Language selection


The War Ends in Japan

Heroes Remember

The War Ends in Japan

Interviewer: Did you always have confidence that you were going to survive the war and return to Canada? Yes, I had that confidence. I, as I mentioned very early on that I had decided that if anybody was going to get back I would, so. I knew, mind you, I knew there was a very good chance that I wouldn't but I never, I didn't give up thinking, thinking that I was going to get home. Interviewer: After the Emperor's speech and you had the opportunity of observing the Japanese who appeared to be down hearted and crying over the result, how long after that was it before an Alied soldier appeared? Well, we were probably among the first to, to be released or to see an American soldier. The, the, Omori, the headquarters camp, was only about I guess about, I never, I was never there, but I think it was about five kilometres away, and the Americans came into there first and then this American Brigadier General with one escort, one soldier escorting him, walked the four or five miles and, and into our camp. And that was the first American and that was probably, probably around the 20th or 21st of, of August, not very long after hostilities had ceased altogether. Interviewer: How long did you stay in Shinegawa? A day or two. The Americans, after, after the announcement of the end of the war, the Americans had come over with bombers and, and, different kinds of fighter, and torpedo planes and dropped all sorts of stuff in the camp. In fact for a, for a little while, it was more dangerous there then, then it would of been in the battlefield, I think. The boxes coming down from everywhere and B-29s coming over and dropping loads of, of canned goods and stuff in, in barrels, you know, 45 gallon drums welded end to end and it would often break, break their, their, their bonds and crash down. So, but eventually we got them to dump the stuff in the canal right beside the camp and swim out, and we'd swim out and drag it in. Interviewer: Where did you, where did the Japanese guards go? Well, they stayed around for, some of them at least stayed around for a little while. In fact, we had one or two that were very good and, and loaded up with American supplies and sent them off with a, with a note saying, "This Japanese was a soldier, was a guard in our camp and, and treated us fairly and, and whatever you can do to help him, you know, would be appreciated." Words to that effect. Interviewer: Were there other guards that you would liked to have run into? Not too, none comes to mind. There is one other, though, it was a Sergeant Major who lost, I think, ten of his family in, in the fire, fire bombing and yet was fair and, and did what he could for, for prisoners. So, but he had, I think he had gone before.

Even when the war ended, things were still somewhat dangerous in POW camps but some guards were good to the prisoners.

Kenneth Alexander Ewing

Kenneth Ewing was born in 1925, the 4th oldest of 12 children. His father was a civil engineer for the province of New Brunswick which enabled them to manage fairly well during the Depression. His father was a Lieutenant in the First World War and signed up as an engineer in the Second World War from 1942 to 1945. Mr. Ewing quit school in Grade 10 at the age of 15 to join the army. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to join the Merchant Navy and joined the militia in the spring of 1940. He then joined the N.B. Rangers (militia). In November 1940, he went active with the Royal Rifles. He did his basic training in Botwood, Newfoundland, guarding the port. He did further guard duty in Botwood, Gander, and St. John's, Newfoundland, Valcartier, Quebec, and Saint John, New Brunswick. He was posted to Hong Kong as a rifleman in "A" Company. He was taken POW and sent to a slave labour camp in Japan where he endured beatings, disease, and very poor living conditions but considered himself lucky since other Canadians had been executed.

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

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: