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The Road to Captivity

Heroes Remember

The Road to Captivity

They took wrist watches, they took our wallets, pictures, they wouldn't leave us anything. And they marched us down hill, we had our hands up and if you dropped your hands at all they pricked you in the back with a bayonet. Luckily, I, it didn't happen to me. They marched us down this slope, this road to a position at Stanley Gap where the British had their anti-aircraft positions. We had a Métis from St. Laurent, Manitoba, Leo Deslauriers, and he was about six foot five tall and Oscar Goodwin was a little shorter than me. And as they were marching us down with our hands up they pulled Deslauriers and Goodwin out, we never saw them again but we heard them all night. They had to be using them for, whenever a Jap walked back like we'd see them do, shoving bayonets in them just for, fleshing their steel as they would call it. We never saw either Goodwin or Deslauriers again. And they put us in, I call it a large garage building. It would be maybe 30 feet long and 20 feet wide. And we would number maybe there was no more than 50 men, if there was that. And we got jammed in there and Stan Beatty and I got in the corner and there was a bench along the wall and we stood on the bench in the corner and people, they kept shoving people in and Stan remarked to me, he wondered where his brother Art was and I said, “Ya and I'm wondering about Ronnie too,” and all of a sudden down below me I heard, “Harold, is that you?” It was my brother right below me.

Mr. Atkinson describes being marched to Stanley Gap by the Japanese. During the march, two men are pulled from the line, and are later tortured within earshot of the other prisoners. That night Mr. Atkinson has an unlikely reunion with his brother.

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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