Thursday, 5 July 2012
Chinese Labour Corps.
The Chinese Labour Corps was a force of workers nearly 100,000 strong recruited by the British government in World War I to support the troops by performing support work and manual labour.
In 1916, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig requested that 21,000 labourers be recruited to fill the manpower shortage caused by casualties during World War I. As China was initially not a belligerent nation, her nationals were not allowed by their government to participate in the fighting - although the Chinese later declared war against Germany and Austria–Hungary, on 14 August 1917. Read more on Wikipedia
Lowry refers to the Corps in a derogatory/racist manner in his first novel Ultramarine; "We'll put you in the Chinese Labour Corps. The order of the rising sun - tee hee! - for promiscuous gallantry." (Pg.112).