Thursday, 18 November 2010

Foreign Fields




"There's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England" - Rupert Brooke

That may be one of the most famous lines of war poetry ever written. But I'm guessing you've never read about the corner of France which is forever China.

The British war graves dating from the First World War are a famous and iconic image. By contrast, I'd never even heard of the Chinese Labour Corps, but it seems that many of them are buried here, in the Chinese Cemetery at Noyelles-sur-Mer.


There are a couple of common slogans across the gravestones. One which stood out strongly for me was A GOOD REPUTATION ENDURES FOREVER. It should. We should all know about these Chinese labourers who died a long way from home; it's sad to me that in all our school studies of WWI, we never learnt about these men and their part in digging the trenches. We've just had Rememberance Day in the UK, so it seems like a good time to do a little bit of extra remembering.



19 comments:

Expats Again said...

Remembering is crucial, lest we repeat our mistakes.

Rachel said...

That was fascinating, Rachel, thanks for the link. The effects of the War really were worldwide, weren't they.

Fly Girl said...

That's a wonderful point Rachel. I hope it promotes more awareness about their forgotten roles.

Velva said...

There always seems to be a bit of history that we should be reminded about more often. I appreciate this post. Thanks.

Ginny said...

Gosh, I never knew about this! How wonderful that you are making people aware, we all know about the veterans, but we need to remember these people as well. How sad.

Nora Johnson said...

Hi again!

Such a reflective, instructive post. And much appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by,

XOXO Lola:)

Bibliomama said...

Yes -- really great.

Stephanie V said...

Thanks for exposing this little known side of WW1. Unfortunately, we share guilt in not recognizing the contributions that the Chinese have made to our country as well.

cornflakegirl74 said...

This is a great post, Rachel, and an important reminder that we should always learn from the past.

That's a great quote ("a good reputation endures forever.")

Thanks for another insightful post!

Rob-bear said...

Never heard about this in any of my studies here in Canada. Sadly, we have long had our issues with the Chinese, using them as labour to build railways through our mountains, our "head Tax," and the like.

ladyfi said...

Gosh, I had no idea about how the Chinese were involved in the war. Thanks for this lovely tribute to them.

Dedene said...

I didn't know either that the Chinese were part of the war effort in the UK. Interesting and sad.
When where you in France last?

Chef E said...

I like that quote on the stone, but sometimes regret I have a good one LOL only because I envy people who had wild fun growing up...oh another story!

Thanks for sharing this, you endlessly teach me new things while I bring you silly comments :)

lakeviewer said...

Funny how we discover things that we ought to have known.

Christine said...

Thankyou for this. I did not know about the Chinese contribution. It is humbling to realise that so many died in that great bloodbath.

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing with us.

St├ęphanie said...

Thank you my dear friend for this great post !
http://prettydarling.canalblog.com/

Jeanne said...

I love it when you do these posts where you share something I didn't know and your thoughts about it.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for sharing. The old cemeteries around us are great to read inspiring headstones and ask questions in wonder about what the person's life was like whose name appears on a marker.

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