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Camp life and personal batmen

Heroes Remember

Camp life and personal batmen

We were in like in a tropical, or a semi-tropical climate and we had these different type, we all had these little steel push-in beds with these palliasse mats that we piled up on. It was a different system and style then what we're used to in Canada, and then we had mosquito nets over all, hanging down over all our beds on account of malaria from mosquitoes. It was different and it was really an eye opener for Canadian troops because you'd wake up, you wouldn't... you'd be sound asleep and first thing you know, there’s somebody shoving a shaving brush all over your face like that, about an hour before it was time for you to get up, and you'd jump and wonder what was going on there and here was some Chinese guy giving you a shave in bed and here your uniforms were pressed, your boots were all polished and it cost you about 20 cents a month for this stuff, you know. It was amazing to us guys, you know, how cheap and how free it was and to have, you know, a batman for every individual guy as you might put it. It was new and it was kind of hard for us to get on to it to start with because we were all brought up and trained and used to doing things for ourselves but it was quite unique, it was good.

Mr. Flegg describes the sleeping facilities in his camp, and being awakened every morning by a Chinese man who was giving him a shave in bed. His clothing and boots were also looked after by this man for a modest payment.

Aubrey Flegg

Aubrey Flegg was born on October 18, 1917 in Welland, Ontario. His father moved the family to Northern British Columbia when he was three. Mr. Flegg describes living on a “stump farm”, and working from a very early age. Leaving home at sixteen, he trapped in winter and felled timber during warmer months. Mr. Flegg was married with a young family when the war started, but he enlisted out of patriotic duty. He joined Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, and later reinforced the Winnipeg Grenadiers, thinking he would be going to Europe. Instead, Mr. Flegg found himself trying to defend Hong Kong from the Japanese against overwhelming odds. Imprisoned for four years, he survived the ravages of disease, starvation, abuse and forced labor in both North Point and Sham Shui Po Camps and the Oyama mines. Mr. Flegg offers an impassioned story of the Hong Kong experience.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Aubrey Flegg
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

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