Musician of the East Asian Expeditionary Corps



Photo © Karsten Herzogenrath

This is a posed photograph taken in Berlin, Germany in the Summer of 1900, prior to the deployment of the Expeditionary Corps to China. It shows Hilfshobist Franz Weigelt of the 1st Prussian Company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd East Asian Infantry Regt ("3. Ostasiatische Infanterie Regiment") carrying a long oboe.

He wears the East Asian Expeditionary Corps Khaki Uniform, consisting of a dyed yellowish-khaki tunic ("Drillichrock") with a standing collar, six buttons to fasten the front, one left breast pocket and two hip pockets. His shoulder straps are white and a red stylised regimental number 3 can clearly be seen. His status as a musician is shown by the coloured swallows nests on his shoulder, while his rank as a Hilfshobist (equivalent to a Gefreiter or Lance Corporal) can be determined from the button on his collar, just above the shoulder strap (see close up below). The button would have carried a Prussian eagle emblem.

He wears the straw hat which was standard summer wear for the first batch of the Expeditionary Corps to be sent to China. It is held up on the left hand side with a large imperial cockade above a smaller black/white/black Prussian cockade. The straw hat was supposed to be worn like the Schutztruppe Sudewester, held up on the right hand side, although it is not uncommon to see soldiers wearing theirs the wrong way around. Note the white band around the base of the hat to denote the 1st company of an infantry battalion. Note also the adjustable leather chinstrap. 

His yellow-khaki trousers are worn loose over black leather marching boots. He carries full marching order equipment including a backpack with tent section wrapped around the top and sides as can clearly be seen. The equipment is in black leather with a belt buckle bearing the Prussian crown and the motto "Gott Mit Uns". A long S98 bayonet can be seen at his left side. He has leather pouch on the right side of his belt which cannot be seen clearly enough to positively identify it. It may possibly be a pistol holster or perhaps cleaning equipment for his woodwind instrument.

Franz Weigelt - A cutting attached to the photograph identifies this soldier as Franz Weigelt from Niederwürschnitz near Chemnitz in the Kingdom of Saxony. Prior to his enlistment in the 3rd East Asian Infantry Regiment he served in the 1st Company of the 3rd Prussian Foot Guards ("3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß") based in Berlin.

Detail of the same Photograph

Please respect the generosity of Karsten Herzogenrath in sharing this photograph with us by not reproducing it without prior permission. 





Please contact me here if you have other photographs of the German colonies or the soldiers and sailors that served there. I am especially keen to hear from people with family photograph collections and am always happy to try to assist in identifying uniforms, units, places and dates for family history research.

Back to Main Menu for German Colonial Uniforms