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Life in Camp was Difficult

Heroes Remember

Life in Camp was Difficult

Worn out discarded Japanese army uniforms, that's what we wore. And they were wet at nights in the winter time. Summers, we had nice summers there, the weather was good in the summer, but in that winters were quite long and we were wet and cold at nights. And each hut had a stove in it. And they gave us a little bucket of briquettes for to put in the stove. Well we wouldn't light that stove until somebody scrounged something that we might cook and we'd get some heat. Now as far as that stove, those huts were long, holy cow, the stove was in the middle of the hut; I don't know how long, I’d say about 60, 70 feet long. That stove was a laugh, it was useless. How was that, with a little bit of charcoal going to heat that place? We didn't get coal, we got charcoal. But that’s what we did have for heating that. And, a little bit of humour story. Every ten days, we got a rest area and we shaved. Back to the horror and the glory. We’d get a piece of glass, put the razor blade on, spit on it and go like that. The whole 40 of us would have to shave with that one razor blade and we'd been shaving with it for six months before that. Do you think of what that feels like on your face, you know what it’s like when you get a dull razor blade, what do you think this was? Oh that was painful, but we shaved. And they had a big bath for us to go in and we’d have every ten days, we'd go in that big community bath out there.

Mr. Flegg discusses several aspects of daily life in the Oyama camp; clothing, heat, and personal hygiene.

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

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