Harry Ho was a member of the elite and mostly secretive Force 136, which operated under the direction of Britain’s Special Operations Executive. Force 136 members were trained in guerrilla warfare and jungle survival. Some men specialized in demolition, whereas others were trained to be interpreters or wireless operators.
Assigned to South East Asia, the missions varied, but generally the goal was to be be parachuted behind Japanese lines; seek out and train local resistance fighters; and then help harass and sabotage Japanese equipment and supply lines.
Ho enlisted in September 1944 and jumped in on July 14, 1945. In a 1996 interview with Legion Magazine, Ho described what happened.
“We flew in a B-24 Liberator at about 600 feet. We were shot at by a Japanese corvette. Shrapnel hit the window and I was hit on the forehead. We kept going to the DZ in the jungle along the border between Thailand and Malaya. We dropped in a dry river bed. My captain got hung up on a tree 60 feet high. It took us 10 hours before we could get him down. While he hung up there he drank two flasks of rum.
We trained Chinese guerrillas to prepare for the invasion of Malaya that was supposed to take place in September 1945 …We came across the Japanese quite a few times on patrol, but we avoided them. We were chased several times and that’s when I got my back burned by battery acid as the battery pack jostled on my back….I stayed there until the Japanese surrendered. When you’re behind the lines, you can’t come out.”