said Art Adams, who served as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 436 Squadron in Burma. “This is the first year that anything has really been done for us.”
Adams said they’ve been lobbying for years for some kind of recognition of the actions of Canadians in the Far East during the Second World War.