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Taking A Life

Heroes Remember

Seen the Japs, first when they came onto the Island, they put on 40,000 men against our six and they had another 40,000 waiting on the other side to take the ferries and come across so we knew we didn't stand a chance to start off with. And I think that everybody did the best he could but I found when you're firing and you know for sure if you killed a man. It's hard to take but after that you don't care. At least that's the way I felt.

Mr. Billson discusses the fact that despite overwhelming odds, he found that shooting a man for the first time was “hard to take”. After that, however, he didn't care.

Walter Billson

Walter Billson was born in Lennoxville, Quebec on October 2, 1914. After completing grade six, he went to work at a local garage. He also joined the Sherbrooke Regiment so he could take rifle practice. In 1940, he enlisted with the Royal Rifles of Canada and became a dispatch rider. After training stints at Valcartier, Sussex and Gander, he returned to Valcartier and was married. The next day, he was heading for Hong Kong. When the battle for Hong Kong begins, Mr. Billson, by then a Corporal, is put in charge of a Bren gun, guarding a pillbox at TaiTam gap. After being captured and imprisoned at North Point Camp, he is sent to a Japanese labor camp near the Omini coal mine. After being liberated, Mr. Billson sees the devastation of Nagasaki as a result of the atomic bomb.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Walter Billson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Dispatch Rider

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