Victor Eric Wong’s father helped to build the railway that united Canada.
The younger Wong served in the Second World War and helped to win the vote for Chinese Canadians.
Wong did his basic training at Camp Shilo in Manitoba where he learned all about artillery. Later he agreed to join Force 136 and was trained as a demolition expert. Force 136 was a special, rather secretive commando-type unit that operated in South East Asia under British command.
The Chinese Canadians in this unit were destined to be dropped in behind Japanese lines. Their goal was to blend in with the locals, seek out and train local rebel fighters, and then join in the sabotage.
Initially, Wong was excited to join Force 136: he thought he would be fighting the Japanese in China. However, when the US took over control of the Pacific Theatre, the Americans nixed the idea. Wong was instead shipped to India. There his target country would be occupied Burma.
Wong had a lot of good memories of his time in the Army and with Force 136. He recalls the “short arm inspection” that was carried out by a female captain who was also a physician.
“She would line us all in a row. We had to drop our pants, and she would come along and grab our testicles and ask us to cough. Imagine a long line of young Chinese guys standing there while this young woman comes by a grabs your private parts.”
Wong also clearly remembered the day he got off the train in India. It had been a very long journey from the UK by boat to India, and then another long ride on a train to reach their training camp near Poona.
“As soon as we got off the train from Bombay we had to race up a mountain of about 4,000 feet up. With our duffel bags still on our shoulders, a few of us did it without stopping. When I got to the top, the British officer offered me a cup of tea and a boiled egg.”