An investigation by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission found that black and Asian soldiers who fought for the empire were not properly remembered.
As many as 350,000 black and Asian workers who died fighting in Britain may not be remembered as much as their white counterparts for “racism”, the report concluded.
A study released by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), in its report released Thursday, estimates that between 45,000 and 54,000 people from Asia, the Middle East and Africa who died in World War I were remembered “unequally”.
“Another 116,000 people have been killed [predominantly, but not exclusively, East African and Egyptian personnel] but perhaps 350,000, have not been remembered or recalled, ”states the report.
The program of @CWGC today received a report by a Special Committee set up to review previous non-commemorative cases and is committed to fulfilling its ten precepts in detail. Read the full report and respond, here: https://t.co/AMBwPTFhkZ pic.twitter.com/aBc7X3XoQt
– CommonwealthWarGraves (@CWGC) April 22, 2021
The CWGC is working to remember those from the Commonwealth’s armed forces who were killed in the two world wars and to ensure that all those killed are remembered in the same way, their name written on stone at a famous cemetery or in memory of the missing.
He apologized for the inconvenience.
“The events of the last century were wrong then and now,” said Claire Horton, CWGC chief executive. “We recognize past mistakes and are deeply saddened and take action to correct them.”
‘Watering the waters’
The CWGC ordered the report in December 2019 after Unremembered, a video surveillance report submitted by Labor Party opposition MP and shadow lawmaker David Lammy.
An unforgettable study found that Africans killed in World War I were not treated the same way and revealed the example of a British ambassador: “Ordinary people on the Gold Coast cannot understand or appreciate a headstone.”
It also highlighted how African military cemeteries have been abandoned in Tanzania, while European resting places continue to be maintained.
According to a report on Thursday, an officer who later worked for the CWGC and intervened – the Imperial War Graves Commission, said: “Most of the dead are violent”, and have determined that the laying of stone may be a waste of public funds.
The study said that the decisions that made it difficult for them to remember the dead properly – or at all – were due to ignorance, mistakes made by other organizations, and ideas of colonial rule.
The report concluded: “What made all these decisions possible was a misconception, a past opinion and a prejudice against the monarchy of today.”
United Kingdom Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace is expected to address Parliament on Thursday’s findings.
Lammy hailed the report as a “water-filled moment”.
“There is no apology that can restore the anger that Unremembered experienced,” he tweeted.
“However, this apology gives us the opportunity as a nation to take advantage of this evil trait in our history – and to pay tribute to every soldier who gave his life for us. History is long but looks at the truth.”