Bing Wong in 1944.Bing Wong
Bing Wong and comrades in training in Victoria, British Columbia, 1944.Bing Wong
Bing Wong after the Chinese New Year Parade in Vancouver, British Columbia, February 14, 2010.Historica Canada
"So being Chinese, I volunteer for the Pacific Force. To get away, actually, to get away from being a guerilla warfare, I’d rather fight with the group than to drop into China, you know."
I went to Vancouver Technical School. When I was going to school, about a third of my class, it’s a boys school, about a third of my class in grade 12 joined up in the army. So, I know that it’s just a matter of time when I would be called up, so I joined up with them early. They mentioned that if you joined early, you can get in a branch that you like. Actually, I wanted to join the air force, but they had too many in the air force, so I wanted to go into the tank corps. But at the end, we all ended up in the infantry.
I knew they bombed Pearl Harbour and I knew that if I had my chance, I would prefer to fight the Japanese, being a Chinese. I was asked to train for guerilla warfare in training. There’s a captain interviewing me in basic training and they told me that, not to say anything, but they wanted me to train in guerilla warfare in China. And they will contact me when I finished my advanced training.
Unfortunately, during that part, the war in Europe was coming to an end and they wanted volunteer for the Pacific. So being Chinese, I volunteer for the Pacific Force. To get away, actually, to get away from being a guerilla warfare, I’d rather fight with the group than to drop into China, you know. And that’s how I went with the Pacific Force.
I reluctantly accept. I knew I can’t refuse. I didn’t really want to go, but I decided, if they asked me, I would go because I didn’t want to let them think that Chinese is coward or something. I got expert marksmanship. That’s the biggest accomplishment I have. I’m also very good with the Bren gun. I have to carry it. I only weighed about 115 pounds then. A Bren gun weighed about 28 pounds. And I had to carry that thing all over because the officer wouldn’t let anybody to help me, I have to carry it. So imagine on a ten mile route and I had to carry about a quarter of my weight.