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In the Chinese Labour Corps during the Great War. The Chinese Labour Corps were the 'coolies' recruited for menial tasks supporting the BEF in the Great War. 96,000 went to France and 2,000 died. This is a fascinating - if deeply patronising - portrait of them by one of their British officers.

Despite its distinctly non-PC title, this is a fascinating picture of an important, but little written about part of the history of the western front in the Great War. The Chinese Labour Corps were a force of Chinese labourers recruited by the British Army during the war to carry out dirty, arduous jobs for which British manpower was dwindling, owing to the competing demands of the trenches for men. By the end of 1917 more than 50,000 Chinese workers were in France working for the Army. By the Armistice in 1918, this figure had almost doubled. Tasks carried out by the Chinese included digging trenches and dugouts, repairing roads and railways damaged by shellfire, and filling sandbags. The Chinese often worked in dangerous locations - some 2,000 of them were killed by enemy action. After the war, the surviving Chinese were repatriated to their homeland. The author of this book, 2nd Lt Daryl Klein, an old China hand, was involved in the recruiting process and accompanied the Chinese of their long journey from China to France over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He is affectionate, but deeply patronising to his Chinese charges, whom he calls 'coolies' in the language of the day.

            Reprint of the original publication of 1921

  • AUTHOR: Klein, D
  • FORMAT: 258pp 12 Bw Pb
  • Code: 16469

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