The British West Indies Regiment mutiny, 1918 – Steven Johns

The British West Indies Regiment mutiny, 1918 – Steven Johns – Initially, the Secretary Of State for War Lord Kitchener believed that black British soldiers should not be allowed to join the forces, but King George V’s intervention – combined with the need for men – made it possible.

Thousands of West Indians volunteered. Their initial journey to England was perilous, with hundreds of soldiers suffering from severe frostbite when their ships were diverted via Halifax in Canada. Very many had to return home no longer fit to serve as soldiers, with no compensation or benefits.

In 1915, the British West Indies Regiment was formed by grouping together the Caribbean volunteers. This should not be confused with the West India Regiment, founded in 1795, which was normally stationed in the British colonies in the Caribbean themselves.


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