Donald Kennedy - End of the War

Running time
1 min 47 sec

Department of Veterans' Affairs


I always remember, we were in Balikpapan Harbor in Borneo just after the war ended. The captain of our ship had heard that we were to take it up to Shanghai and give it to the Chinese government, because we were a pretty old ship.

So he arranged for 60 Japanese soldiers to come on the ship with guards and here was me, a 17 year old or 18 year old, I forget what it was. I had 10 Japanese prisoners under my care to work on the ship, to clean it up, because old ships get rusty. I had to put them to work, give them shipping hammers and scrapers, and things.

I was telling somebody the other day that we rigged up what we call a stage over the side of the ship where they had to sit on a plank and get the side of the ship. Some of them had a habit of dropping their hammers in the water. So the next day, I had one of the soldiers, Japanese soldiers, who spoke a bit of English. I said to him, "We're losing a lot of hammers over the side."

There were Australian soldiers there, sitting there with an Owen gun guarding them. I said, "Would you tell the rest of your men here that if anymore hammers go over the side, Nippon goes in after them." I never lost any hammers after that. Psychology. I wouldn't have put them in the water, but so. But that was the end, the war was over, the war was over.

Went to Philippines then up to Shanghai, as I said. So that was the end of the war, thank goodness. Thank goodness.


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