when we first arrived, my...first sight of Saigon
, was the, um, airport, and as we came in
over the airport, uh, there, it looked like uh, a great motor rally,
[incomprehensible] in this country. We had apparently asked for somebody
on our, on our behalf had asked for all motor vehicles, cars, trucks and
so on to be assembled on the, on the aerodrome.
um, we landed, we were met, as far as I recall, by the Japanese. I was the brigade
supply and transport officer, um, attached to Brigadier
Taunton who was to be the first commander, British commander entrenching to China, pending
the arrival of General Gracey
. And I do not particularly recall the Japanese reception of us.
great impression was of the immense selection of very large American
automobiles, uh, DeSotos, Cadillacs and all the rest of it, and uh, we
were able to, more or less choose whichever vehicle we liked, but we
were met by this reception party and we were driven into the center of
, and my
impression as we drove along was that um, there were banners out saying
welcome to the Allied
commission, in English.
also had the strange impression that the street names, or some of the
street names, had recently been changed. We were watched by, um, all
sorts of people, Europeans, uh, local people, the Annamites, as we knew
them. I had a feeling that we were received with um, curiosity, um,
welcoming in a sense, a friendly way, possibly a slight feeling of
when we arrived in the center of the town, uh, my memory there is I
think of going to um, I can't remember the name of the hotel, um, right
in the center, uh, we had drinks. I remember that the bread uh, was
absolutely appalling, they'd had no wheat flour for a very long period.
Uh, that was my main initial impression.
we had come out of Burma
, and it
was literally like going into a beautiful slice of Paris
. It was a wonderful experience after what
we had been through and I think that we had no feeling of apprehension
uh, we had not been warned that there was a political situation, a
potential political situation on our hands, and I can't remember then
exactly what I did in the center, but after that my responsibility was
to, first responsibility to help repatriate our own prisoners of war and
so I put myself out on the airport from which our people were being
flown back on every incoming plane, to see that they were properly