Force 136

The Force 136 was the general cover name, from March 1944, for a Far East branch of the British World War II intelligence organisation, the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Originally set up in 1941 as the India Mission with the cover name of GSI(k), it absorbed what was left of SOE's Oriental Mission in April 1942. The man in overall charge for the duration of the war was Colin Mackenzie.

Force 136
Force 136 Patch.svg
Shoulder Patch of the Force 136[1]
  • 1941–1942 - as India Mission
  • 1942–1944 - as GS I(k)
  • 1944 and onwards - as Force 136
Country United Kingdom
AllegianceAllied forces
TypeWartime intelligence organisation
for Far east; special forces[2]
Part ofSpecial Operations Executive
HeadquartersKandy, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka)
EngagementsWorld War II
Colin Mackenzie

The organisation was established to encourage and supply indigenous resistance movements in enemy-occupied territory, and occasionally mount clandestine sabotage operations. Force 136 operated in the regions of the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II which were occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945: Burma, Malaya, China, Sumatra, Siam, and French Indo-China (FIC).[3]

Although the top command of Force 136 were British officers and civilians, most of those it trained and employed as agents were indigenous to the regions in which they operated. Burmese, Indians and Chinese were trained as agents for missions in Burma, for example. British and other European officers and NCOs went behind the lines to train resistance movements. Former colonial officials and men who had worked in these countries for various companies knew the local languages, the peoples and the land and so became invaluable to SOE. Most famous amongst these officers are Freddie Spencer Chapman in Malaya and Hugh Seagrim in Burma.


SOE was formed in 1940, by the merger of existing Departments of the War Office and the Ministry of Economic Warfare. Its purpose was to incite, organise and supply indigenous resistance forces in enemy-occupied territory. Initially, the enemy was Nazi Germany and Italy, but from late 1940, it became clear that a conflict with Japan was also inevitable.

Two missions were sent to set up (and assume political control of) the SOE in the Far East. The first was led by a former businessman, Valentine Killery of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), who set up his HQ in Singapore. A scratch resistance organisation was set up in Malaya, but Singapore was captured on 15 February 1942, soon after Japan entered the war.

A second mission was set up in India by another former businessman, Colin Mackenzie of J. and P. Coats, a clothing manufacturer. Mackenzie's India Mission originally operated from Meerut in North West India. Its location was governed by the fear that the Germans might overrun the Middle East and the Caucasus, in which case resistance movements would be established in Afghanistan, Persia and Iraq. When this threat was removed late in 1942 after the battles of Stalingrad and El Alamein, the focus was switched to South East Asia.

The India Mission's first cover name was GS I(k), which made it appear to be a record-keeping branch of GHQ India. The name, Force 136 was adopted in March 1944. From December 1944, the organisation's headquarters moved to Kandy in Ceylon and co-operated closely with South East Asia Command which was also located there.

In 1946, Force 136 was wound up, along with the rest of SOE.


Force 136 was organised into three Groups to conduct covert operations in different parts of Asia.[3]

Group Area of responsibility HQ Location
Force 136 HQ Far East India, and later moved to Kandy, Ceylon
A Burma and French Indo-China
B Malaya and the East Indies Kuala Kangsar, Perak
C China Hong Kong


Force 136 agents received commando/special forces training from the British Military. The training course lasted for three months and included skills such as stalking, silent killing, demolition, jungle patrolling and survival, wireless operations, espionage, parachuting, interpretation and silent swimming.[4][1] A typical Force 136 team consisted of 8 agents, including two commanders, two agents in charge of demolition, one wireless telecommunication (W/T) operator, one agent to cipher and decrypt messages and two scouts.[1]

Known training centres for Force 136 agents were:[1][4]



War in the Far East gallery in the Imperial War Museum London. Among the collection are a Japanese Good Luck Flag, operational map (numbered 11), photographs of Force 136 personnel and guerillas in Burma (15), a katana that was surrendered to a SOE officer in Gwangar, Malaya in September 1945 (7), and rubber soles designed by SOE to be worn under agents boots' to disguise footprints when landing on beaches (bottom left).
Two Force 136 operatives, Tan Chong Tee and Lim Bo Seng, during their commando training in India with the SOE. Both, along with other Force 136 operatives under the Operation Gustavus were later dispatched via submarine into Malaya to set up an espionage network in Malaya and Singapore.

The Oriental Mission of SOE attempted to set up "stay-behind" and resistance organisations from August 1941, but their plans were opposed by the British colonial governor, Sir Shenton Thomas. They were able to begin serious efforts only in January 1942, after the Japanese Invasion of Malaya had already begun.

An irregular warfare school, 101 Special Training School (STS 101), was set up by the explorer and mountaineer Freddie Spencer Chapman. Chapman himself led the first reconnaissances and attacks behind Japanese lines during the Battle of Slim River. Although the school's graduates mounted a few operations against the Japanese lines of communication, they were cut off from the other Allied forces by the fall of Singapore. An attempt was made by the Oriental Mission to set up a HQ in Sumatra but this island too was overrun by the Japanese.

Malayan Communist PartyEdit

Before the Japanese attacked Malaya, a potential resistance organisation already existed in the form of the Malayan Communist Party. This party's members were mainly from the Chinese community and implacably anti-Japanese. Just before the fall of Singapore, the party's Secretary General, Lai Teck, was told by the British authorities that his party should disperse into the forests, a decision already made by the party's members.

In isolation, the Communists formed the Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA). Their first arms and equipment were either donated by STS 101 before they were overrun or recovered from the battlefields or abandoned British Army depots. The MPAJA formed rigidly disciplined camps and units in the forest, supplied with food by networks of contacts among displaced Chinese labourers and "squatters" on marginal land. Chapman had remained in Malaya after Singapore fell, but had no radio or means of contacting Allied forces elsewhere. Nevertheless, the MPAJA still regarded Chapman as the official British authority, and Chin Peng was appointed as a liaison officer with Chapman.[5]

In 1942, Singaporean World War II hero Lim Bo Seng had returned to Malaya from Calcutta and recruited some agents who had made their way to India by 1943. Force 136 attempted to regain contact with Chapman in Operation Gustavus, by infiltrating parties which included Lim Bo Seng and former STS 101 members John Davis and Richard Broome by sea into the area near Pangkor Island. Their radio was unable to contact Force 136 HQ in Ceylon and the MPAJA contacts on Pangkor Island were betrayed to the Japanese.

In February 1945, the radio brought in by Gustavus was finally made to work. Chapman was able to visit Force 136 HQ in Kandy and report. By this time, Force 136 had substantial resources, and in the few months before the end of the war, they were able to send 2,000 weapons to the MPAJA and no less than 300 liaison personnel. About half of these were British who had worked or lived in Malaya before the war, the others were Chinese who had made their own way to India or who had been taken there by Force 136 for training. With these resources, the MPAJA was built up to become a substantial guerilla army with about 7,000 fighters.[6] However, Japan surrendered before it had a chance to stage a major uprising.

In isolation in jungle camps for several years, the MCP and MPAJA had purged themselves of many members suspected of treachery or espionage, which contributed to their post-war hard-line attitude and led in turn to the insurgency known as the Malayan Emergency.


The Kuomintang (KMT) also had a widespread following in the Malaysian Chinese community in the days before the War, but were unable to mount any significant clandestine resistance to the Japanese. This was partly because they were based mainly among the population in the towns, unlike the MCP which drew much of its support from mine or plantation workers in remote encampments or "squatters" on the edge of the forest. Most of the KMT's supporters and their dependents were therefore hostages to any Japanese mass reprisal.

When Lim Bo Seng and other agents from Force 136 attempted to make contact with Kuomintang networks in Ipoh as part of Operation Gustavus, they found that the KMT's underground actions there were tainted by corruption or private feuding.[7]

Malay resistance forcesEdit

Three local Malay resistance forces were established by Force 136 after they reached Malaya. Each force was assisted by British Liaison Officers (LOs) and agents from SOE. All the agents were from the Malay ethnic group who were working or studying overseas before World War II.[8][9][10]

Ulu Perak

On 16 December 1944, a group consisting of five Malay SOE Agents, including Bahari Sidek (a Malay student studying in Mecca before the war),[10] and two British LOs, Major Peter G. Dobree and Captain Clifford, parachuted into Padang Cermin, near to the dam of Temenggor Lake, Perak. They were a part of Operation Hebrides. Their main goal was to set up a guerrilla force for Ipoh and Taiping areas. Their secondary goal was to set up wireless communications between Malaya and Force 136 HQ in Kandy after the MPAJA had failed to do so. They made contact with the Chief of Temenggor village, Awang Muhammad, and the Chief of Bersia village, Lahamat Piah, who helped them make contact with Captain Mohd Salleh Hj. Sulaiman, who was a District Officer (DO) during the pre-war British Administration. Between them, they established a guerrilla force named the Askar Melayu Setia (transl. Loyal Malay Troops). Based in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, the HQ of this force later became the main HQ for Force 136 in Malaya.[11]


A team of two operatives, Tunku Osman (who later became the 3rd Malaysian Chief of Defence) and Major Hasler parachuted into Kg. Kuala Janing, Padang Terap, Kedah on 1 July 1945, as part of Operation Fighter. Their main goal was to set up a guerrilla force in the Northern Malay Peninsular region. They made contact with Tunku Abdul Rahman (later the first Prime Minister of Malaysia), who was the Padang Terap's DO during the pre-war British Administration and established a guerrilla force in Kedah.


A team consisting of two Malay SOE Agents, Osman Mahmud and Jamal, a Wireless Telecommunication (W/T) operator, Mat Nanyan, and their LO, Major J. Douglas Richardson parachuted into Raub, Pahang as part of Operation Beacon. Their main goal was to set up wireless communications between the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and the main Force 136 communication hub in Kuala Kangsar. Their secondary goal was to set up guerrilla forces for East Coast Malaya. After landing, the team made contact with Yeop Mohidin, who was the Kuala Lipis's Assistant DO during the pre-war British Administration, and they established a guerrilla force named Force 136 Pahang, also known as Wataniah Pahang. The Wataniah Pahang was the predecessor for the Rejimen Askar Wataniah ('Territorial Army Regiment'), that was established in 1985.


A team of three agents, including Ibrahim Ismail, parachuted into the western coast of Terengganu, as part of Operation Oatmeal. They failed in their mission after being betrayed, and were later captured by the Japanese.[12]


From 1938, Britain had been supporting the Republic of China against the Japanese, by allowing supplies to reach the Chinese via the Burma Road running through Burma. SOE had various plans regarding China in the early days of the war. Forces were to be sent into China through Burma and a Bush Warfare School under Michael Calvert was established in Burma to train Chinese and Allied personnel in irregular warfare. These plans came to an end with the Japanese conquest of Burma in 1942.

Strictly speaking, SOE was not tasked to operate inside China after 1943, when it was left to the Americans. However, one group, Mission 204, formally known as 204 British Military Mission to China and also known as Tulip Force attempted to provide assistance to the Chinese Nationalist Army. The first phase achieved very little but a second more successful phase was conducted before the Ichi-Go offensive forced their withdrawal in 1944.

The British Army Aid Group under an officer named Lindsay "Blue" Ride did operate near Hong Kong, in territory controlled by the Communist Party of China.

In Operation Remorse, a businessman named Walter Fletcher carried out covert economic operations such as trying to obtain smuggled rubber, currency speculation and so on, in Japanese-occupied China. As a result of these activities, SOE actually returned a financial profit of GBP 77 million in the Far East. Many of these funds and the networks used to acquire them were subsequently used in various relief and repatriation operations, but critics pointed out that this created a pool of money that SOE could use beyond the oversight of any normal authority or accountability.


On 21 December 1941, a formal military alliance between Thailand under Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram and Japan was concluded. At noon on 25 January 1942, Thailand declared war on the United States and Great Britain. Some Thais supported the alliance, arguing that it was in the national interest, or that it was better sense to ally oneself with a victorious power. Others formed the Free Thai Movement to resist. The Free Thai Movement was supported by Force 136 and the OSS, and provided valuable intelligence from within Thailand. Eventually, when the war turned against the Japanese, Phibun was forced to resign, and a Free Thai-controlled government was formed. A coup was being planned to disrupt the Japanese occupying forces in 1945 but was forestalled by the ending of the war.


Burma (now known as Myanmar) was the theatre in which the major Allied effort was made in South East Asia from late 1942 onwards, and Force 136 was heavily involved. Initially, it had to compete with regular formations such as the Chindits and other irregular organisations for suitable personnel, aircraft and other resources. It eventually played a significant part in the liberation of the country by slowly building up a national organisation which was used to great effect in 1945.

Two separate sections of SOE dealt with Burma. One concentrated on the minority communities who mainly inhabited the frontier regions; the other established links with the nationalist movements among the majority Bamar peoples in the central parts of the country and the major cities. It has been argued that this division of political effort, although necessary on military grounds, contributed to the inter-community conflicts which have continued in Burma (Myanmar) to the present day.

There were Indians and Afghans who were part of Force 136 and were heavily involved in Burmese operation, like C. L. Sharma, an Indian professor of linguistics at British Army Headquarters in India who later became an active member of Force 136 and spent almost 6 years mainly in various missions of the Force in Burma.[citation needed]

Karens, Chins, Arakanese and KachinsEdit

The majority community of Burma were the Bamar. Among the minority peoples of Burma, including Chins, Karens and Kachins, there were a mixture of anti-Bamar, anti-Japanese and pro-British sentiments. In 1942, the pro-Japanese Burma Independence Army raised with Japanese assistance, attempted to disarm Karens in the Irrawaddy River delta region. This created a large-scale civil conflict which turned the Karens firmly against the Japanese.

The Karens were the largest of the minority communities. Although many lived in the Irrawaddy delta, their homeland can be considered to be the "Karenni", a mountainous and heavily forested tract along the border with Thailand. They had supplied many recruits to the Burma Rifles (part of the British forces in Burma during the early part of the war), and in the chaos of the British retreat into India, many of them had been given a rifle and ammunition and three months' pay, and were instructed to return to their home villages to await further orders. The presence of such trained soldiers contributed to the effectiveness of the Karen resistance.

A few British army officers had also been left behind in the Karenni, in a hasty attempt to organise a "stay-behind" organisation. In 1943, the Japanese made a ruthless punitive expedition into the Karenni, where they knew a British officer was operating. To spare the population, a British liaison officer, Hugh Seagrim, voluntarily surrendered himself to the Japanese and was executed along with several of his Karen fighters.

However, Force 136 continued to supply the Karens, and from late 1944 they mounted Operation Character, in execution similar to Operation Jedburgh in Nazi-occupied France, in which three-man teams were parachuted to organise large-scale resistance in the Karenni. Some of the Character teams had previously served on Jedburgh,[13] others had previously served in the Chindits. In April 1945, Force 136 stage-managed a major uprising in the region in support of the Allied offensive into Burma, which prevented the Japanese Fifteenth Army forestalling the Allied advance on Rangoon. After the capture of Rangoon, Karen resistance fighters continued to harass Japanese units and stragglers east of the Sittang River. It was estimated that at their moment of maximum effort, the Karens mustered 8,000 active guerrillas (some sources claim 12,000), plus many more sympathisers and auxiliaries.

SOE had some early missions to Kachin State, the territory inhabited by the Kachins of northern Burma, but for much of the war, this area was the responsibility of the American-controlled China-Burma-India Theater, and the Kachin guerrillas were armed and coordinated by the American liaison organisation, OSS Detachment 101.

The various ethnic groups (Chins, Lushai, Arakanese) who inhabited the border areas between Burma and India were not the responsibility of Force 136 but of V Force, an irregular force which was under direct control of the Army. From 1942 to 1944, hill peoples in the frontier regions fought on both sides; some under V Force and other Allied irregular forces HQ, others under local or Japanese-sponsored organisations such as the Chin Defence Force and Arakan Defence Force.

Burmese political linksEdit

The Burma section of Force 136 was commanded by John Ritchie Gardiner, who had managed a forestry company before the war and also served on the Municipal Council of Rangoon. He had known personally some Burmese politicians such as Ba Maw who had later formed a government which, although nominally independent, collaborated through necessity with the Japanese occupiers.

In 1942, when the Japanese invaded Burma, the majority Bamar (Burman) people had been sympathetic to them, or at least hostile to the British colonial government and the Indian community which had immigrated or had been imported as workers for newly created industries. Bamar volunteers flocked to the Burma Independence Army which fought several actions against British forces. During the years of occupation, this attitude changed. The Burma Independence Army was reorganised as the Burma National Army (BNA), under Japanese control. In 1944, Aung San, the Burmese nationalist who had founded the BIA with Japanese assistance and had been appointed Minister of Defence in Ba Maw's government and commander of the Burma National Army, contacted Burmese communist and socialist leaders, some of whom were already leading insurgencies against the Japanese. Together they formed the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO) under the overall leadership of Thakin Soe. Force 136 was able to establish contact with this organisation through links with Burmese communist groups.

During the final Allied offensive into Burma in 1945, there were a series of uprisings in Burma against the Japanese, which Force 136 supported although it had little control or even influence over the rebellious BNA and its supporters. The first rebellion involved a locally recruited force known as the Arakan Defence Army turning on the Japanese in Arakan. The second involved an uprising by BNA units near Toungoo in Central Burma, beginning on 8 March 1945. The final uprising occurred when the entire BNA changed sides on 27 March.

The forces of the AFO, including the BNA, were renamed the Patriotic Burmese Forces. They played a part in the final campaign to recapture Rangoon, and eliminate Japanese resistance in Central Burma. The BNA's armed strength at the time of their defection was around 11,000. The Patriotic Burmese Forces also included large numbers of communists and other irregulars with loyalty to particular groups and those Karens who had served in the BNA and Karen resistance groups in the Irrawaddy Delta.

In arranging the acceptance of Aung San and his forces as Allied combatants, Force 136 was in direct conflict with the more staid Civil Affairs Service Officers at South East Asia Command's headquarters, who feared the postwar implications of handing out large numbers of weapons to irregular and potentially anti-British forces, and of promoting the political careers of Aung San or the communist leaders. The AFO at the time of the uprising represented itself as the provisional government of Burma. It was eventually persuaded to drop this claim after negotiations with South East Asia Command, in return for recognition as a political movement (the AFPFL).

Indian National ArmyEdit

Another force operating under Japanese command in Burma was the Indian National Army, a force composed of former prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Singapore and some Tamils living in Malaya. However, Force 136 was prevented from working with anyone in the Indian National Army, regardless of their intentions. The policy towards the INA was formed and administered by India Command, a British rather than Allied headquarters.

Field OperationsEdit

Force 136 was also active in more conventional military-style operations behind Japanese lines in Burma. Such an operation could comprise a group of up to 40 infantry with officers and a radio operator, infiltrating Japanese lines on intelligence and discretionary search and destroy missions. Such missions, which could last several weeks (supplied by C47 transport aircraft) kept close wireless contact with operational bases in India, using high-grade cyphers (changed daily) and hermetically sealed wireless/morse sets.

Every day (Japanese permitting) at pre-arranged times, the radio operator (with escorts) climbed to a high vantage point, usually necessitating a gruelling climb to the top of some slippery, high, jungle-clad ridge, and sent the latest intelligence information and the group's supply requests etc., and received further orders in return. The radio operator was central to a mission's success and his capture or death would spell disaster for the mission. To avoid capture and use under duress by the Japanese, every SOE operative was issued a cyanide pill.

One such radio operator was James Gow (originally from the Royal Corps of Signals), who recounted his first mission in his book From Rhunahaorine to Rangoon. In the summer of 1944, the Japanese push toward India had been stopped at the Battle of Kohima. In the aftermath of the battle, Japanese forces split up and retreated deep into the jungle. As part of the initiative to find out if they were reforming for a further push, he was sent from Dimapur with a 40-strong group of Gurkhas, to locate groups of Japanese forces, identify their strengths and their organised status.

Discretionary attacks on isolated Japanese groups were permitted (no prisoners to be taken), as was the destruction of supply dumps. One particular Gurkha officer under whom James Gow operated was Major William Lindon-Travers, later to become Bill Travers, the well-known actor of Born Free fame.


SOE's French Indo-China Section (1943–1945)Edit

Force 136 played only a minor part in attempts to organise local resistance in French Indochina, led mainly by Roger Blaizot, commander of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps (FEFEO) and General Eugène Mordant, chief of the military resistance. From 1944 to 1945 long-range B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft attached to Force 136 dropped 40 "Jedburgh" commandos from the French intelligence service BCRA, and agents from the Corps Léger d'Intervention also known as "Gaur", commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Huard, into North Indochina. However, Indochina was not originally part of the South-East Asian theatre, and therefore not SOE's responsibility. Notable French Force 136 members dropped in Laos in 1945 include: Jean Deuve (22 January), Jean Le Morillon (28 February), Jean Sassi (4 June),[14] Bob Maloubier (August).[14] Pierre Brasart (3 August).

There were also American reservations over restoring the French colonial regime after the war, which led the Americans eventually to support the anti-French Viet Minh.[15] Together with the complexities of the relationships between the Vichy-leaning officials in Indochina, and the rival Giraudist and Gaullist resistance movements, this made liaison very difficult. SOE had few links with the indigenous Viet Minh movement.

Dutch East Indies and AustraliaEdit

Except for the island of Sumatra, the Dutch East Indies were also outside South East Asia Command's area of responsibility until after the Japanese surrender. In 1943, an invasion of Sumatra, codenamed Operation Culverin, was tentatively planned. SOE mounted some reconnaissances of northern Sumatra (in the present-day province of Aceh). In the event, the plan was cancelled, and nothing came of SOE's small-scale efforts in Sumatra.

During September 1945, after the Japanese surrender, up to 20 small teams (normally 4 men, an Executive Officer, a signaller, a medical officer and a medical orderly) were parachuted into the islands of the Dutch East Indies, 6 weeks ahead of any other allied troops. Known as RAPWI (Repatriation of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees) Teams, they were tasked with locating and arranging care for all those who had been held in camps. Using Japanese Surrendered Troops, they arranged food, quarters and medical supplies for the tens of thousands of POW and internees, saving many lives. Many of the Executive Officers were members of the Anglo Dutch Country Section (ADCS) of Force 136.[16]

Another combined Allied intelligence organisation, Special Operations Australia (SOA), which had the British codename Force 137, operated out of Australia against Japanese targets in Singapore, the other islands of the Dutch East Indies, and Borneo. It included Z Special Unit, which carried out a successful attack on shipping in Singapore Harbour, known as Operation Jaywick.

Methods of transitEdit

Until mid-1944, Force 136's operations were hampered by the great distances involved; for example, from Ceylon to Malaya and back required a flight of 2,800 miles (4,500 km). Such distances also made it difficult to use small clandestine craft to deliver supplies or personnel by sea (although such craft was used to supply the MPAJA in Perak late in the war). The Royal Navy and Dutch Navy made few submarines available to Force 136. Eventually, converted B-24 Liberator aircraft were made available to parachute agents and stores.

In Burma, where the distances involved were not so great, Dakota transport aircraft or Westland Lysander liaison aircraft could also be used over shorter distances.

Notable agentsEdit

Secret agents that received training directly from SOE in India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) or Canada.

  • Bob Maloubier – A French working for SOE during WWII. Parachuted into Burma as part of Force 136. Later became one of the founders of SDECE (Predecessor of DGSE; French equivalent of the CIA). Designed the world's first modern diving watches.
  • David Smiley – British special forces and intelligence officer. He fought in the Middle East with the Royal Horse Guards and later with the Somaliland Camel Corps before joining No. 52 Commando. He was then recruited by SOE and performed several operations with SOE in the Middle East. Smiley was transferred to Force 136 for missions to rescue prisoners of war (POW) from behind enemy lines. He was parachuted into Siam (now Thailand) with a team from Force 136 and went to Laos by land. He and the team rescued Jean Le Morillon [fr], a French Force 136 agent. Smiley and Morillon later rescued more POW from Laos and brought them back to Siam. He was appointed with the OBE for his POW rescue operations. Highly praised in France for his involvement in rescuing Morillon and other French POW in Laos. Became a writer after leaving the Army.
  • Chin Phui Kong – A Bornean student studying in China before WWII, recruited by SOE for Force 136 for his tri-lingual talents; English, Malay and Chinese. Received commando and parachute training in India. Parachuted into Bidor near the Cameron Highlands to train MPAJA guerrillas. He resumed his study in Marine biology after WWII. Later become Director of the Department of Fisheries Sabah, a renowned ichthyologist and author of authoritative books.[4]
  • Douglas Jung – A Canadian Army officer during WWII. Among the 150 Asian-Canadians recruited into Force 136 to become agents as part of Operation Oblivion, in which agents were parachuted into the South West Pacific. Jung received commando training at Commando Bay, Okanagan Lake, and parachute training in Australia.[1] After Oblivion waa cancelled, he and other Asian-Canadians Force 136 agents were attached to Special Operations Australia and deployed to British Borneo and New Guinea to carry out search and rescue missions. He resumed his study in law after WWII. Elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Vancouver Centre, the first ever in the House of Commons of Canada from a minority ethnicity.[17][18]
  • Freddie Spencer Chapman – A British Army officer who stayed behind enemy lines after the Japanese occupied Malaya. Originally stationed in Australia before joining the Special Training School 101 (STS 101), a guerrilla warfare school in Singapore. He remained in Malaya for two years before he made contact with two Force 136 agents, John Davis and Richard Broome. Chapman and the other two agents continued to sabotage the Japanese occupation forces in Malaya for a year before escaping from Malaya via submarines in April 1945.[19] Become a writer after retiring from military.
  • Ibrahim Ismail – A Johor Military Force (JMF) officer cadet who was studying in Indian Military Academy before the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Commissioned into the British Indian Army and recruited to Force 136. Parachuted into the western coast of Terengganu as part of Operation Oatmeal with another two agents. His team was betrayed and captured by the Japanese. He agreed to become a double agent for the Japanese after being tortured for a month, but managed to tell Force 136 HQ about the situation. Effectively become a triple agent and gave false information about Operation Zipper to the Japanese forces. For his cunningness and deception, Ismail was appointed to MBE by the British. Continued to serve with JMF after the war and later transferred to the Malay Regiment (now known as the Royal Malay Regiment) in 1951. He was appointed the 5th Chief of Defence Forces (Malaysia) in 1970.[12]
  • Jean Deuve [fr] – A French Army intelligence officer working for SOE during WWII. Parachuted into Burma as part of Force 136. Later made Head of SDECE. Became a writer after retiring from the SDECE.
  • Jean Le Morillon [fr] – A French Navy sailor before WWII. Joined Free French Forces after the Fall of France in WWII and was later assigned to the Free French Secret Service. Attached to Force 136, and received commando and parachute training in India. Parachuted into Laos. Captured by Kenpeitai in April 1945, but rescued by David Smiley six months later. Resumed his agent activities by rescuing prisoners of war from detention camps in Laos and bringing them back to neutral Siam. He managed to rescue 40 women, 50 children and 10 nuns who were French citizens stranded in Laos after the Japanese invasion. He remained in Indo-China as an agent after WWII ended and only returned to Paris after retiring. His life, both as an agent and prisoner of war are documented in French magazines and television.
  • Jean Sassi – A French Army intelligence officer and paratrooper during Operation Jedburgh. Attached to Force 136 and parachuted into Burma. Later made Commander of the 11th Shock Parachutist Regiment (11e choc).
  • John Davis – A Malayan Police (now known as the Royal Malaysia Police) intelligence officer before WWII. Commander of Operation Gustavus, inserted into Malaya via Dutch Submarine HNLMS O 24. Later made Head of Malayan Force 136 agents and Commander of the Ferret Force. Became a writer and general-secretary of Kent County Council Social Services after retiring from military.[20]
  • Lim Bo Seng – A celebrated war hero of Singapore. Escaped from Singapore at the beginning of the Japanese invasion of Malaya and joined SOE in India. Part of Operation Gustavus, inserted into Malaya via Dutch Submarine. Captured by the Kempeitai and died in prison in 1944.
  • Richard Broome – A British Army intelligence officer. Part of Operation Gustavus, inserted into Malaya via Dutch Submarine. Later absorbed by Ferret Force. Became a writer after retiring from military.
  • Tan Chong Tee – A Singaporean national badminton player turned agent. Escaped from Singapore at the beginning of the Japanese invasion of Malaya and joined SOE in India. Part of Operation Gustavus, captured in 1944 and released after WWII ended. Continued to play badminton for Singapore national badminton team.
  • Tunku Osman – A Malayan student studying in England before WWII. Joined British Army's Reconnaissance Corps after the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Transferred to Force 136 and received commando and parachute training in Calcutta, India. Part of Operation Fighter, parachuted into Malaya from a B-24 Liberator. Continued to serve with Malaysian Army after WWII and later appointed as the 3rd Chief of Defence Forces (Malaysia) in 1964.
  • Walter Fletcher – A British businessman turned agent. Part of Operation Remorse, sent into China to smuggle rubber products, foreign currency, diamonds and machinery out of Japanese occupied-Malaya and Indo-China. Elected as Member of Parliament for Bury in Lancashire after WWII.
  • A Lt. Browning, a plantation manager in Malaya during the late 1920's and until the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Browning, with Syme and Edgar, escaped the fall of Singapore to Sumatra then to Australia where they enlisted in the AIF.[citation needed] He originated the idea of Operation Carpenter and was flown from Perth to Ceylon to meet with Mountbatten.


Camp Force 136, Pekan, PahangEdit

On 27 October 2011, the late Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah named a new Malaysian Army military camp in Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia as Kem Force 136 ('Camp Force 136'). The camp is the base for 505th Battalion, Territorial Army Regiment.[21]

Commando Bay, Okanagan Lake, CanadaEdit

A bay at Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, a site that used by the first batch of Asian Canadians members of Force 136 for commando training. The Canadian Government named the bay as Commando Bay and recognized the site as a historical site on 2014. A war memorial placard placed there.[22][23]

In popular cultureEdit

Books, televisions and movie.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Force 136". Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Special Operations Executive". National Army Museum. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Force 136 Historic Marker | Lim Bo Seng's Burial Site". Retrieved 18 March 2020.
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