The officers of the Royal Rifles of Canada launched a recruitment campaign in Eastern Quebec and Northern New Brunswick in the summer of 1940. Fifty-three young men from the Cascapedia Bay area, eager for adventure, employment, and an opportunity to serve their king and country, responded to the call. Training took them to Quebec City, Valcartier and Sussex, Botwood, Gander and St. John’s Newfoundland. Ultimately they were ordered to the defence of Hong Kong in the late fall of 1941.
This Identification Tag was worn by RFM Clement Cyr while he was a prisoner of war in Japan from 1941 until 1944. He was one of 2, 000 soldiers who served in the defence of Hong Kong. He was part of a forgotten generation of Canadians who learned first hand the horrors of war.
Clement Cyr was born in New Richmond in the province of Quebec. He was the son of Malvina and Adelard Cyr. In 1939, in his early twenties, Clement enlisted in the Royal Rifles of Canada along with his two brothers and many friends from New Richmond. He was sent to Hong Kong to defend the island against the Japanese troops. After spending three years and eight months as a prisoner of war, he died of food poisoning shortly after liberation. He never returned to Canada; his body will forever remain in the foreign land where he served and died.