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Forgotten Faces of the First World War

July 30, 2017 8:58 AM

Whilst compatriots commemorate the losses from the Battle of Passchendaele at Menin Gate over the weekend, there was a screening of a new documentary at Regents University in London on the Chinese Labour Corps and their forgotten contributions in the Great War.

Extract from the website of The Meridian Society, maker of the documentary film "Forgotten Faces of the First World War":

Chinese Labour Corpos"On 19th April, 1917, after a three-month journey over land and sea, a thousand Chinese men arrived in Le Havre, France, weary and bewildered. This was the first batch of the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), recruited by the British to provide logistical help to the Western Allies. They would be followed by several tens of thousands, mainly from Shandong Province, thus forming one of the largest labour corps involved in World War I. At the end of the war, many stayed on to clear the land of ordnance and restore it to agricultural fields. They dug up the dead and buried them in the cemeteries that dot the rural landscapes of northern France and Belgium. Yet their contribution to the Allied cause is little mentioned and has never been officially acknowledged.

To honour the memory of the CLC and the vital part they played in the war, The Meridian Society has made a documentary film of oral histories by descendants of Chinese labourers and their Western commanding officers describing the emotions and experiences of their ancestors. There will be several screenings of the film around the country over the next year and a half, which the general public is welcome to attend free of charge. Peng Wenlan, who is heading the society's CLC Heritage Project, will give an introduction to the film at each screening.

Saturday 29th July, 11.00 - 12.00 am, Tuke Cinema, Regent's University, Inner Circle, Regent's Park. London NW1 4NS

Tuesday 7th November, 7.00-8.30pm, House of Commons

Before the screening, Dr Frances Wood will be giving a talk on her most recent book on the CLC - Betrayed Ally: China in the Great War

Details of venue and booking to be confirmed.

Tuesday 1st August, 7.00-9.00 pm, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Castle Street, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8TP

Dr Craig Barclay, Head of Museums at Durham University, will also be giving a presentation on the Chinese Labour Corps exhibition currently on at the Oriental Museum of Durham University

No booking is required for this event.

We will send out notices as more screenings are arranged."

Meridian Society screening of CLC film 29.7.17Meanwhile, the Chinese Liberal Democrats continue to support the work of all organisations involved in the campaign to commemorate the sacrifices of the CLC, including the building of a permanent memorial in the UK, via the Ensuring We Remember Camapaign.


See also blog by Co-Chair Merlene Emerson MBE: "In the Footsteps of the Chinese Labour Corps"