We are glad that the terrible treatment of the African Carrier Corps is being brought to the public’s attention. It is a matter of huge regret that the names of these men and women were never registered as war dead. The CWGC Askari monuments in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Mombasa are permanent reminders of that loss, and a memorial garden is already planned in Kariakor in Nairobi.
One sadness about the way the programme was made is that it didn’t give us the chance to tell people about the things we are already doing to correct some of these historic gaps in commemoration. Our involvement in the “Unremembered” programme was very limited, and we haven’t seen any documentary evidence to back up some of its claims, but we would very much welcome the opportunity to see Prof Barrett’s source materials as we explore what can be done to put right these century-old wrongs.
We want to do the right thing, and welcome the opportunity to talk about the challenge of where, historically, the IWGC did not provide the equality of treatment in commemoration we’d now expect, and as we committed to in our Centenary Strategy in 2017, we’re conducting a full review of our commemorations, to look at the difficult issues that remain, including where our treatment of casualties was unequal, to ensure that none of the fallen of the First and Second World War are unremembered – even if their commemoration cannot be identical. We welcome engagement with researchers, and our archives are open to all.