Page 30 - Austin Roberts' Second World War
ISSUE : Issue 47
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/1/1
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You didn't go home at night until those cars were loaded. So if you had 2 or 3 men sick, between the crowd, (you) had to load that extra stuff. As I say, they didn't care if the men laid down, but the cars had to be loaded. (What other work did you do there?) Well, there was pig iron. And you'd get a ship? load of these soya beans come in. And you'd have to unload those, put them in the ware? house, and up a ramp, and pile them. Any? thing that came into the dock, didn't mat? ter what it was, you had to unload it. (And working on the dock, was it just these prisoners-of-war?) Oh, no. As I say, there were a thousand civilians or more, working there. Japanese civilians. You know, the Japanese themselves can't pick up anything. You can load 200 pound on his back, and he'll trot along with it. But he can't pick it up. They just never do it. I don't know if they can; they just never do it. So we'd be unloading a shipload of soya beans, we'll say. There'd be 4 hatches working. Maybe the Canadians would have two lines working. And maybe there'd be a-Jap- lines working. And maybe there'd be a Jap? anese line of girls there working. You've seen the hooks that longshoremen use, have you? Well, we each had a set of those. There'd be 3 fellows loading these things on your back, now. One fellow at each end of the bag, and another fellow at the side of it. They were 140-pound bags. So, you'd come up. And you didn't want it on your shoulder, you wanted it across the back of your neck. So you'd come up to the line, and they'd flip it onto your back. You'd go with it. It was just a continuous go, all the time. Now, the girls were only little short things, but, about that wide, you know. But they'd come to us, because we'd pick the bag up so high, we could lay it right down on their shoulders where they wanted it. Where their own would be practically rol? ling it up on their back. They'd be gig? gling and going there, you know. And all they wore was just a little piece of cloth about that wide. They just wrapped it around themselves and tucked it in. And they wore a little vest, but they never had any buttons on them. You know, after a month there, they were so common that you didn't even look at them. And boy, they were good-looking, let me tell you, some of those girls. Oh, beautiful complexion. (No interest?) An interest in one sense, you know. But another interest telling you in the back of your mind, if you just stepped out of line once, and bingo! you were gone. There wouldn't be any such a thing as fooling around with it at all-- they'd just do away with you. But you know, give an Englishman a chance, and he'll scrounge anything at all. Now,
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