95 Years Ago: Jan Hollander on the Szechnen Road

As with all Western navies of the day, the Dutch had special marching order equipment to supply sailors for landing divisions in a sort of light infantry (Matrozen van de Landingsdivisie), and a great example of which are these series of shots of sailors from the Java-class light cruiser Hr.Ms. Sumatra alongside Dutch Marines (Korps Mariniers) on post in war-torn 1927 Shanghai overlooking the Szechnen Road on the bridge over Soochow Creek near the Main Post Office.

Five sailors in marching order including cartridge pouches on leather webbing and puttees, with a Marine and a local “mascot” who may have been brought with the ship from the Dutch East Indies. As the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy did with ships stationed in the Far East, as much as a fifth of the personnel aboard Dutch ships in the region at the time were drawn from local recruits. Note the Geweer M. 95 6.5mm Dutch Mannlichers with their distinctive early model (pre-1905) 19-inch OEWG hooked quillon bayonets. NIMH 2173-224-044

NIMH 2173-224-132

Mugging for the camera, with two Marines and two sailors. Note the Lewis gun and mass of rickshaws in the background. NIMH 2158_061470

The Dutch, along with other European, Japanese, and American forces, were active in the city during the panic that saw the rebellious Reds of the Shanghai Commune crushed by Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT troops. Sumatra’s sailors were ashore and on post from 19 February to 12 May 1927.

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