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Evacuation to Hong Kong Island

Heroes Remember

Evacuation to Hong Kong Island

Well we thought we’d give it a good battle anyways. We didn’t know whether we’d win or not , of course, we didn’t know what forces were going to be coming against us either. What I remember though we had to go back over to Kowloon. We were mobilized, at least D company was mobilized and we went back across to help the retreat of some of the British soldiers that were coming back from the border. And the Japanese were chasing them and we were supposed to be the rear guard. I didn’t actually see any Japanese but some of the British soldiers that went by us said, “Stay here for five minutes and then get the hell out of here,” and this is what we heard from them, you know, these different limeys and so forth and that. In the position that I was in, it didn’t seem very orderly. We were just supposed to drop back and drop back down to the water and get on these different boats, ferries and so forth to get across. And I can’t really say it was really orderly because there was such confusion and there was rifle shots going off and everything else and there was so much confusion and yelling but the main thing is we got across.

Mr. Harrison is initially involved in a rearguard to protect the retreating British at Kowloon. The rapid Japanese advance forces the Canadians into a very disorderly evacuation to the island.

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
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Section Leader

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