The prospects for Finland, a country of 3.6 million people, did not look good, she had a 1,200 km frontier with Russia to defend. Her army of 160,000 men faced an initial Russian force of 460,000 troops and over 2,000 tanks.
“There was the father-and-mother of a row. They were all after my blood at GHQ. But my Corps commander (Brooke) saved me by insisting on dealing with the matter himself. This he did in no uncertain manner and I received from him a proper backhander.”
‘There was a possibility that the mine had devices other than the magnetic one, which added to the hazard. If we were unlucky the notes which the two watchers had taken would be available for those who would have to deal with the next available specimen. ‘
‘After a short while the German ships opened fire – one on each side of us. Their aim was good. They first hit the wireless cabin, then two hits demolished the bridge. Our guns opened up in retaliation, and we hit one of the ships several times causing some casualties. I had gone to the ammunition hoist to get some Star Shells, but when I returned my gun and fellow gun crew had all been blown over the side.’
Lying there, listening to the sounds of tempest, straining my ears for any sounds to indicate the proximity of guards, it was grimly amusing to think of what might happen in the next hour or two. Having seen the reactions of the Japanese to previous alarms, it was easy to imagine the scene should a false move cause me to short-circuit the electrified wires on the fence. Before my frizzled body hit the ground there would be guards yelling and rushing about the camp.
After returning to Japan, I saw photographs of bodies scorched pitch-black by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. As I looked at them, the red corpse I had seen in Manchuria, of someone killed out of vengeance and then skinned, ﬂoated before my eye. The two corpses, the red and the black, became overlain in my mind. Together, those two corpses tell the whole story of 1945.