Item:
ONSV5082

Original U.S. WWII China Marine USMC Boatswain Whistle Bosun Pipe

Regular price $295.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. A boatswain's call pipe or bosun's whistle, as it is more commonly referred to, is a pipe or a non-diaphragm type whistle used on naval ships by a boatswain. It is pronounced, and sometimes spelled, "bosun's call."

This example consists of a narrow tube (the gun) which directs air over a metal sphere (the buoy) with a hole in the top. The player opens and closes the hand over the hole to change the pitch. The rest of the pipe consists of a 'keel', a flat piece of metal beneath the gun that holds the call together, and the 'shackle', a keyring that connects a long silver or brass chain that sits around the collar, when in ceremonial uniform.

This whistle was made for a China Marine in China as clearly seen by the traditional Chinese dragoon design on the keel. It is offered in very good functional condition. It measures 5.5" in overall length.

The term China Marines, originally referred to the United States Marines, of the 4th Marine Regiment, who were stationed in Shanghai, China from 1927 to 1941 to protect American citizens and property in the Shanghai International Settlement, during the Chinese Revolution and the Second Sino-Japanese War. Those Marines stationed at the embassy in Peking and the consulate in Tientsin referred to themselves as North China Marines.

Due to the cheap labor available, China Marines lived a relatively comfortable lifestyle, with each squad able to hire Chinese men to do its cleaning and run its errands. This, plus the inexpensive goods available on the local market, made assignment to the China Marines highly coveted.

Most of the China Marines were withdrawn in November 1941, but the North China Marines in Peking and Tientsin were scheduled to be withdrawn on December 10. (All weapons and ammunition except rifles and pistols had been crated and shipped by rail to the embarkation port.) However, Imperial Japan attacked the United States on December 7, and the Marine Embassy guards, plus a fourteen man Naval medical detachment, a total of 203 men, were captured and held as slave labor until the war's end in August 1945. A 204th man, a retired officer who had been living in Peking and recalled to duty, was immediately released. He continued living in Peking until he was included in the roundup of civilians and sent to the Weihsien civilian internment camp in March 1943. He was returned to the states on the exchange ship Teia Maru in Sep 1943. The last commander of the China Marines was Colonel William W. Ashurst.

With the rapid expansion of the Marine Corps during World War II and the capture of the rest of the 4th Marine Regiment at Corregidor, the surviving China Marines were few in number and highly regarded.

After Japan's surrender, the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, also known as China Marines, were sent to occupy northern China from 1945 to 1948.

On January 31, 1996, Marines from the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines, as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), Special Operations Capable (SOC), made their first visit to Shanghai, China, since World War II. The 31st MEU-SOC visited China again on November 22, 2006, during a port visit to Zhanjiang.
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