The Caribbean's Great War: The West India Committee's Unique Perspective

Delegates taking part in a moment of silence at launch event
Delegates taking part in a moment of silence at the launch event

Heritage Grants

LONDON, London
The West India Committee
The hidden history of the Caribbean’s contribution to the British war effort during the First World War was revealed thanks to this project.

The West India Committee. was at the heart of the British Caribbean’s war effort, responding in 1915 to the British Government’s decision to accept much needed servicemen from the West Indies. Over 16,000 Caribbean men volunteered and went on to serve in Flanders and the Middle East both in combat and logistic roles.

The project brought these contributions to a wider audience for the first time. An exhibition was held at the Museum of London housed in West India Quay. A short documentary film, an interactive ebook, education pack and a dedicated website were also created. 

The West India Committee’s archive the only comprehensive primary source material on this aspect of the First World War. It has recently been inscribed as a UNESCO Memory of the World.

Now available online are the war diary of the 1st Battalion the British West Indies Regiment, images, newspaper cuttings, committee minutes from the period and a digitised version of the book Jamaica’s Part In The Great War by Frank Cundall, published in 1925.

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