Mr. Wong in uniform, 1945.Leonard Wong
Mr. Wong, March, 2010The Historica-Dominion Institute
Mr. Wong in Kingston, Ontario, 1945.Leonard Wong
Mr. Wong in the summer of 1945.Leonard Wong
"It’s just a great big party at that time. You know, when you’re 19, you don’t think of anything else, you know, what’s ahead."
My name is Leonard Wong. I was born in Vancouver, 16 January 1926. I was drafted in 1945 to the signal corps, Royal Canadian Signal Corps. Well, at that time, I just got out of school not too long ago.
I went to Victoria, help my brother to work in the shoe store ̶ he had a shoe repair shop. So I went there for a little while and then I got this call to enlist to the army. Report to No. 11 District Depot in Vancouver. Oh, I was happy to go, you know, help the country and fight the enemy. And like I say, to see all my friends, how they’d gone in the army and I would like to join them. You know, when you’re young, you like to go with the group. It’s just a great big party at that time. You know, when you’re 19, you don’t think of anything else, you know, what’s ahead.
I do my basic training at Vimy Barracks, Barryfield, [CFB] Kingston, Ontario. Basic training: that’s how to survive and how to protect yourself. You can see the enemy and [it] teaches you how to spot the target. And then they use a clock to indicate where the targets are, you know, like 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and you know, they tell you, pick an object. And then you stand up at 6:00 or 3:00, and then you get your target there, or your enemy coming at you.
We use real gun ammunition, grenades, everything. We learned all that, submachine guns, and you can enjoy it. It’s just like a toy to you at that time because when you’re young and playing with a gun and then nobody get hurt because you practice on targets; and then you go on the field, they’ve got barbed wire, you crawl under the barbed wire and you know, all those things. Well actually, I did quite a bit of traveling at that time in Kingston. So every weekend, I needed to travel to Toronto or Montreal or Ottawa, because Kingston is not very far from there. I got sister living in Montreal and friends from Nanaimo working in Ottawa. And Toronto, I’ve got friends. So I travelled quite a bit during that time. I liked that life because there’s no worry, that’s all you have to do is get up and stand up for the roll call; and then you go have your breakfast, and then you go out training again. Marching and drill, and do all that. I was there probably six months.
At the end of my training, I got my leave. And I went back and the war’s over. In a way, I [would have] liked to go overseas with the rest of the boys. Yeah. After the war’s over and then they don’t need us anymore, so they shipped me up to [RCAF Station] Prince Rupert for the signal corps and we had a branch up there until 1946, I had my discharge.