LONDON, 22 April 2021 – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has apologized for not formally celebrating dead servicemen of color the same way as white troops.
An inquiry found that tens of thousands of predominantly black and Asian service personnel who died fighting for the British Empire were treated as if they never existed due to “pervasive racism”.
The report decried the discriminatory practice, writing: “the events of a century ago were wrong then and are wrong now”.
At least 116,000 mostly dead soldiers of African and Middle Eastern descent from World War One “were not commemorated by name or possibly not commemorated at all”.
The actual number of fallen soldiers of African and Middle Eastern descent may be as high as 350,000 victims.
The Guardian newspaper cited one passage of the report in which the governor of a British colony in 1923 reportedly said “the average native… would not understand or appreciate a headstone”.