Daniel Shiu

Daniel Shiu

Daniel Do Gay Shiu was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on June 11, 1925. He was the eldest child of Julia and Reverend CC Shiu. (His father, Rev. Shiu, was one of the few Chinese allowed into Canada during the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act having been sponsored by the Methodist Church.)

Shiu joined the Army in September 1944 when he was only 19. He did his basic training in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan along with several other Chinese Canadian men.  It was there that Shiu agreed to become a member of a very special unit — Force 136.

Daniel Shiu

Daniel Shiu, Wireless operator in Force 136

This unit was seconded to British Intelligence and operated under the radar. They were to be trained in commando-style warfare with the goal of being inserted behind enemy lines. Force 136’s destination would be Japanese-occupied South East Asia. And their goal would be to train and assist local resistance movements in sabotaging Japanese equipment and supply lines.

Anyone who signed up was aware of the ferocious reputation of the Japanese. And since, as Force 136 members they would be viewed less like soldiers and more like saboteurs, they knew that if caught they would likely be executed. Each man was handed a cyanide capsule for just such an unfortunate event.

Shiu was shipped first to England and then on to India where he continued his training in the brutal heat and humidity of the jungle. His mission was to go into Burma, which was occupied by the Japanese Army. His speciality was wireless operations and that helped him launch a career after the war.

Fortunately for Shiu, Japan surrendered in the middle of August 1945, and many of the Force 136 recruits from Canada were allowed to go home.

Daniel Shiu in India, 1945

Daniel Shiu in India, 1945

Back in Canada, Shiu joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals where he was stationed in Prince Rupert from 1947 to 1950. It was there that he met Margaret, whom he later married.

Shiu spent his career constantly on the move.

From Prince Rupert he was sent to the Vancouver Wireless Station at Ladner, B.C.

Shiu was then posted temporarily to Ottawa where he attended Russian language classes. That was followed by an assignment to Alert on remote Ellesmere Island — an outpost at the top of the world and the most northern Canadian military base. This time, his family stayed behind in Ladner while Shiu worked in signals intelligence operations at Alert.

From Alert, he was transferred back in Ladner, and worked shift work until the station at Ladner closed down. The family then packed up again and headed north as Shiu took an assignment in Inuvik. After three years, he was posted to Canadian Forces Station Masset.

After the Masset assignment, Shiu was asked to return to Alert once again. However, he opted to leave the Canadian Forces to work with the RCMP as a civilian member. In time, that branch of the RCMP became CSIS.

Shiu passed away on November 17, 1998.