King’s African Rifles Memorial in Zomba designated as the CWGC official point of commemoration for over 1,300 Malawian soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War
Barry Murphy, Director of Operations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and David McDonald, Operations Project Manager for the Non-Commemorations Programme were honoured to agree a formal partnership with the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and the government Department of Museums and Monuments. This collaboration forms a key part of the work of the Non-Commemorations Programme to rectify historical injustices and remember, by name, when possible, all those who died in the First World War.
The newly established alliance between the three organisations will designate Zomba’s historic clock tower memorial – referred to as ‘the tower’ – as the official point of commemoration for Malawians from the First and Second Battalions of the King’s African Rifles who lost their lives while serving the British Empire during the First World War. Their names had not previously been held in CWCG records.
(L-R) Commander of the Malawi Defence Force General Paul Valentino Phiri and Director of Operations CWGC Barry Murphy meet in Zomba, September 2023
This is a significant development in the important collaborative work CWGC undertakes to research, better understand, and where possible commemorate by name the contribution of personnel from countries across Africa and India during the First World War who had been overlooked – from Malawi to South Africa, to Egypt, Tanzania, and Kenya.
Over the coming weeks, research will be completed to attribute the names of those who died and who are not commemorated elsewhere within CWGC’s global casualty database. The designation of this memorial is the first stage in a broader programme of work with partners in Malawi to raise awareness of First and Second World War heritage sites across the country.