History GCSE: The Chinese Labour Corps in World War One

Historian, David Olusoga visits a cemetery in France where more than eight hundred Chinese auxiliaries are buried.

The Chinese Labour Corps is one of the forgotten stories of World War One.

In 1916, the British army recruited thousands of Chinese men to work as labourers.

Some became skilled mechanics working on ‘Deborah’ the British D51 tank.

Many Chinese stayed on to dig cemeteries and carve headstones and some died after the shooting stopped in the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919.

This clip is from the series The World's War.

Teacher Notes

Get students to discuss alternative perspectives of World War One, especially that of non-British troops.

A profile of Do Shing Chan could be constructed from the footage as part of a group task, with other members of the class focusing on others featured in the series.

Curriculum Notes

These films are suitable for teaching History at GCSE and Key Stage 4 in England, Wales and Norther Ireland and at National 5 in Scotland.

More from The World's War

La Force noire - West African troops in the French army
Audio evidence from Empire Soldiers in World War One
Different cultural cooperation in World War One
Indian deserters caught up in a Wartime strategic mission
Multi-cultural Troops
Overcoming racial stereotypes in World War One
The experience of African American soldiers in Europe in WW1
The Indian Royal Flying Corps fighter Ace
The Imperial scope of a European War