Black British Soldiers

Discussion in 'General' started by gunbunnyB/3/75FA, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. bootneck42

    bootneck42 Junior Member

    just a thought, Sidney Cornell wasn't promoted to Sergeant until after the D-Day operation, I am almost sure he is on both Battalion photos, The April 1944 photo he is seated on the ground right hand side as you look at the photo, and I would be lead to believe that the Paratrooper in your photo snippet is that of "Darkie Cornell" himself. But don't quote me, as we need to get this confirmed. I have somewhere the whole role call of the Battalion, I will dig it out and try to find more on Choudhary for you....
    Again all the very best
  2. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Be careful with such a statement.
    The fact that the "victim" has the courtesy not to object/respond to it, does NOT mean that deep inside he agrees or welcomes it !

    Factors of influence are the time of the moment, who is the individual to be incorporated in what dominant group, what acknowledged rights/defence one has , what effect does it have to object, etc.

    In a different later time , in a different social team, in a different setting, I got placed as a rooky and was immediately named "blackie".
    Sure everybody got a "nickname".. but I did not CHOOSE that nickname myself, and certainly I did not have the balls to speak up against the troop leader...and even if he'd ask then , or 30 years later "ha-ha-ha, but seriously, you really didn't mind ?" ..I'd damage my relationship with these pals if I'd say "yes, it annoyed me like hell".
    Of course, i'd say "not at all, all was fine...ha-ha-ha".


    Absolutely agreed and am all too aware of the implications of such a statement - confess I am basing this on the reactions of a few men, including a friend of my dad's, a West Indian soldier with whom he played football. What he did say was that he took this in the same tone as 'Taffy' applied to Welshmen or 'Jock' to Scotsmen, but of course this doesn't mean it didn't annoy or offend him. I am also aware that we are dealing with a different era, pre-1948 and the Windrush immigration.
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Many Britons had nicknames - and many still do - but nothing to object about - people from Liverpool were wacs - Glasgow- jock or mac - Ireland -mick or paddy - then the old one " wog' - a person from Egypt and beyond - "wily oriental gentleman"

    One day on a busy building site with many nationalities working this gentleman from the East complained to the supervisor that his comrades were being most unkind in calling him names and this was Racial Discrimination etc..

    At the mention of the R word - the supervisor opened the window - leaned out and shouted "hey - Mick - Mac - Paddy - Wac- leave the Wog alone....

  4. Fossil Phil

    Fossil Phil Junior Member

    The son of Dr.Harold Moody, the founder of the League of Coloured People in Britain, was a Charles Arundel Moody, commissioned into the Royal West Kents in 1940 and reputedly the case that broke the colour bar on British black officers in WW2. He ended up as a Colonel and I wonder if that might have been him? I believe three out of six of Dr.Moody's children were commissioned in the armed forces in WW2 and two others served as doctors.

    Anyone got their war diary for the period - or the Irish Guards?

    Apologies for the tardy reply. Fantastic - that's him. The 50th Royal West Kent War Diary based at The Citadel in Dover records 2/Lt CAM Moody transferring in on the 7th June 1940 straight out of training at Maidstone. Hellfire Corner would therefore have been his first operational duty.
  5. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good morning gunbunnyb/3/ soldiers.your statement,quote,not trying to be racist? then try refering afro-britich citizens(especially service men/women)as coloured,rather than black,the word is offensive to a person of this day and age.have a good day,bernard85
  6. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Sorry, I missed your comment. I think I have him (Cornell?) to the right front as you say on the November Battalion photo. I'll add two others to the left front, one of whom looks like the other fellow on the April shot. Not sure about him, but the third looks to be of Indian origins.

    There are others I could point to as well, but at this stage it's a bit of a guessing game. Unfortunately the scan is not that great.

    Thanks for that ... :)

    Edit: Lost Pics Replaced

    Attached Files:

  7. astie

    astie Junior Member

    A b ook you may find interesting on this topic is "Fighting For Britain"
    African soldiers in the second world war. by David Killingray
    ISBN ;978-1-84701-047-6

    It's a pretty damn good book in my meagre opinion and certainly well worth a read as it covers all areas of involvement by African soldiers during WW2.

    Of special note is Capt Seth Anthony from the Gold Coast regiment - The first African soldier to be appointed a commission. Joined up in the 5GCR at the start of the war and promoted to Sergeant. Sent to Britain in 1941 for officer training at Sandhurst. Saw action in Burma with the 81 (WA) Division between 1943 & 1945, returned home as Acting Major and given an MBE.

    Pretty amazing in my book.
  8. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Don't forget 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron had Darkie Bolton a Liverpudlian of West Indian origin and served in D Troop, and a photo can be seen in John Fairley's book Remember Arnhem, i would post a pic but i am unable to as my printer is knackerd.
  9. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Reddevon - will have to get hold of that book as that's definitely the first black scouser other than Joe Small that I've heard of - if anyone else can post a picture that would be great as Fairley's book is anywhere between £25 and £50 online? I found a referencein a WW2 re-enacting forum to a Cecil 'Darkie' Bolton from Trinidad who fought at Arnhem so I'm presuming that's him.
  10. Rumdoodle

    Rumdoodle Member

  11. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

  12. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    I first saw this photo in the Basement Archives of the Gemeente in Rijkevorsel 5 years ago. At the end of a ceremony to honour 4 Belgians and an Englishman today, I asked if I could have a look at their pictures again. You can't normally get in, so I was very lucky. The guy who showed me around scanned and copied a photo of a man outside [SIZE=13.63636302948px]St Willebrod's Church [/SIZE]in the small town of Rijkevorsel at the end of September 1944

    The 49th Division liberated this area, so he must be one of their men.

    Black Soldier in Rijkevorsel.jpg

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
    Guy Hudson, CL1 and Owen like this.
  13. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Some have served since the 18th century mostly as musicians in some of the 'fashionable' regiments indeed the 4th Queen's Own Royal Hussars had a spot of bother with authority but being the progressive regiment it was, carried on as before: bandsmen british army bands&f=false
    CL1 and dbf like this.
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    in the 16/5th lancers we had one called "Darkie" Wilson - married and lived in Reading as I recall - nice guy was with us at the

    Vienna Tattoo - have a photo somewhere of him

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Could he be Artillery with the Quad type motor and Gun behind him?
  16. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    On this subject it's interesting to read Small Island by Andrea Levy. A novel about the Jamaicans who joined up to fight for the "Mother Country."
    Part of the book goes into the diffent attitudes of American and British forces to their black colleagues.
  17. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member


    Indian born but served in the Pioneer Corps - under the stuck on bits on the right his complexion is given as "Dark", from Ancestry he died in Slough in 1988

    CL1 and Drew5233 like this.
  18. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Ramacal - brilliant post and well done for your patience and persistence in getting into the building finally. I think that's one of the few pictures I've seen of a black British soldier on active service as it were, on a battlefield. I think some detective work is required - we're talking 49th Division, end of September 1944 right?

    Tom - be interesting if you could dig out the picture of 'Darkie' Wilson? I went to see the granddaughter of 'Darkie' Baines over the summer and I'll write something up as soon as I get a moment, although they knew very little about his wartime experience, they were lovely people and very welcoming.
  19. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    OK - for 49th Division artillery 1944 I get:

    69th Field Regiment RA
    143rd F/R RA
    185th F/R RA
    74th F/R RA
    and 55th A/T Regiment RA
    89th LAA Regiment RA

    If we assume he's in the artillery, then it's more likely a field regiment if Drew surmises correctly by the background detail. Also, he doesn't appear to be wearing infantry webbing, but he might have taken that off of course? He's wearing a leather jerkin over his battledress and is that a Lee Enfield Mk4? I'm no good at this stuff....Gives me an excuse to buy a book though - Patrick Delaforce I presume? Hopefully a Polar Bears expert will be along at some point....
  20. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    In a (post war) letter to my Father an old comrade mentions at least one and maybe two black soldiers serving with 5 RHA .
    The writing is difficult but he mentions I think a "Darkie Myrethal" although that does not necessarily mean he was black ,and a black Liverpudlian called "Hush Ashton?"

    Attached Files:

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