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Is Your Porthole Closed?

Heroes Remember

Is Your Porthole Closed?

I was on duty aboard the ship to go around and see different, make sure at a certain time of night or day when it was starting to get dark, after we had taken off was to go around and make sure the port holes were all closed, no light to be shown and so forth. I can tell you a funny anecdote, one of these nights when I was out checking on port holes and so forth, I’ve talked to the nurse since but she has passed away now. I went up to this one stage room, knocked on the door, no answer. I knocked again because I knew it was a nurses cabin. I knocked the third time and nobody answered so I took my key and I opened the door and as I opened up the door, the door from the shower opened up and there she was standing and I said, “Is your port hole closed?” We both looked at each other and laughed like crazy. We really laughed. We brought that up a few times at reunions when I met her.

Mr. Harrison describes being tasked with making sure all the portholes are secured shut, as the Awatea is beset by a storm. He accidentally enters a nurse's cabin just as she's emerging from the shower. His innocent question leads to a lot of laughter!

George Harrison

George Harrison was born on April 4, 1920 in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was youngest of three children. His father died shortly after his birth, forcing his mother to place him and his siblings in an orphanage, where he was at times badly beaten. Learning this, his mother took her children back home. After completing grade 9, Mr. Harrison went to work to help support his family. Eventually, he gained employment with CPR Telegraph. On September 13, 1939, Mr. Harrison enlisted with Winnipeg Grenadiers, becoming a specialist on the Vickers machine gun. During the battle of Hong Kong, Mr. Harrison was made a sergeant, and was involved in deadly fighting. Along with the general misery and persecution suffered by all of the POWs, Mr. Harrison faced down both blindness and potential amputation of his toes.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Harrison
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Pacific Ocean
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Section Leader

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