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They’re not Indians

Heroes Remember

They’re not Indians

It was, to me, the smell. There was so many people, everywhere. I can’t tell you how. There was a lot of people. When we would march on Maton Road from harbour to Sham Shui Po, there was a British woman on the street. They were watching us marching. This woman said, “They’re not Indians.” I guess they thought we were from Canada, we were Indians, all Indians. There was quite a few Indians with us. Good soldiers, too. Well, first, when the boys started going downtown and this is something that we don’t do, we didn’t tell our soldiers, “Well, you see an officer, say, a couple of miles away, salute him anyway.” We didn’t mention that. But one British major was escorting his wife across the street in a packed street, wasn’t saluted by some of the Canadians and the Canadians like myself had to teach my platoon how to salute for three weeks. Why didn’t we train for war instead?

Mr. Bérard describes a couple of events in Hong Kong which demonstrated the ignorance and arrogance of the British toward Canadians.

Léo Paul Bérard

Léo Paul Bérard was born in Ste Anne des Chenes, Manitoba, in 1915. He was one of only four of the family’s thirteen children to survive. His father was a farm and forest worker. Mr. Bérard studied carpentry in school, and helped his crippled brother to learn the trade. In 1933, he enlisted with the Winnipeg Grenadiers to join their ball team - he was given the rank of corporal. He pursued extensive NCO training, attaining the rank of sergeant. Mr. Bérard offers us a view of the Honk Kong/Japan internment through the eyes of a soldier who deeply respected his officers and men, and who was in turn respected by them. Many of his clips include very personal references of this sort. After returning from the war, Mr. Bérard remained in the Army, where he trained soldiers for the Korean deployment.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Léo Paul Bérard
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Platoon Leader

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