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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

British troops in China in WW1


Fred W
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Watching a programme last night on the global aspects of the first world war I was suprised to hear that in 1914 the Japanese landed about 30,000 men to capture the German naval base at Tsingtao and that the British sent 2,00 men. What regiments were these men from?

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Guest Nigel999

A battalion of the South Wales Borderers were involved at Tsingtao....I believe that elements Of a DCLI battalion were engaged in some way...I believe it was men from the DCLI who helped crew the battleship TRIUMPH....There seems to have been a British contingent who assisted in the Garrison of Tsingtao after it fell...but have no idea as to the regiments involved.

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It was the 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers (which became part of 29th Division) who were at Tsingtao in 1914; supported by Indian Army troops. I have details of the exact units somewhere, from research I did many years ago on this episode.

Quite a few British battalions passed through China before WW1; and indeed later. My grandfather was there with RAMC in the 1920s.

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You may be interested to see the notes included in the Public Records Office publication "Army Service Records of the First World War" by William Spencer. Pages 56 and 57 of this included a report by Lt Col HG Caston (the signature is not totally clear) Commanding officer of 2SWB about the Bns role in the capture of Tsingtao (now called Chengdu and home to an excellent (probably ex-german) brewery).

Peterd

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