Liberated Canadian prisoners-of-war aboard the hospital ship S.S. BENEVOLENCE, Yokohama, Japan, 3 September 1945. (L-R) Privates G.J. Steward, John Goodey and Stanley C.G. Olcen, all of The Winnipeg Grenadiers; Merchant Navy wireless operator O.H. Collett; Staff-Sergeant Ernest M. West of The Winnipeg Grenadiers.Credit: Capt. Colin C. McDougall / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-131532
"I guess it goes without saying, you know, you’re in the military and a prisoner of war is a prisoner of war, you just don’t run around like a happy go lucky guy on the street."
I was shipped down from British Columbia to Winnipeg, and I was in Winnipeg for about a year and I was PPCLI [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] and they called for volunteers and kind of pressuring us a bit, to go in the draft, to go to China [with the Winnipeg Grenadiers]. And I was one of them. We were free there for about a year and the Japanese attacked [Hong Kong] and of course, you know, they attacked with a mighty large, large army. I think there were about 1,600 of us and they took us prisoners of war. And we were prisoners of war then for four years. And I spent two years in China in a prisoner of war camp and then two years in Japan.
I guess it goes without saying, you know, you’re in the military and a prisoner of war is a prisoner of war, you just don’t run around like a happy go lucky guy on the street. It was not good. I’m not the type of a guy to hold grudges or hold animosity against the Japanese. What happens, it happened and I survived and I lived a very well, good life ever since then. It was certainly not very good being a prisoner of war of the Japanese but I don’t dwell on it, I very seldom ever think about it.