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I Was One of the Fortunate Ones, I Think.

Heroes Remember

I Was One of the Fortunate Ones, I Think.

I’m an optimist, and maybe that’s why I’m here. But it could have bothered me a lot, but I actually didn’t let it. Mainly, I occupied myself with my work, but for a couple of years after I came back it was difficult because for about six months you know, nightmares were there. I’m sure the rest of them had the same thing. But I think, gradually you, you get over it. And of course, we didn’t have the counselling that the kids have now. Somebody gets killed out of school they have counselling right away and they’re all set, but our counselling was our own way. If you wanted to get on your own two feet you just said, “Well, that’s it.” And you pushed everything to the background and occupied yourself with the present. But that’s what we had to do. I used to be so sick that I couldn’t, it was difficult to get up to go to work and that’s a fact. But I used to get up and go anyway. Didn’t make any difference how I felt. I thought, “Well, if I want a job, I’ve got to go” and I used to go. And I managed, and even now I have ailments. I have a heart condition just from being in Hong Kong and I can’t get a bypass simply because my arteries are too far gone. They’re deteriorated to the point where they can’t tie into them, so the doctor said that’s it. And I’ve been living that way for 12 years now. I was one of the fortunate ones, I think, because I . . . staying in the service actually, I had a routine, and I was, I had to do. That was it. So I think that kept me going. Personally, that’s my own personal observation. And, of course, I had a family to bring up. And my responsibility was to them, and I did the best I could by them, so, I think

Mr. Babin discusses coping with the emotional and physical consequences of his wartime service.

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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