100 years of Service and Sacrifice 

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes” Maya Angelo 

As we mark 100 years of the coming together of some of Britain’s oldest Remembrance traditions, the Royal British Legion is marking the service and sacrifice of the hundreds and thousands of men and women of African or Caribbean origin or descent, from Britain and the Commonwealth. We will be sharing over 100 stories over ten weeks up until the end of Black History Month on a dedicated page partnering with Black History Month.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) is dedicated to ensuring the Remembrance of the service and sacrifice of all those that have done so much to defend Britain’s democratic freedoms and way of life. Remembrance is not about glorifying war and its symbol, the red poppy, is a sign of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.​ This idea of Remembrance is shared in all our online learning resources, which are free to download from rbl.org.uk/TeachingRemembrance.

As a country Britain is united by a shared history of service and sacrifice, communities up and down the country, across faiths, cultures, and backgrounds, have since the First World War, and in some cases before, have served as part of, or alongside, Britain’s Armed Forces. We firmly believe that Remembrance should be an opportunity for people and communities to come together to remember that shared heritage.

In our acts of Remembrance, the RBL remembers the breadth of contributions and the diversity of the service and sacrifices made, we remember,

  • The sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth.
  • Pays tribute to the special contribution of families and of the emergency services.
  • Acknowledges the innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict and acts of terrorism.

From the fields of Flanders in the First World War to the jungles of Burma in the Second World War, from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desserts of Iraq, across seas, oceans and skies, to the streets and hospitals of Britain, black men and women have served, and continue to serve, with courage, honour and compassion. We hope that the stories of this service will help highlight what so many have given over the last 100 years and demonstrate that across Britain’s Armed Forces and emergency services, the vital role played by black men and women goes on.

Our Stories for Black History Month

The story of Black British and Black African and Caribbean service and sacrifice is one that we are keen to share, a story of men and women who have done so much in defence of Britain and in protecting all our citizens. A story that is replete with stories of bravery and courage, as epitomised by Victoria Cross winner Johnson Beharry.

Each week for ten weeks we will be sharing new stories of men and women who served in the First and Second World Wars and who served, and continue to serve, thereafter. These individuals came from throughout Britain and the Commonwealth, served across the Army, Royal Navy, RAF, or emergency services, each in their own way, giving their today for our tomorrow.

The stories and experiences we will be sharing are the threads that tie individuals, families, and communities together in our common shared heritage, they shine a light on the immense contribution made by black men and women over centuries in fighting for, rebuilding, healing, protecting and securing Britain even at times when British society has been slow to appreciate it.

contribution made by black men and women over centuries in fighting for, rebuilding, healing, protecting and securing Britain even at times when British society has been slow to appreciate it.


Finding this quite difficult to grasp. There is a singular reluctance to acknowledge the contribution of George Arthur Roberts, a founder member of the RBL when it was still the NFDDSS. He seems to merit only the briefest mentions and no remembrance at all. I just don’t understand it.

This autumn Eden Girls School in East London is researching the forgotten histories of black and Asian contribution in WW2. If you have a family member who served, and would like to share their story, please contact the school on 07593 336138 or info@egwf.staracademies.org. More info at http://www.remembertogether.uk

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