Agenda ’20

the West Indian soldier


Under the title "Gateways to the First World War", the In Flanders Fields Museum and the University of Kent (School of History) present a series of eight seminars on Thursday evening, free and open to all.

The four lectures in Ieper are scheduled at 7.15pm and take place in the reading room of the In Flanders Fields Museum, Sint-Maartensplein 3.


Imagining the West Indian soldier
from empire to multicultural commemoration
Richard Smith (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The role of the 16,000–strong British West Indies Regiment in the First World War has been recuperated from a marginalized afterthought in accounts of the British imperial war effort to occupy a more central, even symbolic, position in contemporary interpretations of the conflict. This process gained momentum during the recent centenary commemorations in which West Indian participation was remembered across a wide range of media, creative initiatives and community projects. This seminar will explore a variety of historical and contemporary representations of the British West Indies Regiment to consider the extent to which citizenship in multicultural Britain is framed by past imperial military service.