HISTORICAL INEQUALITIES IN COMMEMORATION

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Sandy Nathan (K.M.N.) grandfather (pictured) to Dr Jihad Malasi’s who is a GP at at Dashwood Medical Practice in Kent, served with the British Army and in the Police.  Whilst Sandy Nathan (K.M.N.) returned from service, those who did not should be commemorated equally as they all gave the ultimate sacrifice.  This equity is something, which should also be reflected for our current serving personnel and veterans.

A Special Committee was appointed in December 2019, by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to look at the early history of the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) and possible inequalities relating to members of the British Empire who were killed during World War 1 and World War 2 in how they were commemorated. 

The final report can be viewed at the CWGC website alongside the Special Committee’s findings and recommendations and what the CWGC is doing to address the issues identified. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace apologised in the Commons after the report blamed “pervasive racism”.

chattri memorial view
The Voice of Hassocks (original picture: User:Briantist), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

During the First World War injured Indian soldiers were hospitalised in the Royal Pavilion, The Dome and the Corn Exchange with the Royal Pavilion housing the first Indian Hospital to open in England. The Hindus and Sikhs who died were cremated on the Downs and, in 1921, the Chattri memorial was constructed on the cremation site and lists the names of the 53 people who were cremated there.

The Armed Forces Network is already working with the Gurkha and Nepalese community as a whole to raise the needs of the community and ensure equity in provision.  Further work is to take place looking at the members of the Armed Forces from within the Commonwealth and if this is an area which you would like to support please contact us.