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American Contribution to POW Survival

Heroes Remember

American Contribution to POW Survival

Eight hours from Tin Yan, their air base in the Marshall Islands to our camp and then eight hours back with B-29 bombers, the biggest bomber in the world, three of them at a time would fly 16 hours return trip to feed this little group of people and they didn't even know who we were. They only knew we were Allied soldiers, they thought perhaps we were British but they knew they had no land forces in Japan of their own. They knew we were Allies of some kind but they knew also unlikely there would be any Americans amongst us. Their act of generosity in trying to keep us alive and then when they got to us, the treatment on the hospital ships of our prisoners was unbelievable. And then when they got us back to Tokyo we were given the best treatment imaginable, then we were taken to Guam, we were placed in the 103rd Fleet Hospital where we were treated like royalty by the nurses and doctors, fed special diets, operations, dental work, everything imaginable. Then when we were well enough to travel they put us on a beautiful ship, gave us special quarters on an APA it's called. It's a troop special vessel for landing marines on a foreign shore. We got all the special treatment on the ship and when we got to San Francisco we were given a special train, American soldiers including their officers were in the coach class and we were first class. We were treated just exceptionally well by the Americans. The most generous treatment. They could have just ignored us but they risked money and lives to fly those planes everyday until we had so much food it became dangerous. The parachutes... the 60 gallon oil drums began to break off the parachutes and they became very dangerous. They came down and began to demolish the camp. So we had to paint on another roof, we had to draw a line and put NO MORE and then they stopped but they were always over flying us to make sure everything was all right. Now they would have landed paratroops if when we communicated by our fluorescent strips on the ground, they were prepared to land paratroops, if necessary. We told them it wasn't necessary, that what we wanted was food and medicine. F & M and that's all.

Mr. MacDonell praises the contributions made by the American Army. Their level of generosity and concern for their well being was overwhelming.

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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