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Japanese Hierarchy Of Discipline

Heroes Remember

Japanese Hierarchy Of Discipline

We were taken down to North Point where we were lined up and heard a real speech in Japanese and the thing after that well if you were a little out of order you got slapped around and you know their pride and joy to have a white man kneel down in front of him while they slap his face. Thinking back on it I think this was in retaliation to the way their officers treated them. If they did something a little out of order they got slapped around in front of the whole brigade and of course they had it set up that you were a one star, you were a plain patch soldier which was the bottom line then you were a one star soldier and then two and then three and when you got up to three you were just about equal to a sergeant in the Canadian Army so if the fellow with the three stars slapped one of the Japanese soldiers with two stars for doing something, he could go ahead and he could pick out a fellow with one star and give him a beating up until he got down to the red patch and he got the works. But the fellow with the one patch he could say, “Ha I got a bunch of guys I can beat up here,” you know, and that's the way it went.

Mr. Billson describes the Japanese habit of slapping prisoners as a disciplinary measure, but explains that it is merely an extension of the Japanese military culture.

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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