Africans in WWII

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Red Shrek, Jun 4, 2007.

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  1. I was inspired to start this thread by the D-Day thread. This topic is near and dear to my heart as it is RARELY talked about. Also my now late gradfather came was a memeber of the 81st West African Division and he saw action in Burma where he lost a leg. I just want to educate some folks out there who may not know this aspect of British Commonwealth history so enjoy and add links if you have any.

    We were there
    Good start
    The Black Tarantulas
  2. Some history being researched in Sierra Leone with the IMATT. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) celebrate Myohaung day as their battle honour. They recently recovered their colours which were looted by some Nigerians on ECOMOG I seem to remember. Perhaps some one on the IMATT(SL) or the BMATT Ghana could post something.
  3. Well said, R_S. Good links. I have seen the tarantula and other West and East African formation badges displayed with honour at Burma Star functions.
  4. I was struck by this man's motivation:

    How promising things looked for Britain and Gold Coast then and what a disappointment events have been since.
  5. I'm glad that you guys are checking the links out.

    @Ex Stab, I have to agree with you on how the hard work on the part of those veterans have been wasted.

    As an aside in light of the Pun VC case, it should be noted that the african vets who fought for the Commonwealth got one time payments of around 20 pounds back in the days and told to go on their way. Before he died my grandfather was disappointed at what he felt was an abandonment by the UK govt. Thoughts anyone?
  6. Cow

    Cow LE

    Interesting reading, having been to Ghana and Sierra Leone it's something I hadn't thought about but wish I could have looked into at the time, I'm sure there are some veterans out there who would have liked to have met our unit(s).
  7. My grandad served in the Ivory coast as an RASC Sgt with Africans there a picture of him and a few other brits in amongst the Coy. He died whislt I was too young to find out more about it :cry:
  8. "Kullum Shirri!"

    The black tarantulus is still the emblem of HQ Southern command in the Ghana Armed Forces although it faces down rather than the up on the version at the National Army Museum site.

    There has been some work on the history of these units/formations in recent years:

    A couple of years ago S Addae had a book printed called A Short History of the Ghana Armed Forces which has quite a bit on the Gold Coast regiment and its antecedents. At 400 pages long this book is still only the abridged version of his much larger work.

    Jon Riley's (relatively) recent biography of Gen Hughie Stockwell, who commanded a W African Div in Burma, also has some interesting material. I do find however that at least one of his comments, calling rice the W African staple, are slightly coloured by his own experience in Sierra Leone than a wider knowledge of W Africa.
  9. As with Pun VC many of the black South Africans who soldiered in WW2 got short shrift when going home. Many of them were given only a bicycle and a great coat and sent on their way, while some of their white brethern were given farm land. One of the few good things the ANC government has done is give these guys a war pension but 50 years on I hope it's not too little, too late.