Major Charles Ferguson Hoey, VC, MC was a Canadian officer of the British Army who died during the Second World War.
He was born on 29 March 1914, in Duncan, Vancouver Island, the son of Irish-British immigrants Ferguson and Mary Rudyard Hoey (née Simpson), daughter of Major-General Charles Rudyard Simpson. His father initially kept poultry at Cowichan Valley before, in the 1920s, he found employment with the real-estate firm J.H. Whittome & Co.
Hoey displayed an early interest in the military from a young age, volunteering at 16 for the 62nd Field Battery, Canadian Militia. Some three years later, in 1933, Hoey left for Britain, with the intention of joining the British Army. He succeeded in his efforts, entering the ranks of the Queen's Royal West Kent Regiment. He was nominated in 1935 for a place at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from which he graduated and was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment - a regiment which, coincidentally, his grandfather had been a colonel of.
Hoey went to India with his battalion in 1937, where he was stationed on the outbreak of war in 1939. He transferred to the 1st Lincolns in 1942, going onto serve with the battalion in the Burma Campaign against Japan. In March 1943, Hoey received the Military Cross for his conduct during a raid on Japanese positions at Maungdaw. Hoey died on 16 February 1944, at the Ngakyedauk Pass during the Battle of the Admin Box, while leading his company in an attempt to capture a Japanese position. This was achieved, but Hoey was mortally wounded. His actions on the day would be recognised by the awarding of a posthumous Victoria Crosss.
His citation in the London Gazette reads:
"In Burma, on February 16th, 1944 Major Hoey's Company formed part of a force which was ordered to capture a position at all costs.
After a night march through enemy-held territory the force was met at the foot of the position by heavy machine-gun fire.
Major Hoey personally led his company under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire right up to the objective. Although wounded at least twice in the leg and head, he seized a Bren gun from one of his men, and, firing from the hip, led his company on to the objective. In spite of his wounds the company had difficulty in keeping up with him, and Major Hoey reached the enemy strong-post first, where he killed all the occupants before being mortally wounded.
Major Hoey's outstanding gallantry and leadership, his total disregard of personal safety, and his grim determination to reach the objective resulted in the capture of this vital position."
He is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery. His younger brother, Trevor, a lieutenant in the Canadian Scottish Regiment, had died in France during the Battle of Normandy. In his hometown of Duncan a 160-acre park was named in honour of Charles, as was a school.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bosher, J.F. (2010), Imperial Vancouver Island, p. 359-60.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Times (49878), Col D, p. 7: "Personal Tribute". 9 June 1944.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Charles Ferguson Hoey, veterans.gc.ca. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- ↑ The London Gazette (365180). 16 May 1944. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Hoey, Charles Ferguson, cwgc.org. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Major Charles Ferguson Hoey, V.C., M.C., cwgc.org. Retrieved 31 October 2012.