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Japanese Attack

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: What was your impression when you first heard that the Japanese were attacking? Well I was on the switchboard and I could listen and hear what was going on. And I think it took some time before the Japanese clear up the Kowloon area. It took 3-4 days at least. And then they, we all move. There was the Scottish regiment that was there and the Rajputs, the Indians. And they were moved to the island. And then we got it, it was a D Company especially. And C Company. C Company was there as a reserve but they were attacked first. And really that was quite a shock. The first bomb that fell close to me by planes, that was really something but after that I was not nervous at all. It could come.

Mr. Castonguay describes the beginning of the attack on Hong Kong. Because he was working on the switchboard, he was able to hear about the impending attack.

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
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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