Leonard Lee was raised in Vancouver. When he was called up for the Second World War, he joined his cousin Victor E. Wong at Camp Shilo in Manitoba. There they took his basic training together.
Lee ended up in India on loan to British Intelligence’s Special Operations Executive. He became part of a secret unit called Force 136. Their mission was to be trained in commando-style fighting, jungle survival and espionage so that they could be parachuted behind Japanese lines and support resistance networks.