Following the publication of our report into historical cases of non-commemoration, CWGC has been actively taking steps to right those historic wrongs. It will be a long road, but we have taken the first steps to address the ten recommendations of the Special Committee and this update forms the first of a regular feature to keep you, our stakeholders, informed of our actions. Here are some of the recent highlights.
The search for names
Every name we find is a memory reclaimed and a small victory. We have established two additional research posts to target the search for the names of the uncommemorated. In addition, we are in the process of establishing research teams around the world to enable us to scour archives in East and West Africa, India and the Middle East.
Until we know how many names we may find, it is difficult to quantify what our physical commemoration programme might look like, but new names have been found and are in the process of being verified. We will share more in our next update.
While the search for names continues, the names of 412 individuals who served with the King’s African Rifles and Sierra Leone Carrier Corps, are in the process of being accepted for inclusion in our records. The majority of the names were presented to us following research by the In From The Cold project team. Our sincere thanks to them and their volunteers.
On a recent inspection tour, our team in Mombasa examined a memorial in Mwele Ndogo in the Shimba Hills of Kenya that is not currently part of the CWGC estate.
The memorial carries the names of members of the Arab Rifles who died while serving with Major Arthur Wavell in 1916. The names of these men are not in CWGC’s war records but are now in the process of being accepted for commemoration.
We are currently establishing ownership of the memorial with a view to potentially adopting it as the official place of commemoration. In the meantime, our colleagues on the ground have carried out an inspection of the memorial and its surrounds.
An overwhelming response
Following the publication of the report, we received more than 150 offers of assistance from individuals, institutions, groups and associations around the world. We are heartened by such support and many are already providing significant help in our search for names and planned community engagement activities.
In the interests of greater transparency, you will begin to see historical notes appearing against some memorials and cemeteries on our website. Using the new “quill” icon, these notes will explain historical issues with certain locations and where CWGC has taken steps to rectify them.
Resources and Planning
A project of this nature requires considerable planning and resource. Over the last two months, we have established a project team to implement the Special Committee’s recommendations. Chaired by CWGC Director General Claire Horton CBE, the working group consists of research, operational and education/engagement strands and plans are well underway to implement the Special Committee’s ten recommendations.
We have also begun the search for additional support on the ground in Kenya, Tanzania, India and Egypt and have entered into a highly promising partnership with the Museums of Kenya. Work has also started on our education and outreach programmes.