• Antimalaria Gang Sierre Leone RWAFF 1944 - “Creative Commons Anti-Malaria Gang ,Bo (?) Sierra Leone, ROYAL WEST AFRICAN FRONTIER FORCE RWAFF c. 1944” by Sludge G is licensed under CC BY 2.0”

    Why We’re Launching a Petition

    The West Africa Apology petition has two main objectives–

    1. It is calling upon British government to openly apologise for the shameful practice of forced
      conscription in the former British colonies in West Africa during the Second World War; and
    2. Posthumously recognise the role of the gallant West African soldiers in the campaign of the British Fourteenth Army that ended the Japanese occupation of Burma in 1945.

    During World War II, Her Majesty’s Government forcefully conscripted young men from the former British West African colonies of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia to fight against the Axis powers: Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan.

    Though it is not clear how many West African soldiers were conscripted, it is estimated that the British West African colonies supplied over 240,000 soldiers and thousands more labourers, drivers and carriers. They experienced racial, and other forms, of discrimination compared to British soldiers. Tens of thousands of West African troops were killed in action or died of disease. Their families received no support or financial recompense from the colonial administration. Many of those who survived returned home from the frontlines with combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and received no support or financial recompense from the colonial administration.

    Despite their immense contribution, the vital role that West Africans played during World War II has never been officially recognised by Her Majesty’s Government. When Allied Commander, General William Slim, thanked the Fourteenth Army at the end of the Burma Campaign in 1945, he purposefully omitted those West African troops. This petition aims at rectifying historic injustice and colonial prejudice.