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Roll of Honour for Nigerian War Dead goes on Display

28 November 2012

The CWGC has placed a roll of honour on public display at its Head Office in Maidenhead in Berkshire, to commemorate Nigerian servicemen who fell during the two world wars.

The Roll of Honour, taking the form of a memorial book, commemorates all the casualties previously commemorated on the Nigeria and Lagos Memorials. These formed part of the Nigerian National Memorial in Lagos, which was dismantled some years ago. There are now plans to build a new memorial. 

The Nigerian National Memorial commemorated 944 First World War casualties and 1158 African soldiers from Nigeria who died during the Second World War and whose graves could not be maintained or located.

The majority of those who died during the First World War were commemorated on the Lagos Memorial. They served as carriers with Commonwealth regiments that fought in Cameroon and East Africa. The war, in both theatres, was one of constant movement over harsh terrain against a formidable enemy. The African carriers suffered from shortages of food and water. Very few carriers lost their lives to enemy fire; most died as a result of disease, exhaustion or malnutrition. It's feared the actual number of Nigerian dead was much higher than that originally recorded on the memorial.

The 1,158 men commemorated on the Nigeria Memorial all saw service in the Royal West African Frontier Force during the Second World War. They were deployed in East Africa and in Burma, with one brigade operating behind Japanese lines.

This form of alternative commemoration is not new to the CWGC. There is a similar Roll of Honour on display listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq.