To the Editor,
Re: Defending Empire is blind devotion, Letters, March 10.
I served in three royal navies from 1933 until 1949. Mostly our job was to show the flag, help keep the peace, settle disputes, help in disasters like earthquakes, etc., with a couple of exceptions.
In 1935, 1936 and 1938, the Royal Navy was actively engaged in saving lives, supplying food and evacuation of women and children away from the war zone. In Palestine we tried to keep the two sides from killing one another, and lastly the war in China.
All these events we were neutral, but we helped try to save lives where possible until 1939 when I was on our China station,and our captain told the crew that we were at war with Germany.
Thousands of young men and women from all over the British Empire came to help the mother country keep her promise to Poland which was attacked by Germany, and as most people know that war lasted six long years. The German forces had overrun most of Europe and had started to murder people. The Japanese forces too had captured many places in the Pacific. Several times we came very near defeat, but finally the war was over in Europe and toward the end of 1945 my ship HMAS Quality led the combined fleets of U.S.A. and British Pacific fleets into Tokyo harbour to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces.
If we had lost the war, people in the civilized world would be speaking German or Japanese,and you would have a German or Japanese puppet government, and required to attend their victory parade down your main street, and we would all be required to work at slave labour for the victors.
Without the valiant effort in lives and property of the British Empire you would not be able to hold any parade except one allowed by your captors so this effort of the Nanaimo city council to not allow the Empire Days group to parade using their honoured name ‘Empire’ stinks.
Victor Osbornevia e-mail