Boris Johnson backs campaign to better commemorate Commonwealth soldiers in World War Two

Boris Johnson has backed a campaign for the role of Commonwealth soldiers in Second World War to be better commemorated. Lord Dannatt, the former head of the army, and Lord Richards, a former chief of the defence staff, are among 46 public figures who are calling for better education, more commemorative events, and greater historical documentation of the Commonwealth’s role in the Second World War. The campaign, launched by the Royal British Legion and British Future, also urges a comprehensive national effort by children and historians to compile and preserve the living and written records of those from the Commonwealth who served in the Second World War. In a message to the campaign, Boris Johnson said: ““In every theatre of the Second World War, volunteers from India, Africa and the Caribbean made an immense contribution to victory. “The British Indian Army mobilised 2.5 million personnel and became the largest volunteer force in history. When Britain embarked on the liberation of South-East Asia, assembling nearly a million troops in the 14th army, the great majority of the soldiers in this magnificent unit came from India and Africa. “Volunteers from as far away as Sierra Leone and Nigeria helped release Myanmar from Japanese occupation. “All of these courageous people chose to fight for freedom under the British flag. Their service helped to defeat a terrible evil and allow millions to live in peace and prosperity. Today, I am delighted to remember their sacrifice and celebrate their achievement.” The campaign has also been backed by Labour Leader Keir Starmer who said: “While this year’s remembrance may look different, Britain will still honour all those who have fought for our country – from every village, every town and every city. But, thanks to the efforts of Remember Together, we will also remember that we have never stood alone. “We will never forget the bravery of the 1.5 million Indian soldiers that fought in the British Army in the trenches of World War I, or the allies we stood shoulder to shoulder with in the face of fascism in World War II. When we remember, we remember those of every creed and colour who gave their today in order that we could all have tomorrow.” Among other backers of the campaign is former Chancellor Sajid Javid who said: “Nobody told me, growing up as a Pakistani-background kid, about the million soldiers who fought for Britain in Second World War, and looked like me.”

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