The Caribbean honours its overlooked WW1 soldiers

Ask ex-servicemen in Antigua and Barbuda about their country’s contribution to World War One efforts and the response will be delivered with ample pride and a touch of pique.

This Remembrance Sunday at 11:00, as they do every year, they will join their counterparts around the world and gather at the nation’s Cenotaph to commemorate their fallen, but overlooked, heroes.

Precisely a century since the Great War ended, the stories of the Europeans who fought for freedom are well documented.

Far less is known about the 16,000 men and women from the Caribbean who voluntarily enlisted.

These nameless men and women of colour have been “airbrushed” from history, says Keith Eastmond, of the twin island nation’s Ex-Servicemen’s Association.

“We have no definitive number for how many people from Antigua and Barbuda joined the war efforts,” he tells the BBC.

‘Keen volunteers’

“The Caribbean was keen to support the mother country, as they saw it then,” he continues. “But Britain was reluctant to let West Indian soldiers fight white Europeans in those days.”

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