Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 05, 2012 10:56 ET

Minister MacKay Salutes the First Ethnic Chinese-Canadian to Join the Royal Canadian Navy

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 5, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today expressed his condolences over the passing of Lieutenant-Commander (Retired) William Lore on September 22, in Hong Kong at the age of 103. Mr. Lore was the first Canadian-born Chinese to join the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and also the first person of Chinese descent to serve in any of the British Commonwealth navies.

"Mr. William Lore's drive and determination to serve his country and to achieve recognition of Chinese Canadians as full members of Canadian society serve as a wonderful example to all of us and show that we all can make a difference." said Mr. MacKay. "As a sailor, Lieutenant-Commander Lore made Canada proud."

On hearing the news of his passing, Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander RCN and the Canadian Forces (CF) Champion for diversity said, "Although it may not have been his intent, he was a hero to many others as he led the way in helping making the CF a more diverse organization and Canada a more accepting society."

Mr. Lore was born in Victoria, BC in 1909. In 1943, at the personal request of Vice-Admiral Percy F. Nelles, Chief of Naval Staff, he joined the RCN along with many other young Chinese Canadians.

In 1945, Mr. Lore was assigned as an intelligence staff officer for Rear-Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt, the commander of the fleet that sailed into Hong Kong harbour upon Japan's surrender in August 1945. Then Sub-Lieutenant Lore was the first officer ashore where he led a platoon of marines to take control of British station His Majesty's Ship Tamar, the shore base. He subsequently led his troops to free the Canadian, British and Hong Kong prisoners from the Sham Shui Po camp. Sub-Lieutenant Lore was present during the official handover of the colony and the surrender of the Japanese forces, on September 16, 1945, in Hong Kong.

He subsequently rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in the RCN. Following the war, he took a law degree at Oxford University, eventually setting up his practice in Hong Kong.

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