Exhaustion Gets the Best of Me

Heroes Remember

Exhaustion Gets the Best of Me

They worked on the airport for a long time. And we dug, they had a big hill there, they called it a mountain but it was a hell of a big hill and we hauled it all the way with baskets. And they had a mine car there and built some two by fours and put down and push it and dig it into that hill and roll it out and... If you ever go to Hong-Kong you land on that airport, prisoners of war and people in China like on the Island of Hong-Kong, Chinese people built that, mostly women, Chinese working there, you know. Interviewer: How many hours a day would you men be expected to work there? They got us at four o'clock in the morning and brought us back at night. I don't know 14 hours maybe. Interviewer: You were expected to do that on three bowls or three cups of rice a day? Ya. We weren't expected, we did it. Interviewer: And if a man was sick, was he expected to work? Ya, ya they weren't supposed to take no days off. And if you were marching to work and you couldn't make it you'd come out in the end and they'd stick a bayonet in you. And one time I flaked out, I had this dysentery and I was pretty weak but Carl Johnson and a guy, Carl and I were in, fought together, we were together all the time in there and this Jack Campbell, he grabbed me and the two, walked with me and held me. And Carl kept grabbing my head and pulling me back and slapping my face saying, "For Christ sake, c'mon before we all get killed!" I could hear him talking but I couldn't get going, you know. Finally I got going, they took me for a whole mile like that, them guys. I mean you got to respect guys that put their life on the line for you, you know.

Working fourteen hour days, Mr. Bembridge is assisted by his buddies on the march back to camp.

Howard Bembridge

Mr. Bembridge was born May 22, 1923 in Saskatchewan. His father was a sergeant major in the First World War and rarely spoke about his service. Being the third oldest child of four, Mr. Bembridge achieved a grade 8 education and at age 14, went to work with the Canadian National Railway. At age 17, he decided to join the military and enlisted with the South Saskatchewan Regiment and moved to Fort William, Ontario for six months. Having a rocky relationship with his sergeant, Mr. Bembridge made a quick decision to join the Winnipeg Grenadiers who were destined for Hong Kong. Having experienced harsh and brutal conditions during his captivity, Mr. Bembridge was hospitalized for a period of time and later returned to Saskatchewan with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
August 24, 1998
Person Interviewed:
Howard Bembridge
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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