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We Were Fumigated and Given Clothing

Heroes Remember

We Were Fumigated and Given Clothing

What happened is that they came to Niigata, a couple of American officers, and they took an account of what, you know, the number of people that were there and so on. And they had a train come to the station and we went down and got on the train and down to Tokyo. It took the whole day. And when we arrived in Tokyo, they took us into a decontamination centre and we were fumigated everywhere and given clothing and plenty of coffee, cause Americans are noted for coffee. And from there, I got on the, along with some of the other guys, on a landing barge and went on to a landing ship vehicle, they call it, an LSV, and a large ship. It was called the Ozark, the USS Ozark. And there we were fed very well and we went from there to Guam. The harbor in Tokyo, by the way, was just loaded with ships, American ships, it was a fantastic sight. You just couldn’t believe it, just... and from there we went to Guam. And we were in Guam for about three days. And the same thing there. The foodstuffs and the supplies that were on the docks was just incredible, as far as the eye could see. And we were there about three days. And from there we went back on the USS Ozark and it took us to Fort McDowell in San Francisco Bay. And we were there, it took us about two weeks to get back. And we were there overnight. Then we got on a Great Western I think it was called, Great Western Pacific, or something, and went up to Seattle. From Seattle we were on the ferry, Princess... something. When we got off the ferry at Victoria, you talk about stage fright. Well, I think, I for one, had it. I don’t know about the others, but yeah, they said they did. But you really didn’t want to go down the gangplank. You know, that’s how it was. It was terrific. And they took us to Gordon Head camp, and the food was very good there. Exceptional, and we went through medical checkups and got on a train. They had a train, a special train for us. And it went across and stopped off along the way and dropped off some of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, of course they’re from out west so... and a lot of them got off at Vancouver. The majority got off at Winnipeg. But I missed the train at Winnipeg so they had to put a car on, especially for two of us, myself and another fellow, so anyway we got on a regular train and that was about it. I got home to my family.

Mr. Babin describes his voyage home from Japan, including wonderful treatment by the Americans.

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

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