Gordon Patrick Wong (K7685) was born in October 12, 1922 in Port Alberni, B.C. Like many young Chinese Canadians of that time, Wong was treated as a second class citizen: he could not vote, nor own property outside Chinatown, nor swim in many public pools.
Wong wanted to prove his loyalty to Canada and hopefully earn the right to become a voting citizen. So on September 28, 1944, Wong and many of his friends joined the Canadian Army. Many had tried to join before then but were told “you can sign up but it is unlikely we will call you up, because you are Chinese.”
All that changed when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor In Hawaii, and the war in the Pacific began.
Wong was sent, along with several other young Chinese Canadian men, to do basic training in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.
It was while in Maple Creek that Wong agreed to become part of a very special, very secretive assignment. He would be loaned to the British Intelligence, dropped behind Japanese lines, and seek out and assist local resistance movements in the jungles of South East Asia. In other words, Wong would become a combination spy and commando soldier in Force 136 and be shipped to South East Asia.
It did not take long for Wong to realize he had signed up for a dangerous mission. Some said it would be a suicide mission given the ferocious reputation of the Japanese Army.
After basic training, Wong’s group was sent to England for further training, before continuing on to India.
While in the hot, humid climate of India, Gordon contracted malaria. It laid him up for almost a month, and forced him to stay behind. He later caught up with his unit in Meerut. There Wong completed his wireless training and was preparing to be dropped behind the Japanese lines in Burma when Japan surrendered. It was mid-August 1945 and, thank goodness, the war was over.
Wong returned to Vancouver on December 21, 1945. He and his unit arrived at the train station to be greeted by a large crowd of friends and family. The arrival was documented by a front page article in the Vancouver Sun with a picture of Gordon with his sisters Mabel and Dorothy.
Later, Wong was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service medal and the Burma Star medal.
He went on to live in the United States. Married a fabulous woman named Joyce and had eight children.
In May, 2016 he flew to Vancouver to join a reunion of Force 136 members and to help launch a special exhibition on the unit. A few months later, on September 1, 2016, Wong passed away peacefully in Berkeley, California with his family by his side.