The exhibition (brought to you in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the London Borough of Waltham Forest) is entitled ‘We Were There’ and highlights the often under-recognised contributions made by men and women from Africa, Asia, the West Indies and other Commonwealth countries to both World War I and II. This is the first time that an exhibition of this nature has ever displayed in East London and arrives on the back of Commonwealth Day, the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Some of the vast contributions made by such countries include:
Trinidad & Tobago loaned a total of £5.9 million to the British Empire, a huge amount of money for small country who only turned over £30.6 million in the same period1
West Africa made staggering £1.5 million financial contribution2
British colonies made a total contribution of $124 million to war charities in the form of gifts, interest free loans and other materials3
The opening ceremony will see leading military figures, politicians and celebrities such rapper Bashy and radio presenter Henry Bonsu in attendance to show their support.
A spokesperson for the MOD commented: “We are delighted that ‘We Were There’ will be visiting the London Borough of Waltham Forest thanks to the support of AHEC. The exhibition is designed to raise awareness of the contribution made by Britain’s ethnic minorities to defence over the past 250 years and aims to offer visitors a wider and more inclusive perspective of our military past.”
AHEC (www.ahec.org.uk) is a charity that works with people of all ages and backgrounds in London to promote a positive image and understanding of African culture and traditions. Given today’s tendency for different cultures to collide often with negative consequences, AHEC’s efforts have drawn praise from all quarters as they work to promote a positive image and understanding of African culture and traditions.
The exhibition will be open to the public between the 11th and 13th March (10am – 5pm) at Waltham Forest Assembly Hall (Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4JD). Entry is free to all.