Everton FC and Liverpool FC Academies join together to remember the Chinese Labour Corps of WWI

29 March 2017 | Liz Robertson

On Tuesday 21 March, 15 young people from Everton FC Academy and 15 from Liverpool FC Academy were brought together by the project The Unremembered: World War One’s Army of Workers to remember the sacrifice of the Chinese Labour Corps during WWI.

The two teams came together to visit five Chinese Labour Corps graves at Anfield Cemetery, which is situated between the two clubs. They were met by Mr Tam from See Yep Association, to learn about the Labour Corps and Chinese customs. At the graves, the teams laid white flowers, bowed in respect and held a reading about the Chinese Labour Corps. They then lit 30 white candles embossed with both club emblems during which Zilan Liao of Pagoda Arts performed a moving rendition of the Last Post on the Chinese flute.

Following the visit to the cemetery, the two Academy teams visited Chinatown where Liverpool’s Chinese community support for the day’s events continued. There, the teams were taken on a tour of the oldest Chinatown in the UK which is also home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe.

The event took place ahead of Qingming, or Tomb-sweeping Day, on 4 April – a traditional Chinese festival for remembering ancestors. The event was held before this week’s derby match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC on 1 April to show unity and togetherness ahead of the game at Anfield.

The event is part of The Unremembered: World War One’s Army of Workers, which is running for the duration of 2017 – 100 years after the Labour Corps were were recruited. Big Ideas Company are calling for local community groups and schools across the UK to join the project. They can receive a resource pack in which there will be opportunities to learn about the history of the Labour Corps, find local stories and participate in activities. The resource pack will be accompanied by monthly releases about Labour Corps from different countries around the world. The Unremembered is funded by Department for Communities and Local Government.