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Joining the Winnipeg Grenadiers

Heroes Remember

Joining the Winnipeg Grenadiers

It was claimed that the Winnipeg Grenadiers had been standing guard in Canada and were not fully equipped and trained, but you had quite a number of men that were transferred in from the Camerons and the SSR and the PPCLI. Now we fellows were trained, we were over trained because we'd been trained and re-trained and don’t ever let anybody tell you that we didn't know about machine guns or how to handle equipment or warfare because we had been trained in Winnipeg and our training had been very strenuous, and we'd had lots of it. We'd been there for quite some time. We were reinforcements for the First Division in England. We weren't moving we just sat there and trained, and trained and re-trained and trained and trained some more. And, oh we'd joined this army to go out there and save the world and all this, you might say. So we were all chomping at the bits and when we had a chance to transfer to some outfit that we knew that was going to move or go, well we, a whole lot of us transferred in and we had, the last thing on anybody's mind was to go to China. So we joined this Grenadiers outfit and about three weeks later, we were all down at the station and we boarded a train only we said, “Holy Moses this train is going the wrong way. We thought it’s just going to backup for it to go, because when you join the army, you're going overseas, you're going to the East. But that train backed up all the way to Vancouver, and then we got onboard the Awatea and we were on our way to, across the Pacific to China.

After months of training with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Mr. Flegg describes jumping at the chance to reinforce the Winnipeg Grenadiers, thinking they are heading out for Europe. However, the troop train heads west.

Aubrey Flegg

Aubrey Flegg was born on October 18, 1917 in Welland, Ontario. His father moved the family to Northern British Columbia when he was three. Mr. Flegg describes living on a “stump farm”, and working from a very early age. Leaving home at sixteen, he trapped in winter and felled timber during warmer months. Mr. Flegg was married with a young family when the war started, but he enlisted out of patriotic duty. He joined Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, and later reinforced the Winnipeg Grenadiers, thinking he would be going to Europe. Instead, Mr. Flegg found himself trying to defend Hong Kong from the Japanese against overwhelming odds. Imprisoned for four years, he survived the ravages of disease, starvation, abuse and forced labor in both North Point and Sham Shui Po Camps and the Oyama mines. Mr. Flegg offers an impassioned story of the Hong Kong experience.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Aubrey Flegg
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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