Medal of honour

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 September, 2010, 12:00am

Wu Lizhong, 21, lived in the village of Changxindian, Linzi district, Zibo city, and was the eldest of eight brothers. Poverty had forced his parents to sell their eight-year-old son to a family in Qingzhou. Wu was determined to make enough money to buy his little brother back and when he heard Britain was recruiting Chinese workers, he promptly signed up. Having passed the examination, Wu received 120 silver dollars; 80 of which he spent on buying his brother back.

In France, Wu worked at the front, distinguishing himself with his carpentry skills. He was injured in battle and transported home. Permanently disabled, he was unable to look after himself, so the brother he had bought went to live with him. Wu, who never married, died in the 1930s. On the medal he took home from Europe is the number 67690, probably his workers' code.