Gordon Quan was born Jan. 14, 1926 in Cumberland, B.C. His father died when Gordon was very young, so his mother decided to take her young family back to China, where they lived in a village in Guangdong Province for several years. The Japanese invasion of China forced them to return to Canada though; the family relocated to Victoria, and Gordon attended school, while Canada’s Chinese community sent relief to China. During this time the war in Europe broke out as well, and Gordon remembers that Chinese-Canadians were not permitted to enlist. By 1944 that had changed and the now 18 year old Gordon decided to join up. He went to Saskatchewan to begin his basic training, and from there he went to Halifax and overseas to England, where the British began specialized training for Force 136, which had been created as a special ops, guerrilla war unit that was to go behind enemy lines. The British planned to use the Canadians to fight in southeast Asia, against the Japanese. The next stop was Poona, India, where more training took place, and Gordon began to learn demolitions. They went into the jungle, ready to deploy, when they learned that the Americans had used a new weapon, the A-bomb that brought the war to an end. VJ Day came quickly, and Gordon returned to Canada, ready to play his part in the postwar world. Students from Mr. Masters’ Grade 10 History class interviewed Gordon via zoom in October 2020.
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