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Canadian Families Knew Nothing

Heroes Remember

Canadian Families Knew Nothing

I think all Canadian families were in the dark for the next year or so. They didn't know, the wives, the children, the parents, and the sweethearts, the relationship, family relationships were all in the dark. The Japanese never revealed what happened. However, the word began to leak out through the Chinese that there were some survivors, that the loss had been heavy, that the Canadians had been overwhelmed but nobody knew who if any names or anything but gradually the information began to leak out that there were some survivors. About two years later, after we'd been captured, they let us send a radio message home. We broadcasted a message in English that was picked up largely by the people in California who had ham radios. They wrote out what they had heard and the addresses they had heard and they informed my parents, my guardians that they had received this message from Japan and that I was alive. Then maybe a year later, the Japanese let us send letters home and my family received two or three letters from the Japanese. So for a long time Canadian families knew nothing.

Mr. MacDonell tells how the Canadian families back home were in the dark about their capture and how they eventually found out.

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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