Marshall Chow (Primary Source)

Marshall Chow served as a wireless operator during the Second World War. Initially refused entry into the Air Force because he was Chinese Canadian, Chow was later stationed overseas with the Canadian Army from 1941 to 1945. Read and listen to Chow describe his battles against prejudice and the horrors on the frontlines.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Marshall Chow in the Canadian Army Uniform.

"I felt the knees of the guy behind me knocking against my legs. So we were very, we laugh about it, but we were also very scared."


I wanted to join the air force at first, was in 1941, but they wouldn’t allow the Chinese in the air force. So they told me to join the army instead. Well, I was in Canada, we were training for radio technician and signal operator. So we were in kind of a, for one year before I was shipped overseas in 1942, it was about a year later. Around October of 1942, shipped over to England.

Oh, I heard the night before, I was operating this communications set, I heard that the war will be over next morning, early next morning. That’s how I heard about it. So of course, that was one of the happiest day of my life because we know we will live another day.

I got back to Canada I think it was in October of 1946 is it, the war ended. Yeah about that, about that. We have to take our turns, the one who went over to England in 1939, earlier than us, so they come back first. So our turn didn’t come until October. But during those months we were in Holland, so we waited about four months after the war ended before I come back. During those four months we were in Holland. We enjoyed it very much because every morning, the army gave us a lunch and took us to the different sites, to Rotterdam, Schiedam and all those different places, out in the morning, they gave us a lunch bag. Then at nighttime, they pick us up and go back to the barrack. So we did that for three or four months, so that was really enjoyable.

Oh, the personnel bomber, they would assist there a little on the Orne River [in Normandy] there. The German sent reconnaissance plane coming over to take pictures and they also dropped personnel bombs on the trucks. And of course, they tried to hit the communications first, so we just drove over into the trench and then the three or four of us in the trench, and like I felt the knees of the guy behind me knocking against my legs. So we were very, we laugh about it, but we were also very scared.

We were traveling along the road, some civilians told us about three Germans in hiding in the haystack in a barn there. So the officer and two or three of us went over to capture them. So they come out with a white flag. So we took them prisoners.

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