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Leaving Japan

Heroes Remember

I left Nagasaki, the camp on the 19th of September, 1945. Interviewer: ‘45 Yeah. My condition was very poor, I could hardly see. Very often I had blackouts, couldn't see nothing. When we got to Nagasaki, it was a Red Cross boat, hospital boat that was waiting for us. So we had to strip, take everything off, and there was a medical army there with hoses powdering us all over you know, passing in front. And then we had clean clothes, clean clothing and then we were assigned a bed. My gosh, with clean sheets, white sheets and woolen blankets, it was awesome, you know, so nice. So after having taken a shower and being powdered up, I had this beautiful bed. I layed down in it, I was so tired and I woke up many hours after. And we were far away from the harbour.

Mr. Castonguay recalls leaving Japan in poor condition after being released, and his joy at finally being clean, fed and having a bed to sleep in.

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
Royal Rifles of Canada

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