This website presents the recorded history of China Marine Pete George. Follow his story from December 1939 when he joined the US Marine Corps, picked to serve in Shanghai July 1940, evacuated to the Philippines November 1941 and surrendered on the island of Corregidor May 1942. Read his account of boot camp, traveling in the Pacific, living in Shanghai, surviving the bombardment and invasion of Corregidor and being taken as a POW.
Pete George was wounded in action the night before surrender and struggled with shrapnel in his leg for 12 hours before receiving medical treatment. It would be ten days before an American doctor would remove the shrapnel with no anesthetic. Pete's captivity included forced labor, physical beatings, mental torment and malnutrition that would last 3 1/2 years in the Philippines and Japan until liberation on September 5, 1945.
" On 28 January 1927, the 4th Regiment received orders to embark for expeditionary duty in the Far East. Thus began a 15-year tour in China, protecting the lives and property of American citizens in the International Settlement of Shanghai. The Marines never engaged in combat during all those years, yet they successfully carried out their mission, though next door to the Chinese revolution and the pitched battles of the Sino-Japanese war. …. The International Settlement had its origins in the Opium War of 1842 when Great Britain forced the Chinese to grant full trading privileges and the right of residence at Shanghai. ….. By 1927 the city had a population of about three million. It was the leading port of China, the gateway to the vast Yangtze Valley. "
" The International Settlement was a Western enclave in a hostile city of three million inhabitants. About half of its boundary rested on natural barriers — Soochow Creek on the northwest, and the Whangpoo River on the southeast. .... Great Britain, with the most at stake, contributed the largest contingent — a division of about 13,500, consisting of three infantry and four artillery brigades and an armored car company. 19 Other elements included 3,000 Japanese, 1,505 Americans, 230 Italians, 160 Spanish, 130 Portuguese, and 120 Dutch. In addition, there was the Shanghai Volunteer Corps, a local militia of 1,426, equipped by Great Britain and trained and commanded by regular British army officers. .... A sign of progress during the years of garrison service was the acquisition of a new regimental designation. By order of the Commandant, the regiment changed its name on 13 February 1930. From that date, the 4th Regiment was officially designated the 4th Marines, a change which applied to all regiments in the Marine Corps. "