|Date||13 December 2017||Interviewed by||Laura Ritchie-Roberts|
|Language||English||Audio Edited by||Vivien Tang|
|Venue||Wong’s House||Summary and Translation by||Ying Gao, Yu Bo & Charlotte Chan|
William Wong’s grandfather served in the Chinese Labour Corps, arriving in Marseille from Tianjin. Alongside many other labourer, William’s grandfather was tasked with various essential jobs such as trench digging and carrying the wounded, where he was particularly affected by sorting the bodies of soldiers who had succumbed to gas attacks.
Once the war ended, William’s grandfather settled in London’s Limehouse Causeway and opened a shop selling medicines, Chinese food and various other goods, with William’s mother and father emigrating to England soon after. William’s grandfather eventually returned to his village near Tianjin. Though his family wanted him to continue the family business, William went on to become an engineer, working on high-profile offshore projects in East Asia, such as the Bohai Sea. His expertise as chief mechanical engineer on such projects led to an invitation to give lectures in China, which gave him the opportunity to visit his grandfather’s village.
Through his own research William discovered that numerous sources regarding the Labour Corps across France and England have been lost and destroyed. It was only when William found a series of old newspapers that he had collected that he came to have tangible record of his grandfather’s presence in London.