Italian Intervention


Official photo album of the Italian Expedition to China. The title reads: “In memory of the four years I spent in China with the greatest affection. Official album of the 1st Infantry Regiment”. The album contains an astounding 450 photos. The photographer was something of an artist judging by the way the photos are presented. A number of photos contain captions. The album has a sizeable quantity of photos showing many aspects of local life and the intercourse between Chinese and Italians.t-cppc020b Many photo albums of this period focus on buildings or topography or European military but this focus is more on the Chinese. Samples of photos include Tientsin, Chinese troops boarding for Manchuria, wealthy and poor Chinese,t-cppc020c Italian and Chinese officials together, Italian military life, local mandarins with Italians, Chinese transporting people and goods, Chinese military with flags, early trams, trains arriving to Peking and Tientsin, European and Chinese shops, women standing with deformed feet, Korean and Japanese people, Chinese dead on the field, streets in Peking, tartar city, Chinese imperial procession, Japanese/Russian/French/German/Italian troops, Chinese gendarmes, German artillery, funeral procession, and more. A rare find.

Price: $5000.00

t-cppc020dNote: Costantino Brighenti was born November 20, 1865. He entered the military and achieved the rank of Lieutenant on November 10, 1888, with the 30th Infantry Regiment in Pisa. Serving in Eritrea he received a Citation for his performance in the retreat from Adowa.t-cppc020e In 1901 he was part of the China Expeditionary Force during the Boxer Rebellion. He served with the 1st Regiment as Captain and received the Knights Cross for his services there. On November 2, 1906 he was sent back to Eritrea as commander of the 3rd Company 4th Battalion Indigenous. By 1913 he was in Libya, receiving a Bronze Medal for military valor at Gebel. He was the garrison commander at Beni Walid when it came under siege from May 6 to July 8, 1915. In the end he surrendered and spent a year in prison and finally committed suicide. For gallantry he received the Gold Medal for Military Valour.

His wife, Maria Boni Brighenti also received the Gold Medal for Military Valour for her performance in caring for the wouned despite being wounded herself, during the evacuation of the garrison at Tharuna. She is the only woman to ever receive the Gold Medal for Military Valour…….and, together with her husband, the only couple ever to both receive the medal. See also; The Brighentis are referenced in Soldiers of Africa, Volume III, page 38 as well as Volume II, Italian Values, pages 362-364. See also

t-cppc020g t-cppc020h t-cppc020i t-cppc020j
t-cppc020k t-cppc020l t-cppc020m t-cppc020n
t-cppc020o t-cppc020p t-cppc020r t-cppc020s
t-cppc020t t-cppc020u t-cppc020v t-cppc020y
t-cppc020z t-cppc020q t-cppc020w t-cppc020f

t-cppc017Archive of three photo albums from a marine with the Italian Battalion, based in Tientsin, t-cppc017aChina 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 " t-cppc017b 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 t-cppc017e (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,t-cppc017v 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,

t-cppc017cOne 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.

t-cppc017dIt 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

t-cppc017f 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".

t-cppc017gThis 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.

t-cppc017h 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.

t-cppc017iThe 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.

t-cppc017jCompany 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.

t-cppc017kThe 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.

t-cppc017lThe 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.

t-cppc017mOn 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.

t-cppc017nIn 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.

t-cppc017oAt 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.

t-cppc017pOn 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.

t-cppc017r t-cppc017s t-cppc017t t-cppc017u

Italian sailor in China 1929

Two photo albums from an Italian sailor in China, 1929. The journey starts from Brindisi aboard ' RM Libya' an Italian cruiser, on March 28, 1929. Passes Port Said and stops briefly at Massua and then landing at Shanghai.

Italian sailor in China 1929An impressive array of foreign naval ships, including a British aircraft carrier, the sinking of a Chinese merchant ship (See further explanation below), anti-aircraft shooting practice. Photo of Captain Pini, captain of the Libia from 1929-1930. Many photos of Shanghai showing life in the Chinese quarter and also the Japanese quarter. Trucks in the hinterland, transporting Chinese carts by water. Military celebration of the ending of WW1. Visit to Nanking.

Italian sailor in China 1929Interesting photo of the Grotto of Saint Mary in Shanghai. Military exercises on land. Visit to Japan: Osaka, Kobe, Yokahama, Nagasaki, Tokyo and then to Hong Kong and then back to Shanghai, children marching holding nationalist flags, decapitated man in street with caption ‘martial law’, Shanghai barber, market, nice photo collection of the different foreign legations at Shanghai.

Italian sailor in China 1929 Photos of Wei-Hai-Wei also showing the Christian cemetery there and an English naval funeral. Photos of Peking. Rare photo of the San Marco Battalion at their base in Tiensin and also receiving Mass. Nationalist soldiers marching at Tangshan, large number of people killed left on the ground, Russian orthodox church, photo of personnel from different legations, a British home in the countryside outside Hankow. Rare photos of a Chinese battalion undergoing military exercises as well as Japanese naval personnel undergoing military exercises on land, also the American military doing same, rare photo of tanks and a Chinese military band.  Group photo of senior foreign military and what appears to be ex-Emperor Pu-Yi (who visited the Italian barracks in Tientsin on April 28, 1928)

Italian sailor in China 1929This collection is a treasure to anyone studying the foreign military presence in China in 1929, especially the Italian Navy. The period is interesting because it was during the Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Great Famine. Over 520 photos in total, many of which contain descriptions.

Italian sailor in China 1929Price: $3990.00

Note: The cruiser Libia was built at the Ansaldo shipyard in Genoa, beginning in 1911 and its original name was to be ‘’Drama’’ and was built for the Turkish navy. However, with the Italo-Turkish War (in Libya), the cruiser was instead built for the Italian navy.

Italian sailor in China 1929It was completed in 1913 as designed, and named "Libia". It was a protected cruiser, fairly fast and well armed, but lacking armor in order to precede a formation of battleships by identifying and eliminating the threat of any torpedoes or torpedo boats. Libia had limited use during World War and in 1917 was stationed in Greece and then in Albanian waters until the end of the war. After the war she circumnavigated the earth, under Commander Burzagli), starting March 10, 1921 from Naples to Taranto and returning February 20, 1923. She reached Cuba, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Peru, and San Diego, San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Sydney and Melbourne, arriving in Shanghai May 19, 1922.

Italian sailor in China 1929In total she stopped at 59 ports and travelled 44,200 miles. During the tour, Libia remained in China about six months, with various shifts according to the security needs of Italians living in China. Libia was sent to the Far East in 1924 (with Captain Moreno) to replace the Calabria in the Far East Squadron. Libia’s home station in the Far East was Shanghai, is moving north into the Gulf of Taku, reached other ports to Japan, and went as far south as Hong Kong. In May 1925 she sailed up the Yang-tze-kiang to Hankow up.

In 1929, moving to assist the crew of the freighter Muggia (shipwrecked on rocks), the Libia suffered a collision with a Chinese freighter that sank, Libia’s sailors rescueing several Chinese survivors. In 1931 she went back again the Yangtze-kiang and the following year went to Japan. Libia was commanded, in turn, by captains Alessio (1925), Miraglia (1927), Pini (1929) and Bacci (1932). The Libia, became famous among Italian communities living abroad. She spent her last years based in China until she was decommissioned in 1933. For nearly a decade the Royal Italian Navy had a continuous presence in China and Japan

China Photo Post CardChina Photo Post Card

Archive of 5 letters, with photos, of a marine named Peppino, aboard the RN Libia based in China between 1931 and 1933. In port at Shanghai, with the Japanese invasion in January 1932, the ship moved to Hangzhou, returning to Shangahi in April. Note: the history of RN Libia is unusual. The ship was originally commissioned by the Ottoman Empire under the name of Drama. Following the Italo-Turco War in 1912, the ship was incorporated in the Italian navy. In 1929 it was rearmed as a cruiser and was used for colonial matters and miltiary campaigns overseas until it was scrapped in 1937.

Also included is a complete January 1925 issue of La Tribuna Illustrata featuring marines from RM Libia defending the entrance to the Italian Legation in Shanghai during the disturbances.

Price: $300.00

China Photo Post Card China Photo Post Card China Photo Post Card China Photo Post Card