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The Final Battle, Part 1

Heroes Remember

The Final Battle, Part 1

We knew if they ever landed on the Island we were going to be in for a tough fight and it wasn't going to last too long, you could see that. Noon hour, the 18th they moved two of our sections out of pillbox two and three up on the lower slopes of Jardine's lookout and we all ended up back in pillbox one right at the top of the gap and it would be about, oh I guess seven o'clock. It was getting dark and one of our company runners came up and we were told we had to go and guard the Wong Chong reservoir. And I guess about ten o'clock it would be, the runner came up and Ed Mitchell had to go down to company headquarters and we went down to see Bowman and he came back up and he said we're leaving one section here and the other two sections were moving up to Stanley Gap, we're going to meet up with A-Company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, they were going up to Mount Butler. And we had a Chinese guide. And we wandered the slopes and at daybreak the next morning we were on the lower slopes of Jardine's lookout and no Chinese guide, he had disappeared and we never knew any part of that country at all. And as it got lighter, Tippy McCorrester from Portage, La Prairie whispered that there are shrubs down there moving. Now that part of the country, the Chinese even dug up the roots for firewood and when you see it today, it's unbelievable the amount of vegetation and tree growth but in that time it was very little in those hills and Mitchell, he pointed it out to young Mitchell and Mitchell called for fire power and everybody let go, I don't know whether we got them or not but what I will say here when I had to fire and knowing I was shooting at a human, I wet my pants. Shooting rabbits when I was a kid was a cinch and I was a good shot but I had never aimed at another human being before and I knew I was going to be.

Mr. Atkinson describes his unit's movements around Wong Nai Chong reservoir as the battle begins. A scout identifies camouflaged enemies advancing towards them, and the officer gives the open fire order. Mr. Atkinson admits to ”wetting his pants” when faced with having to fire at another human being.

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
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

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