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Humiliation as a POW

Heroes Remember

Humiliation as a POW

The battle itself was bad enough but I think what was so harmful to the psychology of the survivors was the long, brutal humiliation of nearly four years in prison camp where we were treated worse than animals, where we were systematically starved, used as slave labor, told our country was going to be defeated, and that we were lucky to be alive at all removed any hope that we would ever survive the experience that we were going through - placed in mines where most men weren't fit to work at anything, let alone mining. The Japanese treatment of their prisoners was quite unbelievable. There was almost no medical supplies. People died of things like diphtheria because the Japanese refused to give us any serum. After you've been treated like that for that length of time, it takes a long time to adjust to the idea that you're free and that you are not going to... you see, at any moment, you could do something that would lead to a beating or some action that would lead to your death. They had the right and they did, they killed anybody in the prison camps that they felt like killing. We had no rights whatever.

Mr. MacDonell shares his story of the inhumane treatment witnessed over his four year period as a POW.

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

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