Tag Archive | "Army"

Walter Tull Video


Black British Soldiers

The inspirational story and autobiographical details about Walter Tull, a black professional footballer in the early 1900s who went on to fight in the First World War. Walter was only the second black player in football league history when he played for Tottenham Hotspur in 1909 and, later, Northampton Town. During his time in the army, Walter progressed into the officer ranks, he was one of very few black british soldiers serving in the british army at the time. Dying in France in 1918. This clip has subtitles available in Flash.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/walter-tull-footballer-and-army-officer/3649.html

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Black Footballers in Britain-Walter Tull


Walter Tull was born in Folkestone on 28th April 1888. His father was a carpenter from Barbados who had moved to Folkestone and married a local woman. By the age of nine, Walter had lost both his parents, and when he was 10 he and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist orphanage in Bethnal Green. His brother left the orphanage two years later, was adopted by a Scottish family and became a dentist. Meanwhile, Walter played for the orphanage football team, and in 1908, began playing for Clapton FC. Within a few months he had won winners’ medals in the FA Amateur Cup, London County Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup. In March 1909 the Football Star called him ‘the catch of the season’.

In 1909 he signed as a professional for Tottenham Hotspur, and experienced for the first time spectator racism when Spurs travelled to play Bristol City. According to one observer, ‘a section of the spectators made a cowardly attack on him in language lower than Billingsgate.’ The correspondent continued:

“Let me tell those Bristol hooligans that Tull is so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men who play football whether they be amateur or professional. In point of ability, if not actual achievement, Tull was the best forward on the field”

In October 1911 Tull moved to Northampton Town where he played half-back and scored nine goals in 110 senior appearances. When the First World War broke out, be became the first Northampton player to sign up to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and in November 1915 his battalion arrived in France.

The Army soon recognised Tull’s leadership qualities and he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant. In July 1916, Tull took part in the major Somme offensive. Tull survived this experience but in December 1916 he developed trench fever and was sent home to England to recover.

w_tull_army_lg
Tull and other officers

Tull had impressed his senior officers and recommended that he should be considered for further promotion. When he recovered from his illness, instead of being sent back to France, he went to the officer training school at Gailes in Scotland. Despite military regulations forbidding “any negro or person of colour” being an officer, Tull received his commission in May, 1917.

Lieutenant Walter Tull was sent to the Italian front. This was an historic occasion because Tull was the first ever black officer in the British Army. He led his men at the Battle of Piave and was mentioned in dispatches for his “gallantry and coolness” under fire.

Tull stayed in Italy until 1918 when he was transferred to France to take part in the attempt to break through the German lines on the Western Front. On 25th March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered to lead his men on an attack on the German trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering No Mans Land, Tull was hit by a German bullet. Tull was such a popular officer that several of his men made valiant efforts under heavy fire from German machine-guns to bring him back to the British trenches. These efforts were in vain as Tull had died soon after being hit. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medal and recommended for a Military Cross.

He was the first British-born black army officer and the first black officer to lead white British troops into battle.

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A Tale of a Forgotten People (Congo) – Pt1


A Tale of a Forgotten People

By Vava Tampa

Outside public eyes in a remote corner of Africa and literally under the world’s radar screen, a country is sinking in a river of blood! Mothers crying! Fathers and sons trading hot metals! Neighbours, in alliance with local armed groups, seething through the thick dense forest to secure mining areas with unparalleled natural resources! Hospital beds filled with mothers and young girls raped and shot in the vagina.

This is the Congo is the richest country in Africa and the scene of the world’s nastiest, bloodiest and deadliest war since Adolf Hitler’ army marched across Europe. For the past fifteen years, she has been raided, hacked, raped and looted by her neighbours, friends, sons and international cooperation. At some points it involved nine foreign nations -Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe – as well as numerous indigenous armed militias

Congo is Wealthy

Congos wealth is being exploited with a human cost

As to the dead, figures are staggering: You could take all lives lost in Bosnia, Rwanda 1994 and Darfur then add the 2005 Asian tsunami, then add a 9-11 every single day for 356 days and then go through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Put all of those together, multiply by 2 and you still don’t reach the number of lives that has been lost in the Congo since the war started.

Over 6 Million have been killed. War, disease and malnutrition are killing 45,000 Congolese every month. Around 2 Million have been uprooted; 100 000s of women and young girls have been brutally gang raped and around 40% of all adult women have been made widows.

The root cause of the killings: natural resources. The DRC is a home to vast expanses of pristine rain forest, rare animal species and a treasure trove of rare precious minerals, it houses all elements found on the periodic table; and just about every natural resource under the sun.

The most lucrative and wanted of all is Coltan also know as columbite-tantalite: a dull metallic ore used in the aerospace weaponry as well as electronics devices such as: laptops, cell phones, pagers, play station, game counsel, VCR, CD player, P.D.A. and TV, remote control and various other electronic devices.

The Congo possesses over 80 per cent of the world’s reserve of Coltan; and for the past fifteen years neighbouring countries, in alliance with certain Congolese armed groups, have raided, hacked, killed and raped to gain access to Coltan, gold and diamonds mines as well as coffee plantations.

Major world military and economic powers, consumed by a painful sense of guiltiness for not responding during the one hundreds days of genocide that claimed over 800 000 lives in Rwanda 15 years ago, dare not to question or lecture, let alone speak out loud against, the leadership of Rwanda for their role and actions in the Congo.

1994 is the year it all begun. 800 000 lives hacked to death in one hundreds days: neither Africa nor the UN Security Council showed interest. The world stood idly: Rwanda, ethnically targeted, was covered in blood. Soon, waves of violence unleashed by the Rwandan Genocide spilled over Eastern Congo, back then Zaire.

Vicious attacks committed on women by all sides.

Vicious attacks committed on women by all sides.

Some 1.7 million Rwandan, among them, Hutu militias responsible for the genocide and armed to teeth, fled from Rwanda to Eastern Zaire. Once in eastern Zaire, Hutus militias regrouped and launched border raids against Paul Kagame’s newly established government.

The Zairian state was in a grave: the end of the Cold War brought an end to Zaire’s long privileged relations with the West. Mobutu, once America’s closest ally in Africa against Communism and Africa’s one-man party because the US and former European colonial powers did not trust the people of Zaire to elect a leader who would let them control their country’s resources, was not longer needed.

The US Congress had cut off military and economic aid to Mubutu’s regime. France and Belgium, similarly, had cut off all development aid and downgraded diplomatic contacts to pressure Mobutu to relinquish power. In 1993 the Clinton administration refused to replace its outgoing ambassador to Zaire and barred Mobutu and his closest associates from visiting the U.S.

Mobutu, a monarchical ruler who lived in grotesque splendour while his people starved, as the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka once described him, was sick: advanced prostate cancer proved too much for a guy who, for 32 years, ruthlessly ruled Zaire and the Great Lake region by fear and the rod.

Meanwhile, Paul Kagame, then Rwandan vice-president, and generally seen as the representative of the victims of the genocide hence, often, is received with the same moral weight as Jewish Holocaust survivors, heirs of the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide and the Cambodian killing fields of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s

In light of Hutus militias military raids against Paul Kagame’s newly established government, major world military and economic powers, ashamed of their inaction in 1994, granted Paul Kagame a blank cheque: do whatever you need to do to secure and re-build your country. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda and Paul Kagame’s closest ally in Africa, had an idea: Laurent Desire Kabila.

Laurent Desire Kabila, a disciple of Lumumba, had been a fierce opponent of Joseph Mobutu. He once lived with Che Guevara in the dense jungle of Congo plotting how to overthrow Joseph Mobutu; but this time: he was to lead a coalition known as the Alliance des Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Congo-Zaire (AFDL) made up Rwandan, Ugandan, Burundian, Chadian, Eritrea and Angolan troops as well as Congolese Tutsi and anti-Mobutu groups to overthrow Joseph Mobutu.

By May 1997, after only seven months of fighting, the coalition force reached Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital city. Laurent Kabila, from Lubumbashi, the second city in Congo, declared himself president; and gave the country it’s real name back By May 1997, after only seven months of fighting, the coalition force reached Kinshasa, Zaire’s capital city. Laurent Kabila, from Lubumbashi, the second city in Congo, declared himself president; and gave the country its real name back “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)”. The honeymoon, however, did not last long. Laurent Desire Kabila’s relationship with West as well as his with Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni soon deteriorated. The US desired to see Kabila’s government include personalities from outside his own alliance, one of which was Etienne Tshisekedy, the only prominent opposition politician and leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

The U.S. State Department’s spokesman, Nicholas Burns, was quoted as saying that the U.S. ambassador to Kinshasa, Daniel Simpson, has started extensive talks with Kabila’s chief advisors Diofrasia Bovira and Paul Kayungo, urging them to pave the way and establish contact with Etienne Tshisekedi. Laurent Kabila, however, had a different plan: Etienne Thisekedy, he claimed, was an American agent. He refused to meet with him; and rushed into forming a presidential government akin to the American system, i.e. without a Prime Minister, thus snubbing Etienne Tshisekedi, in which key cabinet posts and the new Congo army and security forces were staffed at the highest levels by Paul Kagame’s closest friends and families and banned political activities and demonstrations in the country; and announced that elections, a key demand of many Western nations, will not be held for at least two years.

The moved angered the US, UN and Europe. In addition to this, the coalition forces, while on their way to Kinshasa, had wreaked terrible vengeance on the Rwandan Hutu exiles encamped since 1994 in eastern Zaire: hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilian, among them militia responsible for the 1994 genocide, and villagers had been massacred and raped. Laurent Desire Kabila, being the leader of the coalition, was called upon to answer allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of humanitarian laws by the UN and Human rights groups. Much of the atrocities were carried out by Paul Kagame’s Rwandan army; and fearing that investigation by the UN Human rights team and human rights groups would destroy Rwanda’s image as a country that recovered from genocide to become one of Central Africa’s most benign and stable regimes, Paul Kagame pressured Laurent Desire Kabila to stonewall all investigations. But after, relentless (Western) media attacks and growing calls from human rights groups that the massacred of Hutus refugee and villagers be fully investigated; and the perpetrators be identified, named, shamed and punished, Laurent Kabila cryptically responded: claiming that he had no blood in his hands; and hinted that the atrocities and violations were committed by troops beyond his control; and stated that countries and international groups, including groups in the name of sending humanitarian assistance, were responsible and to blame for the massacred and violations.

The move, in the international arena tarnished and severely discredited Laurent Kabila; in the regional level the claim had severely strained his relationship with Paul Kagame and Yowweri Museveni as the claim was seen as pointing fingers directly at them; at home, with the overbearing presence of Rwandan and Ugandan military and civilian advisors in Congo, made him look like a puppet to his own people: a feeling Etienne Tshisekedy had soon capitalized on as he lashed out at Laurent Kabila claiming that he was held hostage by foreigners. Kabila later fell out with Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni: accusing Rwandan and Ugandan troops in eastern Congo of stockpiling Congo,s diamond, gold, coltan and coffee; and ordered them out of Congo. Less than a week later, on August 2, 1998, the dismissed Ugandan and Rwandan troops, under the pretext of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, regrouped, and allied with President Mobutu’s military disciples and launched a bloody military offensive to overthrow Laurent Kabila, who, similarly under the same pretext of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, realigned with local anti-Kagame armed groups and other regional forces to fight what they perceived as Tutsis hegemony in the Great Lack region.

This turned the Congo into huge battlefields, which, at some points, involved nine foreign nations -Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe, as well as dozens of militia groups and private armies fighting spontaneous wars that goes on to this day despite of several UN Security Council Resolutions, Peace Treaties and amnesties; the largest UN Peace-keeping force in the world -17, 000; and shaky, much-violated, U.S., EU and UN-sponsored and backed cease-fire. The biggest single factor behind the continuing mass killings and human rights violation, according to the UN, is looting Congo’s rich abundant natural resources, particularly Coltan. And behind the fighting are two principle actors: Rwanda and Uganda government, in alliance with certain Congolese armed political groups. Together these alliances have actively continued to fuel inter-ethnic conflicts by using the treat of their own security to justify their military intervention and the control of Congo’s richly diverse mineral areas.

As a result, Congo, specially the eastern and northern regions, has been transformed into hotbeds of barbaric atrocities. No rule of law seems to exist and life has lost its basic value. Eastern Congo has been left at the mercy of tyrannical administration of warlords; and transformed it into what can only be termed as concentration camps: nothing but terror, mass human rights abuses, extreme sexual atrocities, ethnically motivated persecution and systematic massacres of innocent civilians reign.

Unable to be protected by the Kinshasa government and abandoned by the international community, those still trapped in these concentration camps have no hope: they are all awaiting the final solution: If lucky he or she will be shot dead, if not, he or she will endure a slow painful death depending upon the mood of his or her killers, some are set ablaze or hacked and chopped off; whilst women and young girls are subjected to orchestrated campaign of mutilation and rapes that go beyond the mere meaning of rapes. This is the Congo: sinking in a river of blood without a whiff of complaint from the superpower. Only heaven knows if the value of life of Africans is the same as that of citizen of other nations.

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Facebook Petition for awarding Walter Tull a Posthumous Military Cross


Walter Tull

 

An MP has begun campaigning for the Military Cross to be awarded posthumously to a former Northampton Town footballer killed in World War I.

Walter Tull, the first black infantry officer in the British Army, was mentioned in dispatches for “gallantry and coolness” on the Italian Front.

He died in action in 1918, but because his family was from outside Britain, he was not entitled to a military award.

Northampton South MP Brian Binley said it was an injustice he was not praised.

The MP has tabled a Commons motion saying: “This House remembers Walter Tull for his contribution to British sport as a professional footballer for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town football clubs.

Spurs player

“It also notes that his commanding officer mentioned him in despatches for his ‘gallantry and coolness’ on the Italian Front and recommended him for a Military Cross.

“It regrets that he was not awarded the cross because, as a British citizen of non-European descent, he should not have been commissioned at all.”

The motion calls upon the government to right this “sizeable injustice by posthumously awarding him the Military Cross for his gallantry”.

Mr Tull had previously played for Tottenham Hotspur where he was the first black player in football’s top flight.

The footballer, who was born in Folkestone, Kent, in 1888, was the first black person to be made a British combat officer in 1917.

Walter Tull

Tull Family

Tull Family

Walter Tull was born in Folkestone on 28th April 1888. His father was a carpenter from Barbados who had moved to Folkestone and married a local woman. By the age of nine, Walter had lost both his parents, and when he was 10 he and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist orphanage in Bethnal Green. His brother left the orphanage two years later, was adopted by a Scottish family and became a dentist. Meanwhile, Walter played for the orphanage football team, and in 1908, began playing for Clapton FC. Within a few months he had won winners’ medals in the FA Amateur Cup, London County Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup. In March 1909 the Football Star called him ‘the catch of the season’.

In 1909 he signed as a professional for Tottenham Hotspur, and experienced for the first time spectator racism when Spurs travelled to play Bristol City. According to one observer, ‘a section of the spectators made a cowardly attack on him in language lower than Billingsgate.’ The correspondent continued:

“Let me tell those Bristol hooligans that Tull is so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men who play football whether they be amateur or professional. In point of ability, if not actual achievement, Tull was the best forward on the field”

In October 1911 Tull moved to Northampton Town where he played half-back and scored nine goals in 110 senior appearances. When the First World War broke out, be became the first Northampton player to sign up to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and in November 1915 his battalion arrived in France.

The Army soon recognised Tull’s leadership qualities and he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant. In July 1916, Tull took part in the major Somme offensive. Tull survived this experience but in December 1916 he developed trench fever and was sent home to England to recover.

Tull had impressed his senior officers and recommended that he should be considered for further promotion. When he recovered from his illness, instead of being sent back to France, he went to the officer training school at Gailes in Scotland. Despite military regulations forbidding “any negro or person of colour” being an officer, Tull received his commission in May, 1917.

Lieutenant Walter Tull was sent to the Italian front. This was an historic occasion because Tull was the first ever black officer in the British Army. He led his men at the Battle of Piave and was mentioned in dispatches for his “gallantry and coolness” under fire.

Tull stayed in Italy until 1918 when he was transferred to France to take part in the attempt to break through the German lines on the Western Front. On 25th March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered to lead his men on an attack on the German trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering No Mans Land, Tull was hit by a German bullet. Tull was such a popular officer that several of his men made valiant efforts under heavy fire from German machine-guns to bring him back to the British trenches. These efforts were in vain as Tull had died soon after being hit. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medal and recommended for a Military Cross.  Telegram He was the first British-born black army officer and the first black officer to lead white British troops into battle.

To Lend your support to the Facebook group campaigning for Walters Medal please click this link.

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Military Cross For Walter Tull – Facebook Campaign

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John Blanke A Black Trumpeter In The Court of King Henry VIII


It appears that John Blanke, an African trumpeter, was a regular musician at the courts of both Henry VII and Henry VIII. Musicians’ payments were noted in the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber, who was responsible for paying the wages.

There are several payments recorded to a ‘John Blanke, the blacke trumpeter‘. This trumpeter was paid 8d a day, first by Henry VII and then from 1509 by Henry VIII.

On New Year’s Day 1511 King Henry VIII was presented with a son by his wife, Catherine of Aragon. As was the tradition to celebrate major festivals such as coronations and royal births and marriages, Henry held a great tournament at Westminster.
Tournaments were a continuation of a tradition that gained popularity during the Roman era. They were originally a form of military training: games and exercises designed to instil discipline into young men and teach them the art of bearing arms. Tournaments later developed into an art form, combining elements of drama, music and poetry.

Across northern Europe, tournaments had become a kind of team game by the early 12th century.  Each team comprised a company of knights under the leadership of their lord whom they followed and served in wartime. Tournaments also had a chivalric and romantic side. Ladies watching the tournament audience had a chance to see their heroes prove their skills, strength and courage.  Knights hoped to win the affections of the ladies by their outstanding displays.

John Blanke in The Westminster Tournament Roll

Since  15th century therebecame a growing desire to record spectacles and ceremonials by depicting them in artwork or embroidery.  Henry VIII wanted such a pictorial record made of his tournament to mark the birth of his male child. He commissioned the Westminster Tournament Roll, a unique treasure which is held at the College of Arms.   The Tournament roll  is a pictorial illuminated manuscript, a continuous roll approximately 60 feet long. It is a narrative of the beginning, middle and end of the tournament, which took place over two days.

John Blanke - Features on the Westminster Tournament Roll

John Blanke – Features on the Westminster Tournament Roll

In the Westminster Tournament Roll, the king occupies a prominent position. Henry is shown surrounded by his footmen, officials and other dignitaries, a a crowd of nobles, the officers of arms and six trumpeters. Among the trumpeters  is a Black man. He appears twice on the Roll: once on the way from the court and again on the way back.   Historian Sydney Anglo, believes he is almost certainly the same “John Blanke”, the ‘blacke trumpeter’ mentioned in the Treasurer’s accounts.

Henry VIII’s tournament was a costly extravaganza, The roll shows us that a Black man was included in one of the most magnificent pageants of his time, dressed formally as a mounted musician, perhaps he belonged to the mounted troops of the court?

Sources:
Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1984), Peter Fryer
John Blanke – National Archive

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The Visual Representation, Role and Origin of Black Soldiers in British Army Regiments During the Early Nineteenth Century.


The Visual Representation, Role and Origin of Black Soldiers in British Army Regiments During the Early Nineteenth Century.
Presented by Mr John D Ellis as part of the requirement of the MA Degree in Nineteenth Century Culture and Society.
University of Nottingham, September 2000.

The thesis utilised contemporary visual and documentary evidence, (the latter including pension records and regimental description books containing physical descriptions facilitating the identification of black soldiers), in order to examine The Visual Representation, Role and Origin of Black Soldiers in British Army Regiments During the Early Nineteenth Century. It focused on black soldiers serving in what have hitherto been considered “white” British cavalry and infantry regiments, (based on the widely held but incorrect assumption that the presence of black soldiers in their ranks was a twentieth century phenomenon), rather than “foreign raised” or colonial regiments such as the West India Regiment and the East India Company.
Prior to the nineteenth century blacks were frequently employed as servants to Army officers, indicating their owner s “rank and opulence”, and subsequently being depicted as such in the portraits of officers in much the same way as they were for civilians, although of course they also reinforced their owner s status in the Army, as well as wider society. Black military musicians were initially employed by high status Household and Cavalry regiments because of their “natural propensity for music”, and for the purpose of promoting regimental rather than individual, image and status. Consequently, the employment of black military musicians became intrinsically linked with high status units, even though after 1757, and the establishment of enlisted musicians Army wide, many other regiments came to employ them.

Black soldiers were represented by numerous artists in a variety of genres, invariably linking them with Household regiments, London and the monarchy. Morier s Trumpeter, 1st Horse Guards, c.1751, was of a black Life Guards musician in a series commissioned for King George II. The Relief of the Guard at St. James s Palace, c.1790, was a print depicting an every day scene in London, (which included three black musicians), whilst Isaac Cruickshank s Triumphal Entry of 100,000 Crowns, c.1791, was a satirical sketch depicting the Duke of York entering London preceded by black military musicians. However, in many of these pictures, the representation of black soldiers was influenced by contemporary attitudes to blacks, with them frequently being portrayed as having a casual approach to violence, being lazy and ill disciplined, or simply loyal but passive figures.

By the early nineteenth century the practice of employing black soldiers was widespread in the Army. All the Household and most Cavalry regiments had them, and in the line infantry 41 of 103 regiments on the establishment, are known to have employed West Indian born black soldiers at some point in the early nineteenth century, (this figure excludes those black soldiers born elsewhere). Black soldiers were found to originate from all the established regions of the Diaspora; such as Africa, North America and the East and West Indies, (the latter being most numerous), and including lesser known areas such as Nova Scotia, England and Ireland, (George Carville, the last black drummer of the 29th Foot was born in Limerick).

Whilst the Army is known to have procured slaves for the West India Regiment, no evidence exists to link the practice with any of the black soldiers or regiments who were the focus of this thesis. Inevitably some must have been, however, the issue of slavery may well have been deliberately kept “invisible”, (in light of the jealously guarded traditionally volunteer nature of the Army), thus ensuring that any references to, or indicators of, an individuals enslaved status were deliberately omitted from their records. In contrast with the lack of information regarding slavery, both Ukawsaw Gronniosaw s account of his motivation for enlistment in the 28th Foot, and the depiction of black soldiers in abolitionist imagery, suggests that the Army often acted as a place of refuge for escaped slaves or blacks whose freedom was threatened. It was also the chosen occupation of many black men who were already free, and it is possible to identify a group of black “journeyman soldiers”, who continually re-enlisted for service after discharge, (although socio-economic factors influenced this).

Even though the practice of employing black soldiers was long standing and wide spread, proportionately few were promoted. In the nineteenth century Army literacy was the key to promotion, and whilst blacks were often as literate as whites, they were not promoted in the same proportions. Partly this was a result of the lack of opportunities for advancement their musical role offered, but it was also no doubt due to the distaste many whites felt towards black soldiers holding positions of authority. The few that did achieve non-commissioned rank were invariably those with extensive campaign experience, who perhaps, in the face of popular prejudices concerning their “mental and moral inferiority and ill disciplined nature”, had through their participation in combat proved themselves “the exception to the rule”, (George Rose of Jamaica was the highest ranking enlisted black soldier found, a Sergeant in the Highland 42nd Foot who had previously served in the Netherlands and Waterloo campaigns).

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of a “cult of heroic sacrifice”, which prized and venerated war wounds and campaign service, (although paradoxically Britain itself has a shameful record of ill treating former enlisted soldiers). Within this context, the hitherto exclusively ceremonial role of black military musicians, as expressed by historians and visually represented by contemporary images was compared with the actual military service records of black soldiers. It was found that whilst the permanent commitment of Household units to London ensured that black soldiers in those units remained on ceremonial duties, their counterparts in other regiments played a full and active part in all the major campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, (including the Peninsular, North American and Waterloo campaigns), and received the same decorations as their white peers. In addition to George Rose, a number of other black soldiers received the Waterloo Medal, including; William Wilson of Barbados and William Affleck of St. Kitts, after service with the 13th and 10th Hussars respectively. Whilst in 1848, the latter, was only one of a number of former black soldiers to receive the retrospectively awarded Military General Service Medal, (in Affleck s case with clasps for the Peninsular battles of Sahagun & Benevente, Vittoria, Orthes and Toulouse). However, despite the visual evidence to the contrary, not all black soldiers served as military musicians; Joseph Fergus of St. Kitts “carried arms as a Private” in the 2nd Foot Guards from 1814 to 1833, whilst Estiphania Pappin of St. Domingo served as a Private in the 39th Foot in the Peninsular, later being promoted to Corporal.

In the period following the Napoleonic Wars patriotism inspired a public demand for military spectacle, within which military imagery was an important and popular part, and black soldiers were represented in a variety of genres painted by a variety of artists. When regiments either commissioned or produced art, black soldiers were invariably involved as either prominent characters in portraits of senior regimental officers, the subject of military costume studies, or in detail in genre pictures.

There was also a connection between the visual representation of black soldiers and the subject of slavery. French artists used military costume studies of black soldiers to commercially exploit the demand for military imagery in Bourbon France, and to make a political statement about the equality of blacks and the hypocrisy of the Republic by way of slavery and “liberty. “In Britain, Sir David Wilkie s Chelsea Pensioners., c.1822, (one of the most prominent paintings of the nineteenth century), used the representation of a black soldier both to pay tribute to Wellington s role in abolition in France, and to lend a basis of moral superiority to Britain s victory in the Napoleonic Wars; showing that British “Union” was founded not only on war, but on a sense of national integrity, based on moral superiority and strength of character regarding slavery. However, a comparison of the identity provided by Wilkie for his black soldier in the exhibition catalogue, with the service records of real black soldiers, suggests that the identity provided, (a non-combatant refugee from a French West Indies colony, serving as a military musician in the 1st Foot Guards), had more to do with expressing populist views on the French Republic s treatment of blacks, maintaining artistic conventions by way of the non-combatant status of blacks, and the desire to perpetuate the image of a benevolent Britain graciously emancipating the victims of other country s brutal enslavement. In reality the West Indies born black soldier, (if he was a slave at all), would have been as likely to be fleeing British as French slavery, and have seen combat anywhere from the East Indies to North America to Waterloo.

Despite their extensive presence and high profile, black soldiers were subject to the exclusion and marginalisation from contemporary visual representations and narratives. Whilst to some extent this was due to their lowly enlisted status, it was “race” that led to marginalisation in military costume study, (in which the presence of both armed and non-commissioned black soldiers was deliberately ignored in favour of that of the military musician), and their complete exclusion from battle art. With regard to battle art, the visual encoding of “racial hierarchies”, meant it would have been impossible for artists to represent blacks serving alongside their white peers in scenes of significant national victories, because of the equality inherent in such images, (both physically and with regards to contribution).

The Napoleonic Wars produced a plethora of enlisted and commissioned writers and diarists, but only two mentioned the presence of black soldiers, and then only in passing. The list of writers who served in combat alongside black soldiers, but omitted to mention their presence serves as a “who s who” of Napoleonic military writers. General Sir George Napier s account of his time in the Peninsula with the 43rd Foot omits to mention the presence of the mulatto Bugler Charles Arundell of St. Kitts, even though the latter served at Copenhagen in 1807, Corunna in 1809, and in every action in which the 43rd was engaged from the Battle of Coa in 1810 to the end of the Peninsular War in the South of France in 1814, and New Orleans and the Capture of Paris in 1815″, and who must therefore, based on campaign experience alone, have been a prominent regimental character. Likewise the memoirs of Thomas Morris of the 73rd Foot fail to mention George Rose, even though the latter served alongside him for five years, including the Netherlands and Waterloo campaigns. This lack of references to black soldiers in the narratives of their white contemporaries, is no doubt due to the fact that many memoirs were published after the 1840s, with the subsequent decline in the status of blacks ensuring that when their white former comrades came to record their memoirs, blacks were written out, in order that the notion of a “low status group”, should not by their inclusion, serve to denigrate from the achievements of the authors.

The practice of employing black soldiers came to an end through a combination of the growing belief in racial difference, including “scientific racism”, the racist diatribe of the plantocratic scribes and their supporters, and the declining social status of blacks in Britain. However, whilst the recruitment of blacks terminated in the 1820s, there appears not to have been any single concerted decision to discharge blacks, rather that existing numbers were allowed to gradually decline before dying out altogether in the 1840s. Subsequently, a form of unofficial segregation did descend on the Army, and the exclusion that followed was so successful in driving the presence of black soldiers underground that until now, their role in defining moments in both regimental and national history, has been forgotten by the regiments they served in, the Army and Britain.

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Black Soldiers in the British Army-John Ellis


John Ellis has been regular contributor to “The Black Presence in Britain Website. His specialist research focuses on the black presence in the British Armed Forces before the 20th Century.

In the synopsis of my MA thesis, (featured on this site), I referred to a number of Black soldiers who served in British regiments during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

It would of course be easy to leave such men as? faceless individuals ,however, military records from the period are sufficiently accurate that we are able to examine their careers. Below are the biographical and service details of eleven soldiers, who are fairly representative of those being found by my research. NB. All dates are given in the British manner, all spelling as found in original records. West Indies Born.

The majority of the Black soldiers thus far found originated from the West Indies, something which reflected the? Triangular trade. ) The 29th Foot, (now the? Worcestershire & Sherwood Foresters Regiment ), has always been proud of its tradition of employing black soldiers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The practice began in the early 1750s, and whilst initially ceremonial, Black soldiers were fully trained as soldiers and served as company drummers, accompanying the regiment on campaign in North America, the East and West Indies and most famously the Peninsular.

John Macnell was one of the earliest black soldiers in the regiment. He was born in Antigua in 1744, enlisted in the 29th in 1756 aged 12 years, (not an unusual age for either black or white), and was discharged to pension in London in 1777 as disabled. He was described as? a Negro . Macnell sources: WO 12/4493. WO 120/8. 2) Probably because of the perceived racial hierarchy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, few Black soldiers were promoted to positions of authority over whites, (although paradoxically their records reveal them to have been highly respected soldiers). Of the few Black soldiers to be promoted, it is clear that extensive campaign experience was one of the criteria, as the records of one Estiphania Pappin reveal.

Estiphania Pappin. Born in St. Domingo, West Indies and enlisted in the 39th Foot, (now the? Devon & Dorset Regiment ), in Malta 1st March 1808 aged 20 years. Promoted Corporal 01/02/1828.? Served in Malta 1 year, Sicily 14 months, Peninsula 3 years and was present at several engagements – Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Garris, Orthes and Toulouse. In America 1 year, in France 3 years and New South Wales 9 months.? Discharged as a Corporal to a pension of 1s per day, 30th June 1832, at his own request.? ….his conduct has been that of a particularly regular, sober, well conducted man.? On discharge he was 441/2 years old, 5 /10? tall, had grey hair, black eyes, a dark complexion -? a man of colour? – and was a labourer by trade.

Pappin Sources: WO 97/557. 3)

A number of Black soldiers appear to have spent their military service undertaking ceremonial duties in London, including one Edward Bennaway.

Edward Bennaway. Born in Martinique, West Indies and enlisted for life in the 2nd Life Guards in Westminster, Middlesex 25th December 1812 aged 28 years. Discharged as a Private to a pension of 1s per day 24th August 1827 due to? having completed his period of service.? On discharge he was of extremely good character, 52 years old, 6 /0? tall, had black hair, grey eyes, was? a man of colour , and was a fisherman by trade.

Bennaway Sources: WO 97/1. 4)

In 1818 the American former slave and boxer Tom Molineaux died in the barracks of the 77th Foot, (now the? Princess of Wales? Royal Regiment ), in Galway, Ireland. As he lay dying he was nursed by the Black bandsmen of the regiment including one Charles Smart.

Charles Smart. Height at Enlistment: 5/71/4. Age on Enlistment: 25 years. Complexion: Black. Eyes: Black. Hair: Black Woolly. Visage: Round. Born: Jamaica. Trade: Labourer. Place of Enlistment: Cashel. Date of Enlistment: 25th April 1816. Length of Service:Unlimited. Discharged in Jamaica 31st December 1833,? On receiving a gratuity.? Smart Source: WO 25/473. 5)

Given their position at the top of the regimental hierarchy a number of cavalry regiments employed Black soldiers as military musicians. However, in battles such as the Peninsular and Waterloo these men served as either troop trumpeters or as ordinary Privates.

John Monatt. Born in St. George s, Grenada and enlisted for unlimited service in the 5th Dragoon Guards, (now the? Royal Dragoon Guards ), in Canterbury, Kent 11th April 1812 aged 21 years. Discharged as a Private to a pension 27th April 1825 due to rheumatism and general ill health. Surgeon noted? I hereby certify that Private John Monatt of the 5th Dragoon Guards is unfit for service, in consequence of chronic rheumatism and general ill health……next few words indecipherable…contracted in service and resulting in a delicate constitution.? On discharge he was of good character, 34 years old, 5/10? tall, had black hair,hazel eyes, a tawny complexion and was a servant by trade. In 1848 John Monatt, formerly of the 5th Dragoon Guards, was awarded the Military General Service Medal 1793-1814, with a clasp for Toulouse. Monatt Sources: WO 97/96. 6)

William Wilson. Born in Barbadoes, West Indies and initially enlisted in the 55th Foot 25th April 1795 aged 24 years. Enlisted in the 28th Light Dragoons 30/04/1798. Enlisted in the 13th Light Dragoons 26/02/1803. Served as a Private at Waterloo, and received the Waterloo Medal. Discharged as a Private to a pension of 9d per day 20th May 1816 as worn out. On discharge he was 37years old, 5 /61/2? tall,? a black man? and was a musician by trade. Wilson Source: WO 97/146. 7) During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries much of the British Army was employed in the Far East, and many Black soldiers spent their service there, being involved in the numerous campaigns.

Elisha Rosia. Born in Martinique, West Indies and enlisted for unlimited service in the 69th Foot. (now the? Royal Regiment of Wales ), in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, 12th January 1803, aged 25 years. Discharged as a Private to a pension of 1s/1d per day, 28th August 1823,? being worn out in service.?? Very good and deserving.? On discharge he was 40 years old, 5 /51/2? tall, had black hair, black eyes,a black complexion and was a hair dresser by trade. Some doubt as to age. In 1848 an Elisha Rosia, formerly of the 69th Foot, was awarded the Military General Service Medal 1793-1814, with a bar for Java. Drew pension in Madras until death in January 1848. Rosia Sources: WO 97/822. 120/69-70. Born elsewhere. Whilst the majority of Black soldiers found can be identified as coming from the West Indies, others came in roughly equal measure from Africa, continental North America, (i.e. the United States and Canada), the East Indies and Britain and Ireland. Cool The 88th Foot had a number of Black soldiers serving with it in the Peninsular campaign, and even after the Napoleonic Wars continued to recruit Black soldiers.

Thomas Clarke.88th Foot. Height at Enlistment: 5 /81/2 . Height at 24 years: 5 /81/2 . Age on Enlistment:23 years. Complexion: Black. Eyes: Black. Hair: Black. Visage: Round. Born: Africa. Parish of Birth: Goree. Trade: Servant. Enlisted: Liverpool. Date of Enlistment: 17th July1820. Length of Service: Life. Recruiter: HQ Regt., (Col. Sgt Scrivins). Goree, is a small island off Cape Verde in Senegal. Captured from the French in the early part of the Napoleonic Wars. Clarke Sources: WO 25/517. 9)

Samuel Jones. 99th Foot. Height at Enlistment: 5 /41/2 . Age on Enlistment: 15 yrs. Complexion: Black. Eyes: Black. Hair: Woolly black. Born: Calcutta, East Indies. Trade:Labourer. Enlisted: Dublin. Date of enlistment: 23rd February 1810. Period of Service:Unlimited. Recruited by: Sgt. Tewhoy. Jones Source/s: PRO. WO 25/550. 10)

Gibeon Lippett. Born in Rhode Island, (America), and enlisted for unlimited service in the 43rd Foot, (now the? Royal Green Jackets ), in Cork city, County Cork,22nd June 1796, aged 17 years. Served 185 days as a Private, 29 years and 103 days as a Drummer, (and 185 days underage).? Served with the regiment 3 years in the West Indies.In the expedition to Copenhagen in 1807, General Sir John Moore s retreat in 1809, and in every siege and action in which the 43rd Regiment was engaged from the Battle of Coa 24th July 1810, to the end of the War in the South of France. Served at New Orleans in America, 8th January, 1815 and present at the Capture of Paris in July 1815.? Discharged as a Private to a pension, 5th April 1826,? his constitution being worn out by long and severe service.? On discharge he was illiterate, of very good character, 57 years old, 5 /83/4? tall, had black hair,black eyes, a mulatto complexion, and was a sail maker by trade. Lippett Source: WO 97/587. 11)

By the mid 1840s the practice of employing Black soldiers alongside whites is believed to have finished, and thereafter Blacks are thought to have been unofficially restricted to the West India Regiment and East India Company until World War One. Considering the long tradition of Black soldiers serving in the 29th Foot, (see entry #1), it is fitting to finish this short study with George Carville.

George Carville. A Drummer. Height at Enlistment: 6/1/4 . Age on Enlistment: 18 years. Complexion: Black. Eyes: Black. Hair: Black Woolly. Visage: Round. Born: Limerick. Parish of Birth: St. Mary s. Trade: Labourer. Place of Enlistment: Mullingar. Date of Enlistment: 26th of February 1823. Length of Service: Unlimited. Recruiter: Col. Sir John Buchan. Died at Ghargeepore, (India), 15th July 1843. The last black Drummer of the 29th Foot, believed to have died of cholera. Left a credit of approximately five pounds in a will for his nominated next of kin, his (white) regimental comrade Private JosephPrindale. Carville Sources: WO 25/364. WO 25/3255.

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The Rwandan Genocide: Why it happened


Rwandan Victims of Genocide

Rwandan Victims of Genocide

Rwandan Genocide: Why it happened and Why it shouldn’t have happen The year 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide in which 1,000,000 Rwandans were slaughtered over the course of 100 days, although some officials reported a span of 8 weeks. The memorial was shortly followed by quaint revelations from European and American governments who freely admitted to having being able to prevent the slaughter, but for their own obtuse reasons, which they never directly answer to anyway-did not act.

Official estimate now is that it would have taken as few as 5,000 ground troops-presumably from the UN-to prevent the bloodbath. An issue that is even more provoking, but lacks public dialogue, is how the events that lead to the genocide was a direct product of European capitalism, colonialism, slavery, exploitation and the racist ideology that was deliberately developed to justify it.

The ‘age-old tribal and ethnic hostilities’ lie was perpetuated to deflect blame from where it belongs, when infact prior to 1959, there are no records of systematic violence against one group or the other. The colonial created national myth of Rwanda is that the Tutsis and the Hutu are two groups who came from elsewhere on the African continent. This myth has it that the Twa (pygmy) people are the original inhabitants, and that the Hutus came from the Bantu people of the South and the West, while the Tutsis are Nilotic people from the North. Although both groups are African in any sense, in racial terms, this means that the Hutus are “Black Africans” and the Tutsis are of Ethiopian stock, with lighter skin, narrower noses and ‘better’ hair (undoubtedly meaning it was less kinky/coarse). Be that as it may, before the European Colonials arrived, this petty difference did not matter much for the two groups lived together, spoke the same language, shared the same religion, shared power and married each other-meaning that before colonialism and the ushering of racial categories for Africans, the Hutu and the Tutsis were already mixed with each other-indeed by the time the first European arrived in Rwanda in the end of the 19th century, it would have been easy to assume a person who was Hutu to be Tutsis, and a Tutsis to be Hutu. The Tutsis were the herders while the Hutus were the cultivators, because cattle are highly valued, the Tutsis had become economic and political elites.

The title ‘Hutu’ then took on social-economic connotations, becoming a trans-ethnic identity associated with subjugation, not ethnicity. Infact, one could Kwihutura, or shed hutuness by accumulating wealth and rising through the social hierarchy. (Wikipedia.com) This petty difference went through an intense social stratification in the mid-1800’s as the European superpowers scrambled for Africa, converting the continent into the energy source which would be used to power that enormous machine called European Capitalism (and it’s Euro-America(n) relative).

Rwanda was porous and ethnicity was not the only factor that designated ones social status and social power, until the Germans then later the Belgians. The end of the 19th century marked the arrival of Europeans explorers and would-be colonialist in Rwanda, who rationalized what they saw as best as they could-forming a picture of a stately race of warrior kings surrounded by herds of cattle and what could only be described through their lenses of ‘scientific racism’ as a subordinate people-thus they saw exactly what they wanted to see. Of course, as it was/is rationalized everywhere Europeans encountered mulit-hued populations of various physical phenotypes, the Africans resembling themselves were considered superior while the ones with visible and discernable physical differences (typically the darkest of skinned peoples) would be relegated to the bottom of the evolutionary ladder in every colonized African country. Accordingly, the Tutsis fell in place to be cultivated and nurtured as the ‘pet Africans’ serving as the bureaucratic and security ranks of the colonial government, a successful divide and conquer strategy for the colonial rulers. Rwanda was first a German colony. Tutsis leaders were enlisted as collaborators and rewarded with patronage from the then colonist.

The Colonial powers made the Hutu the slaves, and put the Tutsis in leadership positions to be the ‘over-seers’. Rwanda was well polarized by the time the Belgians took over after World War l, who sent armies of missionaries to Christianize the country, with scientists who would weight the brains and noses of the Hutus and Tutsis, and put the results through comparative analysis further polarizing the Hutu’s and the Tutsis, and just as they surmised, the Tutsis were more ‘noble’ and ‘aristocratic’ than the Hutus who were considered ‘coarse’ and bestial’. It was with the collaboration of the Catholic Church that the Belgians would reconstruct Rwanda along racial lines, and by the 1930’s after conducting a census the best they could, they then issued ethnic identity cards. Catholic schools in turn educated Tutsis exclusively indoctrinating every school child with the notion of racial superiority.

After the holocaust and pressure from the UN for independence, a new European rhetoric of ‘equality’ came ushering in with a wave of Belgian priest preaching Hutu ‘empowerment’ as a preparation for Rwandan independence. Of course, it was never about ‘equality’, it was and always was about power and ultimately retribution. By the time independence was granted to Rwanda by the Belgians, the damage was done, and sores were freshly open as the Hutu majority was given sole political power after the ‘Rwandan Revolution’. There were countless programs against the Tutsis put in place from then on leading up to the Genocide. And from then on, the condition of the Tutsis was constantly up and down depending on the particular Hutu leader in power. After the Cold War, all bets were off and done for, and the West no more had an ‘interest’ in Africa. All the ‘pet’ leaders were left to their own devices as the plug was pulled, and various leaders inherited (from their colonial rulers no doubt) the social, economic and political fallout resulting from 500 years of European colonialism, and slavery.

The end result unfolded in April of 1994 when the political will of the West to intervene-send a mere 5000 troops-to prevent a monstrous genocide from happening. They didn’t care, and they didn’t need too since their national ‘interest’ had left Africa. The Rwandan Genocide stands out as significant, not only because of the sheer number of people massacred in such a short period of time, but also because of United Nations’s (UN) inadequate response. Despite intelligence provided before the killing began, and international news media coverage of the true scale of violence as the genocide unfolded, most first-world countries including France, Belgium (which held Rwanda as a colony after World War I), and the United States declined to intervene or speak out against the planned massacres. Race and History.com It is time the world woke up to the truth about the war in central Africa and the events of April through July of 1994. These events parallel the attacks on Yugoslavia and the accusations of genocide against the Serbs and other Slavs.

Moreover, these events had the same objectives, used the same strategies and tactics and were planned and controlled by the same Great Powers. Their lust for control of the world knows no bounds. They are willing to murder millions so they can make billions. In the West we are told that this tragedy involved genocide by Hutus against Tutsis and that the U.S. and other Western powers sinned by failing to intervene. Many people, including some on the Left, denounced the supposed Western failure to intervene, arguing that it demonstrates indifference to the suffering of Black Africans.

The lies and propaganda against the Hutus, condemned as “genocidaires,” whose only crime was to defend their small country against a foreign invasion by Tutsis from outside Rwanda with the backing of the United States, Britain, Belgium, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the United Nations itself.

This invasion had the objective of restoring the tyranny of minority Tutsi rule while reducing the majority Hutu people to serfdom and a life of terror and that was supported by the great powers in order to take control of all of central Africa and its vast and incalculable resources. The propaganda against the Hutus is racist to the core and is generated by the Tutsi claim to be a superior race, more white than the “primitive” Hutus, a Bantu people, and it fits nicely with the racist attitudes of the Americans, British and Belgians who took part in the invasion and helped murder the Presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994 The Truth Turned Upside Down The violence started with a series of raids against Hutus in Rwanda, conducted by the so-called Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a U.S.-sponsored, Tutsi paramilitary organization. These raids occurred during the period 1990-1993. The raids were repelled; even so, they gave the RPF valuable information about the government’s capacity to defend Rwanda. Based on this information, the U.S.-backed forces successfully invaded northern Rwanda in 1993, driving a million people from their homes. This massive campaign of terror, directed against civilians, is never mentioned in the Western media.

The second stage of violence was launched on April 6, 1994. At that time, the invading Tutsi RPF shot down the airplane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus. The main victims of the widespread fighting that followed were Hutus and moderate Tutsis. The western-backed Tutsi invaders of Rwanda murdered between one and a half and two million Hutus in the four months between April 6 and July 4, 1994 and have murdered more than two million more since then by attacking Hutu refugees in the Congo.

It is a tragedy made more macabre by the Tutsi claim that their Hutu victims were really Tutsis, a claim they use to justify their dictatorial stranglehold on the people of that beautiful country by portraying themselves as the victims. This macabre reversal of the truth is supported by various intellectuals, NGOs and western governments who easily fall into the racist trap of believing the lies of the Tutsi regime in Rwanda, and the lies of the Americans who, while actively involved in the murder of millions, claim to have had no involvement and to add insult to injury, ‘admit’ the lie that they were negligent in not taking steps to stop the war and the killing when in fact they were the sponsors.

The Rwandan genocide of 1994 was one of the defining events of the twentieth century. It ended the illusion that the evil of genocide had been eradicated and spurred renewed commitment to halting genocides in the future-hopefully.

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PHN0cm9uZz53b29fdmlkZW9fY2F0ZWdvcnk8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSBTZWxlY3QgYSBjYXRlZ29yeTo8L2xpPjwvdWw+