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Christmas Surrender (Part 1)

Heroes Remember

Christmas Surrender (Part 1)

Christmas morning we were up on this hill and they put the white flag up around noon Christmas day and we thought, boy this is a terrible Christmas to have this. And they did surrender because the Japanese got to the waterworks and the governor of the Island had to surrender because they had cut the water off to the civilian population, so the sergeant said that word has come through that the Japanese had said that all fighting personnel was to go to the battalion headquarters, which was up on top of the other hill over from us and we had to be there by a certain time in the afternoon and anybody after that that was caught that was in uniform would be shot on sight. And anybody that had a rifle or any arms of any kind would be shot. They said, “Now we don't know what they're going to do, whether they're going to line you up and shoot you or whether they are just going to put you in the prison camp and keep you.” And Japanese didn't take prisoners. The Chinese, when they captured Chinese they shot them so you could be shot, but you break up all, everything that you have so that they don't get it. Any weapons that you got you must break them and so that they're not usable so we did that and then we started up this hill. When we got up to the hill they were feeding them, the ones that was there, feeding them and giving them some buns and some stew. The Japanese come and they, all these officers from the Japanese come marching up and we were up on top and the road would come this way and then turn and then come up this way to get to the top where all the buildings were. They lined us all up and they tied our hands behind our back and there was a guy in front of you and a guy behind and the wire that they put around our wrist, they tied this wire around this guy's wrist and then it come around you and you tied it around yours and then it went around the next guy and that's the way we walked down to, off of the hills, down to and it was 10, 15, 20 miles down, to go down to Aberdeen and walk.

Mr. Durant talks about Christmas day and the events that followed after putting up the white flag.

Gordon Durant

Gordon Durant was born on December 20thth 1921. Things were busy for him and his 7 sisters and 4 brothers growing up on the farm in Saskatchewan. His father lived most of his civilian life with a disabling injury from the First World War. Mr. Durant left school after grade eight to help out around the farm before joining the army at age 17. After completing basic training, he was sent to Jamaica for garrison duty and then to Hong Kong where he was captured by the Japanese. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war in Hong Kong and Japan where he worked in the mines and on the railroad.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gordon Durant
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong

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