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Confrontation and Punishment

Heroes Remember

Confrontation and Punishment

The Jap bosses would wrap their lunch in newspapers. They had a little paper about this square and only four, five sheets I suppose. So we had a fellow in the camp who could interpret the Japanese language to Chinese and then to English. So we'd guard him well and put him in this corner and made sure they got lots of guards that he couldn't be surprised while he'd translate. So he'd just translate the parts that we wanted to find out any news. And they would have a little numbers here and there along the border, once in a while. So if you could find that and if you knew something and some of them did, about geography, you could trace where this little map was quite liable to be made. And that Jap that day when we were caught, after he asked me, “Why did you make the map?” Well, I said, “I made it because I don't want to stay here any longer. I want to know where I'm going pretty soon. This war will soon be over.” I told him right up. So he hit me in the face hard as he could and he was quite a big rugged fellow. Yeah. But he had taken his belt off and he had hanged it on one of these pegs with his sword. And when he hit me, I don't know what, I knew the war was going to end within a month or so maybe. I almost grabbed his sword out of that scabbard and took his head right off, but I said, well, he'll kill me, that's for sure, but they'll kill maybe everybody else in the camp. That alone saved his head cause I was ready to. It was finished. The war was finished, so I don't expect I'll get out alive. I was tempted to take that sword off there and hit him a good punch at the same time and then slash him. Well, they just took us and put us into a little place about this square in, down in the basement and it had a little gate about this wide, this high, with openings. It had bars in it, three or four bars. So there was a guard outside standing out there, but we were on the inside down in there and it was cold. It was on the 17th of March and we were on the floor and our feet were freezing and our legs had swollen, so some of the guys would collapse. So when they collapsed they'd open that door where they put us in and pull them fellows out there and beat them. So a fellow named Frankie Ebden, small and he had, a bullet had caught him right in the chin and it broke his jaw and came out back here and he was collapsing. So he was in the middle of the room. See there was one of us in each corner and he, there wasn't room, there's only four corners. So I whispered somehow, I said, “Frankie, I'll take your place. When the Jap's not noticing move over to my place in the corner.” Cause once you're in the corner, you could lean ahead and put your head against the wall and that would take the pressure off your heels. So you wouldn't fall then. You see, it's the steady pressure down your spine, you'll collapse. So he did that so when the Jap just turned at that time and he rammed that bamboo spear he had right through and he caught me here in the side. So when he hit me there, I had no clothes, just this shorts on. I went like that so he pulled back and he poked me again so he got me in the arm. So, he didn't do anything more, that was it. He said, “That's enough for you.” Anyway, when they took us out of there and they made us work, I forget how many days now, without going down in the mine anymore. Yeah. They just kept us under guards for about a couple of weeks.

Mr. Ross describes how the prisoners made crude maps, his personal confrontation with a guard who caught them doing so, and helping a friend during the group’s incarceration in a dungeon.

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
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Platoon Sergeant

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