Infantrymen of C Company, The Royal Rifles of Canada aboard HMCS Prince Robert en route to Hong Kong, 15 November 1941. Bruce Cadoret served with The Royal Rifles of Canada at the Battle of Hong Kong.Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-166999 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Government of Canada
"They told us that every day, you know, they were, they were going to win. "You are prisoners of the Japanese Empire! You don't go home no more! You work for the Japanese Empire! You don't go home no more." “Oh, well you’re not going to beat us,” I says. “We’re as stubborn as you are.”"
It was wartime and everybody was trying to do their bit and I wanted to be in there too, you know. So I joined up in Gaspé [Quebec]. And the next morning I was on the train for [Camp] Valcartier [Quebec].
We didn't know where we were going until we arrived in Hong Kong in the harbour. And all the ships were blowing and it was such a – everybody was excited – “oy oy oy!” We were a long ways from home. That was just what they told us, you know, it was going to be guard duty and to reinforce the troops that were there, like you know, the British troops.
I was in the Bren gun carriers,* you know, and I was, I was in charge of a carrier. We were supposed to have I think it was 12 or 14, we had one that we borrowed from The Royal Scots.** You know, they were supposed to pass it around, “You take it today, tomorrow I'll take it,” you know.
They told us it was guard duty. Just to help the people, the troops that were there. To reinforce the troops that were there, you know, in guard duty. When they started coming down over us, bombing us and machine gunning, you know, they moved us all over the place, like you know. Wherever they needed more men they'd shift us around. We were days and days without any sleep, you know. You were going day and night. Half the time we had nothing to eat. You'd get a bit of a meal and then they [say], "Okay, okay, come on, come on! You're needed over there. Leave it all and go." But I was more or less in the hills frigging hauling this Bren [light machine] gun around with me most of the time, you know. They were bombing us and, you know, and they were all around us. And every time you moved, a shot over your head, you know, or something. Bounce off your helmet. After a while you get the kind of an eerie feeling, this is not going right. I suppose it was 18 days or something like that. And then they, well I guess the commander of the camp more or less surrendered like, you know.
I weighed 150 [pounds] when I started and I weighed 108 when I came out.
They told us that every day, you know, they were, they were going to win. "You are prisoners of the Japanese Empire! You don't go home no more! You work for the Japanese Empire! You don't go home no more." “Oh, well you’re not going to beat us,” I says. “We’re as stubborn as you are.”
*Universal carrier - light armoured tracked vehicles
**2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots Regiment (British Army)