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Shanghai Volunteer Corps patch

Object | Accession Number: 1989.243.272

Badge issued to Ernest G. Heppner by the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, Shanghai, China Issued to Ernest Heppner by the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, April 1954, Shanghai, China. The Shanghai Volunteer Corps was an international militia organised under the Shanghai Municipal Council to protect foreign interests in the city. They were first formed in 1854 and over their 88 year history the strength and composition of the corps varied greatly.
The volunteers came from foreigners (British, American, French, German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Portuguese, Japanese and others from all over the world) living in Shanghai, some of whom were paid regulars while others were unpaid part-time soldiers. Some soldiers were formed into national companies, others into mixed units. In 1910 the German contingent consisted of one regular and one reserve company.

The SVC never saw serious action although it was called to mobilization on several occasions such as during the Tai-Ping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion and later during the Japanese Invasion. They were finally disbanded by the Japanese in 1942.

Uniforms of the SVC
The SVC was largely armed and uniformed from British stocks or with British style uniforms made of local khaki fabric and Australian style slouch hats, though some nationalities wore their own army uniforms with SVC insignia. Often a mixture of these options was worn.

Insignia of the SVC
The badge of the SVC consisted of an eight-pointed brass Brunswick star with the motto "Shanghai Volunteer Corps" around the flags of various European nations in the centre (see Paradise for Adventurers). A variation on this badge had simply the letters SVC on a similar star. Both variations have been seen with a scroll underneath bearing the date of the unit's formation "4th April 1854" (see Shanghai Municipal Council).
The Jewish Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps existed for nearly 10 years, from 1932 to 1942. (see Frank)
Benis M. Frank was a historian for the Marine Corps for over 35 years and chief historian at the time of his retirement in 1997. During World War II he was a Marine stationed in China, Korea and Japan. He was introduced to the CGU Pettus Archival Project through Pedro Loureiro, a historian on the Far East, and was interviewed by Zhang Weijiang. A mutual interest opened up since Pettus and his College of Chinese Studies had over the years trained many military officers including U.S. Marines in Chinese language and Frank had served in the Far East and also carried out oral histories with many Marine officers. As a result Frank entrusted the Pettus Archival Project with his collection of research papers on the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (S.V.C.). It includes many folders of correspondence and information related to his personal investigation of the corps, with special attention to the Jewish unit. The S.V.C. began its operation in 1853 and halted at the time of the 1937 Japanese invasion of Shanghai. The collection includes Frank’s published and unpublished papers about the S.V.C., correspondence with members of the Corps and those who knew about the Jewish unit, and photographs. Also included is a hard-to-find volume, Eighty-Five Years of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, published in 1938. This collection of papers and related materials provides unique historical information about the Shanghai Volunteer Corps in its eighty-five years of history in Shanghai.

1954 April 04
Identifying Artifacts
Object Type
Badges (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ernest G. Heppner
Record last modified: 2020-06-30 09:21:16
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