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Ration Issues

Heroes Remember

When I say rice it could have been a mixture of rice, it could have been a mixture of rice and barley or whatever but the ration was slim. We got a bowl of that or a cup of that cooked twice a day and green watery soup. By this time the Japanese were paying the Canadian, all the Canadian officers the equivalent of the Japanese rank. If we were working we got paid ten cents a day and we don't begrudge the fact that officers got paid. This isn't the reason I feel this way but there was a commissary would come in and they could buy whatever they wanted in that commissary, why, because they were being paid. But it was the other rations and I'll put it this way. If there was any beef at all came into the camp, the Grenadiers got the water it was cooked in and some of our officers got sliced beef , and any number of our fellows will admit it but they were not all like me, they won't speak out. Dr. Crawford and Reid and Grey and Banfield went after the officers of both regiments to provide a mess fund, this was in, this would be in July of ‘42. There was a large number of us were suffering badly from dysentery, we lost a lot of weight. I weighed about 110 lbs. and to provide a little extra mess, now what that meant, they put a tent up and at noon hour those of us that were getting this extra got a gruely rice with sometimes corn beef in it or sometimes something but that helped save my life, I'm positive of that.

Mr. Atkinson describes North Point's meager rations, made worse for the lower ranks because their own officers were skimming the better food for themselves. He describes how the regiment's doctors interceded to obtain better provisions for the rank and file soldiers.

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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