Recently the Shorncliffe Trust held their annual Light in the Darkest Hour. Hopefully, this years ceremony will encourage people to visit the graves of the Labour Corp in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. The Closing ceremony was the placing of lanterns at the Chinese Labour Corps graves, (CLC) of which there are six all close together in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. This was also part of the Big Ideas Company’s Unremembered (An awful name if they mean “Forgotten” they should just say so.) Project. Apart from the CLC, there are two men from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) and eleven men from the British Army’s Labour Corps buried in the cemetery. Photographs of the graves of the SANLC and the Labour Corps men follow.
Piet Malinge of the South African Native Labour Corps. In April 1917 a tented camp was pitched east of Hill Road, Cherry Garden Avenue in Folkestone. Designated the Labour Concentration Camp, it was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Hopley and could accommodate 2,000 Chinese (Chinese Labour Corps CLC) or South African Native Labourers. (South African Native Labour Corps, SANLC) Opposite on the west side of the road another tented camp was erected. This camp could contain another 2,000 Asian or African Labourers. During the summer of 1917, the CLC built hutments of reinforced concrete and the camp became known as the Cherry Garden Camp. This was really two separate camps with Kitchens and Hospitals. 1,500 men could be housed here. It is likely that Piet was part of the SANLC housed in one of these aforementioned camps. Busalk Mvinjelwa would also have been there.
Private 331158 H.A. Baker served in the 18th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment before he was transferred to 242nd Works Company Labour Corps.
Private G/78845 J Baker, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home service Employment Company Labour Corps. The 29th (Works) Battalion was formed as a labour battalion hence the (Works) atMill Hill the entire battalion was transferred to the Labour Corps and retitled the 5th Labour Battalion in April 1917. (2)
Private 76316 R Bedford also served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 389th Home Service Employment Company Labour Corps.
Private G/78071 George Henry Bloodworth. Another soldier from the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before he was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Labour Corps. The son of George Henry and Mary Bloodworth of 18 Banstead St Nunhead, London was killed in the Folkestone Air Raid on the 25th May 1917.
Private 28527 G.W. Graves, the husband of Lilie Gertrude Parkinson (formally Graves) served in the 9th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps.
Private 267099 Samuel Beckerleg Hall the son of Mrs Evelina Hall of 21 Church Street, Helston, Cornwall. He served in the 2nd/1st Kent Cyclist Battalion before he was transferred to the 426th Company Labour Corps.
Private 293210 T Marshall Served in the 2nd/7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) before he was transferred to 342nd Works Company Labour Corps. Marshall died on the 10th November 1918, one day before the war ended.
Henry Gordon Prince the son of Mrs Charlotte Prince of 3 Evergreens, South Bersted, Bognor, served in the 1st Infantry Labour Company Northamptonshire Regiment.
Private 37998 A.H. Slater is another soldier who served in the 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 241st Works Company Labour Corps.
Guardsman 18439 J.W. Taylor served in the Coldstream Guards before being transferred to 437th Company Labour Corps.
Private 5417 Robert Williams served in the 2nd/6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment before he was transferred to 317th Works Company Labour Corps.
(1) Soldiers details from the CWGC website.
(2) Details about the 29th Battalion from the Long Long Trail Web site. A website that can not be recommended too highly. If you are even remotely interested in the British Army in the First World War bookmark and use the LongLong Trail website.