All photographs in this section are courtesy of the family of Major General Charles F. B. Price.
Major General Charles Price was fortunate to do two tours in China during his long career: First as a Major he served as the Executive Officer at the American Legation Peking (1925-1927) and then as the Commander of the 4th Marines in Shanghai during the second Battle of Shanghai.
The images in this section come from three albums. The first covers Major Price’s time in Peking and is a standard American photo album. The second and third albums were assembled in Shanghai and are of the embossed leather type. Note the EGA and dragon motifs. These two albums were produced by the “Photo Sales Company”.
Interesting that Price’s Shanghai album included this standard cover page found in so many pre-war China albums. I’ll assume that the fine signature was executed by the Photo Sales Company artisans.
Photos from Major Price’s tour at Peking:
Maj Price on left, with the Commander of the Legation Guard, Col Little (C)
Here Major Price, at the Marine's summer camp outside Peking, appears to be wearing a British sun helmet.
Two excellent portraits of the Legation rifle and pistol teams.
Price’s Peking album contains a wonderful series of photographs recording the Marines marching through the countryside outside the city. Note several Navy Corpsmen (in whites) are visible in some of these images. These hikes, used for conditioning, were held year round regardless of weather.
Price added a series of images of the Legation Guard touring around the city. These photographs showed the Marines at various tourist or historical locations. The director of the Legation Guard YMCA led these events.
Maj Price’s son Charles Jr. The young Price had an excellent command of Chinese and frequently rode with the Mounted Detachment to act as an interpreter. Returning late one evening from a dinner party, the Major caught the young boy having a house servant bring him a whiskey…as he had seen his father do so often following his rides in the country. See the “Learning a Language” section to read more about this amazing boy.
This album is filled with photos of horses and horse racing. The detachment commander, Colonel Louis M. Little, shown here is leading one of his horses at the Peking race track. Little greatly enjoyed riding.
While Major Price was at Peking he witnessed a continuation of conflicts between various Chinese warlords. A portion of his album is dedicated to images of these battles and the troops that passed through or near Peking.
At one time in 1925, feuding warlords actually cut the rail line between Peking and Tientsin prompting international guard forces along the coast to attempt to force passage via an internationally manned train. Usually these guards would be made up of Americans, British, French, Italians and Japanese. The two American Army officers to the center and left are wearing unit devices in their caps and are probably 15th US Infantry officers.
Here is a formal portrait of the British Legation Guard. Note the fur caps are similar to what the Americans were wearing.
The annual International Guard force photo, c. 1926-27
Photos from Colonel Price’s tour as commander of the 4th Marines, Shanghai:
During Declaration Day (Memorial Day) each year the men of the 4th visited the American Cemetery in Shanghai to lay wreaths at the graves of Marines buried in the city. A number of these graves date from the early Twentieth or late Nineteenth Centuries.
These Marines have formed up to take part in the Declaration Day ceremony.
The Shanghai albums are filled with pictures of the Marines engaging in sporting events. Here we see their Kendo team.
During the 1937 Battle for Shanghai, while monitoring the fighting, the Marines actively collected any information they felt might be of intelligence value. In this case the 4th Marines benefited from sympathetic news service photographers who turned their telephoto lens on Japanese river craft moving along the Wangpoo River and Soochow Creek. The Price albums contain several pages of various Japanese river craft as well as assault teams operating across the Soochow creek.
The album is also filled with a number of images of Colonel Price inspecting Marine positions along the Soochow while fighting raged across the river.