The late Jack Hunter, a Second World War veteran, is featured in an exhibit at The Niagara Military Museum.
‘C’ Force – The Hong Kong Story, which opened Saturday, is an initiative of Eugene Labiuk, the museum’s director of research and archives. It is intended as a means of featuring the volunteers of the Niagara Peninsula who served in Hong Kong.
Hunter, a life-long resident of Virgil, served as quartermaster on board the HMCS Prince Robert, which entered Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour in August, 1945, prior to the Japanese surrender. After hostilities ceased, the Prince Robert assisted with returning Canadian prisoners of war from the conflict back to Canada.
“The exhibit is not about glorifying the war, but remembering the sacrifices of the past that have allowed us the freedoms we enjoy today,” said Lt.-Col. Bernard Nehring, past commanding officer of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, at the opening of the exhibit. He expressed appreciation to Labiuk for the seven years of research, culminating in remembering Canada’s military role in Hong Kong.
While researching Niagara’s involvement in Hong Kong, Labiuk came across reference to Hunter’s book, “Quartermaster Jack,” which eventually led him to a conversation with Hunter’s daughter, Laurie Hunter-Rees. Hunter-Rees was excited to loan memorabilia and photos for the exhibit. “Dad always told people, ‘Nobody would be interested in what I did during the war.’ He would be surprised to see the interest today, and the recognition his role had in returning Canadian soldiers home after the war,” she told those gathered for the opening.
Items of Hunter’s on display include his sailor’s hat, with locations and dates of where the Prince Robert sailed, and photos — some issued by the Royal Canadian Navy, and others from his personal collection.
The exhibit will be on display until April 2020, at the Niagara Military Museum on Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls. Following that, the exhibit will be on tour to various locations.
Hunter died peacefully at his home in July 2017, and was laid to rest at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Lakeshore Cemetery.