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The Final Battle, Part 2

Heroes Remember

The Final Battle, Part 2

Mitchell pointed to a ridge and he said, “Let's get over that ridge,” and we've got some cover but we didn't know what was on the other side. Well he looked at his map again and he spotted Mount Butler and he said, “Now let's go down this valley and we'll find A-Company over there somewhere.” We met up with them about 10 o'clock in the morning and a part of A-Company had already been up Mount Butler and had been driven off, that's where Osbourne was and we met them on a ridge overlooking the Tai Tam reservoir and when you looked over the edge you looked across at the red sandy soil on the other side of that water, there was thousands of Japanese over there and unknown to us we had hundreds of Japanese below us and we were on a ridge and grenades came over and we threw grenades back and some of our grenades came back at us and there was no primers on them, that's when we found out that some of them weren't primed. And I guess about four o'clock Major Gresham, the position was hopeless and Major Gresham called the officers over and they decided we would pull back down the valley to get back to Wong Nai Chong to D-Company, we didn't know what was behind us and we started out and called in the Brens that were out on the edges of the sections and we lost Charlie Smith on one Bren gun and his second man, the man that put the magazines on for him and we ended up, we left that area and we went back towards Wong Nai Chong Gap and two of the men were carrying Captain Tarboth, Lial Tarboth, he had been wounded, stomach wound and he was losing a lot of blood and he had told them then, he said, “Put me down on these rocks,” he said, “I'm not going to make it and I've got my revolver if I need it.” And they left him.

Mr. Atkinson recalls the sight of thousands of Japanese waiting to advance, while at the same time engaging in a grenade fight with an advancing enemy. He describes the loss of a Bren gunner and his No. 2, and having to abandon a badly wounded officer during their retreat from a hopeless position.

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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