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The Diphtheria Started; Oh, That’s a Horrible Disease!

Heroes Remember

The Diphtheria Started; Oh, That’s a Horrible Disease!

I think the first one was dysentery. There I was fortunate too, and the dysentery I got it right after the war was over and I was still in reasonably good shape. I could fight it off but oh it was horrible. For days and days and days I did nothing but lay out on the tennis court that was right close to the washroom and that’s all I did. I laid there and eventually I um, but at that time right after the capitulation the chaps wouldn’t it didn’t bother us at all. They just had guards there, no bother at all. We were all completely on our own and of course I eventually got better so I could at least mobile and then the diphtheria started and oh, that’s a horrible disease. And there was another thing I was fortunate. I had the disease too but it didn’t affect me. There was about 30 of us. We were what they called carriers, it didn’t affect us in anyway. The Japs had us in the compound. They treated us like leprosy. We were quite happy there. They didn’t bother us. They were deathly scared of diseases too but that was a horrible... poor guy there literally choked to death. Every disease that’s known to man come through there. The strange things happened to you. Your feet wouldn’t work the way you wanted them to work, you start to swell up for no reason and different parts would swell up at different times.

Mr. Peters describes various disease with which he and other prisoners were afflicted.

Abraham Peters

Abe Peters, one of six children, was born in Lowe Farm, Manitoba, on November 12, 1919. His father was a farmer. Mr. Peters worked on the family farm, and was entrusted with the care of the horses. He left school after completing Grade eight to become a farm labourer. His parents were very upset to learn that he had enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in June, 1940. Mr. Peters took basic training at Shiloh, Manitoba and Debert, Nova Scotia. He was ill in hospital when the Rifles shipped overseas to Europe, and once healthy, was sent to reinforce the Winnipeg Grenadiers, with whom he was sent to Hong Kong. As with other survivors of the Hong Kong theatre, Mr. Peters experienced poor training, inferior weaponry, capitulation and a life of misery in the Japanese POW and labour camps. He agrees with many of his comrades that it was a hopeless deployment.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Abraham Peters
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Royal Winnipeg Rifles

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