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Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps in the First World War
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Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps in the First World War

The Untold Story

By Dan Black

This book will be available 3rd September 2019. We welcome you to place a pre-order.
$34.95 Hardback
This book will be available 3rd September 2019. We welcome you to place a pre-order.
$16.95 Ebook
EPUB Not available

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During the WWI, more than 80,000 Chinese labourers were secretly transported from China across Canada to the Western Front where they built bridges and roads, repaired tanks, unloaded supplies, and then, after the war, cleaned up the grisly battlefields. Though the use of Chinese labourers for the war has been known, the story of their journey and their work, and the role of Canadians in recruiting and transporting them, has not been fully told — until now.

In Veil of Secrecy, Dan Black describes the perilous journey taken by the Chinese labourers from their remote villages in China, across the North Pacific, the vast country of Canada from Vancouver to Halifax, and across the North Atlantic to the battlefields of Europe, and then back again.

For political reasons and to prevent them from escaping, the Chinese labourers were locked into cattle cars and forbidden to disembark during the journey. The Canadian public, too, was kept in the dark about the trains. But their experience is indelibly evident — in graves across the country from Vancouver Island to Thunder Bay, and Petawawa to Halifax.

One Canadian plays a central role in this story — Captain Harry Livingstone, a small-town doctor from Listowel, Ontario. Livingstone joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1917, at the age of 28. His first assignment was to go to northeast China to a recruitment depot, where he examined poor, young Chinese men to ensure they were fit for service. He later joined them on their journey across the North Pacific to a quarantine station on Canada's West Coast.

Drawing on the diaries written by Livingstone, and the letters of the Canadian missionaries who served as temporary officers with the corps in Europe, Dan Black traces the experience of the Chinese Labour Corps and sheds new light on the mistreatment and racism they faced in Canada and in wartime Europe.

DAN BLACK has written and edited hundreds of articles on Canada's military, past and present. He is the former editor of Legion Magazine and the co-author of Old Enough to Fight: Canada's Boy Soldiers in the First World War and Too Young To Die: Canada's Boy Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in the Second World War, with John Boileau. Dan lives outside of Ottawa.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 216 pages
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414327
Format: 9in x 6in
75 b&w images

Binding: Electronic book text, 216 pages
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414334
Format: EPUB
75 b&w images

BISAC Code:  HIS006020
Imprint: Lorimer


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