Copyright Chris Frost 2019 | All Rights Reserved

China in 1906

In 1906, Austin Frost, my grandfather, was in China. This photograph was taken at Tientsen station in China  in 1906 with officers from the West Kents and a representative of the Royal Geographical Society. My grandfather, Austin Thomas Frost, is in uniform and is standing on the right. He was a doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). Not quite sure what he was doing in China, but the fact that he is in uniform suggests a visit on official business, perhaps visiting the British garrison.

He took a photograph of the memorial to the German Consul, who was killed in 1900.

Baron von Ketteler, the Consul, had returned to China in 1899 as Plenipotentiary at Beijing, from which he pointed out in vain the dangerous situation for the Europeans. On 12 June 1900, when the Boxers moved to the inner city and burned down church buildings, Ketteler reacted by ordering German embassy guards to hunt them down. On 18 June, German troops captured a Chinese civilian suspected of being a Boxer in the inner city and took him to the Legation Quarter, where he was detained.

Ketteler brutally attacked a Chinese civilian for no reason, and beat a boy who was with him after taking him to the legations. Ketteler then murdered the boy by shooting him.

In response, thousands of Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves under General Dong Fuxiang of the Imperial Army and Boxers went on a violent riot against the westerners. The Kansu braves then attacked and killed Chinese Christians around the legations in revenge for foreign attacks on Chinese. Angry at the Chinese Christians for collaborating with foreigners who were murdering Chinese, the Muslims and Boxers roasted some of them alive and attacked and ransacked their property. The Muslims also assassinated the Japanese chancellor, tearing him apart.

At 8.00 a.m. on 20 June, Ketteler, together with his interpreter and other associates, headed for the Zongli Yamen (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) accompanied by armed escorts. At the western end of Xizongbu Hutong, only one block away from the ministry, the party ran into the Manchu Hushenying bannerman and were fired upon. Ketteler was killed in the ensuing firefight. Ketteler was specifically targeted by the Manchu captain En Hai for assassination, in revenge for Ketteler murdering the boy. En Hai, later gave himself up to the Allied occupying forces. A Muslim commander from the Kansu Braves then ripped the skin off the Baron and ate his heart.


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