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r/AskTheCaribbean
r/AskTheCaribbean
14
Posted by3 months ago

Were people of color (from the Bahamas, Jamaica, etc.) allowed to enlist in the British armed forces during the old days like during WW2?

I know during the time Jim Crow was still in effect in the USA even in the armed forces prior to president Truman's desegreation in 1948, people of color weren't allowed to be in the frontlines like their white counterparts... at the time black people were only assigned maintenance jobs such as being mechanics, fixing vehicles or even assigned as cooks, etc.

In comparison, how were people of color from the carribean or west indies treated by the British military (if they were allowed to enlist), were they allowed to fight in combat?

6 comments
94% Upvoted
level 1

Yes, the UK sourced people from its colonies during WWII

12
level 1
· 3 mo. ago
Jamaica 🇯🇲

Yes. The British actively recruited troops from Jamaica during WWI. They didn't during WWII because of pro-independence unrest at the time, but some Jamaicans did travel to the UK and enlist then too.

Norman Manley, who was in many ways the architect of Jamaican Independence, fought in WWI. He was mixed race.

9
level 1
· 3 mo. ago
Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

I’m a fan of the Time Ghost army YouTube channel and they cover extensively both world wars and this is a topic they have discussed.

In short, the USA army stands out for segregation among its troops and there were even situations in which American soldiers actually fight it out on the street of allies countries over this issue.

I’m talking about American soldiers objecting to black soldiers from the British empire hanging out in bars and other places where they socialized.

In Australia there was even a big fight against New Zealandern soldiers because the Americans didn’t want Mäori soldiers (natives to NZ) among them.

In the UK American officials even wanted bars and restaurants to enforce segregation laws like they had in the Southern USA and in one town they responded by placing “blacks only” signs in their establishments.

There’s a lot of information about this, so just check that YouTube I told you about and their other social media posts.

5
level 1
· 3 mo. ago
Barbados 🇧🇧

Barbados's first PM, Errol Barrow, was on a bomber crew in ww2, flew on about 45 missions.

2
level 1

Yes, my Bajan great grandfather served in the British navy

2
level 1
· 3 mo. ago
St. Vincent & The Grenadines 🇻🇨

Yes. In fact, my grandfather was apart of the British Navy during WW2. He did experience racism but not as much as when he went to America as a merchant marine though. I don't think he fought any major battles but was assigned to protect what was then the British West Indes.

1

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