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Heroes Remember

The day before the surrender I was sent back up to Wan Chai Gap, each time we set up we got strafed with planes and so we would keep ourselves separated and just run messengers back and forth. Then things were going okay until all of a sudden it seemed to get a little quiet. There was nobody coming around, so one of the fellas, there was three of us, so one of the fellas went out to check on it and when he went down and looked down at the headquarters, there was Japs walking through there so here we were sort of behind the lines again. So we made our way back around the roads, trouble is, you know, we didn’t have any maps, surprising enough we came around over the hill and went down the road to try and locate where we were going and then here we recognize where the Victoria barracks was just around the corner so we were right back where we started again. We walked in there and they were just preparing for the last attack and these were the people the Japs we just left were ready to come over the hill down on the barracks. And the barracks was made of five buildings and they were up the side of a hill and they put me in the top building and, of course, we were told there was no backing up if you tried to come back, you’d just run into the fire from the building below you so that was it. And a comical thing I remember is all through this fighting I’d see guys running around, usually officers running around and they’d have these two bottles in wicker, you know, like the Chinese made wicker things that held two bottles and I never gave it a lot of thought to what it was, and here when we’re up in this barrack block ready to go and our captain came up and he said, “Would you like a shot of rum before...,” and I said, “So that’s what’s been in these bottles all along!” Anyway, we were already there and that's when the order came through for the surrender.

Mr. Gerrard describes being strafed by Japanese fighters and having to fall back to Victoria Barracks. The men are deployed to posts in all five levels of the barracks in anticipation of a Japanese assault, but the surrender of the colony pre-empts any further fighting.

Horace Gerrard

Although born in England on January 19, 1922, Mr. Gerrard's family emigrated to Red Deer, Alberta where his father died when he was six years old. Once he was old enough, he hunted game to help feed his family as well as cutting wood for heat. Mr. Gerrard left school after grade nine, working at odd jobs. He joined the 78th Field Battery as a reserve when he was sixteen. He later joined the permanent force in 1939 with the 5th Heavy Battery. Eventually Mr. Gerrard joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, with whom he served in Hong Kong. He worked with both British and Canadian battalions during the Battle of Hong Kong, before being taken prisoner by the Japanese.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Horace Gerrard
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Royal Canadian Signals Corps

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