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Publisher Description

In my wanderings around the battlefields of the Western Front over a period of twenty years, I found the graves of men from the Chinese Labour Corp. They were often lost in the corner of a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery, removed from the other graves, often lined along the fence or bordering wall. They were rarely visited: they were forgotten. 

I was inquisitive: who were they? I did some research. I found the story of their deployment and service. I wondered who knew of these men. Who cared about these forgotten Chinese labourers resting so far from their homes and families in far-off China? 

These forgotten needed to be remembered.

I initially sought a small donation (my guess was about $5,000) from the Sydney Chinese community, to erect a brass plaque, perhaps in Chinatown or, better still, within the walls of the Chinese Garden. But I could not secure interest or money. After four years, I gave up. 

Then through my old mate Peter Tyree and Nick Farr Jones, I was introduced to Albert Wong. I told Albert the story of what I had come to call, ‘the Forgotten’. Albert was immediately gripped by this unknown piece of history, as was his mother when he related the story to her that night. As Albert said, ‘I went from being ignorant to being possessed’. This translated to his interest not only to place a memorial to these men, but also to commission me to write 

a book that was accessible to young Australians, in particular to young Australian Chinese and their immigrant parents. 

This book is the result. In my research, particularly with the help of Dr Edmond Chiu and staff at the Chinese Museum in Melbourne, I also learnt of the Chinese Anzacs. This too became part of the broad story. My hope in this regard is to have Australian Chinese realise that they too were part of the Anzac tradition in Australia, that men of Chinese ancestry fought and died for their country. As Albert Wong said, ‘I had never been to an Anzac Day dawn service or the Anzac Day march, but now I feel part of this tradition and part of this important remembrance occasion’. 

I hope you enjoy this story. I hope that, like Albert, you will feel part of the Anzac tradition and its place in Australian society. 

March 1
Wilkinson Publishing
Wilkinson Publishing

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