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Escape from High Ground

Heroes Remember

Escape from High Ground

Captain Phillips came along the road way and he said, “Corporal Harrison,” and I said, “Yes sir.” He said, “You are now a sergeant. Two of our sergeants were just killed.” He said, “So now you are a sergeant.” And then we were told to go take off across the hill, as soon as we started to go up the hill sniper fire was terrible so I kept these guys going. We got behind by this big brick and for some reason or other my foot slipped, this big stone, and I slipped and fell down beside it and a bullet right where I was standing, took a chip off the stone and hit this guy that was crawling underneath, Alec Spears (sp) was his name. A piece of a stone hit him in the ass and boy, did he ever move and I went right after him underneath this big rock and we took the situation but we had to keep our heads down because sniper bullets were going above and I said, “Hey, we got to get down the hill again because this place is, we haven't got a chance if we stay up here.” But I got all the five guys down the hill again and we were in this little alcove, we didn’t know what was going on. We were just gonna wait ‘till dark and see what we could do. So we waited there ‘till it was dark and then we started to go see about getting a car to get down the hill. We met an officer on the road and he said, “Well, I have a wounded man here with his jaw shot off, could you put him in the car too?” So we did and we took this car with four flat tires and this fella. I said, “Do you know how to drive?” And he said, “Ya.” I said, “Well, we better see about getting out of here,” and everybody stayed down low because the Japanese had taken over the police station which was just pointing right down the road and every once in a while if anything moved they would just burst a bunch of machine gun fire at us. So away we went and picked up this guy at this curb and put him lying in the car. I don’t know how many we must have had about six or seven people in the car and myself on the hillside and another one on the other side standing on the running boards saying, “Oh, it’s too close to the hill, too close to the wall, too close to the drop, too close...” We went all the way down. I don’t know how many miles we traveled on this car that had four flat tires on it. We were just riding on the rims.

Mr. Harrison is promoted to sergeant on the battlefield, and leads his men, under extreme pressure from the Japanese, to a secure location. After nightfall, he orchestrates an escape to the valley in an old sedan with four flat tires.

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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