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Conditions at North Point, a POW Camp

Heroes Remember

Conditions at North Point, a POW Camp

Interviewer: What were the sleeping arrangements that you men had at North Point? Well we were piled up one on top of the other. Four or five stack high, that was no fun. And we had bed bugs, lice, and what do you call? Interviewer: Fleas. Fleas, lots of fleas but especially bed bugs. And ants, many ants that bite. And body was you know really bit, bitten all over. Scratchy, it was awful. Interviewer: What do you remember about the diet or the food that you received at North Point? It was at the beginning, it was a shock to us. Because we had to eat what was had been left in the storage for many years. I saw myself a hunk of beef stamped 1908 on it. And rice was coming in. The bags were all wet and there were more worms than kernel of rice. And the cooks were cooking those in order that we could eat. Awful. Interviewer: How much rice would you men eat in a day? Not very much. We, for the first six months, we were six months about in the North Point camp. We were starved and our health went down. And we start having all kinds of diseases. My eyesight started to go. And we had dysentery, all kinds of disease. Pneumonia, you name it. And no, no medication.

Mr. Castonguay describes conditions at North Point, a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. They were crowded together, and there were a lot of insects and bugs. The little food they were given was moldy and rancid. They contracted diseases from the terrible conditions and lack of food.

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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