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Harry Livingstone's Forgotten Men
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Harry Livingstone's Forgotten Men

Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps in the First World War

By Dan Black

$27.95 Paperback
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$16.95 Ebook
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Rating: 5 / 5 stars - 1 vote(s).

HARRY LIVINGSTONE was a small town doctor from Listowel, Ontario when he felt the pull of patriotism that led him to volunteer in the First World War. In 1917, Livingstone found himself embarking on a strange journey that took him to China, where he would inspect,and ultimately travel back to Canada with, men who became known as the Chinese Labour Corps.

Once in Canada, the Chinese under Livingstone's care travelled across Canada in secret trains bound for Halifax. All news about the trains and the men was censored. On board crowded ships, the men crossed the U-boat-infested Atlantic. They were then put to work to keep the war machine in motion — digging trenches, hauling supplies, repairing military vehicles, and the grisly job of cleaning up the battlefields.

About 300,000 Chinese labourers were recruited by the British,French, and Russian allies during the First World War. Nearly 84,000 of them passed through Canada on their way to France.

Livingstone and other officers kept diaries and journals, and wrote letters home telling of their experiences with the Chinese. From these first-person accounts as well as historical records and from rare letters written by Chinese labourers themselves, author Dan Black offers for the first time a full account of Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps — a story that had mostly been unknown until now.



PART ONE: Canada to China

  • Chapter 1: Migrations
  • Chapter 2: Starting Out
  • Chapter 3: Overland, But Under Guard
  • Chapter 4: Crossing to Asia
  • Chapter 5: The Missionaries
  • Chapter 6: Missionaries Accomplished
  • Chapter 7: Getting to Know Weihaiwei

PART TWO: China to Canada

  • Chapter 8: Examinations and Inoculations
  • Chapter 9: Veil of Secrecy
  • Chapter 10: Death at Sea
  • Chapter 11: Quarantined at William Head
  • Chapter 12: New Arrivals, Old Assumptions
  • Chapter 13: Life and Death at William Head 

PART THREE: Canada to France

  • Chapter 14: Off the Water, Onto the Rails
  • Chapter 15: The Wanted and Unwanted
  • Chapter 16: A Journey Between Oceans
  • Chapter 17: Back Behind Wire
  • Chapter 18: The Western Front
  • Chapter 19: Death Behind the Lines
  • Chapter 20: Far From Home, Far From Over
  • Chapter 21: Homeward

Appendix One: Chinese Labour Corps Graves in Canada
Appendix Two: Theories of the 1918–19 Influenza Pandemic
Selected Bibliography

"In his new book, Dan Black...has uncovered and presented a fascinating story of Canada’s connection to these Chinese labourers."

- Tim Cook Canadian Military History

"This is a little-known story of the war and Black brings it alive with vivid writing and deep research. Black also peppers the book with unique photographs taken by Livingstone with his portable camera and they are a powerful legacy of documenting the Chinese workers, of which there are few papers, letters or diaries."

- Tim Cook Canadian Military History

"An absorbing, fascinating and new account. For anyone interested in the Chinese Labour Corps it will be simply invaluable."

- The Long, Long Trail

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 Ottawa, Ontario.

Customer Reviews:

Reviewed by: Evelyn Galloway on 15th June 2020 11:30AM

Dan Black has given light to a genuine life changing journey for all involved. At a pivotal time in world history Black found just the right balance between historical information, personal observations, and experiences. His thoroughly researched account of this unknown secret mission is powerful.
HARRY LIVINGSTONE'S FORGOTTEN MEN CANADIANS AND THE CHINESE LABOR CORPS IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR instantly draws the reader into the inception of this mission and every man who played a part. Harry Livingstone's call of patriotism, the Chinese laborer's desire to improve their human condition, and the world's desire to bring WWI to a successful conclusion involves an interesting twist...the recruitment of 300,00 Chinese laborer's.
There are no better keys to unlocking history than through journals, diaries, letters, and personal connections to real time events. Dr. Harry Livingstone, much like his Grand Uncle the famous explorer Dr. David Livingstone, kept written records of his experiences with the CLC. Harry and many others have given voice, a century later, to these no longer...FORGOTTEN MEN.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 504 pages
Publication Date: 1st October 2019
ISBN: 9781459414327
Format: 9in x 6in
75 b&w images

Binding: Electronic book text, 504 pages
Publication Date: 1st October 2019
ISBN: 9781459414334
Format: EPUB
75 b&w images

BISAC Code:  HIS006020, HIS027090
Imprint: Lorimer


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