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Guarding Internees

Heroes Remember

The Germans and Italians, they lived like kings. They lived like kings, anything they wanted, they got. I can't recall the size of it but we had four corner posts with Lewis guns, we had live ammunition - Lewis guns and about every fifty feet around the perimeter there was a post and about every 15 or 20 minutes the ground crew in the perimeter, you'd shift posts. I recall a fellow by the name of Murray, Jimmy Murray, he lived in Saskatoon. He was on the tower one day and he let loose with the Lewis gun at the German swastika flag that had been put up. The flag never went back up but he got confined to barracks or detention for firing at the flag. But the internees lived like kings, they weren't prisoners of war. The large majority of them were civilians, they were off merchant ships and civilian areas that the British had moved into in Italian Africa - that's just what it amounted to.

Mr. Atkinson describes doing guard duty at an internment camp for German and Italian detainees while posted to Jamaica. .

Harold Atkinson

Harold Atkinson was born on February 14, 1922 in Selkirk, Manitoba. He had three siblings. His father, a First World War Veteran, died when he was nine. His family lived on relief, seven dollars a week, and he helped by delivering papers. He finished grade nine, and then in 1940 enlisted. Mr. Atkinson was eighteen when he joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers. He served in Jamaica, guarding German and Italian nationals at an internment camp. He returned to Canada and then went to Hong Kong with his unit. Mr. Atkinson fought against and was taken prisoner by the Japanese. As a prisoner, he heard several comrades bayoneted to death. Mr. Atkinson worked at Kai Tak airport and in North Point Camp's diphtheria ward. In Omini, Japan he worked as a stevedore at the shipyard. When the war ended, Mr. Atkinson was fortunate enough to be flown home.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Harold Atkinson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

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