The Young Chinese Volunteered
into what - and what was their roll?
When World War II started, the last thing that the Canadian government wanted was for Asians and Chinese to be able to joined the armed forces in the battles of Europe. Some of the young men tried to join the British forces but were rejected. These young Chinese Canadians wanted to show their loyalty but were prevented from doing so. However by 1944, Japan had joined the war and British and American losses were high. Suddenly their was the need for Chinese speaking men who would possibly blend in with the Malayan area population. Despite fierce objections from some Generals in the Army, Willie Chong and his friends were enlisted. They would not however be treated as Canadian soldiers but they were allowed into the multi-race Specials Operation Executive working as Force 136.
The training for Special Ops was extremely tough both physically and intellectually with having to learn about explosives, working behind enemy lines and using radio communications in more than one language. Not all passed this training but whether they did or not, they volunteered knowing that this could be the end of their lives. They all knew the risks and were even issued with suicide pills to ensure that no information about them or their purpose was ever leaked to the enemy.
The object for these volunteers of Force 136 was to infiltrate behind the enemy lines in China, Sarawak and Malaya. There were over 600 of these young men who served and it was only after the war, that they were allowed into the Canadian armed forces.
Ready and raring to go