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Voyage to Japan

Heroes Remember

Before you went, you had to bend over and there was a tube shoved up your anal and just to make sure you didn’t have dysentery or something like that because they were very scared of dysentery. But they didn’t do too much as far as checking you out too much. Then they marched us down to a ship and away we went. Interviewer: What do you remember about the ship? Well, there wasn’t too much to eat and we were all placed around where they kept the ammunition and that’s where our sleeping quarters was around the bottom, around where the ammunition was all kept in boxes and so forth. We went from there to Formosa and the ship was leaking quite a bit and even the Japanese soldiers didn’t want to come back on it. And they were forced back on it because they were afraid that the ship was going to sink, it was leaking pretty badly. But anyway, away we went again from Formosa up to Japan and we made it. We landed at Okazaki, was it? I think it was anyways and we were put on trains and it was soaking wet. It was raining and it was cold. We were put into these cars, train cars and just jammed in and we were given a package which had a ball of rice and some fish on the side. The rice was ice cold and that but it all tasted good. And then we went our way on the railroad tracks until we hit, I was taken up to Nagoya anyways, there was, most of them were Royal Rifles of Canada and there was five of us Grenadiers.

Mr. Harrison describes being tested for dysentery prior to being shipped to Japan. Aboard the ship, the men are housed with boxes of ammunition. The vessel leaks so badly that even the Japanese guards don't wish to go aboard. Arriving in Japan, he is sent to a camp in Nagoya.

George Harrison

George Harrison was born on April 4, 1920 in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was youngest of three children. His father died shortly after his birth, forcing his mother to place him and his siblings in an orphanage, where he was at times badly beaten. Learning this, his mother took her children back home. After completing grade 9, Mr. Harrison went to work to help support his family. Eventually, he gained employment with CPR Telegraph. On September 13, 1939, Mr. Harrison enlisted with Winnipeg Grenadiers, becoming a specialist on the Vickers machine gun. During the battle of Hong Kong, Mr. Harrison was made a sergeant, and was involved in deadly fighting. Along with the general misery and persecution suffered by all of the POWs, Mr. Harrison faced down both blindness and potential amputation of his toes.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Harrison
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Section Leader

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