Lawrence Goon was born in 1922 in Vancouver. He was the grandson of Jenny and Ling Dang Goon, a Chinese family that lived at 1778 East 7th Avenue. They were one of only two Chinese families who did not live in Chinatown at the time — the neighbourhood in which most Chinese were confined to live.
In his early 20s, Lawrence volunteered to serve his country in the Second World War. He was assigned to no ordinary unit. Lawrence became a member of a special operations unit called Force 136.
These Chinese Canadian soldiers were secretly seconded to British Intelligence. They were trained in commando warfare techniques and jungle survival. They learned demolition, wireless operations, stalking, silent killing. They were usually taught how to parachute.
The mission they were being trained for was to be dropped behind enemy lines in Japanese occupied Southeast Asia. There they were assigned to seek out and train local guerrilla resistance fighters, and then assist with espionage and sabotage of Japanese infrastructure and equipment.
Goon was assigned to India, where the largest group of Force 136 Chinese Canadians were based.
Fortunately for Goon, the war ended before he was sent into enemy territory. It was a long ship ride back to Canada via England.
After the war, Goon returned to live in Vancouver and found employment at Canada Post. He worked in one of the substations as a counter sales associate until he retired.
He had a love of music, especially jazz. Just prior to the war, Goon was a member of the “Chinatown Hillbilly Band”. The band disbanded because a few of the members went off to war.
After the war, Goon made the famous Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver his hangout where he knew all the musicians, was good friends with the owner of the club and knew all the staff by name. He had an enormous record collection and even became a bit of a celebrity himself within the jazz community.
Lawrence passed away on February 8, 1995. He was 73 years old.