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Close Quarter Fighting and Fear of Reprisal

Heroes Remember

Close Quarter Fighting and Fear of Reprisal

Well those final days we were up there at the Aberdeen reservoir and finally we got there one night and we were hand to hand fighting with them. My ears heard some noise down there, I told the guys there was something down there, so a couple of us went and we had hand grenades and we pulled the pins, and there's two or three of us and I said we'll count, “one, two, three” and at three we tossed them down there into that ditch. You should've heard the (inaudible) and the screaming coming out of that ditch, there was a whole bassle of them guys down in that ditch. So I guess we made a little bit of short work of them. It was hot and heavy and then the machine guns fired, the rifle fired, it was both hot and heavy on both sides, from the Japanese and ours and we were in close quarters with them. As a matter of fact, we had one fellow, Burt Delbridge, he's alive, he's in Winnipeg today, and he was laying besides me and we'd been going night and day, night and day and we were actually dead on our feet and with little to eat and he's so all in, he was shooting his rifle and he'd fall asleep and I'd shake him to wake him up and he'd shoot another bunch of rounds out of his rifle and fall asleep again. They wouldn't stop coming and we'd backed on, one of our, quite a few of our guys were killed there, and we went down and we were in the building at Aberdeen and that was the last day of the war. And they were shelling, they were shelling that place and, oh God, the whole building was shaking and it wasn't too long, right long after that we got the word that the hostilities were finished. And so what we did there, at the Aberdeen Reservoir, at the big building at Naval place at Aberdeen, they had a monster supply of booze, especially rum and other hard liquors, not beer. And there was a whole gang of us, we thought, if these Japanese get into this booze, they'll get drunk and they’ll kill us all. So down the middle of this, there was a, you could drive into that big building with a truck and in the middle of it, there was a trough, I don't know approximately 18 to 20 inches wide and about that deep, and we broke all this booze, the floor was sloped into it and we had a whole gang of us and we broke hundreds of bottles of booze and they were running down through that trough because we were afraid of the Japanese. I'll never forget that. There's all that good booze was floating down that drain. But that was about the end of the hostilities right there.

Mr. Flegg gives a vivid account of the close quarter fighting at the Aberdeen Reservoir. He describes fatigue and hunger, and destroying a cache of liquor because of a fear of Japanese brutality should they find it and get drunk.

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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