Remembrance Day Speaker Series and Display

Please join us for a series of talks in honour of Remembrance Day, sponsored by Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library.

A trench bridge (World War I 1914-1918 British Press photograph collection, BC_1763_0955)

A trench bridge (World War I 1914-1918 British Press photograph collection, BC_1763_0955)

Tragic Bravery: Canada and the Battle of Hong Kong
November 4, 2016
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Cameron Cathcart, President of the Royal United Services Institute – Vancouver Society (RUSI) and director of Vancouver’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at Victory Square

When asked if he thought the British Colony of Hong Kong could be defended against an invasion by the Japanese in 1941, Winston Churchill replied, “not the slightest chance”. This prediction forms the background to the fatal decision by Ottawa 75 years ago to send Canadian troops into the maelstrom that became known as the Battle of Hong Kong. As the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong approaches, Cameron Cathcart will provide an overview of the battle, its aftermath, and delve into the personal lives of the brave Canadians whose lives were changed forever.


Canada’s Secret Sailors: Asian Crewmen and Canadian Vessels in the Indo-Pacific Theatre
November 8, 2016
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Clifford J. Pereira, FRGS, Independent researcher, curator, and museum consultant

Based on research gathered over the last two years from national, provincial, and naval archives in Canada, Australia, and the U.K, Clifford J. Pereira will tell the forgotten story of hundreds of non-resident Asian seamen on vessels of the Canadian Pacific Railway deployed by the British Admiralty in the Pacific and Indian Oceans during the First World War.


Remembering the Great War with Canadian Writers and Artists
November 10, 2016
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Sherrill Grace, OC, FRSC, Professor Emerita of English and University Killam Professor

While Canada has been surprisingly low key about commemorating the Great War since 2014, we do have a wealth of artistic material that does important work in reconstructing and remembering the war. Dr. Sherrill Grace will consider how Canada remembers the war, and why it is important to do so, focusing on works by Canadians writing about the war from a late-20th century perspective.

Sailors and Chinese labourers aboard the C.P. R.M.S. Empress of India (Chung Collection, CC_PH_02426)

All three talks are located in the Lillooet Room (301) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. The talks are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with the talks, a special display, Empires and Empresses at War, will be featured in RBSC’s Chung Collection exhibition room from November 4-November 30, 2016. The display, curated by Clifford J. Pereira, with curatorial assistance from Katie Sloan, showcases the importance of Canadian shipping vessels and the role of Asians and Asian-Canadians serving on Canadian vessels during World War I.

For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at 604 822-2521 or

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