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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

CANTONESE SPEAKING ROYAL HIGHLANDER


liz green
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Hi Everyone,

Need your invaluable help again. After a family conversation last night, it became apparent that the family believe that my Husbands Grandfather on being transferred to the Labour corp as a Sgt ended up supervising Chinese workmen in the trenches and speaking cantonese.

Could this be truth or fiction? :wacko:

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The Chinese labour corps men would have been employed to the rear of the trenches, making and mending roads, laying rails etc. The normal system was that they would have a Chinese gang leader who spoke English to some extent and the British supervising the work dealt with him. A system used all over the world with native labour and on ships with Lascars. No reason why an interested man of active mind would not pick up some Cantonese or whatever Chinese dialect his gang spoke. The Scots in Hong Kong made it their business to do so and profited greatly thereby.

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The Chinese labour corps men would have been employed to the rear of the trenches, making and mending roads, laying rails etc. The normal system was that they would have a Chinese gang leader who spoke English to some extent and the British supervising the work dealt with him. A system used all over the world with native labour and on ships with Lascars. No reason why an interested man of active mind would not pick up some Cantonese or whatever Chinese dialect his gang spoke. The Scots in Hong Kong made it their business to do so and profited greatly thereby.

The Chinese Labour Corps were recruited from the northern provinces of China,principally ShanTung,and were exclusively Mandarin speakers.

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