Prisoners of War

submitted by Liana Frenette

We sailed to Hong Kong without any fears,
The Royal Rifles and Winnipeg Grenadiers.
We were young, excited and naively brave,
Off on the Awatea to fight and to save.

The "Japs" attacked Hong Kong hard and fast,
Without reinforcements, we could not last.
Determined and hopeful, we tried to defend her,
Christmas Day '41, we had to surrender.

For those we had lost, the battle was done,
Lives tragically ended by sword and by gun.
For those who survived, a new battle began,
Such horrendous conditions that tested a man.

Torture and beatings performed every day,
Disease and starvation took many away.
How any survived, it's amazing to tell,
Four years we lived in a prison from Hell.

American help came in mid '45,
New hope abounded for those still alive.
Time to return to family and friend,
World War II had come to an end.

We returned to our lives as best we could,
Wherever we turned, we were misunderstood.
They wanted to help, they wanted to see,
But they had to be there to understand me.

Nightmares brought back the horrors endured
Missing arms and legs could never be cured.
Hardened by years of starvation and pain,
Things would never be normal again.

Five decades have passed for those who remember,
That fateful day we had to surrender.
Not able to forget all that went wrong
The horrors we suffered while in Hong Kong.

And so to this day,
We remain,
Prisoners of War!

Thank you to Liana Frenette for permission to reproduce her poem on our website.