Language selection


Taken as Hong Kong POW

Heroes Remember

Taken as Hong Kong POW

We sleep in the, in the pillbox the 24th. The 25th I deploy my people on the cliff top. Nothing happens all day the 25th. Night of the 25th back in the pillbox and we mount a guard around so, so the guard would alert the people sleeping in the pillbox if anything is coming. This is Christmas night and it's about 10 or 11 o'clock at night. Mind you up to this time, all kinds of noise. You could hear canon fire, occasionally rifle fire, mortar fire. Then about 10 o'clock, there isn't a sound. Nothing! But we just said "Well, gee what's with the silent here tonight. We're going to be able to sleep". That was our, you know, our comments. "Geez you know, there's no noise. We're going to be able to grab some shut eye here. The next morning we open the port hole, everything is still. It's a grey day. There isn't a breath of wind and we're pretty high up here, cliff top, and we say "Wonder what's going on." We don't hear anything. "You suppose the war is over?" I said "Aw, no." No movement at all. All of sudden we saw a little black dot walking. So I said to fellow by name of Piet Cardin, I said, "Piet run out there, okay, and ask that guy whoever it is what's going on " So Piet ran up and geez he came back about 10 minutes later with this old Chinese fellow, so I said to this Chinese fellow "How come we don't hear any noise. Where are the Japanese." and he said "Haven't you, haven't you heard?" "Heard what". "Well the war ended last night at 9 o'clock." so we said "Well, hurray we won the war". So I got all my boys out and said "We're going, we're, we're going to head for town. We're going down town get to see the rest of our boys." We went down off the cliff and we come to this narrow ravine and we had to walk in single file so we walked down and we're walking towards town. We eventually got to the first street, closest street to where we were. It was a very short street, and it was like this huh? SO we come down this way and there's another street this way and when we got at the intersection of these 2 streets, there was a Japanese regiment, soldiers 4 in line, all armed and they saw these people coming fully armed towards them. They started shooting and then I lost, I lost 4 guys there and I said "Hit the deck." and we all went down, but we didn't go down quick enough. So anyway Jim Wallace shot, and Varly and I forget the names of the other 2 guys. Anyway, and then there was the guys that were wounded. So anyway whatever was left, there might have been about 5 of us left standing or something like that. We were put in the tennis court and I was kept in that tennis court for 14 days. And that uh, that was kind of a hairy, scary adventure in itself. This was eh uh, they put us in the center of the tennis court and like, we were like animals in a, in a cage in the zoo. All of the Japanese soldiers were around, and they were.. these people we were the first white occidentals that they had ever seen. You see these people that come down, they'd spent 30 years in China and they'd never seen an occidental. So they, they find us just like we would see a strange exotic animal in the zoo. Anyway, as I say I spent 14 days in there and there were many days of interrogation. They wanted to know who we were, our regiment, so on and so forth. And to the degree in which you wouldn't answer questions, they, they would, they would push you around quite a bit. And when they were finished with this, then they had us go around picking up bodies of our comrades and their own and put these in a pile and burn. Throw petro and ignite the thing and burn them. That's the reason why we have those tombs in Hong Kong, 99% there no bodies there.

Mr. Cyr describes the platoon's unusual events of Christmas Day, 1941, and the several weeks that followed.

Roger Cyr

Roger Cyr was born on March 6, 1922 at New Richmond in the Gaspé region of Québec. He was the oldest of nine children. His siblings were four brothers and four sisters. His father was a lineman for an electrical company in the United States. He eventually returned to Canada and worked as a chef with Canadian National Railways. Roger enlisted in late 1941 with the Royal Rifles of Canada. In late October 1941, he and hundreds of other members of the Canadian Army left Vancouver, arriving in the British colony of Hong Kong on November 14, 1941.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roger Cyr
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Regiment of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: