A soldier of the Chinese Labour Corps, France, 1918 (c).

A soldier of the 55th Company, Chinese Labour Corps, France, 1918 (c). Skilled and unskilled labour was desperately needed to support combatant troops in the front line. So great was the need for labour that the British government approached neutral China. Volunteers were offered paid employment, and about 96,000 Chinese responded. Their role was strictly non-combatant, working in rear areas and on lines of communication. But working in target areas like dockyards and on post-war battlefield clearance had its share of danger, and nearly 2000 were killed. Many more died in the influenza pandemic that swept Europe in 1918. One of nine postcard portrait photographs relating to the service of CQMS George Godbolt with the Chinese Labour Corps during World War One, Western Front (1914-1918).