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Runner (inter-communication between officers, NCOs and troops)

Heroes Remember

Runner (inter-communication between officers, NCOs and troops)

Mid-morning we got orders to leave the pillbox on Stone Hill and to redeploy to another hill, I forget the name right now. And so we marched from there down the mountain, down that mountain up a flat, up another mountain and we started up this other mountain mid afternoon sometime and we got up the mountain early evening. And the top of that mountain, what the heck is that I would have to look at the map to remember the name of that mountain, the top of that mountain it was a narrow flat band, maybe, maybe about 75 to 80 feet in length and maybe about 10 to 15 feet in width. And right on top of that mountain there, there's a flag pole, alright, so we're deployed on either side of the flag pole, alright, this is early evening and so everybody has a station and you're lying in a prone position and with your rifle okay and the Japanese are expected because that's the reason why we are sent there because the Japanese are on the next mountain. We were going down the mountain they were coming up this mountain. So let me tell you that the anxiety level was, was ,was pretty high. So... bunch of guys over here like maybe 18 inches between each fellow, each soldier and as it luck would have it I am directly behind the flag pole at the base and it has a base about oh maybe about uh about 20 inches in diameter, alright, a cement concrete base and I'm lying if you can picture this here I'm lying like right on the right hand edge of it but part of my shoulder is, is, is sheltered, if you like, by part of the base. So I was sort of peering, peering sort of this way and we waited and waited and waited and time is slipping by, by this time it is dark, by this time it is the middle of the night sometime and everybody wants to fall, everybody wants to go to go to sleep and I've got to tell you that by this time my job in that in that platoon is I'm a runner, if you know what a runner is? The runner is the carrier of the, the uh inter-communications network between the officer or officers and NCOs and the troops. Interviewer: That could be dangerous work Mr. Cyr? It was indeed. I'll tell you how dangerous in a minute. So, middle of the night my officer, who's name was Jimmy Ross, is standing behind me, he says "Cyr get up. I want to talk to you". He says "I want you to take the following message to Sergeant Major Todd". Sergeant Major Todd was on that mountain, but they had gone up the other face of the mountain, all right. We went up this face and he went up this face. Like he had half of the company and we were the other half. He said "I want you to take a message to Sergeant Major Todd". So I'm standing and since this is in the dark and I'm standing like this far from Lieutenant Ross alright. And he's talking to me and I'm talking to him. While I'm talking to him there's all kinds of movement okay around. See I look around and it's full of Japanese okay and Ross says "fix bayonets" and everybody put their bayonets on their rifle and as soon as he said fix bayonet allof a sudden his whole face sort of almost disappeared. He got a he got eh a, he got a bullet in the face and all the blood came down and covered all his face and I couldn't see it in the dark alright, but he was killed instantly. So I stooped down and felt his pulse and said "Well it's too bad he's gone.", you know, I tell you this is cruel world and I picked up his revolver, his map case and his binoculars, picked all that up and uh, and by this time all kinds of bullets flying and all kinds of bonsais going on and kinds of yelling and people are getting killed and people are getting stuck and I'm fighting like hell and I'm sticking where ever I can and my recollection of that night is like surreal. Like thinking back upon it today it's like it, it happened to someone else almost like a film. There are fires. There are bullets flying. There are people with long rifles with great big long knives sticking on the end of it and people are jumping towards to you trying to stick you and you're doing likewise. It was, it was a uh, it was a night to remember.

Mr. Cyr recalls his platoon's first encounter with the Japanese in Hong Kong.

Roger Cyr

Roger Cyr was born on March 6, 1922 at New Richmond in the Gaspé region of Québec. He was the oldest of nine children. His siblings were four brothers and four sisters. His father was a lineman for an electrical company in the United States. He eventually returned to Canada and worked as a chef with Canadian National Railways. Roger enlisted in late 1941 with the Royal Rifles of Canada. In late October 1941, he and hundreds of other members of the Canadian Army left Vancouver, arriving in the British colony of Hong Kong on November 14, 1941.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roger Cyr
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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