Monday, 29 October 2018 00:00

Norfolk Black History Month Commemorates the Black Volunteers of WW1

Written by  Paul Dickson
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Norfolk Black History Month Commemorates the Black Volunteers of WW1

Supporters of Norfolk Black History Month gathered at Norwich War Memorial on Sunday, October 28 to commemorate the service of 1.5 million people from Africa, the Indian sub continent and the Caribbean, who volunteered to fight for the UK in World War I.

Danny Keen, Chairman of Norfolk Black History Month made a speech at the commemoration in which he also explained that a total of 1.5 million African people lost their lives in in the War. Most of these people were bearers, not soldiers, nor were they volunteers; they were workers carrying weapons and supplies. This great loss of African lives has been largely forgotten.

Danny Keen then said: “At the end of World War I, the authorities made it their official policy to forget the service of African and Caribbean volunteers. Africans and Caribbean servicemen were not represented in the post war victory marches and celebrations. Today, we honour their service as we approach the centenary of the Armistice. 

As a Norfolk resident, I am proud that two sons and one daughter of Thetford, both of whom had grandmothers who were African slaves, served with outstanding gallantry. Major Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, and Captain Noel Glaysier Minns MC, DSO, MD served during World War I, when the military rule book banned black or coloured people from becoming officers. Princess Sofia Duleep Singh opened a hospital and tended to wounded soldiers herself, she was also a prominent suffragette, and went to India to promote the rights of her people.”

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Read 241 times Last modified on Sunday, 13 January 2019 15:35