Charles Hoey Park in downtown Duncan is named for Major Charles Ferguson Hoey, V.C., (1914-1944), who was born and raised in Duncan, joined the British Army in 1933 and was killed in action in Burma (now Myanmar) on 17 February 1944, while leading an attack on a Japanese position. Major Hoey was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for gallantry during the action in which he was killed.
Here are the local Cowichan Leader newspaper reports on Major Charles Hoey from 1944:
“Major C.F. Hoey, M.C.
DUNCAN OFFICER OF DISTINCTION KILLED IN BURMA
Cowichan has lost a native son who was showing great promise in his chosen profession, that of a soldier. Word was received by his parents on Monday that Maj. Charles F. Hoey, M.C., Lincolnshire Regiment, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson Hoey, had been killed in action in Burma on February 17 .
Born in Duncan on March 29, 1914, Charlie, as he was known to all his friends, was educated at Duncan Grammar School and Duncan High School. He was one of the first five pupils of the Grammar School, was a good all-round athlete and was good at his studies. One of his hobbies was that of amateur naturalist.
He went to England in 1933 and enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment. In 1935 he received nomination to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned in 1937 and posted to the Lincolnshire Regiment.
Charlie went to India and, with the 1st Bn. of his regiment, saw service on the Northwest Frontier. When his regiment joined the 14th Army in 1942 he fought with distinction in Burma, being awarded the M.C. for “gallant and distinguished service in Burma” in leading a raid on Mungdam in July 1943. From time to time he had received promotion, and in gaining his majority at 29 years or age, Maj. Hoey was doing very well.
Besides his parents he leaves one brother, Lt. Trevor F. Hoey, Canadian Scottish, overseas; and one sister, Mrs. J.W. Connor (Priscilla), whose husband WO2 Connor, is a pilot with the R.C.A.F. The sympathy of the district is with the family in their severe loss.”
“Maj. Hoey Awarded V.C., Britain’s Highest Honour
The first Victoria Cross to be won by a Duncan-born soldier is the posthumous award of Britain’s highest honour to the late Major Charles Ferguson Hoey, M.C., Imperial Army, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson Hoey, Duncan, who was killed in action on February 17 .
Announcement was made in the B.B.C. news from London, England yesterday afternoon. Citation for the award has not yet been received here. Parents of the gallant officer had received an intimation that it was to be made.
Born in Duncan in 1914, Maj. Hoey received his early education at Duncan Grammar and High schools. Later he graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England, and was gazetted as lieutenant January 28, 1937. Attached to the 1st Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment he was promoted captain and then major and was awarded to Military Cross for “gallant and distinguished service in Burma.” He was only 29 years old when he attained his majority.
Besides his parents he is survived by one brother, Lt. Trevor F. Hoey, Canadian Scottish Regiment, overseas, and one sister, Mrs. J.W. Connor (Priscilla), whose husband, WO2 Connor, is a pilot with the R.C.A.F.”
(source: Cowichan Leader, March & May 1944 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)
Here are some websites with more information on Major Charles Ferguson Hoey, V.C.: