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Measures of Japanese Successes

Heroes Remember

Measures of Japanese Successes

We could always tell when they'd lost a battle somewhere on one of the little islands because they would come around and it didn't matter what you were doing, you'd either get a kick in the ass or a slap in the face or something like that or made to stand at attention for two hours or something. You could always tell when they'd lost something and it was just the opposite, if they won a little battle somewhere on one of the little islands, then they'd come round and hand everybody cigarettes and candies and near the end when it was getting where they were bombing close just before Hiroshima, they put in pillboxes, they put in gun pits and the orders were, and the Americans were getting close to Okinowa and the idea was if they did take Okinowa and then head for the Japanese mainland, all prisoners were to be shot. I think at that time, if you could get the average one, everybody just didn't give a damn.

Mr. Billson describes how the POW’s treatment by the guards generally mirrored Japan's successes and setbacks in the war.

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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