A Passport of First World War Canadians

Nothing would stop Wee Tan Louie from volunteering in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, an astonishing display of patriotism and commitment to equal rights at a time when racial discrimination was at its height in British Columbia ̶ disenfranchisement, the head tax, and countless other anti-Chinese laws. Rejected by the army because he was Chinese (although Canadian-born). he crossed the Rockies by horseback for three wintry months to sign up in Calgary as William Thomas Louie. A runner in the 10th Battalion in France and Belgium, he described in one letter home, “a close shave as my gas mask and water bottle was shot away.” Later wounded in action and his hearing damaged by shellfire, Wee Tan was demobilized in 1919 ̶ one of perhaps 300 Chinese Canadians to serve in uniform.

Source: Chan,Arlene. “Chinese Canadian Soldiers.” A Passport of First World War Canadians. Ed. Jonathan Vance and Robert H. Thomson, Producer https://www.theworldremembers.org/. Toronto, 2017. 16.




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