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We Became Brothers and we Still Are

Heroes Remember

We Became Brothers and we Still Are

I’d say it was the Canadians. Our morale was much higher. The English, they were always growling at you, they were always complaining. But we had our fun and this and that. Down and out, you know, but there was always something to have a joke at. Like, I was saying about my brother, when he was down there, I brought him in cigarettes and that but anybody that was down, that’s one thing about the... We became brothers. We became brothers and we still are, after all these years. When my brother died there, Bobby Barter, and Phil Dotrige, and Arnold Ross came down from Cascapedia. And when they left, I said, “I love you guys.” I’ve never said that to my brothers, only my brother Harley. Well, we were close. When I hear of somebody, it bothers me. I make it a point, if I can, if I’m not sick, to go to any Hong Kong Veteran's funeral.

Mr. MacWhirter describes the lasting impact of the friendships he made during his POW experiences.

William MacWhirter

William MacWhirter was born in Niagara Falls, New York, USA, on January 10, 1924. He was one of five brothers. During the depression, his family returned to Hopetown, Quebec, where he completed grade 8 in school. By 1939, his father, a First World War Veteran, had joined the Veterans Guard and two older brothers had enlisted; William became head of the family farm at the age of fifteen. He eventually enlisted in New Carlyle at the age of seventeen. His basic training took place in Val Cartier and St. John, and as a member of the Royal Rifles, D Company, he was deployed to Hong Kong. After a futile attempt to defend the colony, William joined many other captives in the dismal North Point and Sham Shui Po POW camps. He was eventually sent to the labour camp at Omini, Japan. He returned home safely, but he has paid a heavy price, physically and emotionally. He remains, however, an ardent patriot.

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

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