he forgotten soldiers: the British colonies soldiers during WWI (1/2) Source 2: Hindus and Muslims, displaying flags of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, collecting clothes to be burnt as a part of the Non-cooperation movement, 1922.
Source 3: “The forgotten soldiers”
More than four million men and women from Britain's colonies volunteered for service during the first and second world war. Thousands died, and many more were wounded or spent years as PoWs (prisoners of war). Yet throughout the rest of the century, their sacrifice was largely ignored. “When [Britain colonies soldiers] arrived, they often found that fighting was to be done by white soldiers only - black soldiers were assigned the dirty, dangerous jobs of loading ammunition, laying telephone wires and digging trenches. Conditions were appalling. Blackman (a black soldier from the colonies who enrolled when he was 17) rolls up his sleeve to show me his armpit: "It was cold. And everywhere there were white lice. We had to shave the hair there because the lice grow there. All our socks were full of white lice.“ (…) "They called us darkies," he says, recalling the casual racism of the time. "But when the battle starts, it didn't make a difference. We were all the same. When you're there, you don't care about anything. Every man there is under the rifle."
“The West Indies Regiment experienced racism from the Germans as well as the British. "The Tommies (term for a common soldier in the British Army) , they brought up some German prisoners and these prisoners were spitting on their hands and wiping on their faces, to say we were painted black," says Blackman.”
Simon Rogers, the Guardian, Monday 10 November 2008
Source 1: “the empire needs men”, 1915
the forgotten soldiers: the British colonies soldiers during WWI (2/2)
Source 4: a seppy prisonner
In December 1915 a British expeditionary force was besieged by a strong German-led Turkish army at Kut Al Amara on the Tigris River. The garrison, two thirds of which was Indian, surrendered on 29th April 1916. During the period of captivity in Anatolia many died from heat, disease and neglect. This emaciated sepoy was photographed after he had been liberated during an exchange of prisoners.
War loan. Back the empire with your savings. Invest now. LOC Summary: Poster showing a lion, symbol of the Source 6: War loan. Back the empire with your savings. Invest now. LOC Summary: Poster showing a lion, symbol of the British Empire. LOC Notes: Poster no. 21. Date Created/Published: London : Parliamentary War Savings Committee, 1915. World War 1 recruitment poster provided by LOC. Original medium: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 75 x 50 cm.