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The Dangers in the Mines

Heroes Remember

The Dangers in the Mines

As far as I’m concerned, the buildings itself was okay. Of course, we hadn’t got a feather bed. It was a straw mat, about four inches thick. We had that to sleep on, no blankets, just that straw mat but it wasn’t cold. It was nice, but the trouble we had, it was the mine, coal mine. And we had to go down, we had to go down with them little cars, a line of cars for hauling up coal. They put us in that and let us go down. One night we were going down, we were working the night shift and we were going down, we took a run away. The winch let go and it was zing zang, zing zang, into the walls, but there was none of us hurt, a luck that we weren’t all killed, the ways the cars were hitting. You’d think they’d have buckled, but the one hit there and they’d bounce and hit there and it just kept going that way. So, anyways, after we got down the Japanese foremans was with us and they were screeching blue murder. They were so scared, they thought we would have been all killed. They were screeching. After we got down there, well they got out and they says, “All men work.” I was driller, drilling holes for the dynamite and when the Japanese boss would come, he had a gas light, a little gas lantern and he had a tube about this long and he’d go and he’d put that tube in the hole and he’d press and if it turns blue, back out, get out, it’s gas. They wouldn’t dynamite when it was gas in there, and that same mine that we were in there working, there were one shaft there was five hundred Japanese got buried there and one day it started to fall in where we were. And there was one of the boys, they had a little belt about this wide and they had bars of iron going across and they were sticking out about that wide from the belt, the rubber belt and the mine started to come in, stones started falling, and then a big boulder fell. And this guy, it struck him in the back and he fell his face into the belt and that iron, it was turning in the motor. And that iron was catching him in the mouth and tearing all his . . . The Japanese come and pulled him away and then turned around and beat him up!

Mr. Hunt describes the frightening aspects of working in the Niigata coal mines.

Hector Hunt

Hector Hunt was born in Pabos Mills, Quebec, on December 9, 1911. His father was the local river guardian. Mr. Hunt was the second oldest of 16 children. He had little schooling, having gone to the woods at the age of ten to cut pulp with his father. He also transported supplies to his father when he was busy on the river. At sixteen, Mr. Hunt started work at the Chandler pulp mill for twenty-five cents and hour. When the opportunity to enlist occurred, he signed up anticipating better wages and lifestyle. He had very little basic training and no live ammunition weapons training. Mr. Hunt served in Newfoundland before eventually being shipped overseas toHong Kong. He was a POW in both Hong Kong and Japan, where he worked in the coal mines near Niigata. Mr. Hunt credits his strong faith for helping him to endure his time in captivity. After completing his service, Mr. Hunt returned home to work in the local mill.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Hector Hunt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Machine Gunner

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