Royal Marine Light Infantry
China Campaign

On 30 January 1855, Her Majesty Queen Victoria approved an Admiralty Minute designating the infantry of the Royal Marines a 'Light Corps' with the title Corps of Royal Marines' Light Infantry.

1856 - October - Canton

1857 - June - Fatshan Creek

1857 - 1st and 2nd Battalions left England for China

1858 - January - Canton

1858 - May - Pei-Ho River, Taku Forts, Pekin

The Taku (Degu) forts were on the Hai River, 37 miles east of Tientsin (Tianjin), China.  They were stoutly built and were improved in the 1850's by Seng-ko-Lin-Ch'in.

Second Opium War (20 May 1858).  An Anglo-French force under British Admiral Sir Michael Seymour captured Canton (Guangzhou) on 28-29 December 1857.  It then moved north and captured the Taku forts but
held them only briefly.

The following appears on the pages of the men who were in Canton.  Specifically George Bazalgette, Henry Towry Miles Cooper, Magin, and Henry.

Supplement, April 10, 1858]         THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS             373

THE WAR IN CHINA

(Top picture caption: Officer's quarters, provisional battalion Royal Marines on the walls of Canton.  Bottom picture caption: The old landing place, Canton.)

The cozy quarters of the officers of the Provisional battalion of Royal Marines given above were perched on the walls of Canton.  It was here that our Artist spent a few days and nights, as he says, "very picturesquely."

The Old Landing-place, Canton, with its Babel-like confusion , is then described by the Times correspondent:--"The point is where a shallow streamlet or drain falls into the river, about a mile to the east of the south-eastern corner of the city wall.  Suburban water-side hovels once covered the area upon which the promiscuous crowd now raging, and shooting, and pushing, and struggling; but those hovels are now only heaps of rubbish.  Twenty or thirty ships' boats have their bows against the bard: the Commissariat lords, the General's chop-boat (which in the confusion was once seized upon by a French ship-of-war and taken down the river), several gun-boats, and the Commissariat lie off the river.  Packages innumerable, baggage and bales, barrels and cases, munitions of war and munitions for the stomach, are piled about in mountains . . . . Everybody wants and escort, and everybody wants a troop of coolies.  Oh those patient, lusty, enduring coolies!  It was a valuable legacy which Colonel Wetherall left us, that Coolie Corps.  They carried the ammunition on the day of the assault close up to the rear of our columns, and when a cannon shot took off the head of one of them the others only cried "Ey yaw!" and laughed, and worked away as merrily as ever . . . .

The French are already passing in strong bodies, carrying up their heavy baggage to the front.  Ever and anon some gaping Chinaman is urged by curiosity to approach the crowd.  Quick as lightning Johnny Frenchman seizes him by the ear, pops the end of a bamboo pole upon his shoulder, gives him a kick in the rear, and makes him trot off, a pressed porter, amid the jeers of our Commissariat coolies. When a long pile of baggage-carriers has been formed an escort is given and away they go through the dangerous débris of wrecked houses which intervene between the landing-place and the East-gate." A new landing has been made at the south-east point of the city by Capt. Hall, which, by way of compliment to that energetic officer, is called Hall's terrace.

 
1859 - June -August - Taku Forts

Second Opium War (25 June 1859)  When the Chinese refused to admit foreign diplomats to Peking (Beijing), British Admiral Sir James Hope attempted to force passage of the Peiho (Han) River with eleven gun boats and a landing force of 1,100 men, but met severe resistance.  He was himself twice wounded, and two ships were sunk beneath him.  Of the eleven gunboats, six were sunk or disabled.  The landing force became bogged down in mud and had to retreat.  The British lost 89
killed and 345 wounded.

1859 - October - Pekin