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Work in the Yokohama Shipyard

Heroes Remember

Work in the Yokohama Shipyard

I was putting the ships together, erecting the ships as they built them, all the steel work. I think there was 150 fellas in our gang when we started and we were down to 30 by the time we left there and they all had to be put on a lighter type of work, this was just too heavy for them, a lot of them, you know, they are all getting weaker all the time. But we sort of made the best of it at work, we got our Jap boss we had we sort of convinced him that we could do better work if we were left on our own, without other Japs with us because we were continuously getting in fights with them and so forth, so the boss finally did and we did enough work so that he sort of left us alone. He would come and tell us what he wanted done and we would do it and it gave us a chance that if somebody wanted a chance to take off and try and steal something or, you know, this sort of thing that we could cover up for him and he could do that and it made it a little easier. I mean the work was still hard and you still had to do so much or you wouldn’t get away with it.

Mr. Gerrard puts the attrition rate of his shipyard crew at eighty percent. The Canadians are eventually separated from the Japanese laborers, with whom there is constant conflict, and achieve a level of effort that is satisfactory.

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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