Memorial to Chinese Labour Corps to be unveiled in Newham in 2018


The new monument will be built in the style of a huabiao, a traditional Chinese decorative column. Photo credit: Andreas Gohr, Flickr.


London is set to unveil a new memorial next year to commemorate Chinese labourers who joined British and Allied troops in the First World War.

Dedicated to the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), the monument will stand at a new business district on the northern side of the Royal Albert Dock in Newham. It’s scheduled to be unveiled on 6th September 2018.

Up to 140,000 men from China formed the CLC, repairing trenches, burying dead bodies, repairing tanks and providing backup to troops. 

Campaign group Ensuring We Remember made the announcement on Thursday. The group have been campaigning and fundraising for a memorial since 2014. 

“After a hundred years it is time for all of us, young, old and from all backgrounds, to remember how these young men volunteered to come from China to assist Britain and her allies,” campaign leader Thomas Chan told Xinhua.

“(They) were part of the reason that peace was secured in Europe and the world."

Earlier this year the UK held its first ever official remembrance ceremony for the Chinese Labour Corps.

Steve Lau, chair of the Ensuring We Remember campaign, with Clive Harvey, author of CLC historical novel Yang's War, at the announcement of the memorial on Thursday. Photo credit: Clive Harvey.

The meaning behind the monument

According to Ensuring We Remember's design proposal, the memorial will be a white carved stone decorative column, called Huabiao in Chinese.

The monument will be 9.6 metres tall, with each metre representing 100 members of the CLC. It will face due east towards the Chinese city of Jinan in Shandong Province, from where the majority of the CLC labourers originated.

At the press conference, the Ensuring We Remember campaign signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese development company ABP London. The company has set aside a budget of £100,000 to support the memorial's design, landscaping, lighting, foundation construction planning and licensing.

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