The MoD: We Were There
c/o Defence Schools Adviser Team
020 7807 8935
020 7807 0777
The Ministry of Defence's We Were There touring exhibition honours the invaluble contribution made by the ethnic minorities to the Armed Forces for more than 200 years.
Many of us are aware of the historical contribution made by Gurkhas to the fighting strength of the British Army, and the involvement of troops from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa during the two World Wars. However far fewer of us know about the contribution made by military and civilian personnel from other parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth; particularly those from Africa, the Indian sub-continent, the rest of Asia (including Hong Kong) and the West Indies. The men and women from these countries served in theatres of war throughout the world, many in the front-line, working as infantrymen, pilots and seamen. Others worked in the essential support services, such as medicine, logistics, transport and labour.
This photographic exhibition celebrates the vital yet little known contribution made by these people, the descendants of whom now form part of our richly diverse ethnic population in the United Kingdom.
Today, in the Ministry of Defence and in the Armed Forces, we are providing opportunities for people from all sections of the community, and all ethnic origins to join, and to rise within the organisation purely on merit. We have made a great deal of progress in recent years to remove the barriers which used to prevent this happening and to change attitudes, but there is still some way to go. The stories in the exhibition remind us that those who are serving now, and those who will be serving in the future, do so within a proud tradition which deserves greater awareness and respect.
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