In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the week where ceremonies have been held throughout the UK to reflect the meaning of the sacrifices made, Jacqui Grant adds here a documentary on the contribution of the British West Indies Regiment to the long list of people who played a role in the war.
First World War history predominantly relates the conflict as a white man’s war. As a result, the contribution of over a third of the colonial manpower drawn from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, remains absent from public consciousness.
This documentary was researched, written and narrated by Jacqui Grant for the BBC as a personal thanks to the Caribbean forefathers who risked their lives to fight in a war more than 4 thousand miles from home for King and Country. The documentary relates the arrival of the first wave of West Indian recruits in East Sussex in September 1915 for military training at Seaford’s north camp, the appalling conditions they suffered at the camp, and poor treatment by their superiors; the subordinate role they played in the war; their victorious defeat of the Turkish army in Palestine before the end of the war… it also reflects the personal story of Timothea James from St Lucia who located the final resting place of her Great Uncle whom she’d grown up hearing about as the man who went to war who never came back.
This documentary was informed by historian Richard Smith at Goldsmith’s University, local author and chronicler of the Seaford Museum and Heritage Society, Kevin Gordon and supported by the narrative voices of Edward Wareing, Pip Henderson and Kemar. It was produced by Simon Furber at the BBC. More information can be found on this documentary on the BBC website / World War 1 at Home series.