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I’m Scared Sometimes That I’ll Choke my Wife

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I’m Scared Sometimes That I’ll Choke my Wife

It took a while. When I came back, I think it was my wife, Evangeline there, that got me back to be a normal human being. When I first came back, I come from a Christian home, by the way. And when I come back, I can remember I was shaving, and I cut myself and I said, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” And my mother looked and she said, “Billy, Billy, what did they do to you over there?” And I never swore since. I never swore since. I couldn’t go to a show and see Japs there. I’d stand right up and make a fool of myself. I would stand right up, and start whooping. And with Lynn there, at first, I wouldn’t go to a show with her, but now I do. Our children were born. I was cold, very cold. There was a bitterness. It’s all gone now. She taught me again what love was, you know, with the children. She’d tell the children, “Daddy loves you,” 'cause of my anger and that. It's all gone now. And the children do love me. I have no problem. I’m, I'm scared sometimes that I’ll choke my wife. I am scared, because I have these dreams. When I first came back from the war, the Japs always got the best of me. My brother Harley and I were sleeping in bed together this time, probably had been out having a little drink. I don’t really know, but anyway, this Jap and I, and we got into it and I said, “Well, I’m liberated now. It’s my turn,” and pucked him, and I was smiling. I had pucked my brother Harley in the nose and made him bleed. And he sat up, and I’m laying back down sound asleep but I’m smiling. He thought I did it on purpose, so he pucked me in the nose. But anyway, as time went on, I began to beat the Japs. They weren’t beating me. I started to win, which I’m still doing. But I am scared of choking my wife sometimes. These terrible dreams you have. And you know, you think you got the Jap. And I go to bed every night and say a little prayer, “Lord, don’t let me touch my wife."

Mr. MacWhirter describes the importance of his wife in his emotional recovery after the war, and his fear of injuring her during one of his recurring nightmares.

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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