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Signs the War is Ending

Heroes Remember

Signs the War is Ending

The first people we met, then the message came through that we were to remain in our camp, that this would be the best way that they would find us because if everybody started wandering back and, of course, our transportation was nil out of that valley so we stayed there as we were told and the first people we saw of our own, were two Canadians from the Intelligence Department and they had been wandering up through the country and I guess hunting for us and this sort of thing. Of course, we all cheered them and that and they were quite nice guys. They sat down there and they talked to us for a long time and told us what went on in the war and what the government was doing and what different elections they had and this sort of thing and brought us up to date. They didn’t stay long, they were only there for a couple of hours I guess and then they were on their way but they gave us hope, we knew there was still life out there and it really cheered us up tremendously. We had nothing to celebrate with really but we had noticed there was a cow down, a little ways down the mountain so some of the guys went down to get the cow and the Japs said that they had to go through a certain ritual before you could kill a cow but the cook didn’t have the time so I’m afraid the cow didn’t last very long so that was the first good meal of meat we had had for a long time. We had instructions by radio to paint POW on the roof of the buildings so the planes could find us and it wasn’t long before planes started dropping supplies. This became a bit of a hazard too. They would fill two barrels welded together, they would fill it with supplies and then maybe they would get several of these on a wooden platter and then drop it out of the bomb bay. They had parachutes on them but some of them broke loose from the parachutes and they came down like bombs I’ll tell you, some of them drifted for miles into the mountains and we went chasing some of them but a lot we never got but they used to come every other day and it was sort of a feast one day, famine the next. Once you got a few canned goods there was no way you could go back to eating that Jap food I’ll tell ya. It was really good. We’d get the Japs to come with us and help us carry the food back down the mountain and we’d offer them something but they were told they weren’t to take anything from us but we did give them the parachutes and it was amazing before we left to see some of the outfits they made with those parachutes because they were different colors and it was quite good.

Mr. Gerrard talks about how the men's spirits are buoyed by the arrival in camp of Canadian intelligence officers, who indicate the war is over. To celebrate, the men slaughter a cow found nearby and have their first real protein in almost four years. He describes the American food drop and donating the parachutes to the local Japanese who make clothing from them.

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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