Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Building Dedicated to Hong Kong Hero Ronald Routledge

In late 1997, I wrote an article for Canadian Military History Magazine about (Sergeant Ronald Routledge), who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for courage while he was a prisoner of war of the Japanese in Hong Kong. I had long forgotten about it. I was therefore quite surprised by news that I received during a book signing at Indigo Kingston on November 13. Someone who bought a copy of my book, a retired member of the Canadian Forces, had just attended a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Kingston for the dedication of a building to the memory of Ronald Routledge as part of the Forces Communications and Electronics School. Ronald Routledge had passed away by now, but his son had been invited to attend the ceremony.

This news took my thoughts back to 1998. That summer, I received a telephone call from a Signals Corps veteran who gave me some praise for the article, mentioning that he had known Ronald in the post-war military, but no one had known he had won the DCM. The caller told me that Ronald had been invited to be on the saluting stand for the march past during the Signal Corps annual reunion at Kingston and he invited me to join them. Unfortunately, I could not make it up and regretted missing seeing the honour paid to Ronald Routledge that day. However, with the dedication of Routledge Hall, perhaps I might have some satisfaction from the thought that my article in 1997 may have helped bringing this well-deserved honour to this unassuming but courageous soldier.

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