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Many Die From Pneumonia

Heroes Remember

Many Die From Pneumonia

At that time we had two American corpsmen plus an American doctor. We’d had a British doctor before. But this American doctor, and he tried to get medicine for us the best he could. And when I had my pneumonia, we had lost maybe half a dozen guys to pneumonia, and when I had mine, I was delirious for many a days. I can’t remember how many days, many days. I came out of it and they nursed me with, not ice packs, but water to try to hold down my temperature and the doctor came to see me one day. He says, “Jessop, you’re on your way, you’re mending pretty good.” And he said, “Look what I got.” And he had some pills. He said, “Those are for you if you want them. But I’m sure you can get by without them now. If I keep them, I’ll be able to treat the next ones. I’ll go and get some more for the next so I'll always be one series of pills ahead.” I said, “Ok, if you say I’m ok, I’m ok.” That was it, as far as that goes. So about a week later, my brother falls with pneumonia and he got the treatment, the pills, and he survived real well. It was only a couple of days.

Mr. Jessop describes lack of medication and how, coincidentally, the same dose of medicine saves both him and his brother from pneumonia.

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
Royal Rifles of Canada

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