Louis (Louey) King was part of the first recruits for Force 136 – better known as the Operation Oblivion men.
When King passed away in 1989, The Edmonton Journal newspaper did an excellent summary of his life which we share excerpts below.
“…Lou King parachuted into Sarawak in north western Borneo in 1945 and organized gorilla resistance and radioed back intelligence information. His four-man squad, all of Chinese ancestry, faced torture and death at the hands of the Japanese if caught.
Living on crocodile meat, monkeys and wild pig, the men, members of the secret elite British intelligence unit called Special Operations Executive, fought alongside headhunters.
“The tribesmen were a little bewildered by the reversal of the prewar prohibition of head-hunting,” Mr. King said in a Journal interview last year.
“They didn’t quite believe they were being offered a Sarawak dollar for each Japanese head, as well as medicine for their jungle ulcers.”
Mr. King’s headhunting friends used 76 cm long parangs (small swords) or poisonous darts shot from blowguns during ambushes in the steamy, 45°C jungle.
Mr. King was shot through the leg in one skirmish but told his buddy: “It’s just a flesh wound. I was so hot and sticky I didn’t notice it.”
Mr. King also helped to secure information which led to the successful release of 2,500 British military and civilian prisoners from camps at Kuching.
After the war, in 1946, Mr. King helped spearhead a Chinese-Canadian movement to repeal discriminatory legislation.
“Our war record was the only weapon we could use to make the government listen,” he told the journal.
Mr. Kings Military Medal citation read that he played an outstanding part in the recapture of Sarawak by encouraging guerrilla resistance and that despite the greatest hazard, he remained cool and showed utter disregard for his own safety.
King made it back home to Canada after the war, but suffered from “ulcers, dysentery, beri-beri, malaria, pleurisy and pneumonia” according to his wife June.
Louey King died in Edmonton, on April 11, 1989. He was 65 years old.