Date: Wednesday, 19th April
Venue: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)
SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Entry: Free, but places must be booked in advance
On 19th April, 1917, after a three-month journey over land and sea, a thousand Chinese men
arrived in Le Havre, France, weary and bewildered. This was the first batch of the Chinese
Labour Corps, recruited by the British to provide logistical help to the Western Allies. They
would be followed by several tens of thousands, mainly from Shandong Province, thus forming one of the largest labour corps involved in the Great War.
To mark this historically significant event, exactly one hundred years later on 19th April, 2017,The Meridian Society, with SOAS China Institute as host, will be holding a film screening and talks to launch our heritage project on the Chinese Labour Corps, with the support of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The key resource is a collection of unique interviews with CLC descendants from Shandong.
Their distinctive memories have been captured on camera and at this launch, guests will be
able to view for the first time, a public screening of the documentary ‘Forgotten Faces of the
Great War’, containing oral histories by descendants both of Chinese labourers and Western CLC officers.
Alongside the screening will be talks by eminent speakers (Chaired by Lars Laaman SCI) including:
– Frances Wood, Author of Author of ‘Betrayed Ally’, former Curator of Chinese Collections at the British Library and Research Associate at SOAS China Institute;
– Dominiek Dendooven, Curator at In Flanders Fields Museum;
– Andrew Fetherston, Archivist at Commonwealth War Graves Commission and
– Zhang Yan The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
A small display of items, including photos, documents and memorabilia, will be on show.
We will also be announcing details of the Society’s year-long series of activities to commemorate the CLC.
The event will be brought to a close by a Ceremony for the Departed conducted by Representatives of the London Fo Guang Shan Temple.
We hope you will be able to join us for this special event.
Please reserve your place no later than Wednesday 22nd March by replying to The Meridian
Society at email@example.com