Language selection


Working in the Shipyard

Heroes Remember

Working in the Shipyard

Slave labor, I worked in the shipyard, they marched us out there to the shipyard and they had guards over us and one time they marched me out there and I had diarrhea and that didn’t bother them at all and I was doing this all in my clothes and everything. They’d search you all the time. And another thing too in that shipyard they had these welding torches, there is nothing worse than that for your eyes and we had to work around those things with nothing on our eyes, to protect our eyes and we’d come in at night oh God we’d suffer something God awful. You couldn’t sleep or nothing because your eyes were just burning and the only thing that could help is if you try to put some water or something in your eyes and you’d go right back out the next day I mean, they didn’t give a damn. Out there we had two, I forget now, they weren’t guards they were one old fella and one young fella and I think they were honored when the war was over because we had put a good name in for them. I don’t know their names, I forget that but they were really good to us the younger guy used to sneak in papers for us so we could read and get some news but if he would have been ever caught, he was a Japanese too.

Mr. Lecouffe describes being paraded to the shipyard and how risky it was to weld with no eye protection. He has high praise for two of his honchos, who helped the POWs and shared information about the war at risk of death should they be caught.

Lionel Lecouffe

Lionel Lecouffe was born in Campbellton, New Brunswick on March 23, 1922. His father was a First World War veteran and his mother a war bride. Mr. Lecouffe worked on the road for food vouchers before becoming a deliveryman to Easton Bakery at $2 a day. Only seventeen and already a member of the Campbellton militia, he lied about his age to enlist with the Royal Rifles at Matapedia. Ironically, after his release from a Hong Kong hospitalization, Mr. Lecouffe found himself attached to the Winnipeg Grenadiers with whom he finished the war.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
October 10, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Lionel Lecouffe
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: