1900-01 China Campaign Medal


Obverse of the Combatants China Medal
with "TAKU" clasp
Photo © Peter Klein

Reverse of the Combatants China Medal
Photo © Doppler Collection 




Miniature Bar with the China Medal
 fourth from left
Photo © JW Collection


Non-Combatants China Medal
Photo © Heiko Grusdat




Buttonhole Miniature of the China Medal
Photo © JW Collection

The China Campaign Medal ("China-Denkmünze") was instituted by Kaiser Wilhelm II in May 1901 and was awarded to all Germans who served in China during the Boxer Rebellion between 30th May 1900 and 29th June 1901. A non-combatant award was given to those back home in Germany who assisted in the war effort.

The ribbon was white with vertical stripes of black, red, yellow, red and black. As can be seen from the photographs below these distinctive stripes are clearly noticeable in monochrome. The medal itself was a brass disc (for combatants) edged with laurel leaves depicting a German eagle victorious over a Chinese dragon on the obverse.  The reverse of the medal was again edged with laurel leaves and showed a crowned "W II" monogram and the motto "DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN- 1900 CHINA 1901" (roughly translated as "To the victorious fighters").

Brass campaign clasps ("Spange") were authorised for private purchase with the medal, for example "TAKU", "SEYMOURE-EXPEDITION" (sic) and "PEKING". The Peking clasp was only authorised for the members of the III. Seebataillon who served under Leutnant Graf von Soden at the siege of the foreign legations in Peking. Period photographs do however show it occasionally worn by other soldiers.

The photograph above left shows a China Medal with the clasp for "TAKU". This was awarded to crews of the German naval ships (including SMS Iltis, SMS Hertha, SMS Hansa and SMS Gefion) that took part in the bombardment and successful storming of the Taku Forts that allowed allied forces access to Peking during the Boxer Rebellion.

The non-combatants' version of the China Campaign Medal was identical except that it was made from polished steel and had the motto "VERDIENST UM DIE EXPEDITION NACH CHINA“ ("served in the expedition to China") on the reverse. Non-combatants medals were not officially awarded with campaign bars though some had unofficial clasps, one non-combatants medal seen in a private collection has the clasp "OSTASIA EXPED KPS" (East Asian Expeditionary Corps). This was not an official clasp for the combatants' China Medal either.

Recommended External Links - Boxer Aufstand, Antique Photos, Traditionsverband China Medal, Medal Hound article on China Clasps and a discussion on the China Medal at the Gentlemen's Military Interest Club

 
Recipients of the China Campaign Medal

Soldier of the 3rd East Asian Infantry Regiment
He wears the 1900 Khaki uniform (worn between late 1900 and 1904) note the white piped shoulder straps with the regimental number in red and the khaki field cap with imperial cockade. The medals on his left breast are the the China Campaign Medal and the 1897 Wilhelm I Centenary Medal.
Photo © Karsten Herzogenrath

Sailor from the SMS Hansa
He wears a white naval cap with imperial cockade and the ships name on the cap tally and a blue naval shirt with the China Campaign Medal on his left breast. SMS Hansa was one of the Allied Fleet that bombarded the Taku Forts during the Boxer Rebellion.
Photo © JW Collection

Gefreiter of the 2nd East Asian Infantry Regt
He wears the other ranks 1900 East Asian Pickelhaube. His uniform is the 1900 Waffenrock with shoulder straps showing the number 2 for the 2nd East Asian Infantry Regiment. On his breast he wears the China Campaign Medal and the Prussian Wilhelm I Centenary Medal.
Photo © Joe Robinson
     
Prussian Army Official
This Prussian army official (note the smaller eagle on the front of the Pickelhaube eagle just visible in this photo) wears the China Campaign Medal and the 1897 Wilhelm I Centenary Medal. It is not certain if the China Medal is the combatants or non-combatants award.
Photo © Joe Robinson
German Cavalryman
of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army

He wears the dark blue uniform with yellow braiding of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army ("Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger" or KNIL). On the table next to him is his matching dark blue covered spiked pith helmet. The KNIL recruited numbers of Germans, Belgians, Swiss and other nationalities into their ranks. Judging by his China Campaign Medal, this is a German (referred to as "Onkel Heinrich in Java" on the back of the photo) veteran of the Boxer Rebellion.

Photo © Joe Robinson
German Colonial League Veteran
Bremen 1938

This member of the German Colonial League ("Reichskolonialbund") wears the standard RKB uniform of a khaki tunic based on the Schutztruppe 1896 khaki uniform but made from corduroy, and a grey Schutztruppe style Südwester hat. The medals on his left breast are the Iron Cross second class, earned during the First World War and the China Campaign Medal of the Boxer Rebellion.
Photo © Frankfurt University Koloniales Bildarchiv
     

Examples of Medal Bars with the China Campaign Medal
See more on the Medal Bars Page

     

Bar with the China Medal
 alongside Prussian Awards

Photo © JW Collection

Bar with the China Medal
 alongside Prussian and Russian Awards

Photo © Private Collection

Bar with the China Medal and Clasp
 alongside Prussian and later German Awards

Photo © Peter Klein
     

Bar with the China Medal
 alongside Prussian and Hamburg Awards

Photo © Robert Pandis

Bar with the China Medal
alongside a Prussian Award

Photo © JW Collection

Bar with the China Medal
 alongside Prussian and later German Awards

Photo © JW Collection

     

 

 

China Medal Certificate for an Infantryman of the East Asian Occupation Brigade

The document confirming the award of the 1900-01 China Campaign Medal in Bronze for combatants to Muskietier Biedny of the 3rd Company, 5th East Asian Infantry Regt ("5. Ostasiatisches Infanterie-Regiment") on 18th September 1901. It is signed by Major v. Freyhold. Although the East Asian Expeditionary Corps was officially re-titled as the East Asian Occupation Brigade on 17th May 1901, this certificate has the authorisation stamp of the "Ostas. Expeditionskorps".
Photo © Marcin Lewoszewski of Imperial German Militaria

China Medal Certificate for a Cavalryman of the East Asian Occupation Brigade

The document confirming the award of the 1900-01 China Campaign Medal in Bronze for combatants to Reiter Emil Eduard Sawatzki of the East Asian Cavalry Regiment ("Ostasiatischen Reiter Regiment") on the 1st October 1901. The certificate has the authorisation stamp of the "Ostas. Expeditionskorps, Reiter Regiment".
Photo © Peter Klein


Reiter Sawatzki
East Asian Cavalry Regiment

Photo © Peter Klein

 
     


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