Archive of three photo albums from a marine with the Italian Battalion, based in Tientsin, China in 1927-1928. The Battalion was composed of three companies: the San Marco, the Libya and the San George.
In one photo the owner of the album is marked with an ‘x’. He is with the San Marco Company. This is excellent account of both local and colonial military life and an account of the Italan Battalion in Shanghai and Tientsin at the peak of civil disorder.
Numerous photos of Chinese executions, nationalist soldiers, American and British troops, Italian military and Chinese military and civilians mixing, Chinese festive parade of some sort (possibly the visit of ex-Emperor Pu-Yi to the barracks on April 28, 1928), newly created " Ermanno Carlotto " barracks, numerous photos of local inhabitants, train station at Feng Tai, Italian Consulate, large photos of services in the heart of Tientsin commemorating the end of World War 1, sports at the barracks, French barracks (Caserne Voyron established in 1901), various Chinese warlords, train wrecks, rare photo of armoured train carrying Chinese troops at Hsinho station,Chinese troops fighting in the field, numerous photos of different Chinese military, extremely rare photo of military biplanes being transported by rail, aftermath of attack on a train during the civil disorder, Italian troops being transported by train, Italian marines defending a bridge, numerous photos of the European quarter of Tientsin, rare photo of Chinese furniture store showing European adverts,Chinese puppet theatre, making a coffin, gymnastics at the barracks, soccer, train flying the Japanese, Italian and American flags; mutiliations, military drill, Italian police station,Chinese parade passing in front of a silk weaving factory built in 1919, the cricket club, street life, numerous monuments, rare phot of entrance to Italian barracks with fascist symbol over entrance, marines on excursion to the Forbidden City, river port for the Hamburg-Amerika Line, Chinese Nationalist soldiers on the march, Italian machine gun unit, marines at Shan Hai Kuan (another foreign port), civilizians demonstrating holding Nationalist flags, coolies carrying European goods,
One of the albums reads USMC Tientsin China on the cover, so the owner (Capodanno Francesco) would have received it from an American marine in Tienstsin and then filled it with his photos.
It contains a hand drawn image of two Italian marines on the first page. At the end is a three page handwritten story of his voyage to Tientsin and dated May 25, 1927, along with his signature. Another album is unbound. The third is bound. There are also four loose photos, all with writing and dated on back, from Shanghai and Tientsin. In excess of 810 photos in total. Much of the history of the Italian Brigade, as highlighted in the notes below, is shown in this archive. Also included is a complete 1939 issue of La Tribuna Illustrata featuring the San Marco battalion rescuing local inhabitants during a Japanese air raid.
Price for the archive of three ablums is $4500
Note: Following the Boxer Rebellion, Italy along with ten other nations, were allowed to keep legations in China and occupied Kuan-tsung, Lan-fang, Yang-tsun, Tientsin, Kiun-lang-Chang, Tangku, Lu-tai, Tangcian, Luanciao, Cian-li, Chi-Kuan-tao and Shanhaikuan. Italy maintained troops in North China until 1904, which were then replaced by roughly 250 sailors from the Royal Marines. On November 4, 1924 a company of marines under the command of Lieutenant Ruggero Poli, landed from RN "Libya".
This was followed by another group under the command of Commander Angelo Jachino. Shortly thereafter, Mussolini approved the establishment of a battalion in China based at Tientsin. The battalion contained three companies with a total of 300 men, 20 machine guns and several mortars.
The duties of the Italian Battalion were to maintain communications between Beijing and the sea; to protect the lives and property of Italians and foreigners in times of civil disorder and act as a covering force for the landing of reinforcements that might be called upon.
The Battalion was officially constituted in Tientsin on March 5, 1925. The companies that formed the Battalion were the " San Marco, "Libya, " and " San George ". Company San Marco was placed in the premises of the Italian Police in Tientsin; Company Libya , in mid-Shan Hai Kuan and in Beijing; Company San George in Beijing on the premises of the Legation Guard. Construction began of the Barracks "Ermanno Carlotto" to house the new Battalion.
Company Libya was moved to Tientsin in November, 1925, due to the severe local situation created by the war between Li-Chin-Lin and Feng-Yu-Hsian and later sent to protect the railway bridges from Tangku to Loutai. The San Marco at the same time was assigned to the defense of the Italian Concession. For the worsening situation, the San George was ordered to leave Beijing and go to Tientsin.
The Company departed on December 10, 1925, but the train that carried her to Tientsin stopped at Lang-Fang due to the failure of some bridges that took place between the two lines of the belligerents and was forced to return to Beijing and was unable to reach Tientsin until the 25th.
The Barracks "Ermanno Carlotto" was inaugurated in April 1926 by the Minister of Italy in Beijing. In early 1927, due to the difficult situation that had arisen in Shanghai from the fighting between the warring factions, the Battalion was reinforced in order to prepare for the defense of the the foreign settlement in Shanghai. During this period the San Marco was moved to Shanghai temporarily.
On Novermber 6, on the anniversary of World War 1, the Captain of the Battalion, L. Gasparri, presented the Brigade with a penant. On April 18, 1928 the Battalion received a visit, unofficially, from the young ex-emperor of China, Pu Yi, who lived in Tientsin. For the occasion, the whole battalion paraded. On special occassions, for the benefit of the foreign colony and authorities, the Brigade would give a gymnastic performance at the barracks.
In May 1928 the theater of war reached the area of Beijing and Tientsin and the situation became serious. On June 3, the Battalion went on alert, occupied the former Austrian concession and sent a detachment to secure the power station. Later they sent a detachment to the Central Railway Station, but given its exposed location, was evacuated after a few days.
At the same time a Company was held ready to leave for Tangku to secure communications stations in the section assigned to the Italian forces. The situation worsened when General-Tso-lin Chan, Chief of the Northern troops, left Beijing on June 3 and the following day a bomb placed under a bridge near the railway station at Mukden, was detonated and the General died a few days later.
On June 12, the Confederate flag was raised in Tientsin, and the situation calmed down quickly and on June 19 the Battalion was ordered to stand down. Toward the end of September, after nearly four years of active service, the "Libya" was dissolved and its elements became part of other companies.