Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 47 > Page 22 - Austin Roberts' Second World War

Page 22 - Austin Roberts' Second World War

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/1/1 (387 reads)

there's nothing can touch a British troop. They fought there, but they were overrun with men and guns and tanks and stuff--they didn't have a hope in hell. (The Japanese) kept driving them back and driving them back and driving them back. Once they got down to Kowloon, then they could make a crack at the island. And they had thousands of little boats. And--not the first night. The first night, they just sort of took a little stab at it, to see what would happen. But our old colo? nel was pretty cute. The next day, he got a whole bunch of 45-gallon barrels of oil-- high octane is what it was--gasoline. Hauled them out into the harbour a ways with little boats, and buoyed them there. I remember that day, we worked like slaves. It was a hell of a hard place to work in. The temperature down there is not like here--it seems to press down on you. Any? way, we put these barrels out. I suppose we put about 200 of them out altogether. And that night they made a real attempt to come across, the Japs did. Once they got in amongst the barrels, we turned the mortars on the barrels. We had quite a fire for awhile. (Fire on the water?) Yeah. Boats and men and water and the whole damn works, you know, went up in flames. There was no way they could get out of it, once they were close enough to them. So that attempt failed. From that morning--the 8th of December-- till December 25th, we never had a sleep. As I said, now, we had 2200 men to start with, and that beach to cover. An attack on any part of it, you had to rush there. It wasn't just a flat beach--this was moun? tains and hills and swamp, and everything that made it hard to move in. See, you were on the move continuously, all the time, back and forth, back and forth--tfying to defend this place and that place. That's where we spent 18 days of actual (combat). Never managed a rest of any kind, shape, or form. I was thinking about it the other day: it seems almost impossible to go 18 days without setting down somewhere to have a rest. But we never had to sit down and have a rest. You'd go to sleep standing up, fall down sometime. And they just kept pushing us and banging us and hammering us. I had put on a new pair of boots the morn? ing before the war started, because I was figuring on next day going to that course. And you know, when the (battle) ended on Christmas Day (after 18 days of fighting), I had a hole in both soles of those boots. That's how much we travelled. They'd try to attack one spot. We'd all rush there to beat them back. And in the meantime they'd be trying in another spot. And you'd have to rush from that spot over to the next spot to try again. We were in a compound in Stanley Village Christmas Day. We went in there the night before. You know how big an acre is--210 feet roughly. The compound would be, I'd say, 3 acres at the outside. There were buildings there, you know. But most of them The agricultural challenges of tomorrow are being taught today at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Technical Courses in: Animal Science Plant Science Agricultural Business Agricultural Mechanization Farm Equipment Landscape Horticulture Biology Laboratory Chemistry Laboratory Farming Agricultural Engineering Degree Studies in: Agricultural Chemistry Agricultural Economics Agricultural Engineering Agricultural Mechanization Animal Science Plant Protection Plant Science Soil Science Pre-veterinary Medicine Contact: The Registrar Nova Scotia Agricultural College PO Box 550, Truro, Nova Scotia B2N 5E3 Best wishes for a prosperous 1988.
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download