British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Keir Starmer have supported the ‘Remember Together’ initiative ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
The campaign, a joint initiative by thinktank British Future and the Royal British Legion, urges greater efforts to commemorate the service and sacrifice of black and Asian servicemen and women in the Second World War.
“In every theatre of the Second World War, volunteers from India, Africa and the Caribbean made an immense contribution to victory,” said Johnson.
“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.”
“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,” said Starmer.
“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.”
Actors Adrian Lester and Meera Syal, Mayor London Sadiq Khan and former Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and former heads of the armed forces Lord Dannatt and Lord Richards have already supported the campaign.
Other supporters are Baroness Warsi, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and his Labour challenger Liam Byrne, MPs Virendra Sharma, Rushanara Ali, Nusrat Ghani, Andrew Murrison, Stuart McDonald, , Sheffield mayor Dan Jarvis MP and Anas Sarwar MSP.