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Will to Live

Heroes Remember

We went and we got off at this place called Oyama. That's when we landed in the Oyama Camp. We thought that things were bad in Hong Kong. By the time we were in Oyama a month, I was there two years, we were praying to Christ we were back in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was bad, until we got to Oyama, then we changed our minds. The healthier crew of the works, you went to the mines, they... light duty men all worked in the factory. And then us fellows, I worked in mines the whole two years. You would haul ten loads a day of ore and dump down there. So if you do ten loads this week every day, you couldn't quit until you did ten. If you did ten yesterday, you gotta do ten today, either that or else. So if you can do it for this week well then next week you can do 11. So next week, if you do 11, and they threaten you and everything, you did ten, you can do 11. So next week if you do 11, then you can go do 12, and there ain't no end to it. They'll have you doing 112. We worked! It's unbelievable how much work a human being can do when we were as skinny as we were. We were skeletons walking around with skin pulled over us and we still worked like slaves. If you didn't, you died. I'm here.

Mr. Flegg offers insight into how hard work and starvation reduce men to skeletons, but whose spirit still enabled many of them to work and survive.

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
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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