Ed Slade at The Last Hurrah, Winnipeg, Manitoba, August 2011.Historica Canada
"None of my friends had joined up, so I thought I was going to do something different."
Well, I decided to enlist because I come from north Flin-Flon [Manitoba] and mostly in the bush. And there wasn’t much to do in Flin-Flon, joining the mine, that was it. Which I wasn’t joined the mine for a while. But I wasn’t happy with it. Thought I’d do something different.
And like I said, the war was on, our, or just over and brothers and sisters were all in the service, thought I’d give it a crack too. So I joined the navy. None of my friends had joined up, so I thought I was going to do something different.
I took a bit of training on minesweeper, that’s when I went to sea, I went to the minesweeper. And I had a good time on there, it was small. I went from there to the [HMCS] Cayuga. I went in the [HMCS] Cayuga for about a year before going overseas. My second daughter was born when I was overseas. First daughter was born when I was in Esquimalt [British Columbia].
When we got to Korea, we were at sea there, training and it was decided by the captain that we were going to go for revamp or go and get painted and such. We went to Hong Kong [a British protectorate] to get painted.
[While in Hong Kong] One morning, I was getting my picture taken and a Japanese or Chinese guy was going along the shore, taking pictures. And he asked me if I wanted to get one painted. And I reached in my pocket and sure enough I had a picture of my wife, a small one. And he asked if I would like it painted. Of course I’d like it painted, so I said yes. So he took the small picture back with him and that was four or five days that he had for it and then he was to bring it back, painted in oil on silk.
He got me in and introduced me to the fella who was going to do my picture was right there. He introduced me. So he invited me to go upstairs and meet the rest and so I followed him up the stairs. He was asking me questions, all the time I was answering and that. And upstairs, there was a small table about from here to the wall and there was 12 people sitting around it. And they all bowed and said hello and they never talked. Pardon me, they didn’t say hello, they all bowed and he showed me to a seat and they were just starting to do my wife’s picture.
They were all part artists, a master and the way they do the thing and finally, got to the end and he showed me the picture and showed me how I’d liked it? It was identical. It was identical picture and he said, meanwhile, they had got me a lunch and something to drink and we talked and between us, the young people couldn’t talk. He said, “Do you know why they can’t talk?” I said, “No.” He says, “Well, they were doing, the Japanese were taking over their city, their town, and they wouldn’t bow down and kiss the earth that the Japanese soldiers were walking on. And they were grabbed and cut their tongues out. And right there in front of everybody.” But they couldn’t speak.