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Gordon Quan

Gordon Quan, a member of a race that was initially refused entry into the armed forces, went on to a full military career. « View Transcript

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Wesley Lowe (Interviewer)

Unlike most soldiers, Gordy Quan felt a calling to serve his country in the military for all of his working life. One of very few Chinese to do so, Gordy now reflects on what that has meant to him and his community. What exactly did you do during the war?

Gordon Quan (Interviewee)

When I join up we have to transfer from the Canadian Army to the British Forces, and I travel from here, from Canada to England, do all my documentation in London, England for a whole month. And then I (tape glitch) was qualified as a demolition expert. So from there, they shipped me over to India at Singha Hill. That what I call they call, the advanced training for three months of it (bird chirps in BG throughout). My. my job was to do demolition work, get behind line and... like blowing up a railway road and blow up... field depots; things like that, that you're attached to. My job was that ... demolition were because they like the way... not the same as the... like the American or the Canadian Forces. We are in a small group. There's only about 15 of us. And then my. the two of us that demolition, well. like my job was just to go in and we were, I would go into... Malaya there. There's a big, big petrol dump that we're gonna [sic] be. blow up... to able to blow it up... but it happened we were on the way but... the war end; we were lucky for the H-bomb. If it weren't for the H-bomb I don't think I'd be sitting here talking to you today.


After you came back from the war you worked for a while, but then you went back to the military. Why did you do that?


That's why I did that. When I come home, I have to settle down to find myself you know. some kind of either schooling or some kind of trade that I. you know could go on because on my education at the time was quite low right, so they offered me Veterans Affairs. Give us the opportunity to take some courses, so the only course I took was in the mechanical field, which adapted to me because I was always a good demolition expert with my hand and everything like that with the mechanical side of it so I took the mechanical trade.

There's a gentleman belonged to the militia in. in the Canadian Forces. So he. he asked me if I would come down and see him, have a chat with me at the. down the Armoury there if I were interested in it. So it happen at that time I say, well that's a good time for me to get in here to learn something and find out more about, you know, the life in the Armed Forces. That's how I joined, which gave me a lot opportunity. I got my education from it and got my trade and able to come out and work on the city streets. If I didn't have that trade with my Veteran's experience, would have never got into the city of Victoria.

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You are one of the very few Chinese to do that.


I think I'm the only one. If I (laughs), if I look back at my background and my service, I was the first Chinese in the Public Work. work for the Public Work.


But you made it eventually.




You made it.


And I have to work hard for it though (laughs).I hope they can have the militia for everybody in our country because that's where you separate the men and the boys. They make you to be a good citizen or you learn something from it. To me, I got my education from it. I come from the bottom to the top.

Did you Know?

Did you know that Gordon Quan did not find out he was adopted until after he joined the army?

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Interviewee: Gordon Quan

Duration: 4:40

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