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Pilot Officer Strachan was famous for his hair-raising but clever way of escaping German fighters. The West India Committee has revealed its archive and collection from the First World War as a part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project. In 1946, it returned to the West Indies and was disbanded. German U-boats and Italian submarines attempted to disrupt the Allied supply of oil and other material. Colonel H. Wilkin, OBE, MC, they prepared for the arrival of detachments from the West Indian islands, each under its own officers. The regiment never saw front line action. We were definitely positively told that the Germans wanted us because we were a stepping stone to the coast of America. The West Indians that came from the Caribbean to World War 2 were approximately 50,000 including women who joined the Army Territorial Service (ATS). Caribbean soldiers fought in both WW1 and WW2 The Caribbean soldiers were later praised for their high morale and cheerful demeanour in the … Billy learned so fast that he was allowed to fly solo after only seven hours’ training. And that’s why I joined up in the ATS and went into the British Military Hospital at Kingston.’. We didn’t grow up with any Jamaican thing - we grew up as British. Morosini torpedoed Stangarth and oil tankers Oscilla and Peder Bogen. Oh, yes! World War II Royal Air Force servicemen from the British West Indies, A. O. Weekes of Barbados (left), and A. Joseph of Trinidad (right), during World War II. The recruits were drawn from all over the British West Indies; most were members of local Volunteer Defence Forces. Yet there is evidence that some Caribbean soldiers were involved in actual combat in France. Enrico Tazzoli torpedoed Cygnet and the oil tanker Athelqueen. One man to respond was Billy Strachan. ', ‘Down in Kingston town, at a place they call Parade, they had two lists put up - a list of men reported missing and a list of men reported dead. As a crew, we did everything together. ", In 1942 Billy Strachan became a bomber pilot. Giuseppe Finzi torpedoed Skane and oil tankers Melpomere and Charles … A few officers and non-commissioned Officers were also drafted in from British Army units. Of these, The Second World War pitted two alliances against each other, the Axis powers and the Allied powers; the U.S having served 16 million men, Germany serving 13 million, the Soviet Union serving 35 million and Japan serving 6 million. There had been resistance from the War Office to form the West Indian regiment, but those who made their own way to the UK were able to enlist in the British Army. Germany was later on joined by Japan and Italy to suppress the rest of the world, they were known as the Axis powers. In turn the next day Britain and France formally declared war against Germany and swore their allegiance as a result of defending democracy. This was the last straw. Britain's first Memorial to the African and Caribbean soldiers of the First and Second World Wars has been unveiled in London. However, the exact figure has been disputed, with the Soviets estimating the number to be about 20 million (approximately 13.7% of the population at the time). At 5:00 that morning, a vast Italian army under orders from fascist dictator Benito Mussolini crossed the Mareb River and into Ethiopia where they ordered the people of the country to turn on their Emperor Haile Selassie.Those loyal to the emperor fought with all of their might to keep their country free from fascists, but the might of the Italian army was overwhelming. Caribbean Soldiers from WW2 Black Soldiers in WW2 In the early years of the second world war, Britain made frequent requests for help from its colonies. Soldiers of the Caribbean: Britain's forgotten war heroes.....Fighting for King and Empire: Britain's Caribbean Heroes, which airs at 21:00 BST on 13 May BBC Four. There were plenty Caribbean Women serving in WW2. If you ever wonder why the history books fail to acknowledge the African Caribbean involvement in World War 2 , watch this program tonight . So much so, … Then I flew back to the airfield. The Battle of the Caribbean refers to a naval campaign waged during World War II that was part of the Battle of the Atlantic, from 1941 to 1945. ‘I was given a decent Methodist upbringing. He loved playing tricks, joyriding and paying unauthorised visits to friends on airfields all over England. A collection of photographs taken by a US soldier in Trinidad and Tobago from 1943 to 1944 provides a fascinating look at the nation during this period. A detachment of 104 officers and men from the Atlantic island of Bermuda, made up of volunteers (conscription had been introduced to Bermuda shortly after the declaration of war, but those who were drafted to the Caribbean Regiment volunteered to do so) from the Bermuda Militia Artillery and Bermuda Militia Infantry, arrived on two ships on 13 and 23 April 1944 to form the training cadre of the new regiment at Fort Eustis, a US Army base near Williamsburg, Virginia. I know that some of us fared badly. But when asked what he wanted to do, he replied at once: "Retrain as a pilot!" Around 6,000 West Indians served with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air With more experience, and a generally higher degree of education, many of the Bermudian men were made non-commissioned officers and distributed around the regiment. On September 1st, 1939 Adolf Hitler and his German Nazi’s invaded Poland and attacked from their battle ship. I hadn’t seen it at all - and I was the pilot! They were recruited for the Royal Air Force. So we were on our tenterhooks all the time.'. Billy Strachan gained two more promotions to become Flying Officer and then Flight Lieutenant. Improved Allied anti-submarine warfare eventually drove the Axis submarines out of the Caribbean region. I knew I simply couldn’t go on - that this was the end of me as a pilot! We never thought it would happen to us. well over a 100 were women who were posted overseas - 80 chose the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) for their For Africa, World War II began on Oct. 3, 1935. Here’s a TV programme that deserves a big audience this week as we continue to mark the 70th anniversary of VE day: Fighting for king and empire: Britain’s Caribbean heroes. Some of the Caribbean soldiers had already trained for deployment to the Pacific. "No, Sir," he hastily corrected, "It is I who call you ‘Sir’.". 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