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Dysentery was horrible.

Heroes Remember

Dysentery was horrible.

I got dysentery, I got everything else in the place. They had the hospital which was a shack, which had been used as storage room or something. And there were a couple of beds in there, but there were no mattresses, no anything, you just lay on the springs...if you....but they were all filled. I was on a stretcher in there in February. And the tin roof, which leaked and the stretcher had one corner of it in a pool of water. A trail of crap all the way to the end where they had a row of boards and cans underneath them. Eventually, I got onto this bed and you were going so often... every time I moved it was just too damn late, I didn't need it anymore and I was in there, and the doctor came and I says, “Tomorrow is my 21st birthday and I want out.” So he let me out and that night they had the first beef that we'd had since being captured. They had water buffalo patty and when you got dysentery, you don't eat meat. And I ate meat. And I damn near died. I was back in hospital the next morning.

Mr. Whitman describes the filthy conditions in the POW camp's dysentery ward. He manages to be released from the hospital for his birthday, but after eating some meat, is hospitalized again.

Allan Whitman

Allan Whitman was born in Bridgeville, Manitoba on February 21, 1921. His father ran a general store in which he also worked. Feeling it was his duty, Mr. Whitman enlisted with the Winnipeg Grenadiers in September, 1939 and trained at Minto and Tuxedo Barracks. In Hong Kong, he fought in D Company until his capture. Mr. Whitman became ill with dysentery, and later beri-beri, the debilitating effects of which kept him in hospital in Hong Kong until the war ended.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Allan Whitman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers

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