Veteran Stories:
Jack McArthur Carruthers

Navy

  • Landing party from HMCS Prince Robert preparing to disembark in Kowloon, August 1945. The landing party was bound for Sham Shui Po Camp to liberate Canadian prisoners of war.

    Jack Carruthers
  • Japanese officer being encouraged to surrender his weapon by a sailor from HMCS Prince Robert, Hong Kong, August 1945.

    Jack Carruthers
  • Japanese surrender ceremony, Hong Kong, August 1945. Captain Wallace Creery, the captain of HMCS Prince Robert, is standing on the far right.

    Jack Carruthers
  • Jack Carruthers (on the left) and his friend George Muslard in Victoria, British Columbia, May 1945.

    Jack Carruthers
  • The Japanese surrender ceremony, Hong Kong, August 1945.

    Jack Carruthers
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"You had to carry this nine-pound rifle out in front of you and above your head and they ran you for about an hour if you could go that long."

Transcript

I got what they called a “Number 11”, when I first joined the Navy; that was a penalty for being late coming in one night. And “Number 11” has been abolished since those days. They used to get you up a half an hour before everybody else to go to work and you only got a short time for lunch and a short time for supper and you had to work at night. And then they ran you around the courtyard, with a rifle. You had to carry this nine-pound rifle out in front of you and above your head and they ran you for about an hour if you could go that long.

And I didn’t make it. I passed out before I got that far. So the doctor had me in there and he was really annoyed with that routine. I don’t think I did it again in London, put a stop to it. That’s what I remember about joining.

The Japanese war was still going on full-fledged and we were assigned to the Japanese war [the fighting in the Pacific]. And I got sent up to Comox up in B.C. for commando training and then came back on the ship and I got assigned to HMCS Prince Robert. Well, they went on just as they - I was still an ordinary seaman, that’s what they, my designation was, ordinary seaman. And I worked on carrying ammunition for the ship with the big guns, had six big cannons on the ship. And they had these big shells, oh, they’d be 18 inches long and I think they were about 60 pounds apiece. We had to put all those aboard. And then after, for a while I was on the guns, they transferred me over to radar. I worked on the radar for quite a while.

Well, radar, the best way to explain it, it’s like a television set in front of you. And there’s a big hand sweeps around and if there’s any object nearby, you see a little bleep on the screen. And you watched for these bleeps for enemy planes or enemy ships. It’s hard on the eyes, watching these things. You were only on for so many minutes or hours, about an hour at the most I guess and they’d relieve you.

When we were in the Philippines, we just got there at the time when the Americans were cleaning up and we never got into action there because we were right at the tail end of it. When we got over to Hong Kong, we were the third ship to sail in with the British fleet and the Japanese had Kamikaze planes, suicide planes that would fly into you and blow you up.

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