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A Promise is Honored

Heroes Remember

A Promise is Honored

We used to, there was a founder across the canal, where our mess shack was and we had a little Chiesa (sp) railway, a narrow gauge railway with little cars on it and periodically the shunter of the train would move in a couple of boxcars and it would be loaded with a white, I called is caustic soda but it's a white compound that is used in foundry for smelting. And we had to shovel that into these little cars and it was put on the puny, on the barge and it would go across the canal on the cable and it couldn't get wet, it had to stay dry. And Kibiason looked up at the sky and it's in July and it's going to rain and he called for a tarpo, “Tarpo, tarpo!” And he got Mac Haws up on one end of the four cars and me at the other and I went the wrong way and he cursed me. In Japanese they can't pronounce d's and sometimes other letters, my name was Arold, and not Harold, but Arold, that's what I had on me in Japanese characters. They said, “Arold, come Arold!”, and we got down and I had a wooden sword in Trenton, exact copy of the one he used, he whacked me on the head and on the cheeks and on the shoulders and then stuck me in the stomach with it. It wasn't a real sword but it's a wooden, one they used for kindle and I went out, passed out and when I come around, we got up, we finished work for the day and going in that night Mac called me up to the front rank with him and he said, “What are you going to do?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You know what the new camp commandant said that if we were mistreated at work he wanted to know.” I said, “I don't know.” So I said, “ I'm leery.” I didn't want another beating. Anyway, we go into camp and after supper Mac went over and told Art Ratch, the interpreter and Major Fellows and they went over to see the camp commandant and they came out. Mac related the story to him and they came over and got me and I went over and I told them the same story Mac told. Well, within two weeks Kibiason was gone and the army called him up.

Mr. Atkinson describes being beaten, against the camp commandant's orders, for making a mistake while working in the Niigata shipyard. The person responsible for his beating disappears from the yard within two weeks.

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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