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HANG CHOW HOUSEBOAT EXPEDITION MEDAL


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Here's some information on a little-known China service "spoof" medal from the 1930's. It's a cousin to the more famous SooChow Creek Medal "awarded" to Marines & Sailors in 1932, 1937 and 1940. It is also in the same family as the Yangtze Barrier Medal "awarded" to gun boat sailors in the 30's as well.

 

Patrick K. Woodard was a career Marine from Kentucky who enlisted in the Marines in June 1916. Throughout his 5 enlistments he served overseas in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua in both the 5th Marines & the Guardia Nacional, Cavite in the Phillipines and several cruises in China. He has a GCM with 4 Bars including a scarce "Ext. of Enlistment" Bar.

 

When examined for promotion to Gunnery Sgt in Dec 1936 he had 20 years and 4 months of total service of which 14 years and 11 months were Foreign & Sea Service.

 

In 1930 he first served in the 4th Marines at Shanghai. Later he was at Cavite, P.I. for about a year, then back to Shanghai in 1932/33. Served at Mare Island and again in China 1934/37. Sadly, PlSgt Woodard died on active duty at Mare Island on 19 Oct 1937 as the result of a cerebral hemmorage. He was 42 years old.

 

During one of these China tours he participated in what was known as the "Hangchow Houseboat Expedition". From what I can find out it involved a tour on a Chinese Houseboat from Shanghai down the SooChow Creek to SooChow, down to Huchow by canal to Hanchow, with a side trip to Haining to see the "Hangchow Bore" (?) then up the canal to Kashing, on to the Whangpo River returning to Shanghai.

 

It does not appear that the "Expedition" was military in nature, nor do I know how long it took. But participants "earned" the right to a medal and Sgt Woodard has one of these rare little gongs! No information is available as to when exactly Sgt. Woodard participated in the Hangchow trip.

 

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The medal is well struck. The obverse displays the legend "Hang Chow House Boat Expedition" and depicts three Chinese junks under sail. In the lower right 5 o'clock position can be seen a military figure next to an American flag with a pagoda in the background. The reverse bears the legend, "For Service in Interior China" over 2 stars. Note that it has the same yellow & brown-striped ribbon of the SooChow Creek medals which is suspended from a common pin.

 

There is a document and map for the HangChow Medal and a friend has graciously provided a copy of an original he holds. (Thanks, Dan!) It is posted below.

 

Enjoy......Semper Fi......Bobgee

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Here is the Hangchow Houseboat Expedition Document and map.

 

PlSgt Woodard in 1936. Note he wears the "Army" type marksman badge.

 

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Semper Fi......Bobgee

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Bob, you have some of the neatest things I've ever seen. I knew about the Soochow creek medal, but this is the first I've ever heard of the Houseboat medal. I keep looking, without much success in junk boxes for a George medal or a Soochow Creek medal, now I have to add the houseboat to the hunt. I think these spoof medals are just great, they really show the American military man's irreverent humor.

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An amazing group. Just incredible. I don't know how you do it Bob.

 

-Ski

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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Bob

 

Wonderful grouping! Thank you for sharing it.

 

I have to tell you though the photo of Woodard is a bit scary - sort of looks like Bela Lugosi almost.

 

Regards,

 

Mark

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Bob: Until you told me about this one, I never heard of it. I still think we need to uncover more info about this medal and I am sure some copy of Walla Walla will provide the "rest of the story." I do know taking a scenic canal trip to Soochow as a popular activity for people visiting Shanghai and perhaps the Marines through the Navy "Y" got the opportunity to do the same.....BTW the figure you showed me is most likely German made by Heyde of Dresden and very well done (they even did a Boxer series).

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Remarkable - AMAZING!!! A banana wars period Marine straight out of the "Lou Diamond" era. No doubt he trained many NCO's who went on to the Pacific campaigns. One see's so few photo's with ribbon bars sporting numbers on the GC and EM ribbons... all the bars intact on the GC - how often do you see that! And four EM - Bob, is the medal his first issued and number? Is the CG his first and engraved? Was he ships company during WW1? My old eyes my be deceiving me - it appears to be a Navy Chaplin who signed the document - One of your BEST Bob!!!

Thank you letting us know about this Houseboat Medal... bet this type of medal groupings are few and far between. s/f Darrell


The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps. (General A. A. Vandegrift, USMC, 5 May 1946)

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Bob, I have to chime in. This is jaw-dropping amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Just......incredible. I'd never heard of this one, either.

 

Yeah, Mark...that is ONE scary photo LOL.

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After having a double bypass this past year, it's time to downsize and pass along much of my 'stuff'. I've had my fun, now it is someone elses turn.

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Remarkable - AMAZING!!! A banana wars period Marine straight out of the "Lou Diamond" era. No doubt he trained many NCO's who went on to the Pacific campaigns. One see's so few photo's with ribbon bars sporting numbers on the GC and EM ribbons... all the bars intact on the GC - how often do you see that! And four EM - Bob, is the medal his first issued and number? Is the CG his first and engraved? Was he ships company during WW1? My old eyes my be deceiving me - it appears to be a Navy Chaplin who signed the document - One of your BEST Bob!!!

Thank you letting us know about this Houseboat Medal... bet this type of medal groupings are few and far between. s/f Darrell

 

Since you asked, Here's his Good Conduct Medal, No. 11295 1st Enlistment 1916 - 1920.

 

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And Pvt Woodard as a 20 year old recruit in 1916.

 

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Thanks for your interest. Semper Fi......Bobgee

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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That Hangchow medal is awesome! Its the first time I have seen that particular medal.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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That Hangchow medal is awesome! Its the first time I have seen that particular medal.

 

Kurt

 

 

Ditto Bob !!

 

Thats a new one for me !! I've had medal groups with the Marine "SooChow" and Naval "Yangtze Barrier" medals but never a "Hang Chow Houseboat" !! Great to see the accompaning paperwork too !!

 

Learn something new everyday !!

 

Thanks for showing thumbsup.gif

 

Vic

"We Polish soldiers, for your freedom and ours, gave our souls to God, our bodies to the soil of Italy, and our hearts to Poland"

 

-- inscription at the Polish cemetary - Monte Cassino

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  • 2 weeks later...

wow, you really have to wonder just how many of those metals were struck and just how many have survived. Sounds like at this point ONE that is known. Bob, other than that one have you ever seen another?

 

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bob: As I said Walla Walla would supply answers. Yesterday, I looked at some Wallas from 29-30 and found the Hangchow Bore is a twice a year tidal event that occurs near the town of Haining. Seems a small tidal wave of about 8' in height comes up to the town. The event was of great interest to the locals so it was only a matter of time before the Shanghai Marines went down there for a look see. I found so far at least in 1929 and 1930 the 4th Marine's Chaplain sponsored day trips down to view the event. The trip was made via both rail and boat. The event occurred during those years in early Sept. Almost simultaneously the Chaplin also sponsored trips up to Soochow. Since the paperwork that accompanies your thread seems to be signed by the Chaplin (if I am reading the name correctly) then we know this medal is associated with so type of Chaplain sponsored trip of this sort.

 

Ancestry.com indicates Maurice M Whitherspoon was active as a Chaplain 34-36 so can assume a version of the medal was awarded and possibly struck at that time. Maybe Woodard got his sooner during a earlier tour or at the same time.

 

What I've yet to find is the actual announcement for the creation of the medal in Walla Walla or the specific trip that incorporates what was in the early 1930s was two separate trips run within weeks of each other. But I think I am close....knowing the years of China service associated with these two men will allow me to bore in on specific issues of Walla Walla.

 

Again Bob, a China Marine event not many knew about...I know I didn't know about it until you posted the medal. Hope this adds to the story.

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Bob: As I said Walla Walla would supply answers. Yesterday, I looked at some Wallas from 29-30 and found the Hangchow Bore is a twice a year tidal event that occurs near the town of Haining. Seems a small tidal wave of about 8' in height comes up to the town. The event was of great interest to the locals so it was only a matter of time before the Shanghai Marines went down there for a look see. I found so far at least in 1929 and 1930 the 4th Marine's Chaplain sponsored day trips down to view the event. The trip was made via both rail and boat. The event occurred during those years in early Sept. Almost simultaneously the Chaplin also sponsored trips up to Soochow. Since the paperwork that accompanies your thread seems to be signed by the Chaplin (if I am reading the name correctly) then we know this medal is associated with so type of Chaplain sponsored trip of this sort.

 

Ancestry.com indicates Maurice M Whitherspoon was active as a Chaplain 34-36 so can assume a version of the medal was awarded and possibly struck at that time. Maybe Woodard got his sooner during a earlier tour or at the same time.

 

What I've yet to find is the actual announcement for the creation of the medal in Walla Walla or the specific trip that incorporates what was in the early 1930s was two separate trips run within weeks of each other. But I think I am close....knowing the years of China service associated with these two men will allow me to bore in on specific issues of Walla Walla.

 

Again Bob, a China Marine event not many knew about...I know I didn't know about it until you posted the medal. Hope this adds to the story.

 

Hey Dirk - thanks for the research and update. An interesting side-bar to Marine service in China. BTW Still in MA. No great USMC/China to report but having a swell time! S/F.....Bob

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Hey Dirk - thanks for the research and update. An interesting side-bar to Marine service in China. BTW Still in MA. No great USMC/China to report but having a swell time! S/F.....Bob

 

Dirk - superb research! And thanks for adding to the knowledge base...!

 

Bob - have you had an opportunity to visit the "museum"?

 

s/f Darrell


The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps. (General A. A. Vandegrift, USMC, 5 May 1946)

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Dirk - superb research! And thanks for adding to the knowledge base...!

 

Bob - have you had an opportunity to visit the "museum"?

 

s/f Darrell

 

Darrell - Never did make contact with BW. Bob

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Bob: Glad your enjoying the north country...on Tuesday had lunch with the same L&G crowd you met and the major's son (from Wake) joined us! I'll post a picture at some point.

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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I'm in love! you always sniff out the best groups. that's a FANTASTIC spoof medal!

-Brig
GySgt/USMC/0369
RSU-Quantico


"FOR OUR TOMORROWS, THEY GAVE THEIR TODAYS"
RIP
Sgt Jesse 'Jeff Nasty' Balthaser
Sgt John P Huling
Cpl Carlos 'Gilo Monster' Gilorozco
Cpl Stephen C 'Socks' Sockalosky
LCpl Joshua A 'Scottie' Scott
LCpl Jason Lee 'Birdman' Frye
LCpl Nicolas B Morrison
LCpl Jon T Hicks
LCpl Osbrany 'Oz' Montes De Oca
Pvt Lewis T D Calapini
'The SOI 5'

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  • 3 years later...

Came across this old thread and am bumping it up for those who may have missed. Semper Fi.......Bobgee

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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I have a copy of the 4th Marines Annual in China, 1933-34.

 

The Diary states:

 

Week ending September 30th: Navy YMCA conducts special trip to Hangchow Bore for 4th Marines.

 

This would confirm the Chaplain connection. Perhaps someone in the YMCA had the "spoof" medals produced.

 

Regards to all,

 

 

The Wharfmaster

 

 

 

In Peace and War. US Merchant Marine.

In Peace and War, US Merchant Marine. WARNING: Dangerous Cargo. No Visitors, No Smoking, No Open Lights.

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