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In Perfect English he Said, “Come on in boys.”

Heroes Remember

In Perfect English he Said, “Come on in boys.”

They called out some names, and my name was one of them, so they had a two wheeled cart and they filled it with daikons, you know those daikons are radishes, huge radishes about like that. So there were about six I think, six or eight of us, and we had ropes tied to the cart. One of them got in the shafts, and away we went, with a couple guards. And we went down the road and we ended up at a village. And it was like, well, I believe they were, this is my own feeling, but I think they were in a feudal system at that time, the Japanese were. They had the Master, he had his house and they rented the rest of the, of the land all around to these people that did the work and they had their homes, you know, built around. But he had the main house. So, we came up to the main house, and this man was Japanese. He was there in a kimono, a beautiful kimono. And in perfect English he said, “Come on in boys.” So he told the guards to, he dismissed the guards, so they went away somewhere. And we went into this house and sat down. They had these half chairs. We sat down and he clapped his hands and the door slid open. Of course, they were all, you know, these Japanese home have these sliding doors, slid open, and this woman came out and he said in Japanese something, and she went away and came back and she had tea and rice cakes. So, passed those around and in the meantime he was talking and he said, “You’ll be home by Christmas.” He said, “Things are not going the way we expected them to go.” And he said, “However, it would have been different if the Americans had landed on Japanese soil,” because he said, “then we would have fought.” But he said, “They dropped a bomb.” And he said, “It’s created a lot of damage.” And he said, “It’s something we don’t comprehend.” He said, “If that hadn’t happened,” and he clapped his hands again and a woman came in and he said something and she went out and came back with a long pole and there was a knife tied to the end of the pole, and he said, “all our wives and children and everybody would have fought the Americans right to the last person.” But he said, “It’s not going to be that way.” So he said, “You’ll be home by Christmas.”

Mr. Babin describes meeting a Japanese feudal landlord and hearing his perspective on the American dropping of the A-Bomb.

Alfred Joseph Babin

Alfred Joseph Babin was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, on October 15, 1921. He was one of five children. His father was a carpenter. Mr. Babin completed grade 8, but left school to work at the local 5 & 10 to help support his family. When old enough, he enlisted, citing better income as his reason. He first joined the New Brunswick Rangers, but quickly transferred to the Carleton and York Regiment. Basic training only consisted of infantry drills. He then joined the Royal Rifles, performing guard duties at the airbase in Gander, Newfoundland. After arriving in Hong Kong, Mr. Babin was volunteered as an ambulance driver, in which capacity he served until Hong Kong surrendered. Mr. Babin recalls in clear detail, life in the POW camps and slave labour in the coal yards near Niigata. After safely returning to Canada, Alfred Babin remained in the Canadian Armed Forces as a member in the military band.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Alfred Joseph Babin
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Ambulance Driver

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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