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The Final Battle, Part 3

Heroes Remember

The Final Battle, Part 3

We ended up at a gully and some of the fellows started up and the Japanese were already there below us at Stanley Gap, this is just above Wong Nai Chong Gap and they were nowhere near Stanley where the rifles were but this is a spot called Stanley Gap and it was a British anti-aircraft position. Earl Till and I, Earl was my number... I took a Bren gun over. Earl Till and I were on, it was a half circle, a half moon shaped ridge, crest and Earl Till and I were on one edge and Osbourne where he was with the other gun were on the other corner, other end of the ridge. And we heard the grenades, and one thing I missed, when somebody yelled “Grenades!” everybody ducked and I pulled my helmet over my head and number two on a Bren gun lays on his back and puts the magazines on, on the Bren gun. And I heard Till give a groan and a grenade went off and Earl Till gave a groan and I said, “Till, what's wrong?” He said, “I think I'm hit!” And he had a hunk of a grenade go in his stomach. Well, we put his field dressing kit on it as best we could and by this time we had no more Bren gun ammunition, it was all gone. And very little rifle ammunition and Major Gresham I guess with the number of wounded we had figured discretion was the better part of valor, some of them wanted him to wait until dark, complete dark and we would get out and he said, “No, if we do that we're going to have to leave those wounded,” because they couldn't walk. And Major Gresham walked up the ridge waving his white hankie and they shot him, killed him and it wasn't long after that, I guess they realized they come around and disarmed us and took us prisoner.

Mr. Atkinson describes being attacked at a defensive position on the Stanley Reservoir. Because of his unit's mounting casualties, his officer decides to surrender. He is shot to death despite showing the white flag of surrender.

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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