When the War ended, citizens of the Empire were encouraged to come to Britain to rebuild bombed cities like Coventry. Image courtesy of Coventry Archives.
A groundbreaking new project that recognises the contribution made by citizens of the British Empire during World War Two is underway at Coventry’s Herbert Museum.
This latest initiative will showcase stories from some of the unsung heroes of the era through a film and exhibition called Empire at War, planned for autumn 2005.
The most commonly recounted versions of the Second World War often neglect to mention the sacrifice and bravery of troops from India, the Caribbean and elsewhere, who fought with the Army, the Royal Navy and the RAF.
Many more overseas workers were also involved in manufacturing and production, making vital equipment and supplies for the armed forces.
Sikh soldiers of the British army in Libya, 1941. They had captured this anti-aircraft gun from the German forces. Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London.
The Herbert’s cultural diversity team are seeking people from Coventry or Warwickshire with stories of the war to help with the project.
They are looking for people with photographs, stories or memories of World War Two, whose family roots are overseas.
Many volunteers have already come forward including people who came to England from Burma, East Punjab, Jamaica and the Ukraine.
The first phase of the project begins in March 2005, but the team is still keen to hear from anyone who may have something to contribute, especially people who might have fought or served in the armed forces or have memories of other countries during the war.
Anyone who is willing to share their experiences for the Empire at War project should contact Stacey Bains on 02476 785169 or email Stacey.Bains@coventry.gov.uk.
Roslyn Tappenden is the 24 Hour Museum Renaissance Student Writer in the West Midlands region. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.