West African Soldiers – World War 2

Today the UK is celebrating Victory in Europe Day or V Day.
70 years ago ( it is generally agreed that ) on the 8th May 1945, World War II ended
Many countries took part in securing victory, including some 375,000 men and women from African countries who served in the Allied forces.
During this war, British-trained Nigerian troops (which made up more than half of the total force of West African soldiers) saw action with the 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade, the 81st and the 82nd (West Africa) Divisions which fought in the East African Campaign and in the Far East.
Men of the 81st and 82nd West African Divisions served with great distinction against the Japanese in Burma, as part of the famous ‘Forgotten’ 14th Army.
The 81st was composed of units from the Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast (now Ghana), while the 82nd comprised further reinforcements from Nigeria and the Gold Coast.
Both Divisions formed part of the RWAFF (Royal West African Frontier Force).
The contribution of West Africans was played down in the official versions of the Allied war in Asia. Even, when Allied commander General William Slim thanked his 14th army at the end of the campaign, he did not even mention the Africans.
But recently people like journalist Barnaby Phillips, have given a voice to some to tell their tale.
Here are some images of life in the Military for Nigerians and British soldiers in Nigeria between 1942 and 1944

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