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The Governor had Surrendered the Colony

Heroes Remember

The Governor had Surrendered the Colony

We couldn’t hold on so they had us move back and we were pretty well helter skelter because we lost 44 men out of the company that day. Some went back by a road around this way, but we went back the way we had come, past the cemetery across, and the hell of it was crossing the yard that was between the cemetery and the prison, there was an old car there. Just a hulk. There was nothing left to it, no wheels on it or anything, British car of some kind. We run there and they started, the Japs started firing at us, we I say, three or four guys. We hid behind that. So one guy, sergeant, nice fella, lance sergeant he was, actually, he had a Tommy gun. And he opened fire and gave us a chance to get back to the, behind the prison wall. We got behind the prison wall and sure enough, I turned around and there was the sergeant. He was going like this, he didn’t have his Tommy gun. It had been shot right out of his hands, but he come running helter skelter and he made it. We came back. We hadn’t eaten. This started in the morning, this particular battle, started in the morning and this was late afternoon by the time we got back. And I inquired about my brother. He had come back the other way carrying a guy on his back. The guy was wounded in the leg. So, anyway, we got something to eat and all of a sudden, the British had Vickers machine guns, and they were using them to fire down over the slope of the mountain into the village because by then, all our troops were out of there, those that came out. We noticed there was less firing and, all of a sudden, no firing at all. So our officers came in, told us to - came in, they were old barracks there that we took over like for a place to sleep and that sort of thing. We were dead tired anyway. And the officers told us that they didn’t know what was going on because the firing had pretty well stopped. The next morning, anyway, we had our breakfast. It was a decent breakfast like it was cooked there in regular kitchens and this small Jeep, they weren’t called Jeeps then, they were 800 weights, I guess. And they came in, there was a Japanese officer there. They had a white flag and they had a pow wow I guess, and then they came in and told us that we were to lay down our arms, it was over. The Governor had surrendered the colony. So, we went down to this field and stacked our, threw our rifles. Some of the guys took the bolts out and threw them in one direction and threw the rifles in another.

Mr. Jessop describes being unable to hold their positions and being compelled to surrender.

James Robert Jessop

James Robert Jessop was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick, in 1921. He and his twin brother were the eldest sons among nine children. His father worked full-time as a mechanic at the local pulp mill. Mr. Jessop recalls having had good teachers in school, where he also played hockey and rugby. He eventually worked at Fraser’s Mill for twenty-four cents an hour, but enlisted in 1940 for the prospect of better wages. He applied for and was accepted into the Royal Canadian Air Force, but switched to the Royal Rifles to be with his brother. Before leaving for Hong Kong, Mr. Jessop trained and served in several places in Newfoundland. Mr. Jessop’s experiences in the Hong Kong campaign were typical; forced to surrender and work as slave labor in both Sham Shui Po and Omine, malnourished, ravaged by disease and subjected to abuse at the hands of his captors. He also witnessed first hand the devastation of Nagasaki. Mr. Jessop’s service ends with a touching family reunion and a heartfelt sense of loss for his fallen friends.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Robert Jessop
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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