The blog left off with his heroism being recognized whilst commanding a special unit sent off to capture an enemy soldier, destroy valuable enemy supplies and gain further enemy intelligence. His unit ended up killing or wounding over 2 dozen while his men only suffering one death and two wounds. He also came out of the mission with mailbags full of documents and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.
This action took place in early July 1943 at a place called Maugdaw Burma. (The colony is now called Myanmar.) Maugdaw is marked with the letter "B" above.
Seven months later Major Hoey's regiment was about 175 miles south in the Arakan area of the colony and in a desperate situation at a place called the Ngakedauk Pass. (Marked with the letter "A" above.) Here the British were operating a British post that became famous as the Administration Box due to it being boxed in on all sides by mountainous territory. The Japanese realized what a poor defensive position their enemy was in and daily concentrated the pounding of the British with mortar and artillery fire. They would also conduct raid after raid screaming their terror as they attacked the post, but on most they were repelled.
On one of their better days they managed to attack and take a hospital complex on the edge of the post. Doctors were in mid operations when attacked. The following day the Japanese were driven out and then the horrors discovered. Wounded still lay in their stretchers... slaughtered. The doctors were apparently lined up and all shot. Indian orderlies were taken prisoner and forced to carried wounded Japanese away, and on arrival at their bases, the orderlies were also said to have been murdered.
These actions were supposed to have been a message to the British, but the message they received was anything but terror. The British were now more than ever infuriated with what they found and eager to push on. Into this fell Major Hoey again. He was ordered to sweep the enemy of the high peak of a nearby area known as Point #315, which, because of location, had been causing the British many casualties and damage. Hoey's orders were quite simple. "Take it at all costs."
It was just 2 days after Valentine's Day in 1944 but he did not bring candies and flowers, nor good wishes. Mostly he brought bad. He also brought a company of men with 10 mules carrying mortars, radio supplies and rations for one day. And he brought bren guns and lots of bullets as gifts.
They headed out as the moon rose in a very foggy evening with the hopes of again capturing the enemy off guard. They did so and found many of their foe wrapped in blankets. Warm bullets replaced those blankets. But then reinforcements appeared with concentrated machine gun, mortar and artillery shells. Hoey in the lead, had by then grabbed a fallen comrade's bren gun and was running so fast and shooting it from the hip as he took out soldier after soldier. The rest of his company had a hard time keeping up with him. By the time it was all over he had issued orders for his men to retreat. By that time he was wounded twice... and then an enemy bullet caught him and Hoey's war... and life... instantly came to an end.
A month later, an a special order issued by the regimental Colonel, a report said ... "Let us go into our future battles with confidence and courage that we are better than our enemy. We have recently been sent a very perfect example by Major Hoey. His grim determination, his supreme courage, and his willing self-sacrifice for his cause and his regiment should be an inspiration to all of us."
Major Hoey was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for this bravery. Here is the London Gazette's notification of that award.....
Had Major Hoey lived, he would have attended at Buckingham Palace to be presented with his MC and VC. But this was not to be, despite the fact that Hoey was one of only two Canadians who would earn a VC during actions against the Japanese in WW11.
The image of the Victoria Cross is on the left while the cap badge of his regiment, the Lincolshires is at the right.
Both his MC and VC were forwarded to Ottawa as his mother was to ill to travel. They in turn were forwarded to Victoria BC.
In mid January 1945 an awards ceremony was held at Government House in Victoria. The then Lt Governor, WC Woodward presented several medals, but all eyes were on Mary Hoey as the VC and MC were pinned on her chest. Husband and daughter shared with considerable pride. Pride and grief in the knowledge that unlike others at the ceremony, the Hoey family had suffered not just on a loss... but two. A younger brother...Lieutenant Trevor Ferguson Hoey was serving with the Canadian Scottish and landed at Normandy and died from wounds the next day. (Just two days after the actions that brother Charles would later be awarded the MC for.)
The plaque along the Cowichan River was donated by the Burma Star Association and ends with a very moving request of the viewer. It asks that.... "when you go home, tell them of us, and say that for your tomorrow we gave up our today."
Wow! What words to think about !
I had the privilege of viewing the monuments to the great Canadian heroes several days ago at Hoey Park, encourage you to do the same, and I will bring you more on that that story on Friday.
Cheers till then,