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We’re not Gonna’ eat This Crap!

Heroes Remember

We’re not Gonna’ eat This Crap!

It was an end to a nightmare and the beginning of another one that we didn’t realize, but, anyway. Because war, war is no fun, you know. They marched us down in, by groups. They marched us down the road through Stanley Village all the way into the city. And there was an old refugee camp that had been plundered, I guess. There was running water and all that but no taps, no nothing. At that time, food like, was becoming an issue. They gave us some rice and each a can of bully beef or M&V, meat and vegetable stew, and that was our meal. And a lot of us said were not going to eat this crap for very long and we didn’t because they cut out the meat. We were on to rice then. No, the first days they didn’t bother us too much. I’m trying to remember back, but a lot of the boys took sick, holy whistling. My brother, God, among others, he was so sick it wasn’t even funny. Tall man like me, a little taller than I was, actually - weighed probably 180 pounds. He was right down to nothing, there was nothing left, I went in... they said - the Padre, I guess, came to me and he said, “You’d better go in and see your brother. He’s not going to last much longer.” With that, I go down there, sheds like, along the shore - went in there and he was laying on a stretcher. God, he looked bad, so I talked to him a little bit. Anyway, he said goodbye and so did I. But miraculously, he got over it, and he survived.

Mr. Jessop describes general conditions at North Point camp and his brother’s brush with death while there.

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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