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Yokohama Camp

Heroes Remember

We got to Yokohama and we were taken into these barracks built special for us and we had a nice speech from the commander who told us that in no uncertain terms that we were prisoners and that our country had been defeated and that we would never see our country again and so forth, and they made us feel real good and then each one was given a number, I think mine was 370, I think, and that’s the bunk you had, well they weren’t bunks they had platforms and you just slept in a row. There was a straw mat on the platform and I think there was seven men to a platform if I remember rightly and that’s where you slept. But we thought it was great you were given five blankets, this was really good but these blankets were made out of wood, there was no nap to them at all, there was no warmth in them at all and, of course, in the winter sometimes they had snow in the winter, weather very much like Victoria here really but it was pretty cold and the building was just one layer of wood about half inch thick siding on the building and there were gaps in it you could see light out through it and that so there was no warmth in the building at all. There was some pot-bellied stoves in it but we never had any fires in them, there was never any fuel really. A matter of fact one time I think we went three months without any, no hot water, no soap or very seldom had hot water anyway but when you were working in the shipyard you were pretty filthy when you get back and so it was pretty rough but they did have a bath house with a huge tub where you can get 20 or 30 guys to go in it at one time and the idea was, you know, Japanese style you washed yourself off first and then you soaked in the tub and this we thought was great, the only thing was it didn’t last very long because they had no fuel.

Mr. Gerrard describes a threatening welcome by the commandant at Yokohama camp, and then moving into barracks which lacked heat and operational bathing facilities.

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
Royal Canadian Signals Corps

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