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The War Ends

Heroes Remember

We went out to work on the morning of the 14th to the dockyards and just after lunch two guards came out and said, “Sinsuarary!” we're going back into camp because we gotta rest, we're going to carry firewood in from the hill behind the camp that the fellas, the sick fellas were cutting firewood on. And back we go. The next morning we got up and we were carrying in logs and my recollection of it is the guards were friendly, they said, “Sinsuarary!” and we used to laugh and we would say ya when, “Sinsuarary, American number one, America Itchibon,” and they'd say, “Hai!, yes America Itchibon!” And this went on so long somebody went over, one of the fellows went over and told Rance and Major Fellows, the American officer in charge of the camp, and they went over to the camp commandants' office and he said, “Yes, the fighting has stopped!” Well the fellows took the camp over right then and there. Disarmed the guards, left them with their rifles but no bayonets and no ammunition The camp commandant felt the civilians, he didn't' tell us about the bombs but he said the civilians might take repercussions against us and he wanted the guards left with their rifles. Well, within two days even the rifles and the guards were gone. We took over the City of Niigata, the area we knew.

Mr. Atkinson describes how the Niigata POWs learned that the war was over; work stopped and the guards disappeared.

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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