Before the onset of WWII, John volunteered to defend Canada and joined "D" Company of the Royal Rifles of Canada. John and 1,974 fellow Canadians were sent to reinforce the British enclave in Hong Kong in November, 1941. On December 8, 8 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour, a force of approximately 60,000 seasoned Japanese troops attacked Hong Kong with air and naval support. The vastly outnumbered allied forces fought valiantly for 17 days before the British surrendered on Christmas Day, 1941. John survived the battle but was forced to endure over three and a half years as a POW in slave labour camps where the conditions were unthinkable.
Even after experiencing so much hardship as a young man, I will always remember John for his quick wit, good sense of humour and wonderful smile. He always asked how his fellow comrades were doing and his family meant everything to him.
Until the last couple of years of his life, John's strength and fortitude were amazing. I was over 30 years younger than John when we went overseas together in 2005 to attend commemorative services in Hong Kong. It was all I could do to keep up to him and I cherish the memories of our many talks and walks together.
My wife Lucy and I would like to express our sincere condolences to Florence and all the Lowe family at this difficult time. Our lives are so much better as a result of the time we spent with John and we will always remember him.
Rest in peace my friend.
HKVCA Secretary-Treasurer, BC Region