The 1897 View of the Recent ARRSE Furore

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by JoeCivvie, Apr 9, 2012.

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  1. I stumbled across this recently, and thought it worth posting in light of the recent hoo-ha about using proscribed words.

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  2. One thing I found out today was there was two black members of D Coy Ox and Bucks who took Pegasus bridge.

    I've heard about a West Indian and a Maori pilot in the RAF but anyone know how common black soldiers were in British Infantry units during WW2? I'm not talking the West African rifles etc but more your Devon/Sussex/west kent type regts.

    I know there was a bit of "disquiet" between the yanks and the Brits on the segregation of black soldiers and more than one punch up over it.
  3. The Septics had form on that. In WW1, when paucity of numbers forced them to arm their black soldiers and put them into the field, no US officer was willing to take command and have the 'dishonour' of commanding Negroes on his record (many also feared that they would sooner train their arms on Whitey than on Fritz). As a result they were put under French command, the French no doubt being thought to have no honour of any note to besmirch. US command did however send along a sort of 'owners manual' to the French, telling them that Negroes must never be praised, complimented, socialised with or awarded any decorations, for fear that they would get 'uppity' as a result. The French, whose own views on race relations could have done with a lick of paint, were so dusgusted that they gathered all copies of the American orders together, and ceremonially set them alight.

    NOt only did black Americans win a number of French gallantry awards, a fair few of them were sufficiently impressed with their treatment that they stayed in France, quite a few New Orleans types making their way to Paris and laying the foundations of the European jazz scene.

  4. I only found out recently that Cy Grant, a well-known black singer in the UK the 60's was an RAF Fl. Lt. who served as a Navigator in Lancasters. He was shot down in 1943 and ended yup in Stalag Luft III.
  5. Paras had a few, also one at Arnhem in Recce. First World War, Northumberlands had a few, which they called Burnt Geordies :)
  6. It's interesting that the word n**ger seems to have been regarded as pejorative even then:-

    'A gigantic guardsman who was asked his opinion put the general feeling pretty well when he said, “They may call ‘em niggers, Sir, and all that, but from what I can see they are as white as the rest of us inside,'

    The word 'may' gives it away. If the quote is accurate I find it quite surprising, I always thought such language was used innocent of the negative taint with which modern sensitivities have imbued it.
  7. I heard the same. Apparently if a group of white GIs walked into a bar any black servicemen had to leave the premises, which the Brits were none too impressed with.

  8. The term nigger only came into general usage as a pejorative term after WWIi, another American import. Darkies was the home grown term in general usage.
  9. And on occasions resulted in them getting a spectacular hiding when the GI's told British black soldiers to clear off. One of the things the Yanks did find troubling is the almost complete absence of overt racism in Britain in WWIi and the unwillingness of the British population to play by their segregationist rules.
  10. There were also a fair few Americans of the Baby Boom generation who were named 'Devon'.

    Apparently this was as a result of their father being posted to that county whilst training for Overlord. It was the first place where they'd been treated as equals by the inhabitants, and many retained fond memories of the place as a result.
  11. I believe the problem was that the Construction Battalions (CB's) deployed to UK first of all to build the infrasturcture to house the huge numbers of fighting troops that were to arrive in time. The former were predominantly black and the latter, white. Consequently, when the whites did arrive, they found that the black soldiers has built up relationships with the local people who objected when the segregation rules were applied. This was particularly true in the more rural areas of England, such as the West Country, where there was no culture of racism - at that time.
  12. My First Squadron was 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, at RAF Wittering in the early sixties when the squadron re formed with Victor B2s. The connection with Jamaica got us a jolly over there for the independence celebrations; they had a thriving RAFA club in kingston that did a great hospitality and lethal rum punch.

    Caribbean aircrew in the RAF during WW2 » DSO
  13. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Particularly liked this quote:
    'Puerilties' no less!

    This is simply untrue. There are many sources from the Victorian era that confirm that the term 'Nigger' was used in a pejorative sense towards both Africans and Indians (in this regard the British can claim to be more inclusive than the Americans). Most famously Edward VII whilst he was still the Prince of Wales during his visit to India in 1875-6, was appalled by the way that Britons there treated his mother's Indian subjects.

  14. There was a thread on this some time back, started I think by discussion of a BBC programme on the W.Indies airmen, commemorated on the BofB memorial at Runnymede.

    As for the post about US officers not wanting to command "coloured" troops, why do you think "Black Jack" Pershing was called that??