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DirtyDick

Black soldiers in WW1 British Army

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Guest helloworld

i am the great grandson of george greig, fathers fathers father . i heard he was to receive a medal from the queen but refused it as he was the king (ariki) of the cook islands and thus bowed to no man (or woman) ....email trickies@gmail.com

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aodhdubh
The regulations were directed against ‘aliens,’ which meant that Jamaicans, Canadians etc were not discriminated against because they were subjects of the crown and not aliens. Therefore it was not only in favour of British born people, but anyone from the Empire. It came from the same fear, which gave rise to the Aliens Act, a fear of being ‘swamped’ by migrating East Europeans – sounds familiar.

I'm reminded of Sir Philip Gibbs encountering Winston Churchill peering over the shoulders of soldiers in the London streets as they were being used to combat Russian gangsters armed with an automatic weapon(s?)....He commented on the wave of Russian emigrants then in London, and how they had introduced cigarettes to Britain (previously, there had only been cigars and pipes...)

Of course, Eastern London has seen succesive waves of French Hugenots, East European Jews, and others. Most have created ethnic quarters, and seem to have dominated some aspect of the cloth trade, before going native, earning money, and dissipitating, to leave neighbourhoods for the next wave of immigrants. I've long suspected that the Mile End military kit supplier, Silverman's, having begun as a used clothing dealler, and operated by a family of Silverman's, carries on a tradition of Jewish textile trade in East London that later came to be associated with south Asians.

Of course, Britain has been absorbing immigrants for millenia, and I don't mean just succesive waves of conquest by various Germanic (including Normans...and Francs, for that matter) invaders, or earlier Celtic, or Indo-European conquests, either.

Celtic Britain took in waves of (other Celtic) refugees, as The UK later did. As a Roman province, still Celtic Britain absorbed immigrants from throughout the Roman Empire. This included North Africa. I've read that, in their fashion of moving military units, recruited from the peripheries (and composed of soldiers whose loyalty to, and identification with, Romania was debatable, having so recently been barbarians beyond the borders), to other regions, the Roman Army moved units raised in Africa to Britain, and African soldiers must have contributed to the gene pool, whether or not they settled in Britain on leaving the Army (I doubt the Roman army had a policy of returning a soldier to the place of his enlistment on his number coming up!)

Of course, the population of North Africa, at that time, would have been similar to that on the other side of the Mediteranean, so long before the Arabs invaded the Empire from the South. How many of those soldiers in Britain were Black Africans, I don't know, but I did enjoy watching a BNP loyalist foam at the mouth at the suggestion that Blacks were contributing to the British population, and genepool, when his Anglo-Saxon ancestors were still savages in the forests of Northern Europe...He cared less for the notion that, considering what genetic studies have revealled about the way genes spread through a population, he almost certainly would have African ancestry, himself, from those same Afro-Romans, assuming his ancestry in Britain dated back that far...

But...I've gone off on one of my tangents!

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harribobs
but I did enjoy watching a BNP loyalist foam at the mouth at the suggestion that Blacks were contributing to the British population,

yeah, me too :lol:

what a shame we've lost so many good pictures from this thread

pearoast gents? opps... repost?

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aodhdubh

Life has it's moments...lol

Actually, a thread I just started in Soldiers turns out to be relevant to this one..I'll just copy and paste, rather than explaining why:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...&st=0&p=333094&

Bermudian Joseph Symons KIA 1918???, Help! All I have is a name and date...

Actually, I don't even have a precise date, only KIA about 20th July, 1918.

Where? I don't know.

What service? I don't know.

What unit? I don't know.

British service? Canadian? I don't know.

Rank? I don't know.

The only thing I do know is that his name was Joseph Symons, and it appears on the Bermudian roll of honour.

He is noted as having served in a unit other than one of the two local voluntary ones, each of which sent two drafts to the Western Front - although there was a Gunner named J. Symons in the Bermuda Contingent, Royal Garrison Artillery, in France (he appears to have survived the War).

If anyone can be of any help filling in any details, I'd be grateful.

Me

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi

Joseph Symons

Private

14123

10th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Soldiers Died Cd gives his place of birth as St. Georges, Bermuda.

Enlisted in Glasgow.

Killed in action France and Flanders on the 22nd February 1916

CWGC website states that he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Panel 57 to 59.

This looks like your man.

Regards

James Brown

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow. That was a quick reply! I guess Ayrshire isn't that far from Glasgow, really...

Yes, that looks like my man. I was leaning towards a Canadian unit, if only because he's listed as being 'coloured', and more of the less-less-complected Islanders who served overseas, outside of the RGA, were in Canadian units.

But, hey...James Brown can probably dig it.

In any case, that's several vital bits of information. Thanks immensely. I mean, elephantine-sized kudos for you, James.

Me

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BeppoSapone
Black General?????

Brigadier-General Horace Somerville Sewell (1891-1953), who commanded 1st Cavalry Brigade from April 1918 until the end of the war, had the nickname of "Sambo" - see here

http://www.firstworldwar.bham.ac.uk/nicknames/sewell.htm

Anyone know more of his family background? It seems that there was a West Indian connection.

Just bringing this one back to the top, in case any newer members know anything about Brigadier-General Horace Somerville Sewell

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BeppoSapone
Strange as it may seem, I also recall hearing at some point during my studies that there were several black soldiers fighting during the English Civil War.

Cheers

Richard :)

Do you have any more details DD?

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Hedley Malloch

There are said to have been 30 soldiers in the Tyneside Irish recruited from the Arab South Shields sea-faring community. Because of their appearance and provenance they were known as 'smoked Geordies.' Speaking of Geordies reminds me that Paul Reed did a nice piece in Stand To a few years ago in which he revealed that the UK's most-decorated black WW1 soldier (ie he won the MM) came from Bedlington, Northumberland.

I think it is important to distinguish between the experiences of a named black soldier, or some black soldiers, which might have been quite positive, and the black soldier - that is, the collective experience of black soldiers which seems to have been very bleak

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BeppoSapone
I think it is important to distinguish between the experiences of a named black soldier, or some black soldiers, which might have been quite positive, and the black soldier - that is, the collective experience of black soldiers which seems to have been very bleak

Interestingly, in certain places and at certain times during WW1 blacks were not allowed to serve, even when they wanted to.

On the other hand, there was at least one black conscientious objector who ended up behind bars for refusing to fight in a European war: "Africa is my Fatherland..."

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Terry_Reeves

The Royal Engineers had a Coloured Labour Section which was recruited in the UK. It consisted of 224 men who were sent as a single draught to Mesoptamia and taken on strength there on 31st December 1916 under Captain DJ Marriot RE.

They were enlisted into the Inland Water Transport and were employed as crane drivers, clerks, motor boat drivers and as part of ships crews. They were returned to the UK at the beginning of April 1918. Unfortunately their origins are not clear.

Terry Reeves

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Borden Battery

Here is a link to a photograph of several Black soldiers from the American Expeditionary Force. These soldiers are all wearing the French Croix de Guerre which would possibily indicate they had experienced combat - I am not sure of the criteria for the awarding of this medal.

The notation with the picture is as follows:

"Some of the colored men of the 369th (15th N.Y.) Who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed. Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back row. Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Storms, Pvt. Joe Williams,. Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T.W. Taylor"

By an unknown photographer, 1919

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs

(165-WW-127-8) [VENDOR # 46]

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/picturing...twar_img27.html

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Jim Strawbridge
Here is a link to a photograph of several Black soldiers from the American Expeditionary Force. These soldiers are all wearing the French Croix de Guerre which would possibily indicate they had experienced combat - I am not sure of the criteria for the awarding of this medal.

The notation with the picture is as follows:

"Some of the colored men of the 369th (15th N.Y.) Who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed. Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back row. Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Storms, Pvt. Joe Williams,. Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T.W. Taylor"

By an unknown photographer, 1919

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs

(165-WW-127-8) [VENDOR # 46]

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/picturing...twar_img27.html

This is the photograph that I posted a while back. It keeps reappearing for sale on eBay and I suspect that some enterprising soul is running off copies and selling them now that the copyright has run off.

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pbrydon

I bought the attached photo of the 5th kings Liverpools because they show shoulder titles being worn as collar badges.It was only when the item arrived and I had a good look that I saw that one of soldiers at the back was a coloured man.

Peter Brydon

post-63-1147282982.jpg

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MIDMED

A draft heading for France 1918. 19th county of London Regt.

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Borden Battery

AMICUS No. 25363972

NAME(S): *Foyn, Sean Flynn, 1963-

TITLE(S): The underside of glory: AfriCanadian enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1917

PUBLISHER: Ottawa : National Library of Canada

SERIES: Canadian theses = Thèses canadiennes

NOTES: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Ottawa, 2000.

E-LOCATIONS: http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp03/MQ48151.pdf

STUDENT ABSTRACT: On March 28, 1917, the officers and men of the Number Two Construction Battalion (No. 2 CB) sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to serve with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). The departure of the No. 2 CB marked a turning point in a three year battle over AfriCanadian volunteers in the CEF. Although there were no official policies preventing AfriCanadian enlistments, many AfriCanadian volunteers learned early in the War that racist military and civilian officials did not want a "Checker board army" and that it was a "White man's war." Nevertheless, AfriCanadians and their supporters persistently sought enlistments. In the process they exposed the racist underside of Canada's war-time glory. Eventually, the No. 2 CB, a segregated non-combat unit was authorized. Although the No. 2 CB was not the military objective AfriCanadians had fought for, it was one of the few options available for AfriCanadians who wanted to 'do their bit' for Canada during the 'Great War.' As part of a small, yet, slowly developing body of work related to the AfriCanadian wartime experience, this thesis examens the key personalities and events that fostered the creation and recruitment of Canada's only AfriCanadian overseas military unit. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

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eltoro1960

It would appear that some people were overtly racist. This clipping from 1915 is barely plausible in this day and age.

post-12171-1174052663.jpg

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montbrehain

I am kicking myself , as somewhere (which I cannot find) I have a picture of a African Black soldier serving in the New Zealand army ( Canterbury,s I think ) I have put it somewhere so secure even I cant find it !.

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Michael Johnson

post-8221-1174251909.jpg

There were certainly many obstacles for blacks to join the CEF, however there were exceptions. I have a photograph of the Oakville Ontario company of the 164th Bn., and there are definitely two black soldiers in it, one of whom was Pte. Ira Johnson (see photo), who went on to serve in the Canadian Machine Gun Corps. His cousin Ollie Johnson went overseas with the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment, and was a noted track star, who only missed being in the Olympics because of questions about his amateur standing (he played professional baseball as well). Oakville had a fairly large black population because of its status as a station on the "underground railway".

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christine liava'a
I am kicking myself , as somewhere (which I cannot find) I have a picture of a African Black soldier serving in the New Zealand army ( Canterbury,s I think ) I have put it somewhere so secure even I cant find it !.

I wonder if he was the little African boy who came back to NZ with some Boer War soldiers, whom I saw a picture of the other day! Where did I see it?

Answer; Richard Stowers; Rough Riders At War p 58 NZers of 1st Contingent arriving back at Wellington on board SS Moana 15 Dec 1900. He looks about 10 or 12

He is standing next to no 181 Smith- Howard WardSmith of Invercargill, though that may be meaningless

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christine liava'a
post-554-1174282232.jpgThis is the photo

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linden

I'm so glad I asked this question ! This is all fascinating !

I wonder whether we can contact the man I saw on the Antiques Roadshow , I'm sure he would be interested .

During the summer Radio 4 ran a fortnight of programmes about the history of the Chinese community in the UK . I do remember one about their role in WW2 , but can't remember whether they covered WW1 .

Linden

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centurion

The Tank Corps had at least one black tanker. There is a photo of one of the few MK IX tanks with its crew, one of whom was black.

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HEATHERWAREHAM

Hello All I hope some can help me

I am looking for info on my husband site of the family there isn't much but been finding little bit at a time moving slow but that ok.. I was wondering if anyone has come across any info on a Leopold Adolphus Wareham b. May 25 1881 Married July 1 1926 to Hilda Jones b. 1903 I was told he was In the U.S Military.. He was born kingston Jamaica,

I have records of him being on the ship Brazos on October 2 1918 he was a Waiter Ethnicity: British, Afr blk he was 38 the ship departure: San Juan, Puerto Rico Manifest Line Number: 0011

I also have a Registration Card

Serial Number U2735 He was 60 at the time at the bottom left side of the form it saids D.S.S. Form 1 Maybe someone will know these forms. On the second part of the form there is a stamp on it LOCAL BOARD NO. 48 23

307 LENOX AVENUE 061

NEW YORK CITY 048

IT HAS HIS DESCRIPTION AND HAS PUT DOWN THAT HE HAS A TATTOO OF A HEART AND TWO HANDS ON HIS RIGHT FORARM... THE DATE OF REGISTRANTION IS APRIL 27 1942

I hope some can help I did search the Ancestry page and I did find something but my free trial ran out and it will not let me get the info.

He ended up in Nova Scotia, Canada because that were my husband Father was born in Yarmmouth, NS..

Thanks so much

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HEATHERWAREHAM

I just found out there was another person in our family in WW1 his name was George Stephen Johnson B. Dec 17 1894 Weymouth Nova Scotia At the time of his married in March 20 1917 he was a Soldier.. Thats all i know right know.. If anyone came across these names

George Stephen Johnson or Leopold Adolphus Wareham b. May 25 1881

Thanks for all you help

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per ardua per mare per terram
I have records of him being on the ship Brazos on October 2 1918 he was a Waiter

Sorry no one has helped you with this one before.

He may have qualified for the Mercantile Marine Medal, if he claimed it the Medal Index Card is offline at the UK National Archives, on microfiche in BT 351. There might also be some Sea Service Records for him; here is the research guide:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalog...?sLeafletID=128

Someone may do a look up for you, if you put a request in the look up forum.

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