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Life as a POW

Heroes Remember

Well they put us in that North Point. It had been an old Chinese holding valve for people who had run away from China to get away from the Japs as they advanced down the Pearl River. They were shelled. There was parts of the roof was on. The other buildings were shattered. The old cookhouse that the Chinese had used, it was badly battered. So they fixed it up enough and we made fires cause all the buildings were broken down around there. We get the old wood and make fires and cook our rice. I remember they had a, some of the rice we cooked into an old bath tub. We piled the rice in there and water to get something to eat. Cause we had no food. That was all gone and then they started taking us across the harbour on ferry boats to work on the Kai Tek airport. We were still at North Point. The airport at Kai Tek wasn't very long. At the west end of the airport, Kai Tek, there was a Chinese village there called Kai Tek. So the Japanese just brought in a couple of bulldozers and some tanks and they flattened all these buildings. They knocked this village right down and then we had to fill it in and they (inaudible) the railways. Little narrow railways and cars and we started to dig down a hill. So we could level that hollow where that village was. We smoothed that right over. So we covered that village right over and then we put mixed cement and made runways, extended the Kai Tek runways. And we'd work all day till you couldn't see to work anymore and then they'd take us back again. We'd get one can of rice a day over there, and then they had a sweet seed, a small brown seed. I don't know what it was. They'd give us so much of that and then we'd get a small dish of that, for like a gruel or something. That was sweet. We looked to get that stuff. And big men suffered more than small men. Cause it's like a truck or a car. If you have a big car, it's gonna use more gas. Well, a big man needs more so you could see these big men, 200 pounds and up, they didn't last too long. Yeah, they went first. Yeah.

Mr. Ross describes the living conditions in North Point POW camp and discusses slave work at Kai Tek airport.

Lancelot ‘Lance’ Ross

Mr. Lance Ross was born in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on October 7, 1911. His father was a carpenter and a family farmer. Mr. Ross went to work at the age of fourteen, holding many odd jobs that paid $1.00 to $1.50 a day. Impatient with the wait for joining the air foce, Mr. Ross joined the army and went overseas to Hong Kong. He was captured and spent time in POW camps. During this time, Mr. Ross kept a diary that was used for the prosecution of Japanese war crimes. After the war, he was active in getting recognition for Hong Kong Veterans.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Lancelot ‘Lance’ Ross
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Rifles of Canada
Platoon Sergeant

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