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Changed to Chains

Heroes Remember

But then they changed to the chains. We had the ties. We were tied for three months. We were chained up for a year and three months. Interviewer: That’s a long time. And we were walked every day and you know as depressing and disheartening and, of course, when you’re in prison camp we weren’t getting very much to eat. We were kept on a minimum ration and the reason they do that is to stop you from escaping. You can’t get too healthy, can’t keep too much work. Interviewer: Trying to keep you down Keep you down; you can’t give them any trouble. That’s how they starve you. And, of course, guys were getting sick and I got sick. I got a bit of pneumonia and I was in my, I laid in my bunk for three days. And jeez, you can’t go out to roll call, you’re not on roll call. I was in 19B. “19B one guy missing, where is he?” You have a hut commander eh, “He’s in sick.” “Okay two guards check!” And the guards come in and you’re in bed. They poke you with their rifles and make sure you are sick and then feel your head and, “Yah,yah sick, okay!” Then you’re okay, you can stay in bed for the day until the next day and if you stay in too long they take you down to lazaret and try to kill you. But lazaret was the hospital, eh.

The initial reprisals of three months in ropes turned to a year and three months in chains.

Joseph Anthony Ryan

Joseph Anthony Ryan was born in Montreal in 1920. The circumstances during the depression era saw him and his family moving to Thunder Bay, Ontario in search of a better life. Like many during this time, applying to Canada’s military was a way to find work, adventure and purpose, so in the late 30’s he joined the Lake Superior Regiment and began his training alongside the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). From participating in operations from Iceland to Dieppe to his time as a prisoner of war in Germany, Joseph Ryan’s stories bring us a unique perspective on the price paid for our freedom.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 5, 2009
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Anthony Ryan
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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