William Bell's Story

Going Home

On September 8th, 1945, we were transported to Tokyo by train. At 1200 hours we boarded the USS Ozark and shipped out for Guam. We arrived in Guam on September 12th, 0700 hours, where we received medical attention and new clothing. I convalesced there for two weeks before being shipped to Manila, Philippines where we received mail, telegrams, advance on our pay, and further medical inspection. Our families were given 6 Air Letter forms which were endorsed as "Mail for Liberated Prisoner of War." These were to be used to send news, postage free, to Manila. In the Philippines we were also interrogated with respect to POW conditions and any information on ill-treatment with respect to war crimes.

A telegram was received by my mother advising that we had embarked Guam for Canada. I shipped out from Manila and, with a stopover in Honolulu I eventually arrived at Fort McDowell in San Francisco, California on October 2nd, 1945, 1200 hours. I boarded a train in Oakland, California on October 4th, 1945, and arrived in Vancouver the next day.

Soon after the war ended, on Tuesday, April 2nd, 1946, myself and fellow Winnipeg Grenadiers, John Pugsley and John Pollock, were interviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press in regards to the heroism of Sergeant-Major John Osborn, V.C. Photographs of us, along with John Osborn and his family, were taken by the armed forces and included in the article shown below. Sergeant-Major John Osborn was posthumously awarded the first Victoria Cross to a Canadian soldier of the Second World War. I received a typed copy of the article written by the Free Press reporter which I have included below.