As a crew member of a Catalina flying boat Gilbert Jan served in WWII as one of over 1200 Chinese Australians who enlisted to defend Australia. In civilian life he was honoured with the Medal of Order of Australia for his volunteer service. He pioneered the identification of Chinese Australians who served in both World Wars and in other conflicts. This work resulted in a permanent Memorial situated in Sydney's Chinatown.

The Museum of Chinese Australian History was inspired by his work and extended the research to establish the Honour Roll of Chinese Australians who participated in the two world wars

In 1946, whilst in a C-47 Dakota plane flying from Hong Kong to Sydney, the plane crashed into the sea, due to both engine's failing. Just 6 of the 9 crew survived & they were rescued by the British destroyer HMS Tenacious. Gilbert always said he was grateful to the Pom's for rescuing him!  As a result of surviving a plane crash at sea, that entitled him to become a member of the "Goldfish Club". 

Gilbert Jan was truly a remarkable and loyal Chinese Australian. 

We extend our condolences to his family with thanks for Gilbert’s example of service.

Gilbert Jan OAM, courtesy of the Jan family