Black British Soldiers

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

  1. snailer

    snailer Country Member


    These are all of R.E's taken I think in 1941 and seem to be in a studio setting. Whether they are from the West Indies or British I'm not sure, they are in a box which includes a lot of white Engineers also but there is no indication as to where they were taken.
    Hope they are of interest.




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  2. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

  3. sqady

    sqady Junior Member

    you can find many black or carabean s that served our country and thers
  4. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Snailer, what a post!

    That last pic is a claassic!

    many thanks for the contribution

    Hope they are of interest.
  5. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    you can find many black or carabean s that served our country and thers

    This is something many of us were aware of, although photographically they were not as well represented as their white counterparts.
  6. peaceful

    peaceful 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.!!

    Was just browsing this thread this evening and recall my late dad,
    Ian McColl , RAF ground crew, assigned to the BLU, speaking of the American forces- "Only the black ones were of any use". He wasn't one to mince words.

  7. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Some West Indian and Guyanan Radio Operaters served with SOE as WTOs during WWII, some as base station operators, some as instructors at STS and a couple as operational WTOs.
  8. Fossil Phil

    Fossil Phil Junior Member

    A story which I don't believe has ever been told before; the 3rd Irish Guards Training Battalion spent the Battle of Britain summer based at Dover Western Heights manning the old Victorian defences on the hill opposite the castle. Their War Diary narrates a very curious tale during an invasion exercise.

    On August 26th 1940 the Western Heights defences were put on Alert as an exercise. The newly repaired century-old drawbridges into the North Entrance of Grand Shaft Fortress were raised but two soldiers and an officer were marooned outside by accident. The officer is described as a 'coloured' and of the Royal West Kent Regiment - they were stationed at the nearby and connected Citadel fortress at the time. The drawbridge had to be lowered by the Guards to rescue them which wasted considerable time.

    I wonder who this officer was? The Battalion would have probably been the 50th (Holding) Royal West Kents.
    dbf likes this.
  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In the 16/5th Lancers we had one black man as far as I recall- married to a white girl and lived in Reading after the war - he was called "Darkie" Wilson - with no offence given - or taken ..
  10. Poor Old Spike

    Poor Old Spike Discharged

  11. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    In the 16/5th Lancers we had one black man as far as I recall- married to a white girl and lived in Reading after the war - he was called "Darkie" Wilson - with no offence given - or taken ..

    'Darkie' most certainly wasn't taken as an offence according to those black veterans I have spoken to. The reception given to most black soldiers arriving in this country from abroad seems to have been positive. It all became somewhat different after the large wave of immigration into the UK after 1948 - perhaps we had shorter memories then. I think Tom's report of one black British soldier in the regiment is about par for the course, according to my somewhat crude calculations.
  12. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    what about black WAAFs, Black ATS and Black WRNS ?? We'd take anybody then, nationality, colour, race didn't seem to come into it to me and "Darkie" was no more than "taffy", "jock", "scouse", "Chalky", "Dusty" or "Basher" etc.

    The RAF in particular was probably the most diverse fighting force in the history of the world and I don't think for one second that any bomber crewman would have thought even for a second " I'm not going to sacrifice my own life for my fellow crewman X because he's "different" to me.

    I salute them all, equally
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  14. gunbunnyB/3/75FA

    gunbunnyB/3/75FA Senior Member

    gotta love any photos of gunners,lol!
  15. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior 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?
  16. red ling

    red ling Member

    This is taken in Rome Feb 1945. My father was with ISLD, MI6 (on the right) Unfortunately I do not know the names of the 2 others with him.

    Attached Files:

  17. bootneck42

    bootneck42 Junior Member

    Hello Cee,
    just a quick note, my Father served with the 7th (L.I) Btn in WW2. As I recall there were a Black/Asians in the Battalion, one being Sgt Sidney (Darkie) Cornell DCM killed over the Rhine crossing April 1945 and also an Asian called Choudhury too, hope this helps.
    Cheers Geoff
  18. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Thanks Geoff - very interesting!

    There's no telling at this point if it's the same two men in the 7 Para crop, but it points strongly in that direction.

    ParaData has a good write up on Sgt. Cornell, along with his citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal which I'll link to below. He lost his life sadly in the terrible explosion at Neustadt Bridge, April 7th 1945, which took the lives of 27 B Company men. His citation leaves little doubt how highly regarded he was by his fellow Paras.

    Sergeant Sidney Cornell, DCM - Paradata

    Distinguished Conduct Medal Citation for Sidney Cornell - ParaData

    Nothing has turned up on Choudury yet, but thanks so much for this excellent information.

    Regards ...

    Attached Files:

  19. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    'Darkie' most certainly wasn't taken as an offence according to those black veterans I have spoken to. ......

    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".

  20. Sussex by the Sea

    Sussex by the Sea Senior Member

    There was also another black soldier who was killed at Arnhem, Darky Williams, cannot remember what Battalion.


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