Language selection

End of War

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: So when you look back, your soldiers, your comrades, the people you worked with, were you confident that you'd be freed? Well they told us that if they lost the war, we'd be chopped with a stroke across your neck like that or if they won the war we'd be (inaudible) for the rest of our lives. So, that's how confident we were, wasn't very confident, we didn't know. Interviewer: No, you were beyond sure. We know not, we know now that Hirohito, the emperor, told them don't do any more damage to the prisoners, let them all, no more casualties, and that saved our lives. Interviewer: So when you think back to the sacrifice of yourself and your comrades and your experiences, would you do it all again? Well not if I, not unless I had to. But sure, it was an experience, an experience that very few people will have to go through. It's memories, but it's bad memories, and it's good memories Interviewer: Are you proud of the service that you and your comrades gave to Canada? I am, but the reason that we went there was very bad. Churchill told us, told the Canadian government not to send us and they sent us, to show that they were doing something for the war. That, no, doesn't settle very well with me, especially for the guys that didn't come back.

The POWs were told they’d be killed no matter what the outcome of the war was. But he explains why they weren’t executed.

John McGee

Mr. John McGee was born in Saskatchewan, on May 3, 1923, and comes from a family of two brothers and three sisters. He now resides in Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife and family. Mr. McGee joined the army and left for wartime service with a group of thirteen men. Although very excited to be going overseas, he recalls the sight of seeing young men jumping overboard when the ship began to sail; the fear of the unknown was causing many to turn back and stay at home! Mr. McGee was determined to go and serve his country. Mr. McGee shares with us his personal experience of being captured as a Hong Kong prisoner of war (POW) and hardships he endured at the camp. He considers himself very fortunate to be alive today, as many of his friends were left behind. After six years of serving in the army, Mr. McGee returned home to be what he terms an "Entrepreneur" buying a few hotels and later on getting into the sales business. Civilian life was a very positive outcome for a soldier who had endured such hard times and poor health during his time in the prisoner of war camps.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John McGee
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: