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First Taste of Freedom

Heroes Remember

First Taste of Freedom

We got to Manila and the Americans took us in. They had a bunch of Australian nurses working there for immunization, they'd give you a needle. So they just come along and you lined up and as you walked through one grabbed this arm and give you a needle and the other one grab this arm and give you a needle and they were putting them through about oh I'd say two every second almost, it seemed like it. And then as we got to the end of the line, the Americans were there and we were each given two hundred dollars.

Mr. Billson describes arriving in Manila, being immunized by Australian nurses at an American hospital, and being given two hundred dollars American.

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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