Category Archives: Chinese

In Defence of the Empire, Americans Volunteer #FWW

On the 6th April 1917, America declares war against Germany.  Two years earlier in May 1915, Americans volunteered to help defend a small corner of the British Empire as long as they could serve “…without prejudice to our allegiance to the United States of America.” This small group of Americans had already served as Armed Civilians, one was almost court-martialed for falling asleep but the British Officer in command thought better of it. These armed American civilians were also Methodist 5 of them clergymen. There was another proviso which reflected this.”…Mr Oechali has a public service to conduct every Tuesday from 5.30 to 6.15. The authorities will, we anticipate, give due consideration to this fact…”

So where was this? Who were these Americans? How do we know?

The places is the Settlement of Singapore.  The Americans were:

William T Cherry, Superintendent Methodist Publishing House.

Earl Hibbard, Principle, Oldham Hall.

Osbourne E Hooley Teacher Anglo-Chinese school, Oldham Hall.

Harry H Mansell, Mission Treasurer,

J Stewart Nagle, Principal Anglo-Chinese School

Leonard Oechali, Paster Wesley Church

and George E McComb, Teacher Anglo-Chinese School

The quoted pieces and the names are from a letter to the Editor of The Straits Times published by the Straits Times on the 10th May 1915.

All the men named had served as Armed Civilians helping to suppress Singapore Mutiny.

 

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15/2/15 Singapore #FWW

When the trigger of a rifle is squeezed no one knows how many people will be killed as a result.

Events in Singapore in February 1915 will always be overshadowed by events in Singapore in February 1942. This year being the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore the overshadow is even darker.

Just after 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the 15th February 1915 in Alexander Barracks in Singapore Sepoy Ismail Khan squeezed the trigger of his rifle. This shot signalled the start of the mutiny. Here is a list of people who were killed as a result of that single shot. Not included are the names of an estimated 200 mutineers who were killed during the mutiny or executed in its aftermath.

CF Anscombe, JVR Beagley, P. Boyce, EO Butterworth, BC Cameron, J Clarke, HB Collins, H O’Shaughnessey Collins, H Cullimore, JB Dunn, A Drysdale, CV Dyson, NF Edwards,          HS Elliot, AR Evans, RH Galway, F Geddes, PN Gerrard, JC Harper, Hassan Kechil bin Hassan, AJG Holt, FV Izard, Abdul Jabar, Omar bin Ahmad Kaptin, GO Lawson, Lim Eng Wee, AF Legge, WH Leigh, JH Love-Montgomerie, D McGilvray, MFA Maclean, WJ Marshall, Yacob bin Salleh, EF Senftleben, FH Sexton, Sim Soh, C Smith, G Wald, ED Whittle, Mr and Mrs GB Woolcombe, Chinese man name unknown. 23 of the dead are known to be buried in Kranji  War Cemetery.

One of the mutineers known to have been killed by the forces fighting the mutiny was Sepoy Ismail Khan who fired the original shot.

A contemporary report by the Japanese reproduced in Secret Documents on the Singapore Mutiny 1915 by SR Sareen, puts the successful suppression of the mutiny down to the deployment of Japanese marines. It would not be the last time Japanese troops landed at Singapore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Lieutenant W. G. R. Murphy, (Chinese) Labour Corps.

William Murphy was born in the Parish of Northwood on the Isle of Wight. His father was a Scot from Edinburgh. On his attestation papers his nationality would be listed as “English”. Educated at Northwood and Newport William moved to Shanghai and worked as a Merchant’s assistant in a firm of importers. At Shanghai William and his wife settled down as ex-pats. In 1915 William joined the Shanghai Volunteers. He remained a member of the Volunteers for 2 years before he, at his own expense, crossed to Canada on the 22nd December 1916. He attested in the Canadian Army Service Corps in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Vancouver, British Columbia on the 25th January 1917. After basic training in Canada Private W. G. R.. Murphy No. 200222 was posted to Shorncliffe, near Folkestone. Here on the 4h August 1917, William applied for a Commission in the Chinese Labour Corps. On his letter of application he listed his qualifications as follows:

“5 1/2 years business experience in Shanghai during which period I  personally supervised a large  staff of native workpeople.  2 years Shanghai Military Vol unteers through which I frequently  worked with the native company both on Parades and in camps.

I have a fair knowledge of Mandarin  and am conversant with the best methods  of producing results from these people.”

His certificate of recommendation was signed by Major General steel who was the Major General Commanding Troops, Shorncliffe, on the 17th August 1917. The Certificate of Nomination to a Particular Unit was signed by the Officer in Charge, Chinese Section, Labour Concentration Camp, Folkestone

Upon acceptance William Murphy was to be discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force enabling William to take up his commission. He was appointed temporary Second Lieutenant on the General List for employment with the Chinese Labour corps with effect from the 7th of September 1917, and was struck off the strength of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada on his Commission in the Imperial Army on the 8th September 1917. 2nd Lt W. G. R. Murphy first crossed to Boulogne, on the 26th of September 1917, when he was posted to Labour Corps Base Depot at Boulogne. On the 18th December 1917, while at Aberville, William was admitted to hospital with Bronchitis. A long standing perforation of the tympanic membrane, not caused by shell shock was also diagnosed. He was granted leave to an Officer’s Hospital from the 29th December 1917 until the 4th March 1918. He embarked from Le Havre on the 29th of December and disembarked at Southampton on the 30th December 1917. William survived the war and was released from service on the 31st May 1919 and relinquish his commission. He was to retain the rank of Lieutenant. William’s claim for travel expenses, presumably, from and to Shanghai, was deemed time barred in 1919.

Poppies, to be reprinted

“Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey” will be reprinted. The book will be reprinted as it was published, warts and all, so it does contain one or two things that I would have edited, but that takes time and would add to the cost. The book will be available from

,The Bookmark
34 High Street
Grantown-on-Spey
Moray
PH26 3EH

01479 873433

or from myself

Still to work out the price. I think it may be £15.99 + p and p from the Bookmark,

or

or £20 from me including p + p to anywhere in the UK or £25 including p + p overseas

Price is due partly to the increased cost of a small print run, inflation, and I much rather you supported a small independent bookshop

So if you would like a copy, order before Monday 12 noon UK time.

Merry Christmas

No new blog this week do to events outwith my control, ie Christmas/New Year

I will be researching cholera in Sinai during 1916, the invasion of Palestine in 1917, and the Chinese contribution to the First World War.

Cholera in Sinai because both General Murry and Allenby had to fight two wars, one with men the other with medicine.

The invasion of Palestine, a long running exercise, I now have the two books Allenby used to plan the invasion.

The Chinese contribution, because I promised someone I would. The first First World War site I can remember visiting was Outram Road in Singapore. The Chinese contribution to the First World War is often just ignored, not forgotten, ignored. Sometimes things in front of our eyes are. If you have the time over the holidays visit the Imperial War Museum, it is closed 24th-26 inclusive but open other days. Have a look at the First World War exhibits. You will see something that the Chinese gave to the British Army nearly a hundred years ago. They are still used by the British Army today. I doubt if the vast majority of visitors to the museum know what “they” are, but most visitors will look at “them”.

My better half is working both Christmas and boxing day, so hopefully I will have the time.

Have a Merry, Happy, Peaceful Christmas, and may your God, gods, or source of inspiration, peace and love, be with you.

IWW, WW1 will be continued, but not today.

From tonight 9 September 2014 I will be offline for a fortnight. For those who are not sure what a fortnight is, I am sorry your country decided to leave the Empire when they did, and/or, I am sorry your country did not join the Empire. After all we are so much better together. Which brings me to the reason for my being offline for the next two weeks. I am tied of it and need a break. If you can vote do.

Plenty of research to keep me busy. It is time I wrote something on those deservedly shot at dawn, (SAD). Time to study a bit for an MA/PHd, Book, or just because I enjoy it. Time for me. My research has always been free, i have found lost war graves, researched family histories, forgotten soldiers, and a probable mass grave of German IWW soldiers. Invited to a conference for post graduates. Is it only me who can see the irony here? I need a rest.

Iolaire, SAD, Richborough, Folkestone, and German War Guilt, can all wait-Look upon it as an early Christmas Truce.

I have been offered the chance to study for an MA if I can get Funding.

So,
http://www.gofundme.com/dm8nes

First donations over the course fees will be spent on books

At the end of the course I will donate a collection of relics, including the Vickers, to a museum in Folkestone

MA in the History of Britain in the First World War
Recommended preliminary reading
* denotes particularly useful texts
NB: You are not expected to have read everything on this list by the time the course starts!
General texts
J.M. Bourne, Britain and the First World War (1989)*
Cyril Falls, The First World War (1960)
Adrian Gregory, A War of Peoples (2014)
John Horne, A Companion to World War I (Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)*
Michael Howard, The First World War (2002)
Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One: The Global Revolution ( 2011)
Gary Sheffield, Forgotten Victory (2001 – e-book August 2014)*
David Stevenson, 1914-18 (2004)*
Hew Strachan (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the First world War, new edition (2014)
Matthias Strohn, (ed.), World War I Companion (Osprey, 2013).

Specialist studies
Holger Afflerbach and David Stevenson, (eds.) An Improbable War? The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture Before 1914 (2007)
Stephen Badsey, The British Army in Battle and its Image (2009)
Ian Beckett & Keith Simpson, A Nation in Arms (1985)
Stephen Broadberry and Mark Harrison, The Economics of World War I (2005)
Hugh Cecil and Peter Liddle (eds.), Facing Armageddon (1996)
Roger Chickering and Stig Förster, (eds.), Great War, Total War: Combat and Motivation on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (2000)
Andrew Gordon, The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command (1996)
Susan R. Grayzel, Women and the First World War (2002).
Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War (2008)
Paul G. Halpern, A Naval History of World War I (London: UCL Press, 1994)
Richard F. Hamilton and Herger H. Herwig, Decisions for War, 1914-1917 (2004)
E.R. Hooton, War over the Trenches (2009)
Alan Kramer, Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War (2007)
Spencer Jones, From Boer War to World War: Tactical Reform of the British Army, 1902-1914 (2012)
Annika Mombauer, The Origins of the First World War: Diplomatic and Military Documents (2013)
John H. Morrow, Jr The Great War in the Air: Military Aviation from 1909 to 1921 (1993)
William Philpott, Bloody Victory (2009)
Robin Prior, Gallipoli: The End of the Myth (2009)
Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, Command on the Western Front (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992),
David Reynolds, The Long Shadow (2013)
Gary Sheffield, Forgotten Victory (2001 – e-book August 2014)
Gary Sheffield & Dan Todman (eds.) Command and Control on the Western Front (2004)
Gary Sheffield, The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (2011)
Peter Simkins, Kitchener’s Army (1988)
Alan G.V. Simmonds, Britain and World War One (2012),
David Stevenson, With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (2011)
John Terraine, Douglas Haig the Educated Soldier (1963)
Dan Todman in the Great War: Myth and Memory (2005).
Charles Townshend, When God Made Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq, 1914–1921, (2011)
Alexander Watson, Ring of Steel (2014)
J.M. Winter, The Great War and the British People (1986)

First World War History needs YOUR Donation.