proudly served in Force 136
My name is Willie Chong, a Canadian born Chinese in British Columbia Canada. Chinese were not allowed to serve in the Armed Forces, until September 1944 after a Canadian in the British Army, long involved in both M.I.6 and S.O.E. A MAJOR FRANCIS WOODLEY KENDALL came to Canada and wanted Chinese who spoke Chinese Dialects and English. These men would be loaned to the British for S.O.E. with Force 136. He found 126 Chinese volunteers including myself, to serve in the S.E.A.C. He also found 30 more volunteers to go to Force Z in S.O.E. in Australia. A second draft from Canada was cancelled after the bomb was dropped in August 1945.
How the Chinese Canadians became involved in the Burma Campaign
By Willy Chong
Roy MacLaren wrote in his book, Canadians behind enemy lines 1939-1945
“All the Chinese-Canadian volunteers, whether in Sarawak or Malaya, had served well. All had gone to war as light-hearted young men, eager to make the best of their assignments with out a care for the morrow. In volunteering for clandestine warfare, the spirit of adventure was as evident in them as it had been in those Canadians who went into occupied Europe. But for the young Chinese-Canadians, their service meant something more. For them, it was also an affirmation of equality. Their parents or even grandparents, as well as themselves, had been second class Canadians, deprived of the full privileges of citizenship. They were ready, even eager, to fill all the obligation of citizenship so that in return they receive all those rights which other Canadians took for granted. Sarawak and Malaya were two exotic way stations on their route to full Canadian equality”.
Roger Cheng and the following Chinese Canadians flew into Borneo by Catalina Flying Boat, 6 August 1945 and stayed with a head-hunting tribe.
Jimmy Shiu MM
Roy Chan MM
Louey King MM
Norman Low MM
They were originally sent to SOE for operation Oblivion and to operate with Chinese Communists in South China. The operation was cancelled because General Douglas MacArthur wanted to have the South East Asia command to be an all American operation. Operation Oblivion was under the direct control of the British war ministry and its role was under the direct command of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Of the 350 SOE personnel dropped into Malaya between June and August 1945, 14 would be Canadian Chinese.
Henry Fung Selangor/Kuala Lumpur 22 June 1945
Bing Lee ” July 1945
Ted Wong ” July 1945
Bob Lew ” July 1945
Ernie Louie ” 5 August 1945
George Chin Kuala Lumpur July/August 1945?
Victor Louie Kuala Pilah Tampin 14 July 1945
Charlie Chung Alor Setar
Kedah Perlis 14 July 1945
Harry Ho ” 14 July 1945
All the French Canadian’s listed as serving in the Far East were volunteers from Buckmasters F section SOE. Most of these personnel were initially trained at STS (Special Training School) in Canada, Camp X (STS 103) , Massingham Algeria and also at various STS in the UK and Commando Schools in Scotland. They would later train in India and Ceylon.
150 Chinese Canadians were sent to the Far East out of hundreds who volunteered for special assignment, many of these would end up as qualified parachutists. They were initially trained at a makeshift School in the Okanagan Valley in BC , Canada , then they were off in separate groups at different times to train in Australia , India and Ceylon. Of the 150, 14 would see action. The remainder trained and prepared themselves for their turn , however the war with Japan would end before they could be involved.
The original group of Chinese Canadians were known as the Kendall group (Maj. Kendall) who recruited them in Canada were only trained in BC Okanagan Valley. This consisted of some of those chosen for operation “Oblivion” approx. 15 persons, the mission was cancelled.
The later group recruited by Maj. Legg was sent to England and then to India for training approx. 125 persons. A few were sent directly to Australia.
150 Chinese Canadians in total.
Information compiled by Ken Joyce from National Archives of Canada records and through the book by Maclaren , Roy Canadians Behind Enemy Lines 1939-1945 University of British Columbia Press , 1981.