Language selection

I was Right on top of the Engine.

Heroes Remember

I was Right on top of the Engine.

This wasn’t too large a ship, but it was filthy. It started, I was sleeping on the bottom part of the beds that had layers like this. The only place that was left when I got there was underneath there and I was right on top of the engine. Anyway, I was in the better condition to take that position anyway so. They brought us out of there, maybe twice a day to use the lavatory. And sometimes people that had dysentery still. God, it was filthy and they brought us on top there, maybe once a day, and you could see that the ship was transporting Japanese soldiers. And right off the bat, I knew that was against the Geneva Convention, but the Americans didn’t hit this one. They hit that first one. They lost a lot of men there. When we arrived at Nagasaki, one of our young soldiers by the name of Alistair, William Alistair was entertainment. He was a collegiate from Montreal then. He was a actor, singer, entertainer. Bob Warren joined with him. They had a singsong underneath a lamp in Nagasaki while the Japanese getting the train ready to transport us from Nagasaki to Kawasaki. When we got on the train, finally, after the entertainment, which was so lovely, God. And of course we couldn we didn’t know any part of Japan, because the blinds were drawn and we couldn’t look out until we arrived at Kawasaki, in the camp, where we stayed for two and a half years.

Mr. Bérard describes being shipped to Japan, defiance of the Geneva Convention by the Japanese, and an entertaining arrival in Nagasaki.

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
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Platoon Leader

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: