Page 33 - Austin Roberts' Second World War
ISSUE : Issue 47
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/1/1
all your commands, now, there was nothing else but that. They just learned you that, and that was it. You'd line up--. (Did you have any mail?) No. No news. Only, they'd tell you how they were winning the war. No radio, no nothing like that. (And then, you say, the Japanese began to lose the war.) Well, our camp commandant--the fellow that was there when we got the music and stuff-- was suddenly shifted. And there was a new fellow come, a young fellow. And he could speak perfect English. And he gave a speech when he came, that we had been living off the fat of the land, how good they were to us, had given us all kinds of stuff to eat, and all kinds of this, and everything. He even gave us shirts and pants during the winter so we wouldn't be cold--and we were sitting on our arse, doing nothing. But things were going to change. We were going to work harder, and we were going to get less food, and all this. And we figured to ourselves... that some? thing had happened to the Japanese armies, because they weren't getting that tough for nothing, all of a sudden, eh? Anyway, it went on, and he increased the amount of work we had to do. Then all of a sudden, one night, we were home from work, had our little bit of rice, and were thinking about going to bed. The doors opened and the guards came in--"Hiko, hiko, hiko!"--"Outside, outside, outside! Hurry, hurry!" All went outside. A ship was in, had to be loaded immediately--150 men, right away. And that went on. We'd get back to camp about 12, 1 o'clock. That went on for weeks like that. Come and hike you out in the middle of the night, take you down and work you 3/4 of the night, and bring you back. And take you back out the next morning, again, the same thing. Do your day's work. No extra rations or anything. It was getting goddamn tough, you know. It had been going on like that for awhile. ??It was in June, I guess--a beautiful night, anyway. Somebody said, "Look, it can't get a bit worse. Let's go over and ask them if we can have a concert out in the yard with our music." So, who will go? "Well, we'll draw straws, see who'll go." So we drew straws. Poor Stormy and I got the short straws. We had to go over to the camp, over to the guard first. Guard had to take you to the camp commandant's office. "What do you want?" "Well, sir, we wondered if we could have music out in the yard, for an hour or two." "What do you want to have mu? sic for?" And Stormy, I guess, felt that night that he didn't give a damn, anyway. "Well," he said, "to tell you the truth, sir," he said, "we're so full of pep and ginger, we figured we'd have a dance!" And you know, it took the bastard back. It set him right back on his heels. "Okay," he said, "have your god? damn dance." So. We hadn't planned on having any kind of a dance! We were just going to get some mu? sic. But anyway, we got out playing mu? sic. There were 2 or 3 French fellows there that said, "How about playing a quad? rille? We'll have a square dance." So, "Okay, we'll play a quadrille.." So we got a square dance go? ing. And gee, we looked up on the side hill and there were about 3000 civilians sitting up there-- watching us- -and clapping! The old Jap commandant came out, and he sat there and watched us for awhile. And finally, it was time for roll call. He never said a word. Never opened his mouth, you know. So, about two months after that, one night we came in, and he had his table set up. We said, "Oh, Jesus! Another time of standing to attention and listen to some yak-yak for nothing." Anjrway, all were lined up, standing to attention, and he got up. He said, "I know you're all going to be broken-hearted," he said, "but I'm leaving. I've been shifted." He said, "Those two fellows came to ask me about the dance, I want them to step up here." Stormy and I thought, "Oh, here's where we get our lumps now, boy, right off the bat!" We stepped out, anyway. He said, "Do you two realize how close I came to shooting you that night you came to the barracks?" We said, "No, sir." He CONTINUED NEXT PAGE HIGHLAND OFFICE PRODUCTS _-- ' YOUR COMPLETE Canon BUSINESS MACHINE DEALER SALES * SERVICE * LEASING Canon PLAIN PAPER COPIERS aOOO SERIES ?? Dual Colour • Image Editor ?? Semi-Automatic Document Feeder 40 Copies a Minute • Duplexing mt' Canon p* Halftone Reproduction fgl • Confidential Messages 16 Shades of Grey • Speed Dialing High Speed Transmission • State-of-the-Art #''114'11 Electronic V''''r' Typewrrter '' ??g? • 700-Character '''' ??'Ci??<'' Correction Memory • "UNDO" Key • 8-Line Back-lit Liquid Crystal Display ' Highland Office Products Reeves Building Call Today For 22 Maple Street A Demonstration ltT'- 539-2677 Serving All of Cape Breton with Quality Business Machines • • • • ??'(33)
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