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The War Ends

Heroes Remember

At the final end of it we were going down the mine to work, we were supposed to change shifts like you know, and we were lined up and the group I was with were lined up to go down to work and we always went with a guard and the camp commander came out and said, “No work today!” So come around for the next shift to go, was supposed to go down and he came out, “No work today.” So this went on for about three days and finally the news broke through that the war was over, Japan had surrendered. We got so used to being there, not going anywhere, not doing anything, getting into trouble for nothing that we just didn't believe it. The next morning we all got up there, we got up quite early, there wasn't a guard in the camp, nothing, just the camp commander. Just this little fellow and he stayed until the Americans came and took us out.

Mr. Billson discusses how work in the mine suddenly ended, signaling Japanese capitulation, and how the guards were all gone the following day.

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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