Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery
Historical Information (Source: CWGC)
The Chinese Labour Corps was the outcome of an agreement made between the United Kingdom and Chinese Governments on 30 December 1916, for the employment of Chinese labour in France. The men were recruited in north China and the first contingent arrived in France in April 1917. By the end of 1917, 54,000 were in France and Belgium. At the Armistice, the Corps numbered nearly 96,000 and even in May 1919, 80,000 were at work. Nearly 2,000 died during the war and when the cemeteries were constructed after the war was over, the headstones for these men were engraved in Chinese characters by a selected group of their comrades.
Truelove, a former captain in the London Regiment, was appointed Assistant Architect to the Commission in 1919. He visited the Chinese section of the British Museum and a Chinese warehouse for inspiration. As a result, the design of the cemetery reflects its national character. The gateway, in the form of a pailou, bears a Chinese inscription to honour the dead and monograms bearing the meaning of eternity. The inscription was chosen by Shi Zhaoji, who was the Chinese Ambassador to Great Britain during the war. It translates as 'This site commemorates the sacrifice paid by 1,900 Chinese workers who lost their lives during the 1914-1918 war, these are my friends and colleagues whose merits are incomparable'.
Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery contains the graves of more than 800 Chinese workers who were employed as labour.
- United Kingdom (838)
- Army (838)