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coffmanb17

id bracelet from ww1 china "TSINGTAO"

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coffmanb17

id bracelet from ww1 china "TSINGTAO" . ?

could it be from there ?  the numbers  looks German to me, also ww1 style id bracelet with a watch chain, i found this in a box of pocket watch parts in the uk.

is there anybody out there see one ?, got one ? any help would be great, could it be British ? or Prisoner of war number ?. 

s-l1600 - 2020-06-13T094325.976.jpg

s-l1600 - 2020-06-13T095202.654.jpg

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Keith_history_buff

Hi,

The numbers do not correspond to those regimental service numbers in use with the South Wales Borderers or the 36th Sikhs. With regard to POWs, they were all sent to Japan, where their stay in captivity was in stark contrast to the awful treatment meted to the Far East POWs of WW2.

Best of luck with your ongoing research with this.

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headgardener
Posted (edited)

I’d say that this looks like a privately purchased ID bracelet, WW1 era, and the number and name look to me as though the owner was a member of the Chinese Labour Corps (rather than it being a reference to the Chinese port).

Edited by headgardener

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coffmanb17

thank you for your reply, and looking on a web site about the Chinese Labour Corps, found a grave stone, the numbers are close, number on bracelet is 104446, number on grave is 104556, so you might be right, looking forward to other reply's. regards 

Cimetière_chinois_Noyelles_2007_2.jpg

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headgardener

CLC Medal rolls are held by TNA, presumably available through the various family history websites. Search by Service Number, and Bear in mind that names of CLC personnel are transliterations made by English army personnel who may or may not have spoken Chinese, so you’ll find variable spellings and combinations of the various elements that make up the average Chinese name (Chow / Tsiao, or Tsiao Tsin Chen / Chen Tsin Tsiao, etc).

The number is definitely right for CLC.

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coffmanb17

yes you could be right again i found a Chinese restaurant called  "Tsing Tao"  so it could be a name and not a place in china. 

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Ron Abbott

Those of us in Hong Kong regularly have it.  Best served cold and by the bottle. 

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davidbohl

Just as a bit of interest, in September 1914 the Germans sold a gunboat named the "Tsing-tao".

Dave

 

871718096_Screenshot2020-07-19at21_41_43.png.ceb311c9742e2bed9df2e3821d9d1f4b.png

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AOK4

Tsingtao is the name of the former German possession in China (now Qingdao). Whether it's a name as well, I don't know. It would be interesting to find out the name for the CLC contract 104446.

 

The bracelet looks a bit like a French modèle 1915 identity disc, although similar discs can be found as private purchase ID discs for British officers as well. The chain looks like a pocket watch chain.

 

 

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Acknown

According to this Medal Roll entry on Ancestry (Medal Roll as Required by Army Council Letter Medal Branch [illegible] 9/1434 AG10 dated 27 Nov 19 - BW medals in bronze), No.104446 belonged to Li Ch'en Fa, Chinese Labour Corps (WO329/2383). As some others on that massive roll who died are interred in French cemeteries, I suspect that Fa also served there, thus probably making the CLC link a red herring.

Acknown

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headgardener
1 hour ago, Acknown said:

According to this Medal Roll entry on Ancestry (Medal Roll as Required by Army Council Letter Medal Branch [illegible] 9/1434 AG10 dated 27 Nov 19 - BW medals in bronze), No.104446 belonged to Li Ch'en Fa, Chinese Labour Corps (WO329/2383). As some others on that massive roll who died are interred in French cemeteries, I suspect that Fa also served there, thus probably making the CLC link a red herring.

Acknown

 

The CLC only served in France. As Fa is on the Army Medal Office medal roll it’s a certainty that he did serve in France.

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TullochArd
Posted (edited)

There is a fascinating, and self critical, British "post operations" review (dated 1920) of the CLC and it's administration at: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/report-giving-the-history-of-the-chinese-labour-corps-used-behind-the-lines-in-france-1917-19

 

It includes a kit list which does not include ID Discs as it appears the means of identification (on induction and for the identification of fatalities) was done by thumbprint.

 

As such, if it belonged to Fa employed as a contract worker in the British CLC it would seem to be "unofficial". If it is Fa's ID bracelet I suspect he had it made - or made it himself - the report is particularly complimentary of a core of the CLC in terms of skills base and access to "Stamp Set, Metal Marking" would not be impossible.

Edited by TullochArd

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coffmanb17

does this make sense ? could the number be the id of the person who wore the bracelet, the name below is the place name of were he was from ie Tsingtao . are they a ww1 id bracelet or something else ?

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headgardener
1 minute ago, coffmanb17 said:

does this make sense ? could the number be the id of the person who wore the bracelet, the name below is the place name of were he was from ie Tsingtao .

 

Have to say that I was thinking this myself. The bracelet looks very much WW1 private purchase, of the type that a man could buy in France (other posts on this thread confirm - French modelle 1915 ID tag, I think?). The number is right for CLC, and has a Chinese place name stamped on it. While this name doesn’t match the name of the man who served with that CLC number, I find it too much of a coincidence and am inclined to think this is the likely answer.

As someone else said earlier, finger prints were used to ID for pay and disciplinary purposes, but that wouldn’t mean that a man might not buy his own bracelet. 

I recall researching a medal roll for a native labour corps in, I think, East Africa and parts of the roll listed crazy English names like “Jack The Ripper” or “Prince Of Wales”.  Clearly the pay clerks got bored with local names that they couldn’t necessarily understand or pronounce or transliterate so they invented their own memorable names for the men to declare at roll call or pay day. Maybe that’s what we’re seeing on your bracelet? Tsingtao was a famous name in 1914, much easier to say than any combination of the names ‘Li Ch’en Fa’. We may never know for sure, but it’s the best theory we have atm.

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coffmanb17

thank you again headgardener i have been reading on line some interesting articles on the CLC, of which i have copied below.

 

Winston Churchill had just returned from the Western Front. He had resigned from the government to command the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, so had seen the battlefields of France for himself. He made a speech in the Houses of Parliament strongly supporting the idea of recruiting Chinese labourers to help the war effort. British recruitment began in November 1916 in Shandong Province and later in Qingdao.

When they reached the camp which would be their new home, each new recruit received a medical examination, a haircut which included cutting off his long braid (cue), a hot bath, new clothes, vaccinations and a brass bracelet bearing an ID number.

 

so above Qingdao is the place name (tsingtao) and the brass bracelet with the ID number, 

 

so could he have lost his original one ? and got a new one made from a french id bracelet ?

 

that my idea now. 

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headgardener
18 minutes ago, coffmanb17 said:

thank you again headgardener i have been reading on line some interesting articles on the CLC, of which i have copied below.

 

Winston Churchill had just returned from the Western Front. He had resigned from the government to command the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, so had seen the battlefields of France for himself. He made a speech in the Houses of Parliament strongly supporting the idea of recruiting Chinese labourers to help the war effort. British recruitment began in November 1916 in Shandong Province and later in Qingdao.

When they reached the camp which would be their new home, each new recruit received a medical examination, a haircut which included cutting off his long braid (cue), a hot bath, new clothes, vaccinations and a brass bracelet bearing an ID number.

 

so above Qingdao is the place name (tsingtao) and the brass bracelet with the ID number, 

 

so could he have lost his original one ? and got a new one made from a french id bracelet ?

 

that my idea now. 

 

Regarding this style of ID bracelet, I have seen several identical or near-identical ones in the past and I know that I have 1 or 2 tucked away in a box somewhere. It seems that there was something of a cottage industry creating souvenir bracelets of varying degrees of sophistication - some inscribed on pieces of brass shell casings, others from simpler materials like an aluminium disc and a watch chain. There may have been a ‘fashion’ for them, with men buying and wearing them simply because many of their comrades did. Actually, come to think of it, if a CLC man was having a bracelet made, he may not have found it easy to translate his name from Cantonese symbols into English. Equally so if trying to explain his name to a Frenchman.

I read that men might buy an ID bracelet for each limb just in case they were blown to pieces, so as to allow a better chance of their bodies (or what was left of them) being identified and, presumably, receiving  a proper burial. Admittedly, the CLC operated far behind the front line so there’s wasnt much chance of them suffering the fate that befell so many infantrymen.

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coffmanb17

THE CHINESE LABOUR CORPS IN FRANCE
1917-1921
BRIAN C FAWCETT

The men were given serial numbers,
which, with their names, were written down in romanised letters and
Chinese characters. Difficulties arose if the men did not know their
names or surnames. He may say that he lives in a family village and
offer the village surname as a suggestion or simply give his nickname,
but most knew their mother's surname because of the Chinese custom
of exogamy. Problems also arose when trying to ascertain the recruit's
address, for similar reasons.
A bracelet, stamped with his number, was securely fixed to his
wrist. As this was considered degrading this system was eventually
discontinued

G. E. Cormack, who acted as an escorting officer to five hundred
labourers, was stationed at the collecting depot, a German silk factory
near Qingdao. This town had earlier in the War been captured from the
Germans by the Japanese, assisted by a small British force. On a
monolith at one of the forts was a Prussian eagle with an inscription in
German stating that this town had been captured by the Germans from
the Chinese. Over this there was a Japanese inscription stating that
Qingdao had been captured from the Germans by the Japanese! China
had declared war on Germany on 14"' March 1917.

 

so again found on the www, bracelet & Qingdao 

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Gregory

1. The CLC served in Belgium as well as in France.

 

2. "Tsingtao" - the place from where they embarked, not their name - was inscribed on the men's official bracelets, as well as their registered numbers. Several bodies found at various places in Belgium/France were identified from their bracelets as "Tsingtao" by the CWGC, until they were formally named by cross-referencing their registered numbers against the official record. Some of the very early CWGC lists feature several "Tsingtaos"; these have all now been corrected. (At Machelen cemetery in Belgium, there was a headstone with the name "Tsingtao" even up until last year, when it was replaced with one giving the man's correct name.)

 

3. This bracelet is an unofficial one, no doubt produced as a souvenir, but the number and the word "Tsingtao" were probably copied from the man's official bracelet. Like heargardner, I've seen link-bracelets of this type before. 

 

4. For those of you who are interested in such things, the name in Chinese on the Noyelles headstone shown above is Yang Shi Yueh. but according to the medal roll 104556 was Cheng Hsing Tzu. Yang Shi Yueh (98364) in buried elsewhere in Noyelles cemetery - but his headstone is also misnamed, as Liu Pang Hsing (who is buried in St.-Etienne-au-Mont communal cemetery). This is just one example of several mismatches. There's still a lot of work to be done to get the CLC records straight.

 

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headgardener
3 minutes ago, Gregory said:

2. "Tsingtao" - the place from where they embarked, not their name - was inscribed on the men's official bracelets, as well as their registered numbers. Several bodies found at various places in Belgium/France were identified from their bracelets as "Tsingtao" by the CWGC, until they were formally named by cross-referencing their registered numbers against the official record. Some of the very early CWGC lists feature several "Tsingtaos"; these have all now been corrected. (At Machelen cemetery in Belgium, there was a headstone with the name "Tsingtao" even up until last year, when it was replaced with one giving the man's correct name.)

 

 

Fascinating! Many thanks for posting this. I'd guess that a CLC bracelet like this is pretty rare. 

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coffmanb17

thank you both for your reply's, we are now getting a interesting post could there be anymore information to find ?.  

1 hour ago, headgardener said:

 

Fascinating! Many thanks for posting this. I'd guess that a CLC bracelet like this is pretty rare. 

thank you 

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Gregory

Here is a photo of a genuine CLC official bracelet, showing the word "Tsingtao".

 

On the subject of names, the medal roll is pretty consistent in its romanisations. The names in the roll were drawn up by translators or others competent in English and Chinese, in the CLC recruitment centres in China, and they knew and followed the rules of what is called the Wade romanisation system. So, for example, Tsingtao is the Wade spelling of the Chinese city 青岛. The spelling Qingdao is the same Chinese word romanised according to a different system (called the Pinyin system), which is the one used internationally nowadays. 

 

The CWGC previously used spellings which were inconsistent, and often did not seem to follow any recognisable linguistic rules.  But a couple of years ago, in a very welcome move, they changed all (bar a couple) of the CLC names in their database to follow the usage of the medal roll.

 

As for it's Li Ch'en Fa, it's Mr Li not Mr Fa, please: the first element is the surname - this is true for all CLC names.

 

 

Tsingtao.jpg

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coffmanb17

thank you for the great photo, i do see both these are in the same font. also i found some photos on you tube. watch ? or bracelet ? . 

IMG_3258.JPG

IMG_3260.JPG

IMG_3261.JPG

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