As armistice day approaches, we remember the millions who died not only in the two World Wars but in in conflicts since. It is a day of national remembrance but it is not just about British men and women. The contribution that men and women from Britain’s empire played in the war effort should not be forgotten – thousands of whom also died for Britain.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the cemeteries and memorials for the 1.7 million people who died in the two world wars in 153 countries. Their website provides a database of the men and women who are remembered (although there are many who are not named).
But as men and women from the empire came to join British forces, many of their bodies were not repatriated and many were buried or cremated in Britain or in the fields of war. Rupert Brooke’s famous poem, ‘The Soldier’ talks of:
If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England
Well, similarly there are parts of Britain that are for ever Indian, Canadian, South African, Australian etc.
A quick search of the cemeteries in Glasgow brings up many who originated from these countries and were buried in Scotland. Just two examples include –
Peter Mathai, a 20 year old Indian who served in the Navy during World War Two
Annie Winifred Munro, a South African nurse, who died during World War One.
So on November 11th, remember their contributions too.