Force 136, created on March 16th 1944 by Special Operation Executive, was a British paramilitary organization set up in India and Ceylon, F136 composed of multi-National Allied military personnal working behind enemy lines. It`s objectives were to gather important information on enemy movement and to organize local underground resistance groups to disrupt enemy communication and supply lines. The role and duties of this unit were similar to previous SOE operation in Europe against the Germans. Canadians would also serve with the famous M.I.9 Unit (British Military intelligence Group 9) which operated in enemy occupied Europe and the Far East helping those behind enemy lines escape and bringing aid to POW`s at the wars end.
136, composed of personnal from Allied / Resistance Forces and included Chinese
Canadians who were trained and led by British commanders in India and Ceylon and
operated in Burma and Malaya. Another group of Chinese was known as “Operation
Oblivion” in the S.O.E. organization, they were stationed in Australia and
operated in Sarawak (Area
North of Borneo). The Chinese Canadians were recruited for these missions,
because they could speak and write Chinese as well as English and could blend in
with the local inhabitants who were mostly Chinese origin.
1950 movie, “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” gave a good description of what
the para-military personnel of Force 136 did. The movie showed not only how the
mission was carried out in blowing up the “ bridge” but depicted the type of
training these men received and the difficult task they had in hiking through
thick jungle, back packing heavy loads of plastic explosives, radio transmitters
and food supplies, to reach their target without being detected.
role of the SOE and its personnel in Force 136 was different from the other
organizations like M.I.6. (Secret Intelligence Service.) Many compare SOE with
“agents” of MI6 (SIS) when in truth, SOE was a para-military organization
developed to aid and assist resistance around the globe, intelligence
gathering was also done but not in the same fashion as those plain clothed spy`s
‘agents’ being utilized by MI6, SOE in the Far East did not start serious
offensive operations until the Japanese had suffered serious set backs. Once it
was determined by SOE ( Who began operating in the Far East before the Japanese
onslaught in 1941/42) that Allied Forces could effectively work with the
indigeonous resistance available,
F136 was created and utilized effectively against the enemy, organizing
underground resistance groups to
disrupt enemy supply lines carrying out information
gathering on enemy movements and eventually mounting small scale
offensive operations against the Japanese
in Force 136 had their espionage training in various parts in India and Ceylon.
They learned how to set-up plastic explosives and how to handle and use
detonators and “time pencils” for setting off charges in specific times.
They trained how to scout and how
best to approach an enemy camp or ammunition dump to sabotage installations
without being detected. To keep in
contact with headquarters, wireless operation and Morse code training, including
coding messages in a Chinese
wording code system, were also a part of the course. On completion of
this tactical training, which included hand to hand combat and use of
light weapons, these men received parachute training on the ground and in the
air. This latter phase was required in order to drop them behind enemy lines.
However, if the drop off is near shores, landings from submarines were employed.
of Force 136 normally operated in groups of 8, with each being a specialist in
his party. Besides the No. 1 and No 2. commanders, there were 2
demolition experts, a wireless operator, a coder/decoder and two Gurkhas scouts.
Each man has his own assignment and it was most important that everyone operated
as a team, because the success of the operation depended solely on it. It was
also important not to get caught by the enemy, as it would mean certain painful
death. They have issued 2 “L” pills, when chewed on will kill within seconds
,because this group has this secret “ Q” code that they wanted very much.
When parachute out at 700 feet in the dark carrying 50 lb. It could be very
dangerous, if you hurt yourself seriously, you will be left
behind with your 2
At war`s end in South East Asia, the role and duties of Force 136 were changed. The groups were instructed to control the immediate disengagement of the Japanese army in their respective areas prevent the guerrilla groups from taking revenge on the Japanese surrendering troops, and care for the released Allied prisoners of war until the arrival of Allied forces. Although the men in Force 136 were small in number, their contribution played a big role in the outcome of the war in South East Asia and they were given high recognition by the British and Canadian government at the end of the war. By Willie Chong ex-F136