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It (a grenade) Landed Right on the Breach of That Weapon

Heroes Remember

It (a grenade) Landed Right on the Breach of That Weapon

A dispatcher passed by and said, “The war is over, throw away your weapons.” And I said, “Whoop’s, throw away your weapons? Where did, I’d never heard that.” So, my position was a trench about six feet deep, quite lengthy. And I told my soldiers to put their rifles in. I don’t know where I got this grease, but I got a five gallon grease can from somewhere. My men greased their weapons and wrapped them in their ground sheet and we buried them in this trench. When the Japanese, they were scared a little bit that we might do something, so therefore, even though we didn’t have any weapons in our hands, they didn’t ask us why, you know. And I don’t know, but anyway, at one point they tied our hands behind us and, not one of my soldiers, but somebody else got his hand down his coveralls even though he had his hand tied behind his back. From one to the other we were going across the side of the hill. He saw an officer with his men cleaning an automatic weapon down below. And he put his hand in his coveralls, pulled the pin and threw it down there and it landed right on the breach of that weapon, smashed all those people. And our guards came over, just about where it came, cut the rope there, the three men, he just stuck his weapon in them and they fell down the hill. And then after that, even, they put us against an embankment and they lined us all up there and they’d have a weapon over here and they were making sign that they were going to shoot us all, so therefore we started, “Well, okay, so long.” And they got a real big kick, because they had us scared. We were shaking hands for the last time, sort of thing. And the Japs . . . so, we started talking, “Lets humour them, it might save our lives,” and that’s what we did.

Mr. Bérard describes the events surrounding the surrender of his platoon, and a swift Japanese reprisal for a grenade attack by one of the prisoners.

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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