Of the 14 that first year, that's where Charlie fitted in. He'd been born to a poultry business family, but by then in the real estate profession. The boy only had two years here to grasp such concepts before he moved on to the local grammar school and then to high school. Pride, faith in these schools and service all seemed to come easily to Charlie who would excel in those earliest years in scholastics as well as sports. He'd excel at cricket and rugby and even tennis. He'd also try his hand at scouting and hiking..and then there was a three year stint in the militia in his home town Duncan BC, some 60 miles north of the provincial capital at Victoria.
His militia service saw him soldiering with an artillery unit called the 62nd Field Battery. A unit that would later be amalgamated will the well know, respected and famous Canadian Scottish Regiment of today.
In 1934 Charlie obviously had a lot of faith in himself. The founders of Queen Margaret's had to have been so proud. Here he was about to head of on another hiking trip that would take him all the way to England and self faith enough to join up with the Regular Army. And that's exacly what he did. He signed up with the Queen's Royal Kent Regiment. Within a year Charlie had won a cadet scholarship to The Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In December of 1936 Charlie graduated from RMC, was commissioned and from then on was known as Lieutenant Charles Hoey. He would be immediately posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. A unit well known to Charlie. His mother's father was its commanding officer for 25 years, and was probably still serving when he joined up.
After Charles graduated he was allowed a quick furlough back to Canada in late December of 1936. Soon back on the job, he would find himself and his unit sailing off to India.
Charles, possibly in his military uniform in the late 1930's or very early 1940's. One wonders if he every saw the image on the right. It was taken in 1942 and is of the girl guides at his old kindergarten school, Queen Margaret's, and they are sorting out metals gathered for the war effort.
In 1942 the Japanese invaded the British self ruled colony of Burma, now known as Myanmar, and indicated with the letter.."A" above. It was a very long 13,000 miles away from Charlie's hometown of Duncan BC, and marked with the "B" above.
By this time he had been promoted to that of an Acting Major and was the officer in command of B Company of his regiment.
In July of 1943 Major Hoey's company was sent on a highly secret mission to capture military intelligence in the village of Maugdaw located in the north eastern corner of the Bay of Bengal, and marked with an "B" above.
Hoey was to destroy military supplies and capture a prisoner for military interrogation. It was a week long job, aided by the local guerilla forces, and involved the floating of his troops along a river on sanpans. But one of these collapsed in the heavy rainy season. Another recce group got lost, and the company also had a sentry discharge his weapon by mistake, and thus alerting any in the area of their approach.
But nevertheless, Hoeys men did managed to sneak in and start to destroy supplies but about 9 Japanese, stunned by the surprise, came out and were quickly killed. Others soon joined in the fray but Hoey's men managed to kill or wound over 2 dozen enemy, and gathered a supply of mail bags containing rich intelligence info and made their escape despite becoming engaged in heavy Machine Gun battles, the raining down of mortar and the eventual withdrawal when the Japanese brought down artillery fire on them. Hoey's company only had one death and two wounds. His actions were immediately praised by his superiors who noted that it was one of very few bright spots in the campaign to date.
Major Hoey was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in the mission. Here is the brief London Gazette notice...
Most Gazette entries regarding MC awards simply give the names and dates of event but often provided no further details.
But the London Gazette was not finished with Charles Hoey just yet. More of that on Wednesday next.
See you then.