BME’s Contribution during WWI


During the First World War , the British Empire mobilised approximately nine million soldiers, and almost a million of them never had the chance to return to their homeland. There were another two million soldiers who returned from the battlefield with various kinds of physical injuries from rifles and gas. Mental illnesses such as shell-shock (PTSD) were also very common among the veterans. Even though there were nine million soldiers who fought for the British Empire, many of their contributions were forgotten, predominantly the soldiers from the Commonwealth and ethnic minority groups.

Over 1.5 million Indian Soldiers served on the Western Front during World War I, and as many as 70,000 of them lost their lives. Besides India, soldiers from the Caribbean and Africa were also recruited. There were around 20,000 soldiers from the Caribbean who fought for Britain during World War I and at least 180,000 African troops played a significant role in the campaign against Germany in East Africa.The British Government recruited around 100,000 Chinese Labourers to form the Chinese Labour Corps, which were responsible for constructing essential infrastructures for the war effort. Many of the BME soldiers were being discriminated against during First World War, and most of them could hardly move past the rank of Sergeant. Nonetheless, they were still loyal combatants who were ready to sacrifice for their country.

It has been 100 years since the Armistice Day of the Great War, but it is still crucial to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for their beloved countries during the First World War- white British soldiers but also soldiers from the Commonwealth and minority groups too.

Marvin Kwang,blogs,forums/ww1-chinese-labour-corps.htm