Until the summer of 1900 Peking only witnessed the occasional Marine from the United States Asiatic Squadron on liberty or arriving to conduct some brief official duty at the American Legation. The most exciting and legendary period of Marine history revolves around events associated with the Boxer Rebellion during the summer of 1900, when the Marines arrived in Peking to defend the American Legation alongside troops from other nations, defending their own country’s legations from both the Boxers and Imperial Chinese troops. Shortly afterwards, the Marines were ordered stateside. Only after a lengthy campaign did the Marines return to China in 1905. A delegation of two officers and 100 men was dispatched from the 1st Marine Brigade in the Philippines.
The Chinese Revolution saw an increase in the size of the Marine contingent and the addition of a mounted unit. By the end of WW I, the size of the Marine contingent exceed 200 men.
This was a period of relative calm known as the Golden Age. It would last until the breakout of hostilities between China and Japan.
At the start of 1938, Army troops were withdrawn from Tientsin and the Marine unit at Peking was split with one-half transferred to Tientsin. Altercations with the occupying Japanese force, led to plans for the eventual withdrawal of the Marines by the end of 1941. These plans were interrupted by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the ensuing surrender and imprisonment of the remaining China based Marines.
The Marines would return briefly following the end of WW II in 1945 to disarm the defeated Japanese forces. The eventual takeover by Chinese Communist forces 1n 1949 was the closing chapter to Marine involvement in China other than their continued service at the US Embassy in Beijing.
China Relief Expedition Medal 1900 (original ribbon) and Yangtze Service Medal
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and China Service Medal
Order of the Dragon Officer’s Badge, Order of the Dragon Enlisted Badge and Sochow Creek Commemorative Medal
Original USMC Soochow Creek Medal
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