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Impressions of Hong Kong

Heroes Remember

Impressions of Hong Kong

Interviewer: When you first saw the colony of Hong Kong, what was your impression? When I was on the ship and I saw the yellow mountain. It was yellow. And that was really what I saw in my geography books at school. And I was happy. I was really happy to see that my dream was realized, I was in China. Interviewer: After the ship docked and you men were marched through the city of Victoria. Right, the city of Kowloon. Interviewer: Oh Kowloon, sorry. What was your impression of the city? Well we saw a lot of Chinese of course, we're not used to. And the city impressed me because they had big blocks of houses, 4, 6, how do you say? Interviewer: Stories? Stories And there was a lot of Chinese around just to see us pass you see. And the atmosphere, the smell was quite something different than what we used to smell. It was hot, warm climate and humid. And it had a different smell. Interviewer: It's my understanding you marched up Nathan Road and can you recall the attitude of the people that were watching you men march up Nathan Road? They seemed to be very sympathetic, very much. We didn't see anyone do anything that was disagreeable.

Mr. Castonguay describes his impressions of Hong Kong. He was happy to finally see the land he had learned about in school and was impressed by the atmosphere which was so different from his home.

Bernard Castonguay

Bernard Castonguay was born in Montreal, Quebec on February 9, 1921. He was the fourth of eleven children. His father worked for CPR as a seam fitter. Mr. Castonguay left home at the age of sixteen to look for adventure. He worked as a lumberjack and on the railways. Unable to find work in 1940, Mr. Castonguay went to Quebec City and joined the Royal Rifles of Canada. He was then shipped to Gander, Newfoundland where he worked as a signalman and sentry. Afterwards, he went to St. John, NB. While in Hong Kong, Mr. Castonguay was captured by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp (Omeni) in Nagasaki, Japan to work in a coal mine. After his service, Mr. Castonguay worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) later becoming the Regional Director of CNIB. He also volunteered and worked with the Canadian Council for the Blind.

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

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