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The Attack on Stanley Village on Xmas Day. (Part 1)

Heroes Remember

The Attack on Stanley Village on Xmas Day. (Part 1)

And they succeeded. They broke through the early Japanese defences. They took the graveyard which was our objective and we took the buildings in the west side of the village that was our objective. And for the first time, I saw the Japanese run in terror from Canadian troops who attacked with fixed bayonets in a bloody struggle. I think in the first hour, I lost 23 men. Both of my corporals were killed in that struggle and finally when we breached the penetration that was our objective, we held it for the rest of the afternoon, but soon we began to suffer heavy casualties, we began to run out of ammunition and the Japanese began major counter attacks. And just when I thought we were going to be overrun by the Japanese, our commander, Major Parker, ordered us to retreat. Now the retreat meant we had to take our wounded with us which was impossible. Otherwise we would have all been, we all would have died that afternoon. So unfortunately, our wounded were left to the mercy of the Japanese. Now that single battle by one of Canada's famous historians is described as a battle that was very much like the Charge of the Light Brigade. And to this day, I wonder, that there was not the slightest attempt to avoid the duty to attack that village by my, by the people. That was an amazing, an amazing show of courage. So we lost the battle. When an army is defeated by such overwhelming forces as we were, it usually becomes a rabble, throws away its weapons, refuses to obey its orders, and turns into every man for himself, and as I said a rabble. That never happened with our troops. No matter how seriously we were outgunned, there was no attempt to avoid obeying orders. There was no panic, there was no throwing away of weapons. We remained a complete military unit to the last. And after the battle of Stanley Village on Christmas Day when we were able to get the survivors who could still walk back onto the peninsula we had no intention of surrendering. I buttoned into my shirt pocket a bullet for myself. I knew that tomorrow, the Japanese would avenge what had happened and they would kill the whole lot of us. There would be no mercy given after what we had done and of course they showed no mercy at any time. They took no.... on the battlefield they simply killed our wounded as soon as they found them.

As platoon commander, Mr. MacDonell tells of the horrific order received to attack the village and how his soldiers kept up the fight to defend, showing no signs of surrender.

George MacDonell

Mr. MacDonell was born in Edmonton, Alberta on August 15, 1922. He lost his parents at an early age and was raised by his uncle and family. In 1939, he ran away from home and made the decision to join the army. Mr. MacDonell served as Company Sergeant Major during the Battle of Hong Kong and in 1941 was captured and was a POW for four years. Post-military, Mr. MacDonell earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto and went on to have a successful business career. Mr. MacDonell is very active in his city and very proud of having served. Mr. MacDonell is retired and resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George MacDonell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Vehicle Technician

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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