Shanghai Municipal Police or Volunteer Corps?

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Shanghai Municipal Police or Volunteer Corps?

Post  chrispaulodale on Sat 05 Mar 2011, 11:05 pm

Hello folk,

I wonder if anyone here could help identify these uniforms....







All I know for sure is they're taken in Shanghai probably around the first decade of the 20th Century.

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers
Chris

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Imperial or Austrian?

Post  Sean on Sun 06 Mar 2011, 1:36 pm

Lovely photo.
I think there are two alternatives. Firstly Imperial Chinese troops with an Austrian officer instructor. Or a gendarmerie force raised by the Austrians to police their sections/embassy grounds in China. As I have no knowledge of Chinese I cannot comment on the unit title stitched to the front of the jackets.
Interestingly they appear to carry Mauser 88 rifles and German style equipment, supporting the Imperial alternative.
I'm sure someone knows more on this than I can surmise.
Great post, thanks, I love this sort of thing

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Re: Shanghai Municipal Police or Volunteer Corps?

Post  chrispaulodale on Mon 07 Mar 2011, 9:54 pm

Thanks for your help Sean.

The Austrian connection did not occur to me before, but now you mention it the officer's kepi and pocket flaps have that Austrian look. But his collar does not... curious...

This photo is also being discussed on the Pickelhaubes Forum http://www.pickelhaubes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=37000#37000 ... where the Chinese writing has been translated as-

"In Chinese Pinying, it pronounced as: “bu dui er ying, di yi (er, san…) hao”. Which means “Second Infantry Battalion, Solider No 1 (No. 2,3,4….)”. I think it’s something like the Solider’s Nameplate but without names. J

Just for your information.
Kind regards from Shanghai,
Christine"

Cheers
Chris

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Re: Shanghai Municipal Police or Volunteer Corps?

Post  buistR on Tue 08 Mar 2011, 8:20 am

Those are very good photos Chris - thanks for posting them.

I don't think that the local levies (to use the contemporary vernacular) shown can be part of the Shanghai Municipal Police though. Photos of Chinese personnel during the period 1890-1910 show them in European style uniforms with double breasted tunics with high collars, displaying two rows of silver buttons. Only a low round headdress (something like a fez) worn with a badge is at all indigenous - but nothing like the Chinese Imperial Army style turban and dress shown. Possibly Shanghai Volunteer Corps - although these were mostly foreign expatriates. Certainly there was an Austro-Hungarian component in the SVC and some of the volunteer contingents did wear versions of their national army dress. The officer's tunic (though not the kepi and cocade) does look very KuK. On the other hand the wide shoulder straps and chevrons of the soldiers look rather Prussion. German officers did wear turn-over collars in colonial service - but then that kepi again!

Perhaps the most likely answer is Sean's suggestion of a consular or other guard of local auxilaries - in which case they could be associated with almost any of the European powers having a stake in Shanghai at the time. Danish, Dutch.......?

Sorry if the above rambling doesn't add much to the sum of human knowledge. Great photos though.

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Re: Shanghai Municipal Police or Volunteer Corps?

Post  chrispaulodale on Tue 08 Mar 2011, 11:23 am

.. the above rambling was luckily made by someone with a good knowledge on the topic. Thanks for your thoughts...

Cheers
Chris

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