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Webmatters : Noyelles sur Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles sur Mer Chinese Cemetery


Noyelles-sur-Mer is at the estuary of the Somme, 13 kilometres north-west along the D40 from Abbeville. The cemetery will be found in Nolette on the road to Fliheaucourt.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.186228 1.722955 Map

Noyelles sur Mer Chinese Cemetery


Historical Information

Noyelles-Sur-Mer was the base depot of the Chinese Labour Corps in France, the site of their largest camp and of No.3 Labour (originally the Chinese) General Hospital.

The Chinese Labour Corps was the outcome of an agreement made between the United Kingdom and Chinese Governments on 30th December 1916, for the employment of Chinese labour in France.

Noyelles sur Mer Chinese Cemetery

The men were recruited in north China and the first contingent arrived in France in April 1917. By the end of 1917, 54,000 were in France and Belgium. At the Armistice, the Corps numbered nearly 96,000 and even in May 1919, 80,000 were at work.

Nearly 2,000 died during the war and when the cemeteries were constructed after the war was over, the headstones for these men were engraved in Chinese characters by a selected group of their comrades.

The memorial to the missing

Within the cemetery will be found the Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Memorial, which commemorates 39 men of the Chinese Labour Corps who died on land or at sea and whose graves are not known.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, assisted by Captain John Truelove. Truelove, a former captain in the London Regiment, was appointed Assistant Architect to the Commission in 1919.

He visited the Chinese section of the British Museum and a Chinese warehouse for inspiration. As a result, the design of the cemetery reflects its national character.

Noyelles sur Mer Chinese Cemetery

The gateway, in the form of a pailou, bears a Chinese inscription to honour the dead and monograms bearing the meaning of eternity.

The inscription was chosen by Shi Zhaoji, who was the Chinese Ambassador to Great Britain during the war. It translates as :

This site commemorates the sacrifice paid by 1,900 Chinese workers who lost their lives during the 1914-1918 war, these are my friends and colleagues whose merits are incomparable.


The Chinese graves do not always have the details in Roman script.

Labourer Chao I Chun

Labourer Chao I Chun 67908
Chinese Labour Corps
Died on 28th December 1917

Grave: I B 23

Labourer Tien Yu Lin

Labourer Tien Yu Lin 70502
Chinese Labour Corps
Died on 7th August 1919

Grave: II G 18

Labourer Li Wen Kuang

Labourer Li Wen Kuang 6766
Chinese Labour Corps
Died on 2nd November 1919

Grave: V A 6


On the coastal road to the south of Boulogne you will find a Chinese Memorial dedicated to their fallen comrades in the communal cemetery at St Etienne au Mont. To reach it you will pass the largeset CWGC cemetery in France at √Čtaples.

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