Allan's Website

I was part of the planning committee for the 2007 HKVCA National Convention which was held in Calgary August 15 to 18, 2007. That committee was established in Dec 2005 and for me it was a way to get more involved with the HKVCA following my trip Hong Kong. I created and maintained the website for the convention (it's now off-line) and headed up the committee responsible for the Memorabilia Room.

With the memorabilia room we wanted to create something that would be of tremendous interest to both the convention delegates and the general public and based on the feedback I think we succeeded. As one person put it "The memorabilia room was simply fantastic! The number of people who crowded it at every opportunity is ample evidence of that."

The room included a wide variety of memorabilia items (pictures, news paper clippings, books, medals, uniforms, etc.) like you might have seen at previous conventions but what set this year apart from previous conventions was the room layout and some of the special touches. To start with the room was quite large compared to past conventions and that space was fully utilized. Glass display cases borrowed from the Glenbow Museum and the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary added another dimension to the room and allowed us to safely display irreplaceable items supplied by our convention delegates and the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary. A large video screen and seating area was setup at the far end of the room to draw people into the room and boy did that work! Throughout the convention pictures from the past couple conventions and last few trips to Hong Kong were displayed on this screen along with various documentaries on the Battle of Hong Kong. To our surprise, this video screen not only drew people into the room, but it also kept many of them occupied for hours! Some of the other additions this year included a donation box and guest book. We invited the general public to visit the memorabilia room throughout the convention so the donation box and guest book was a way for them to contribute.

In total nearly 30 individuals supplied content for the memorabilia room. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Military Museums in Calgary supplied the mannequins and the two cases used to display the uniforms at the front and back of the room. They also supplied the uniform on display at the back of the room as well as several items on display in the glass cases throughout the room.
  • Ralph MacLean supplied the uniform on display at the front of the room as well as most of the items in the large display case at the front of the room.
  • Joyce Rollick supplied the overcoat on display at the front of the room near the sales desk as well as many of the items used to fill one of the smaller display cases near the back of the room, all of which belonged to her husband Peter.
  • Ed Shayler supplied most of the items used to fill the large display case at the back of the room. He also supplied his entire collection of information on Hong Kong, which was contained in several of those binders in the middle of the room.
  • Rick Crawley brought in his huge collection of WWII memorabilia and as a special touch Rick even dressed up in his uniform at times throughout the convention.
  • Vince & Stan Lopata brought in the "The story of The Battle of Hong Kong" display that was recently created by the Manitoba Region. It's a professionally built trade show type of display that will allow the Manitoba Region to take "The story of The Battle of Hong Kong" on the road.
  • Ron McGuire brought in his large display on the Postal History of C-Force.
  • Pat Turcotte and the Ontario Region had a display to publicize information on their newly established Essay Contest.
  • Lena Webster from Veterans Affairs Canada had a display to educate veterans, widows, and the general public on the services and benefits they provide, including the VAC website. Lena also supplied material for the booth setup in the hotel lobby which was used to direct people up to the memorabilia room and the other convention activities that took place on the 3rd floor of the hotel.

In the last few days leading up to the convention we decided to extend the hours for the memorabilia room. That was sure the right thing to do. People took every opportunity they could get to spend time in the room. These extra hours made the convention quite hectic for me, but it was well worth to see all the people so interested in what was on display in the room. Whether folks were paging through the large number of binders or scrap books, studying the contents of the display cases, watching one of the documentaries on the large screen, chatting with Vince about his C-Force POW lists to track down a relative, or chatting with any of the other volunteers to learn more about their displays, everyone just seem so interested in the moment.



The memorabilia room was definitely a busy place and we even had a few special guests pass through:

  • Rory M. Cory, Senior Curator / Director of Collections, Museum of the Regiments in Calgary stopped by Thursday afternoon with some of his staff to take stock of what we had on display. Rory is planning to create a one-year temporary display on WWII in the Pacific and would like us to contribute to that with our memorabilia from the Battle for Hong Kong.
  • Mr. Nishimura, Deputy Counsellor General, Japanese Embassy, and 2 of his staff came for a long visit at noon on Friday.
  • Stockwell Day (grandson of Major Bertram Gilbert, RRC) stopped by for a visit before the Memorial Service with his mother Gwen Gilbert Day.