Monday 12 March
Seaford Station, Station Approach, East Sussex, BN25 2AR
Unveiling of a Blue Plaque to celebrate the
BRITISH WEST INDIES REGIMENT
In 1914 many West Indians left the colonies to enlist in the army in the UK, and were recruited into British regiments. The 1st Battalion was formed in September 1915 at Seaford, West Sussex, England. It was made up of men from British Guiana, —A Company, Trinidad – B Company, St Vincent – C Company, and Grenada and Barbados —D Company.
The regiment’s battalions saw service in East Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, France and Italy.
A total of 397 officers and 15,204 other ranks served in the Regiment. It was a volunteer regiment consisting of troops from the British colonies of the West Indies. The Regiment was awarded 5 DSOs, 9 MCs, 2 MBEs, 8 DCMs, 37 MMs and 49 Mentions in Dispatches.
The unveiling, has been organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust. , with support from the Councils of Seaford, Lewes and East Sussex.
The Mayor of Seaford, Councillor Linda Wallraven, says: “I am so pleased that a Blue Plaque is going to be unveiled at Seaford Station in recognition to the British West Indies Regiment which was established here in Seaford in 1915. The Regiment is part of Seaford history. Yearly we have a service of Remembrance for those who lost their lives many of whom are buried at Seaford Cemetery.”
Beulah Coombs, Lecturer and niece of a WW1 BWIR Private, says: “It is a great privilege to be included in the proceedings to commemorate and honour soldiers from the West Indies, who fought for Britain in WW1. Recognition and acknowledgement of their brave contributions to the war effort have been long overdue. My uncle, Private Robert Smith, of the 7th Battalion of the British West Indies Regiment, and whose grave is in Belgium, was one of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. My relatives and I are extremely proud of his and his comrades’ legacies”
Robert A Peedle MBE, Chairman, Seahaven Branch The Royal Society of St George & Volunteer Broadcaster, Seahaven FM, says: “I have two interests in this day, one that as Chairman of the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St George we always support the annual commemoration at the Seaford Cemetery of the West Indian, Canadian and Irish troops who served and died here during the First World War. This is always well supported by members of our branch. My other interest is that as a Volunteer Broadcaster on Seahaven FM (96.3 fm) my programme, Forces on Parade is always conscious of the great contribution members of the armed forces from our then colonies and now the Commonwealth have made over the centuries to the defence of the Realm. Their efforts and commitment should never be forgotten which is why this plaque at Seaford Railway Station is so important.”
Jon Freeman, Seaford to Brighton Line Director, says: “Sussex CRP and Seaford Station are pleased to host the unveiling of a blue plaque on behalf of the British West Indies Regiment. Seaford Station has recently celebrated 150 years of being a railway town with a steam train coming to add to the historic moment. Now the Regiment will re-capture their past influence in Seaford following the unveiling, with a reception, in the Steamworks Craft Bar enjoying their hospitality and maybe tasting some of the 150 craft beers brewed in Sussex further bringing the station concourse to life. The old and the new meet yet again in memory of our heritage!!”
Nubian Jak Community Trust: http://nubianjak.org
See for the Trust’s Memorial to the contributions of Africans to Britain’s wars at
See my review of Stephen Bourne’s Black Poppies. Britain’s Black Community and the Great War at