Embroidered Regimental Badge
Embroidered regimental badge with the flags of the nations participating in the Shanghai Defence Force, 1927. The 2nd Battalion formed part of the Force.
In 1927 the 2nd Battalion the Suffolk Regiment was posted to Hong Kong to join the South China Command. However on 22 February, within a fortnight of arriving in the colony they were ordered to proceed to Shanghai.
The 1842 International Settlement with China had allowed many foreign countries to use Shanghai freely for trade. By the early 20th century the Settlement was responsible for running the city’s utilities, had its own Police and Fire forces and even its own Army – the Shanghai Defence Force. There was as a result growing unrest among the native Chinese at not being allowed to participate in the running of their own city, and demonstrations began aimed at the international powers. It was to counter this situation that the 2nd Battalion was sent to Shanghai, soon to be joined by in a multi-national peace-keeping force by troops from the United States, Russia and Japan.
The Battalion sustained no casualties during its stay in Shanghai: most of its work involved mounting patrols in the streets and ensuring that the nightly curfew was enforced. The emergency died down and in December 1928 the Suffolks were able to leave for their next overseas posting – India.
We do not know the identity of the soldier who produced this embroidered memento of his stay in Shanghai; it was common practice to produce these pieces of work while overseas, often (though evidently not here) using a template, both as a means of whiling away spare time and as something to send home to the family.