Harry Livingstone’s Forgotten Men Photo Gallery

Assigned to the Chinese Labour Corps recruitment camp at Weihaiwei in northeastern China during the First World War, Captain Harry Livingstone of the Canadian Army Medical Corps used his camera to great effect. Captain Livingstone also kept a field diary documenting his work and travels. Images of the labourers were also captured during the secret railway journey from Vancouver to Halifax, where the men boarded ships for war-torn Europe. Photos courtesy the David Livingstone CLC Canadian Collection.

Of the nearly 95,000 Chinese recruited by the British between late November 1916 and early 1918, an estimated 84,500 arrived on Canada’s west coast on steamships from China. Of these, nearly 81,000 crossed the continent by rail.

Members of the CLC exercise at the recruitment camp at Weihaiwei, China, 1917.
Captain Harry Livingstone checks for trachoma at the recruitment camp, Weihaiwei, 1917.
A fisherman’s modest dwelling not far from the Weihaiwei recruitment camp.
Men assemble in front of a hut at the CLC depot, Weihaiwei, China, 1917.
A member of the CLC exhibits strength and balance at Weihaiwei, China.
Curious little onlookers at Weihaiwei, China. Captain Harry Livingstone enjoyed touring the area during off-duty hours.
Men poke their heads out of the Colonist car windows of a CLC special crossing Canada in 1917.
Members of the CLC get a breather en route to Halifax by train in 1917. One of the men proudly displays his bowed musical instrument.