Page 28 - Austin Roberts' Second World War
ISSUE : Issue 47
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/1/1
go up and down the aisle in this cart, pushing himself with his hands, and he was the only person that the guards ever stepped out of their way for. And sometimes you'd even see them, if they thought there was nobody looking at them, they'd put the rifle against the thing and push him along. But (not) if they thought there was anybody looking at them. They watched him. They'd step out and give him room to move. They were strange creatures. So, in the spring, they said they wanted men to go to work in Japan. They'd take the most healthy ones. And according to them, it was going to be a heaven: we were going to get all kinds of food and we were going to get clothes and we were going to get ev? erything. So we all said. Let's go. They sorted us out. Anybody that wasn't too healthy, or wasn't halfway healthy, they wouldn't take them. They put us on a boat, and they took us over to Formosa first. We were there a few days, then they finished out the trip to Japan. After we went to Japan, they sorted us out. The crowd that I was with, now, we were go? ing to work on dock work--unloading ships, and this and that and something else. Now in the morning, the rice was brought to the camp. And each hut had so many men into it. Barbed wire all around it, and guards, of course. But the rice would be brought down e farmers Co-operative Dairy Limited A Complete Line of Dairy & Juice Products ?? Milk ?? Spreads ?? Ice Cream ?? Juices ?? Yogourt ?? Long Life ?? Cheese Products Farmers Co-operative Dairy Limited Sydport, Sydney 562-2434 Owned by Nova Scotian Farmers to the camp and served out by our own men. But you'd get a--you know what a Prem can is?--you've seen a can of Prem. (Canned meat, isn't it?) That's what you'd get in the morning: a Prem can full of rice, boiled rice. No salt or sugar or anything with it at all, just the boiled rice. (No Prem.) No Prem, no. So at dinnertime, the rice was sent out from camp again--the same amount. You got a Prem can full of rice at dinner. But the company gave us a Prem can full of soya beans. (The company that you were unloading for?) Yeah. And at suppertime, when you went back, you got your same Prem can full of rice. And maybe once a week or something like that, you'd get a little bit of stew made out of the tops of vegetables. No veg? etables-- just the tops. Then--well, we were unloading stuff. They made it quite plain to us, there was no harm in stealing anything. You could steal all you wanted to, from the ships or the warehouses or whatever. But don't get caught. You got caught, you got the hell beat out of you with a club. On the dock I worked on, there were a thousand or more civilians worked there, too--men, and girls. And they were the same, now, they were under the same thing: steal what you want, but if you get caught, you get the hell pounded out of you. Now, all you wore there was a pair of shorts--no shirt, no socks, no boots, no nothing--just a pair of shorts, in the sum? mertime there, now. So, what you could steal didn't amount to a hell of a lot. Ev? erybody had a little bag that they used to put down between their legs, you know, so you could get a couple of handfuls of rice, or a couple of handfuls of beans in that, and put it down there--take them back and give them to the cooks at camp. It made your rations a bit better. Like sometimiss, now, there'd be dried fish come in, bags of dried fish. And you'd get a chance at them now, you know. (Were you being treated roughly?) As I say, it just depended on yourself, now. If you "Where you meet your friends" OVERLOOKING SYDNEY HARBOUR 400 KINGS ROAD, SYDNEY (902) 564-4567 105 BEAUTIFUL ROOMS-ALL NEWLY DECORATED NEW TELEPHONE SYSTEM * MEETING FACILITIES * COLOUR CABLE TV COMMERCIAL RATES * OFF-SEASON RATES CASTLE GATE LOUNGE Sir Arthur's Fully Licensed Dining Room OPEN * YEAR 'ROUND |
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