[HMS Cockchafer, 1881 - the famed British Banterer-class composite gunboat trapped inside Danshui Harbor during the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf/Sino-French War]
Alexander Frater* reported on March 13, 1885:
"...I went up yesterday to the city of Taipei in accordance with an arrangement made with the Imperial Commissioner to see the heads of some of the Frenchmen that were killed during the fight of the 8th of October last, so as, if possible, to pick out Lieutenant Fontaine's one. Dr Johansen, the medical attendant on this consulate who consented to accompany me, was of the greatest assistance as a scientific man; and I am glad to say that we succeeded in identifying the head, even though it was almost a bare skull. I brought it down to Tamsuy with me, and buried it in the consulate grounds till the views of deceased's family can be ascertained. I shall send a separate report about the recovery of the head to Earl Granville [Note: probably the Foreign Secretary who instructed Frater to recover Lt Fontaine's head] direct..."
Two points: (1) Clearly Liu Ming-chu'an's claim that the heads of the Frenchmen were already buried in Oct, 1884, was not true; and (2) Burial of Fontaine's head in the "consulate grounds" was apparently a temporary measure; although we still do not known what Fontaine's family views were.
*Notes on Alexander Frater: Age on first appointment of China consular service: 22. Father's occupation and place of residence: Assistant city chamberlain, Aberdeen.
He retired as consul at age of 52 due to ill health. Age of death: 53.
Remarks: nominated by Aberdeen University. Previously was War Office clerk.
[This post is based on Fung-yin's new find.]