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Traycle Mine Overseer

6250 Posts
Posted -  30/09/2004  :  13:33
Stanley's piece elsewhere about a touch of flu is relevant to an experience I had on holiday recently in Picardy.

We were staying about 50 miles from the main Great War battlefields of the Somme and on a number of occasions passed a road sign for "Cimiterie Chinoise. Noyelles sur Mer". My French is not brilliant but even I had managed to work out that this was a Chinese Cemetary and I wanted to know what this was doing in Northern France. On approaching the grounds it was clear that this was a military cemetary and was actually maintained to their usual high standards by the Commonwealth Graves Commission. Questions about when we British last invaded China to make it part of the empire/commonwealth were going through my mind but with few answers being generated.
Eventually from a museum in Albert I discovered that in 1916 the British brought a Chinese Labour Regiment to the Somme to work on access roads and railways. Most of these men worked well away from the front line yet over 800 Chinese are buried in the cemetary at Noyelles and most died between 1918 and 1922. 1919 appeared to be the worst period with many dying betwen February and April - presumably from the flu epidemic that Stanley refers to.
My daughter and myself spent some time in the peaceful little field thinking that these poor little chaps would not have had relatives or countrymen to visit their graves. If any of you ever get to the Bay of the Somme go and visit them too. Colin

Edited by - Another on 01 Oct 2004 10:30:43

" I'm a self made man who worships his creator"
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Senior Member

1404 Posts
Posted - 11/06/2011 : 08:45
Sorry - I can't help it.    It's Gwailo,  not gwalio.   I think it's what Chinese people call westerners. 

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Local Historian & Old Fart

36804 Posts
Posted - 12/06/2011 : 06:45
It's still an interesting story.......

Stanley Challenger Graham

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