A Beating Never Forgotten

Heroes Remember

A Beating Never Forgotten

One day there used to be a guy they called Slap Happy. One time he come by and we were standing easy and he looked up at me and he smiled and I kind of smiled back at him, you know, I thought he wanted me to smile at him so I smiled, you know, best I could And what did he do he gives me the side of his hand right under the nose, "bung" and then down over the top and then across our neck, two or three times, you know, whack, whack, that judo. And I had to grab my hips, the skin here and hang on when they're pounding me because jeez my first instinct was to grab him by the back and whambo! Interviewer: And what would have happened if you had of hit one of them? I was dead. I knew that, that's why when I come home I had two black rings around both hips like that. And they cut a little section there and turned the skin back and scraped that dry blood out of there, I guess I pinched myself so hard and hanging on to keep myself from belting him one, you know. And the next morning, he come back. So he smiled at me, so I looked just straight forward. I never smiled. So he turned, went two guys past me, I thought well, that's it, we straightened that up now, you know. No goddamn way, he turns right around and comes back, whack, whack, he whacked me around the face, you know. Because that way, I didn't know what that was for. First I got it for smiling. Next time I didn't smile so what the hell am I suppose to do now, you know.? So I never smiled or nothing I just let him pound me.

Mr. Bembridge shares an emotional story of how badly he was beaten knowing if he retaliated he would be killed.

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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