Happy Lunar New Year!

Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/ PA-002421 (modified from original). Colourized by Canadian Colour.

Happy Lunar New Year! This photograph shows “Chinese Labour Battalions in France celebrating the Chinese New Year on 11th February, 1918.”

#DYK – The British Army recruited about 100 000 men from China during the First World War to perform heavy labour on the Western Front. They were not part of the military force, but worked in the same conditions as the soldier labour battalions. Chinese Labour Corps transports passed through Canada on their way to Europe; these transports happened under strict secrecy and the recruits were not allowed to leave their trains, for fear that the local population would protest. At the time, Chinese immigrants to Canada were suject to a strict quota and a head tax.