On 4th June our third death certificate arrived – that of Yang Wu Lin. This showed that he was from Northern China and had died at Ford Park Military Hospital from pneumonia and cardiac failure.
We have decided to continue and apply for all the death certificates of those men from the Chinese Labour Corps buried in Plymouth.
Once we have these we can begin looking at that information if any we can find – from persons who specialise in this area.
Thanks to Kent we now know more about the 17th Battalion and the Plymouth Graves.
Men were organised into battalions, which is a military designation. Each battalion is approximately 1000 men and this individual was attached to the 17th Battalion Chinese Labour Corps. There is a chance that the 17th Battalion war diaries are held at the National Archives at Kew. Whilst all military units have archived war diaries, the 17th was a labour battalion, so we will have to research further.
Another suggestion is that we go on the TNA website and/or make an enquiry through the web site to find out what archival material they have in London.
Lastly Kent suggested a book Gregory James, The Chinese Labour Corps (1916-1920) (Hong Kong: Bayview Educational, 2013). There are several references to Plymouth which Kent has identified below. At this stage it seems most likely that
You could have a go on the TNA website and/or make an enquiry through the web site to find out what archival material they have in London.
On page 309 of the James book, Plymouth is mentioned for two different groups. The first in Ford House Military Hospital are five men buried in Efford Cemetery in Plymouth are: Wu Jinsheng, 28 June 1917 (dysentery); Wang Fengzhu, 29 June, and Wang Peisheng, 2nd July (both of gastritis); Yang Meilin, 3 August (pneumonia); and Sun Yuchen, 22 August (cerebro-spinal fever). The last one is your man for if you look on the death certificate on the left hand side you will see 22 August.
There were three arrivals who succumbed to beriberi in 1917: Zhang Enqing on 30 June; Wang Defu on 4 July and Song Jinglong on 6 July.
Wow, thats a lot of info for the group to take in and explore. ! Good luck!!
Oli (with all the input from Kent)