Major Charles Ferguson Hoey ( March 29, 1914 – February 16, 1944 ) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Hoey began his education at Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan, BC, then attended Duncan Grammar School and Duncan High School. In 1933, he went to England to pursue a career with the army. First, he enlisted in the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, where he won a cadetship to the Royal Military College in Sandhurst ( he began his studies in 1935 and graduated in 1936 ). Upon graduation, Hoey joined the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. It was while he served with this Regiment in Burma during WWII that he earned the Victoria Cross.
On February 16, 1944 near the Ngakyedauk Pass, Arakan, Burma, Major Hoey’s company came under devastating machine-gun fire; Hoey did not waver in his advance on the objective. Although he suffered head and leg wounds, he went forward alone, having seized a Bren gun from one of his men, and personally cleared the enemy strong post before being mortally wounded.
The citation reads as follows: “In BURMA, on the 16th February, 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 machine gun fire. Major Hoey personally led his company under heavy machine gun and rifle fire 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 into 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.”
Major Hoey’s medal is displayed at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln, England.