Black British Soldiers

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

  1. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Taken from "Leading The Way To Arnhem", seems a little short of the heart wrenching words in Mr P first contribution, very well done Paul for bringing all the story to the front of the class.
     

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  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    why don't we ever see photos of them in uniform? the only pics i have found of blacks in brit uniforms are of the African regts. like the Kings Royal African Rifles.

    I think that one of the fundamental answers to this question is that considering the hundreds of thousands of men who served, we don't actually see that many photographs of the British in uniform. I've been almost right through the IWM collections and never found a photo of my Dad or my Grandad - hardly any of their units either !:rolleyes:

    Compare the tiny quantity of images available with those that come up for sale from German albums of their servicemen.

    Photography was actively discouraged and forbidden in many areas. Working class families simply didn't have cameras. Apart from the odd studio shot for the folks at home, any wartime photograph of British troops prior to the invasion of Germany (and the 'liberation' of their cameras) is fairly uncommon.
     
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    From British Army Uniforms & Insignia of World War Two:

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=71352&stc=1&d=1325624606
     

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  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Looking at the pics in this post first pic could be Roland (Nocker ) West 156 Para........ that Paul mentions in a earlier post, look at his features then read this..... born India
    resided India
    son of Jock and Margaret West
    grandson of Mrs E.M. Fleming,Dehra Dun,India
    KIA Arnhem Roland James West - PARAS - Special Forces - Roll Of Honour
    Having had a good look at the pics here ParaData | A living history of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces and those I compared earlier I am of the mind that pic 1 in the Paradata pics and the SFROH are the same guy I would also add that the boxing pic is of the same guy.......but pics 3&4 on Paradata while being the same person are not same guy as above anyone!!!
     
  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I'm glad to see this thread finally took off.

    Here's a chap from the 7th Battalion (L.I.), The Parachute Regiment. I was reluctant to post as I know nothing about him. He's far right, fifth row from top, third from end on the April 1944 battalion photo found here.
     

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  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

  7. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to see this thread finally took off.

    Here's a chap from the 7th Battalion (L.I.), The Parachute Regiment. I was reluctant to post as I know nothing about him. He's far right, fifth row from top, third from end on the April 1944 battalion photo found here.

    Nice picture Cee,another observation about the photo. The man directly below him 4th row 5th from the right also looks black/asian or at least mixed race,what do you all think.
     
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Dave I cropped the picture in that way to include the fellow you mentioned to see if there would be reaction. I'm unsure myself - though there is a possibility?
     
  9. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    Dave I cropped the picture in that way to include the fellow you mentioned to see if there would be reaction. I'm unsure myself - though there is a possibility?

    Well I would say he is definitely not of European heritage,maybe North African?
     
  10. gunbunnyB/3/75FA

    gunbunnyB/3/75FA Senior Member

    WoW! when i posted this question i thought it would only get a couple of hits and go on its merry way, but it looks like i may have started something here.
     
  11. Buteman

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

    A couple of years ago, I was taken with some Vets to the basement archives of the town hall in Rijkevorsel in Northern Belgium to look at some WW2 artefacts and photos. I was amazed to see a photo of a black soldier walking through the ruins of a local town. I took a photo of his photo, but sadly it did not come out.

    The photo would have been taken in the area liberated by the 49th (Polar Bears) Infantry Division. When I get back to that area in the future, I'll have to go back to the Town Hall and ask if I can have a copy.
     
  12. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    WoW! when i posted this question i thought it would only get a couple of hits and go on its merry way, but it looks like i may have started something here.


    Well threaded gunbunny:)
     
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  13. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Not sure of this chaps nationality, I suspect he may have been South African. Seen with my Father and 2 mates serving with either 2nd or 5th Camerons North Africa 42/43. I posted it to at least show that he was accepted as just another soul putting his life in the firing line, unlike the American forces where coloured personnel were wholly discriminated against. Asked a couple of vets this morning if they saw or met any coloured soldiers and they said only the poor american buggers in the Ardenne.!!
     

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  14. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    There was a 'Darkie' Banes in D company 2nd ox&bucks,here he is back row third from the right.
     

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  15. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    In regard to the confusion about Keneth Roberts from Pauls pic in post 1 to my link here from post 17 Kenneth (Darkie) Roberts - PARAS - Special Forces - Roll Of Honour my guy is in a group pic that appears on page 60 of Leading the way to Arnhem, it was taken in March 1944 and shows private K. Roberts third row down 6th from left.
     
  16. Bernhart

    Bernhart Member

  17. La-de-da-Gunner Graham

    La-de-da-Gunner Graham Senior Member

    Not quite WW2 but there is a black sailor commemorated on the plaque on Nelson's Column. He is shown as first on the left holding a musket. His name is known but I cant remember what it is.

    Keith
     

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  18. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    I have posted on this elsewhere as I am researching a book on a black British trooper in the 10th Hussars - Joseph Small was 20, a black Liverpudlian with a father from Sierra Leone and a white British mother (my wife's great aunt). Joe was called up for the army in 1939, and was killed in the action defending the Seine bridge at St Pierre de Vauvoir near Rouen on 10th June 1940. My calculations based on the black population at the time would give a very rough figure of one black British soldier per regiment - 10th Hussars was about 5-600 men wartime complement and there may have been one other black British soldier. I had heard that A Bridge Too Far mentions two or three black soldiers involved but I'll have to go back and reread. It's extraordinarily difficult to find any trace of black British soldiers - airmen is slightly easier (see post above) and very few in the Royal Navy, almost all Merch I would think. There was no official segregation or colour bar in the British forces unlike in the USA so no separate history. Both Imperial War Museum and Army Museum drew a blank on Black British soldiers. If anyone has any information I'd be grateful and happy to share my research. How did I miss this thread? Nice post Paul Pariso thanks.
     
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  19. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Joe Small was though, in fact, mixed race ;)

    best of luck with your efforts
     
  20. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Absolutely - he was born just before the race riots in 1919 that killed Charles Wootton - his mother Mary had her house daubed with paint and was attacked in the street. Historically, the descendancy of your race has made less difference on the street than the colour of your skin in Liverpool - or Bristol, or Cardiff, or London. The worst race troubles during the second war in Liverpool were caused mainly by white American troops, often from southern states who just couldn't hack the general tolerance shown to mixed race marriage or relationships. Yet the Tenth Hussars, a traditionally polo playing, pig sticking cavalry regiment had no trouble accepting him it would seem. It's a fascinating story, thank you for your good wishes and thanks to all the great posters on this site who have proved Antony Beevor and other 'professional' historians wrong - we are the footsoldiers of history.
     
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