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bushfighter

Wei-hai-wei and Liu Kung Tao, then and now

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208198033.jpg
Liu Kung Tao island.
A British battery was located on Centurion Hill in the background.


Members may be interested in these images of the north China harbour of Wei-hai-wei that Britain leased for a time and used as the Depot for the Chinese Labour Corps.

The leased territory covered 288 square miles and included the bay of Wei-hai-wei (a fine natural harbour), Liu Kung Tao island and a mainland area of 72 miles of coastline running to a depth of 10 miles inland.

Port Edward on the mainland to the north of the harbour was the British administrative centre. A British Civil Commissioner governed the territory.
A naval depot serviced the Royal Navy's China Squadron.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208199301.jpg

The British chapel on the Wei-hai-wei mainland today.

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bushfighter
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The Royal Navy rifle range on Liu Kung Tao island.

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bushfighter
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Queen's House. The old entrance to the Canteen and Cinema for British troops, Wei-hai-wei.


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The entrance today to the old Queen's House.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208205440.jpg

Wei-hai-wei harbour.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208205557.jpg

Government House, Wei-hai-wei.

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ian turner

Thanks - interesting views of what I guess is a little-known piece of history.

Is this now called Weihai? In Shandong province , on a peninsular (broadly opposite Inchon in Korea)?

Ian

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Staffsyeoman

The city of Weihai was part of a territory called "Weihaiwei", which was leased by the UK from 1898 until 1930. It was a summer station for the naval China Station along with Hong Kong. Wei Hai Wei was rented from the Chinese government. From 1898-99 it was administered by a Senior Naval Officer, RN; in 1899, this transferred to a military and civil commissioner appointed by the War Office. The garrison comprised some 200 British troops and a locally raised Chinese Regiment with British officers. In 1901, administration transferred to the Colonial Office. A Civil Commissioner was appointed to run the territory in 1902, and the Chinese Regiment was disbanded in 1903. It was briefly a special administrative region after its return to the short-lived Republic of China. After the Revolution and Civil War in 1949, Weihaiwei was renamed Weihai City after the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is currently a prefecture-level city of Shandong Province.

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bushfighter
Is this now called Weihai? In Shandong province , on a peninsular (broadly opposite Inchon in Korea)?

post-20901-1208279163.jpg

Ian
ROGER that.
Here's a map to help you identify the various Chinese territories occupied by foreigners.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208279457.jpg

Chinese policeman at Wei-hai-wei.

The British had raised the Wei-hai-wei Regiment, under British officers, which served well during the Boxer Rising.

After the disbandment of the Regiment ex-members were selected to serve in the Wei-hai-wei Police Force.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208280037.jpg

Local housing in Wei-hai-wei.

In October 1916 the War Office accepted proposals from the British Legation in Peking to recruit northern Chinese labour for France.
A "coolie-depot" had been built for the South African Labour scheme of 1903-04 (but never used) and the Wei-hai-wei government secured this.
Mr T.J. Burne, a civil engineer of 28 years' experience with Chinese labour, was placed in charge on 1st November 1916.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208280632.jpg

The waterfront, Wei-hai-wei.
(Note the policeman.)


German influence throughout China was directed against the British labour scheme, and the Chinese Government would not consent to signing an official agreement.

However the Chinese people were willing to go to France and the first transport sailed on 18th January 1917 with 1,088 labourers aboard.

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bushfighter
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The Iron Pier (sometimes named Iron Jetty)at Liu Kung Tao island.

On 7th January 1918 the last transport left Wei-hai-wei and 44,448 men had been sent overseas.
(When the men sent from Tsingtao are included the total sent was 92,582.)

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bushfighter
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The entrance to the Iron Pier (or Iron Jetty) today.

If the Admiralty had been able to supply transports then many more Chinese, especially mechanics and other skilled labour, would have been recruited.
The Chinese earned a reputation in France as hard workers, and their efforts were appreciated.

However the USA's entry into the war led to most transports being deployed to the cross-Atlantic route.

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ian turner

Straffsyeoman & Bushfighter,

Thanks for the explanations. The Iron Pier can be the Chinese equivalent of Folkestone Harbour Pier!

An interesting topic and good postings.

Ian

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208331194.jpg

City Gates, Wei-hai-wei.

Very few Chinese within the British territory volunteered for overseas service as they had safe lives and comfortable employment already.

One-third of the volunteers came from Shantung Province and two-thirds were Chihili men from Tientsin and Chinwangtao.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208331554.jpg

Street on Liu Kung Tao island

Officers were recruited from British volunteers in China.

The Wei-hai-wei Depot of the Chinese Labour Corps organised companies of between 300 and 500 men who were despatched to France via Vancouver, Halifax and Liverpool.

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bushfighter
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Centurion Battery on Liu Kung Tao island today.

Initial training at the Depot consisted of drill, discipline, route marching and parades.

Each contingent was fully organised in companies, platoons and sections with a senior Chinese N.C.O. acting as the Serjeant Major.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208332914.jpg

The Royal Marine barracks on Liu Kung Tao island

A Chinese labourer in the Corps was paid:
A bonus of $20 on the transport leaving (local currency)
$10 per month (from the date of sailing to thedate of repatriation) Separation Pay to his family (local currency)
One franc per day from arrival in to departure from France


and provided with food, clothing, housing and medical attention.

N.C.O.s, interpreters, mechanics and other skilled men received higher rates.

A Pay Office was set up in the old barracks of the former Wei-hai-wei Regiment, and by arrangement with the Chinese Government Postal Administration a branch money order office was established alongside it. This allowed the family allotments to be paid satisfactorily.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208333901.jpg

Gun position in Centurion Battery, Liu Kung Tao island today

Not all the Chinese recruited went to France.

For example some supported the Army Service Corps in East Africa, and five who died are commemorated on the Screen War Memorial in the Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania.

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bushfighter
post-20901-1208335862.jpg

The cemetery above Wei-hai-wei harbour

If the sailor on the right is German then this photo would have been taken before hostilities commenced.

The Germans held territory 50 miles away at Tsingtao and Kiachow Bay.
An Allied force of Japanese, British and Indian troops captured Tsingtao on 7th November 1914.
(See Barnardiston's Tsingtau Despatches on The Long, Long Trail : http://www.1914-1918.net/barnardistons_first_despatch.htm )

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bushfighter
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The Bund, Port Edward, Wei-hai-wei

Britain leased Wei-hai-wei "in order to provide Great Britain with a suitable harbour in north China and for the better protection of British commerce in the neighbouring seas".

The first intention was to construct a fortified naval base, but after a survey this was ruled out on cost and practicability grounds.

At the Washington Conference of 1921-22 it was decided that Wei-hai-wei would be returned to China.

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bushfighter
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East Village, Wei-hai-Wei

As Staffsyeoman has noted the British did not hold Wei-hai-wei for long, nor did they (apart from the Centurion Battery) construct a fortified naval base.

But the investment in the lease was worthwhile. The possession of the territory allowed the British to recruit very useful military labour from north China for just over a year using British methods and facilities, which would not have been possible outside the leased territory.

But what did the members of the Chinese Labour Corps think? Was the experience worthwhile for them?

Perhaps there are some answers contained in the two books recently mentioned in another thread on the Corps.

This is the final image.

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cahoehler

Harry

As always, something interesting especially that pair of Salt River pattern artillery wheels in the bottom right corner near the snowman.

Somewhat removed from the sand of GSWA and the jungle of GEA.

Carl

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