Remembrance Day 2021: Revd Mark Nam laid wreath on Whitehall commemorating Chinese 'forgotten army'

First published 9th November 2021

Bristol curate Revd Mark Nam laid a wreath at the Whitehall Cenotaph in London today to commemorate the Chinese 'forgotten army' of WWI.

The Chinese Labour Corp (CLC) was was a force of 140,000 Chinese workers recruited by the British government in the First World War to run supplies, fix machinery, dig trenches for the troops on front line duty.

But among Britain’s 40,000 war memorials, there is not one dedicated to the CLC – this is why they are known as the ‘forgotten army’. 

Mark was joined at the London ceremony by other Chinese community leaders and organisations, as well as two members of The Teahouse, which is an online support space for Chinese-heritage clergy that Mark launched in August this year. 

The wreath was provided by the Royal British Legion in Bristol and Mark asked some British-Chinese children in Bristol to help adorn it with culturally-appropriate embellishments, to honour the 20,000 men who sacrificed their lives.

A prayer of commemoration for the fallen

Father of all, remember your holy promise,
and look with love on all your people, living and departed.
On this day we especially ask that you would hold forever
all who have suffered during war, those who returned scarred by warfare,
those who waited anxiously at home,
and those who returned wounded, and disillusioned;
those who mourned, and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss.
Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion,
those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades,
and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world.
And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord;
grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom.
This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Images: (1) Revd Joanne McCrone, Revd Kenson Li and Revd Mark Nam at the Cenotaph on Whitehall – credit Revd Mark Nam; (2) Captain George Harrill and his wife, Dawn Harrill, presenting Revd Mark Nam with a wreath from the Bitton and Oldland branch of the Royal British Legion in Bristol – credit Revd Mark Nam.

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