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Pigs and Tigers

Heroes Remember

The last few months we were there, the Japanese commandant had been raising a pig for pork using our rations. So as soon as we found out the war was over, that pig was doomed, of course. So about two o’clock in the morning there’s a heck of a squealing going on and this old friend of mine that I had mentioned had been cooking with me on the ship going up. He knew how to butcher hogs because he had been raised living on a farm. So that hog got done in. Everybody woke up in the middle of the night and this squealing going on and they butchered that hog and boiled it up for breakfast. Apparently the camp commandant was madder than hell but there was nothing he could do at that point. Although about that day or a day or two later we were getting some supplies because the American Army were dropping stuff, even their own these Grumman Hellcats from a carrier fleet would come over and they were a single person fighter so what they had to do was they would tie the packages on the butt of the wings and the guy would come over low enough til he was just clipping the tops of the pine trees because no spare parachutes or anything and he would have to open the hood of his aircraft, put one foot out on the wing and take his knife and cut the bindings and let the packages fall down into the camp. And we had parcels that hadn’t even been opened, parcels from home to their own men - Christmas cakes, all kinds of cigarettes, stuff like that.

Mr. Gyselman describes the butchering of the camp commandant's pig, and having boiled pork the following morning. He also describes the daredevil delivery of supplies by Americans flying single seater Grumman Tigers.

Harry Gyselman

Harry Gyselman was born on February 11, 1920 in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. His father left the insurance business to farm, but went broke during the depression. After his father’s death, Mr. Gyselman worked odd jobs to support his family. Initially interested in joining the Air Force, he opted to join a friend who was enlisting with the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Mr. Gyselman was a truck driver during the battle of Hong Kong, and was in the POW camp in Niigata, Japan when the war ended. He has the distinction of being the first Canadian POW to reach mainland North America after the war.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
October 10, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Harry Gyselman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Truck Driver

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