India. Prisoner of War Mail). 1944. Envelope addressed to 'Embarkation Headquarters P.B. 331, Bombay' bearing India SG 250, 1a carmine (block of six with tete-beche) tied by Prisoners of War Camp 9/ Group Two' double ring dated '1st Oct 44' with circular 'Unit Censor/ V 84' on face and signed by the Camp Commander. Very fine and scarce item.
Ex Norman Jacobs.
India. (Prisoner of War Mail). 1942. Folded Registered Newspaper parcel endorsed 'Articles for Prisoners of War/ Registered Parcel' addressed to 'Articles for Prisoners of War/ Registered Parcel' addressed to 'The Director of Internment, Ottawa, Canada' from 'P.O.W. Center Station, Bombay' hand-stamped 'Service of Prisoners of War' in violet with oval 'P.O.W. Center Section/ Bombay/ 17 Aug 1942/ File No' in violet on face with Bombay dispatch '17th Aug 42' with large 'Bombay G.P.O./ 166' registration label in yellow and large 'Received/ No 13 1942/ Internment Operations/ 5' on face in carmine. A rare item.
Switzerland. (Singapore - Red Cross). 1948. Air Mail printed envelope from the Red Cross printed 'Commitee International de la Croix-Rouge, Geneve/ Agence Controle des Prisonniers de Guerre' addressed to 'The Delegation du Comite International de la Croix Rouge, Diethelm Builing, Market Street, Singapore, Malalsie' and endorsed 'Pod No 316.', bearing Swiss 60c brown (pair) and 2f lake tied by Geneve (Exp Lett) date stamp '6/1/48' hand-stamped 'Franc de Port' in carmine.
Morocco. (French Morocco). 1911. Air Mail picture post card of 'Mosque and Cemetery, Rabat' addressed to 'General d' Amade, Loiret, France' bearing French Maroc, Yvert 12, 10c on 10c carmine tied by 'Tresor et Postes Aux Armees/ Rabat' date stamp with circular 'Poste Aerienne Au Maroc/ De Petit Journal' in violet and Loiret arrival and forwarded to Tarn. Scarce item.
1911 Experimental flight. Casablanca - Rabat - Meknes -Fez.
French Colonies. (Tahiti - Oceania). 1931. Registered envelope addressed to France bearing Oceanie Yvert 251, 25c violet and rose (6) tied by Vaitepaua/ Ile Makatea date stamp '8th Jan 31' with matching registration label. Very scarce item of commercial mail from this small atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago (the Phosphorus mines having closed the population is now around 80 ! ).
French Colonies. (Senegal - British Post Office in Madeira). 1852. Stamp-less envelope written from Senegal dated 'St. Louis le 19 Fevrier 1852' addressed to Bordeaux, sent on the steamer "Bakel" via Madeira with British Post Office Madeira transit on reverse 'Ap 6', London transit '16/4' with framed 'Anglo-French accountancy 'Colonies & c Art 13' on face with French entry cachet, Paris transit and Bordeaux arrival '19th Avril', charged with hand-struck '15' for rate via Great Britain. Very nice item from French West Africa routed via the Portuguese Island of Madeira.
French Colonies. (Camerouns). 1915. Stamp-less picture post card of 'Sunday stroll in Jaunde, German Camerouns' addressed to France endorsed 'F.M.', cancelled by 'Tresor et Postes Aux Armees/ Cameroun' date stamp '26th Feb 15' with 'Colonne du Cameroun/ Franchaise Militaire' violet hand-stamp. Very fine and scarce item from the French Occupation of the Camerouns.
In August 1914 the then German Colony of Kameroun was invaded by British and French Troops. The capital Duala was captured after a Naval attack. The German forces retreated inland and were not defeated until 18th February 1916.
Mail sent by the British and French Forces during the Active War time period is very scarce.
French Levant. (Turkey - French Postage Dues). 1903. Picture post crad of 'Turkish Cafe' addressed to France bearing Turkey Yvert 91, 10p green (2) tied by 'Paquebot' hand-stamp with adjacent Dardanelles/ Turquie double ring '3rd Juin'. underpaid with 'T' hand-stamp and bearing French postage dues Yvert 29, 10c brown (2) applied and tied by Marseille B-du- Rhone receiver '8 Juin' on face. Very fine and colouful item from the French Levant.
French Levant. (Turkey). 1896. Registered envelope addressed to France bearing French Levant Yvert 4, 1p on 25c black/ rose (pair) tied by Samsoun/ Turquie double ring '5th Nov 96' with framed hand-struck 'R', routed via Constantinople. Scarce item of registered mail from this Black Sea Port. Lovely item
French Levant. (Netherlands). 1829. Stamp-less envelope written from Constantinople dated '25th Avril 1829' addressed to Belgium with hand-struck 'Turquie' and Constantinople circular Purifiee (disinfection) cachet on reverse with disinfection holes, rated '11, erased and charged '95' in black ink with red crayon '20' on face, routed via Germany with 'Duitschland/ over Verviers' in red on reverse (Van der Linden 1007) and Verviers transit '21st May'. Very nice item of disinfection mail.
French Colonies. (New Hebrides - French and British Postage Dues). 1939. Picture post card of "Fijian and Indian Constable" addressed to 'Poste Restante, Port Villa, New Hebrides' bearing Guadeloupe Yvert 102, 5c carmine and green tied by Nouvelles-Hebrides double ring, underpaid bearing French New Hebrides postage due SG FD 65, 5c green mixed with British New Hebrides postage due SG D6, 5c green and SG D7, 10c orange applied and tied by Port Villa double ring. Rare postage dues on cover/ card. (Stamps catalogue 220 GBP times 10 = 2200 GBP).
French Colonies. (Tahiti). 1914. Stamp-less envelope addressed to France cancelled by Papeete/ Tahiti date stamp '13th Dec 14' with boxed 'Troupes/ Mobilisees de Tahiti' in blue on face with Paris arrival '15th Jan 15'. After the bombardment of Papeete by the Germans on 22nd September 1914 a French Detachment was stationed in Oceania and Tahiti.
After the bombing of Papeete harbour the German Gunboats "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau" departed for the Marquisies island of Nuku Hiva.
French Levant. 1890. Registered envelope addressed to England bearing French Levant Yvert 4, 1p on 25c black/ rose (pair) tied by Trebizonde/ Turquie double ring '1st Aout 90' with framed hand-struck 'R', routed via Constantinople '5th Aout and Paris '8th Aout' with oval Registered/ London transit in red on face and Colchester receiver 'Aug 10' on reverse. Very fine item of registered mail from the Black Sea port of Trebizonde.
French Colonies. (French Equatorial Africa - Nigeria). 1943. Registered Air Mail envelope headed 'Compagnie Commerciale Sangha Oubangui' addressed to New York bearing Afrique Equatoriale Francaise Yvert 62, 20f black/ yellow tied by Pointe Noire/ Moyen Congo double ring '19th Mai 43'' with matching registered label, circular 'Controle Postal/ Commission A/ Afrique Equatoriale Francais' censor, routed via Brazzaville 'Mai 20' and Nigeria with 'Opened by Examiner/ P.C. 90' label tied by framed 'Crown/Passed PP/ 13' censor cachet in carmine on face with Miami 'Jun 26' and New York arrival '28/6'. Nice item routed over the Atlntic.
France. (Franco - Prussian War). 1870. Stamp-less envelope written from Weisbaden dated '29th December 70' addressed to France cancelled by Wiesbaden date stamp with 'Armee Du Rhine' hand-stamp with circular military cachet 'Sur Francaise de Secours Blesses des Armees de Terre et de Mer/ Comite Auxiliaire de St. Louis' in blue on reverse, routed via Switzerland with oval 'Agence Internationale/ Bale' in red on face, forwarded to Marseille '1st Jan 1871' and Saint Maximin arrival on reverse '2nd Jan'. Very fine item of mail from the Franco-Prussian War with contents.
French Colonies. (Guadeloupe - United States). 1945. Envelope addressed to 'Poste Restante, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe' bearing United States SG 930, 3c green tied by New York roller 'July 14 45' with circular 'Controle Postal/ Commission C/ Guadeloupe' on reverse and bearing Guadeloupe postage dues Yvert 23, 2f on 1f black and Yvert 36, 2f bistre and rose tied by Pointe-a-Pitre receiver on face. Lovely combination.
French Colonies. (French Occupation of Camerouns). 1916. Registered envelope endorsed 'Colonne Expeditionnaire du Cameroun' addressed to France bearing French Anglo Occupation Yvert 46, 35c violet and green tied by Tresor et Postes Aux Armees/ Cameroun' date stamp '22nd Mar 16' wit hand-struck boxed 'R' and Paris arrival on reverse '14/4'. Lovely item of registered mail from the Occupation
French Colonies. (New Caledonia - Equatorial Africa - Belgian Congo). 1943. Registered and Advice of receipt envelope addressed to French Equatorial Africa bearing New Caledonia Yvert 159, 5f blue and sepia tied by Noumea/ Nlle Caledonie double ring '30th Oct 43' with Noumea registration label and endorsed 'A.R.' with pink New Caledonia censor tape tied by circular 'Censure Alliee', routed via San Francisco 'Dec 16th' with 'Examined by/ 1683' censor tape, New York transit '23/12', forwarded via South Africa with censor tape tied by 'Coat of Arms/ B' censor cachet in violet applied in Johannesburg, overland by Belgian Congo with Elisabethville '7th Mar 44' and Leopoldville '23/3' and 'Controle Postal/ Commission A/ Afrique Equatoriale Francaise' circular censor with Moyen Congo 'Control Postal' tape tied by oval 'Ouvert/ L' Autorite Militaire' and Libreville/ A.E.F./ Chargements arrival '30th Mars 44' on reverse. Wonderful item of censored mail from New Caledonia routed over the Pacific and Atlantic and overland in Africa with four different country censor tapes and four censor cachets. A journey of five months.
Ex Tony Eastgate.
French Colonies. (Niger). 1931. News-Band wrapper written from France addressed to Niger, Afrique Occidentale Francaise bearing France 'Type Blanc' Yvert 111, 5c green tied by Paris date stamp, underpaid with 'T' hand-stamp and bearing Niger postage due Yvert 3, 15c grey tied by Niamey/ Niger double ring '6th Aout 31'. A very rare item of postage due mail paying the underpaid printed matter rate. Unique Exhibition item.
French Colonies. (Benin). 1892. Printed Matter envelope addressed to France bearing 'Benin' Yvert 4, 5c green tied by Kotonou/ Benin date stamp '4th Dec 92' sent by French paquebot with octagonal 'Loango a Marseille L.M. No 4' date stamp in red (Salles 1251) and Bordeaux arrival '18th Jan 93'. Very rare item paying the unopened printed matter rate.
French Colonies. (Camerouns). 1940. Air Mail envelope addressed to France bearing Yvert 217, 40c blue and Yvert 219, 60c turquoise tied by Doula/ Cameroun date stamp '20th Oct 40', endorsed 'via Victoria/ via Great Britain' with 'Controle Postal Militaire' label tied by oval 'Ouvert/ Par/ L'Autorite Militaire' on face and reverse with circular 'A/ 5' cachet and instructional hand-stamp 'Retour a L' Envoyeur/ Relations Postales/ Interrompus' struck twice in violet on face.
Germany had begun the Occupation of France on 22nd June 1940 so the mail service was suspended.
China. (United States - Service Suspended). 1941. Envelope addressed to the 'Catholic Mission, Shantung Province, China' bearing United States 'Prexie' SG 802, 2c cerise and SG 896, 3c violet tied by Clovis N. Mex date stamp 'Dec 3rd 1941' with 'Examined By/ 1464' censor label with hand-struck instructional 'Returned To Sender/ Service Suspended' in violet on face. Very fine.
Surface mail, posted 3rd Dec 1941, 5 days before war was declared between Japan and the United States. Shantung (North East coast of China) had been occupied by Japanese Forces in the period after the Japanese invasions into China from 1937 and thus was enemy territory once war had been declared.
Ex Robert Johnson.
China. (Netherlands - Chefoo - Interrupted Mail). 1945. Envelope written from Amsterdam, Holland addressed to Chefoo, China bearing Netherlands 5c green and 7 1/2c red tied by Amsterdam date stamp with 'Nederland/ Geopend' censor label and instructional 'Mail Route To Destination/ Blockaded, Return To Sender' with Chinese instructional label on reverse. Unique item.
China. (French Indo-China - Bermuda). 1941. Air Mail envelope addressed to Saigon, Indo-China bearing France Yvert 373, 2f rosine, Yvert 499, 5f grey, Yvert 500, 10f violet and Yvert 501, 20f brown tied by Beziers date stamp '22nd Nov 41', endorsed 'via Transatlantic/ American Airways', intercepted in Bermuda with 'Opened by Examiner 1699' censor label endorsed 'IC' with framed instructional 'Retour a L' Envoyeur/ Courier pour l' Indochine limite aux/ Cartes Postales non Recommandees' on face. Superb item routed via Trans-Atlantic and intercepted in Bermuda.
Ex John Marc Sitarik.
China. (Singapore - French Indo-China - Postage Due). 1948. Stamp-less Air Mail envelope addressed to 'Monsieur Pierre Gallard, Director de la "Flotille du Mekong", Saigon' canceled by Singapore date stamp '30th Juil 48', underpaid with triangular 'T' hand-stamp and bearing French Indo-China SG 195, $1 green mixed with Indo-China postage dues SG D200, 1c red/ yellow (pair) and SG D210, 18c red/ yellow tied by Saigon arrival. Scarce use of postage due and ordinary Indo-China stamps. Lovely looking item.
China. 1904. Picture post card of 'Chinese Junk' addressed to France bearing Chinese Imperial Post SG 109, 1c ochre (2) and SG 110, 2c red tied by Canton date stamp routed via the French Post Office in Canton.
China. (Formosa Postage Dues - Barbados). Envelope addressed to Taiwan bearing Barbados QE11 SG 289, 1c indigo, SG 290, 2c orange and turquoise and SG 293, 5c blue and carmine tied by slogan 'See The West Indies on The Federal Shipping Service' dated '12th Aug 61', underpaid with framed 'T/ 14/ Centimes' hand-stamp in violet on face and bearing Taiwan postage dues SG D236, 20c magenta and light blue (strip of three) and SG D238, 80c brown and grey tied by vernacular Changhwa receiver on reverse. Very scarce combination.
China. (Postcards). 1906. Picture post card of 'Hoa Yuen Theatre, Honan' addressed to Shanghai bearing Chinese Imperial Post SG 110, 2c red tied by Hankow date stamp '21st Feb' with Shanghai/ Local Post arrival 'Feb 24th' on face. Very fine.
China. (Postcards). 1908. Picture post card of 'Public Garden in Shanghai' addressed to Shanghai bearing Chinese Imperial Post SG 109, 1c ochre tied by Shanghai date stamp '19th Feb'. Very nice item of local mail paying the printed matter local rate.
China. (Hong Kong). 1941. Registered Air Mail envelope addressed to New York bearing China SG 595, $2 black and blue (strip of four) tied by Shanghai date stamp with matching registered label, routed via Hong Kong with 'Opened by Censor' label tied by boxed '27' in violet and adjacent framed '64' in blue-green with circular 'Air Transit/ 6' in blue-green on face (applied in Hong Kong) and Honolulu/ Hawaii 'Aug 23' transit with New York receiver 'Aug 28'. Superb item of mail sent Trans-Pacific with scarce Air Transit 6 cachet.
China. (German China). 1908. German China postal stationery card 2c on 5pf green cancelled by 'Canton/ Deutsche Post' date stamp addressed to Germany with Heidenheim arrival. Very fine.
China. (French Territory in Kouang-Tcheou-Wan). 1939. Air Mail envelope addressed to the United States bearing French Indo-China SG 249, 18c turquoise mixed with Kouang-Tcheou SG 116, 60c mauve tied by Tche Kam/ Kouang Tcheou Wan date stamp '21st Mar 39', routed via Fort Bayard '22/3' and Victoria/ Hong Kong transit '23/3' on reverse. Attractive and very scarce item.
China. (French Territory in Kouang-Tcheou-Wan). 1933. Registered envelope addressed to France bearing Kouang-Tcheou SG 56, 1c brown and SG 90, 20c slate and violet tied by Fort Bayard-Kouangtcheouwan date stamp '11th Feb 33' with matching registration and Paris arrival on reverse. Attractive item.
China. (Indo-Chinese Post Offices Yunnan-Sen). 1906. Registered photographic post card of 'writer on horse, Yunnan' addressed to Paris bearing French China SG 33, 10c rose and SG 37, 25c blue tied by Yunnan-Fou-Chine' double ring '18th Dec 06' with framed hand-struck 'R' and endorsed 'Recommandee', routed via Laokay with Paris arrival '3rd Feb 07' on face. very scarce use of registered post-card from Yunnan Province.
China. (Indo-Chinese Post Offices Hoihow). 1902. Coloured picture post card headed 'Expedition de Chine' with view' 'Ruines apres le Bombardment, Tien-Tsin' bearing Indo-China Post Office SG 1, 1c black/ azure tied by Hoihow/ Ile de Hainan double ring '30th Juin' with Meulan arrival '6th Aout' on reverse. Scarce item from Hainan Island paying the Printed Matter post card rate.
China. (Yunnan-Fou - Amitcheou Railway). 1915. Picture post card of 'Catholic College play ground, Yunnan' written from Yunnam-Fou addressed to Hanoi, Tonkin bearing Yunnanfou SG 36, 5c green tied by 'Amitcheou a Yunnanfou B' double ring '21st Sept 15'. Very fine ambulant 'B' from Yunnan Province scarce so fine.
Ex John Marc Sitarik.
China. (French Forces in China). 1937. Air Mail envelope headed 'Forces de Terre/ Francaise en Chine/ Etat Major (Tien-Tsin), addressed to 'Monsieur l'Ambassadeur de la Republique Francaise au Japan, French Embassy, Tokio' bearing China SG 398, 5c green and SG 419, 30c mauve (3) tied by Tientsin date stamp with circular 'Troupes Francaise en Chine/ Le Commandant Superieur' in violet on face and reverse, routed via Manchuria with Dairen/ I.N.P.O. in violet on reverse '17th Sept 37'. Scarce item from the French Ground Forces in Tientsin.
On July 30th 1937 Tientsin fell to the Empire of Japan as part of the Military Operation to the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Ex John Marc Sitarik.
China. (United States Post Office in China). 1914. Envelope addressed to Switzerland bearing United States SG 338, 1c green and SG 339, 2c red (pair) tied by 'Shanghai, China U.S. Postal/ Accy' duplex, endorsed 'via America/ per str Siberia' with Geneva arrival on reverse.
China. (French Indo China - Ceylon). 1907. Picture post card of 'Galle Face, Colombo' addressed to Lao-Kay, Yunnan bearing Ceylon SG 291, 6c carmine tied by Colombo date stamp 'July 20', routed via Saigon with framed 'Bureau au de Laokay/ Poste/ 16 Au 1907' in blue on face. Very scarce.
Rare postmark from Laokay not listed in Desrousseaux.
China. (Mongolia). 1927. Red Band envelope addressed to Kalgan bearing Mongolia Yvert 22, 25c green/ black tied by Ulan Bator double ring '14th Nov 27', routed via the Russian Post Office Chita, mixed with China SG 315, 4c olive tied by Harbin date stamp '20th Nov' and Kalgan arrival. Lovely item. Ex Peter Holcombe.
China. (Chinese Expeditionary Force). 1911. Picture post card of 'Yuichuansan, Peking' addressed to France bearing Chinese Expeditionary Force SG C1, 3p carmine (2) and SG C2, 1/2c green tied by Base Office/ B date stamp '12th Dec 11', endorsed 'via Siberia'. Very fine.
China. (United States Post Office in China). 1906. Picture post card addressed to France bearing United States SG 308, 3c violet tied by Shanghai, China. U.S. Postal Accy. Recd.' date stamp. Very fine.
Hong Kong. (British Post Office). 1903. Picture post card of 'Loong Hwa, Temple, Shanghai' addressed to France bearing Hong Kong SG 62, 1c brown and purple (2) and SG 63, 2c dull green tied by Shanghai B.P.O. date stamp 'Sp 9th', endorsed 'via Siberia' with Paris arrival and forwarded to Ouchy, Switzerland. Very fine.
Ex John Marc Sitarik.
French Colonies. (Tahiti - Reunion). 1897. Un-Paid envelope addressed to Tahiti cancelled by Reunion/ St. Denis date stamp '15th Dec 97' with octagonal French paquebot 'La Reunion a Marseille L.U. No 2' date stamp '17th Dec' (Salles 2308) with triangular 'T' hand-stamp and bearing French General Colonies postage due Yvert 23, 50c violet applied and tied by Papeete/ Taiti receiver '26th Feb 98' on front and reverse. Wonderful postage due cover from Africa to the Pacific Island of Tahiti. An Exhibition item with Behr certificate.
Ex Dr Ed Grabowski, David Herendeen and Bertrand Sinais.
Algeria. (French Camerouns). 1943. Air Mail envelope addressed to French Camerouns bearing Algeria Yvert 176, 1f50 carmine (3) and Yvert 183, 5f green tied by Beraed date stamp '21st June 43', routed via Afrique Equatorile Francaise with 'Controle Postal Militaire' label tied by 'Ouvert/ Par Les/ Autorite de Controle' with circular 'Controle Telegraphique/ Commission A/ Afrique Equatoriale Francaise' in violet on face with Brazzaville/ Moyen Congo transit '3rd July' and circular 'Controle Postal/ Commission B/ Territoire du Cameroun' and M' Balmayo arrival '20th Jul 43' on reverse. Very attractive item of African censored Air-Mail.
French Colonies. (Reunion). 1884. Postal stationery formula card addressed to Paris bearing French General Colonies Yvert 50, 10c black/ lilac tied by Reunion/ Saint Denis double ring, routed via Suez and Marseille with Paris arrival. Very fine.
French Levant. (Crimea). 1856. Stamp-less envelope written from Messina dated '25th Janv 1856' addressed to Gruissan, France cancelled 'Escad. de la Medit./ Marseille' double ring '30th Jan 56', charged with hand-struck '30' with Narbonne arrival on reverse '1st Feb.' Nice item with letter from the Crimea campaign.
French Colonies. (New Caledonia). 1937. Registered stamp-less envelope hand-stamped 'Service Des Postes et des Telegraphes de la Nouvelle Caledonie' addressed to France cancelled' Yate/ Nelle Caledonie' dated '9th Sept 37' with framed 'R/ Yate/ Nouvelle Caledonie' on face, routed via Noumea '16th Sept' with Paris arrival '30th Oct' on reverse. Attractive item of Registered Official mail from this small village.
Ex Tony Eastgate.
French Levant. (French Detachment in Syria). 1923. Picture post card of 'Ruined Temple, Baalbek' addressed to France headed 'Aeronautique du Levant' and 'F,M.' (French Militaire) endorsed 'Aeronautique du Levant/ Escadalle 58/ Beyrouth Syrie/ S.P. 600 A' cancelled by 'Tresor et Postes/ 600 A' date stamp '19th Avril 23' with Seine arrival '1st May'. Scarce item from the French Aeronautique Detachment in the Levant.
French Colonies. (French Guyane). 1869. Stamp-less envelope written from Cayenne dated '1st May 1869' addressed to France sent on the French paquebot "Imp. Eugenie", cancelled by octagonal 'Col Fr. Paq. Fr. A No 1' date stamp (Salles 1422) with 'Ligne A Paq Fr No 1' double ring on reverse (Salles 1401) and French entry cachet 'Col Fr. Paq. Fr/ 2 St. Nazaire/ 2' date stamp in red (Salles 1352) and rated '6' on arrival. Very fine item of maritime mail from French Guyane.
Its a real pleasure to add a magnificent selection of French Colonies from Africa, Asia, The Caribbean and Oceania. Very fine pre-stamp, British Post Office, Charged Mail, Advice of Receipt, Printed Matter and postage due mail. A lovely selection of censor mail, some with five or six censor cachets and labels, routed Trans-Africa, two Ocean or over the Atlantic with some unusual destinations.
A few items from the Dr. Edward Grabowski collection, this amazing sale sold in three parts by Spink. Also interesting Tahiti and New Caledonia from Tony Eastgate's life time work.
Over the next few months we hope to add many items to grace the finest collections.
A strong area of stock is our China from Imperial to WW2 with many fine censor covers and Air Transits. A good selection of the overseas Post Offices, Austrian, British, French, Japanese and Russian with offices in Manchuria. Many mixed combinations, I.P.O's .
Coming soon the John Marc Sitarek accumulation of China, French Post Office and Indo-China with magnificent French Detachment in the Boxer Campaign covers.
John Marc also had a fine selection of the Chinese Labour Force which are not often seen, he built this selection over thirty years. One of the darker aspects of World War One was the plight of 12,000 Chinese workers who were recruited by the British Army from the North of China in 1916 to serve on the battle front in France as labourers, trench diggers, munitions carriers, mine disarmers and corpse bearers under often inhumane conditions. A large number were also struck down by the devastating Spanish flue of 1918.