Monty Lee served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
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Monty Lee in his Air Force uniform.
(Courtesy of The Memory Project/Monty Lee)
"I was the only Chinese in the service. The recruiting officer told me that, “You’re going to have lots of problem.” I ask him, “What kind of a problem?” He stated, “Mostly discrimination.“"
I had difficulty joining the services in 1941. My first try was the air force, they didn’t let me. So I had to talk my way, gradually got in. But when I got in, I was the only Chinese in the service. The recruiting officer told me that, “You’re going to have lots of problem.” I ask him, “What kind of a problem?” He stated, “Mostly discrimination. It is mostly discrimination.”
My mom went back to China in 1935 and then 1936, Japanese invaded China. And then gradually, they move inland, gradually they move to Hong Kong. She finally, when Pearl Harbour started, she couldn’t get out, so cruelty of the Japanese there kind of make me want to go and fight. That’s the reason I joined these forces.
My dad didn’t like it. My mom was in China, so she has no, we don’t know where she is. So it’s only my dad. So he didn’t like it. So if I didn’t join, I would be conscripted.
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