hbarnes's blog

Captain John Perkins - British Royal Navy Officer

The Quarter deck of an 18th Century Royal Navy warship was not a place one would expect to see much in the way of racial diversity. Despite this, at least one black man enjoyed a career as an officer that spanned 30 years. He even commanded a number of sloops, schooners and frigates.

His name was John Perkins (1745-1812) nicknamed Jack Punch.

He rose from obscurity to be one of the most successful ship captains of the Georgian Navy. His obituary in the Navy Chronicle described his actions while in command of the schooner Punch:

The West India Regiment at the outbreak of War

The West India Regiment, formed in 1795 fought in the African Campaigns during the First World War. The Regiment earned the battle honours 'Cameroons1914-16' East Africa 1914-18 for service during the conquest of German's African Colonies. 

You can read more on the Caribbean's Great War at http://westindiacommittee.org/caribbeansgreatwar/


Remembrance Sunday Birmingham 2013

Birmingham Remembrance Sunday 2013 . W I R

Photograph curtesy of Gillian Hill

Once again the WAWI Project ensures Caribbean Contributions are remembered at the Parade in Birmingham City Centre, as well as at local church services including the Church of Ascension, Hall Green and Cannon Street, Baptist Church. 

Around the Commonwealth you will find people paying respects to all those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifce. 

Thank You One And All

We Will Remember All of Them

British National Service and the British West Indian

British National Service and the British West Indian

British National Service started in 1947 shortly after the end of World War 2, formalised by the National Service Act of 1948. 

The rationale of National Service was in the event of another war breaking out; young men would be trained and ready to serve. Britain was obligated to provide protection across the Commonwealth but with only a limited number of men still in active service. 

Financially bankrupt, Britain sought assistance from the American Marshall Plan to aid her recovery but later withdrew her request due to too many strings attached. 

Soldiers of the British West Indian Regiment Commemorated on the Menin Gate

British West Indies Troops lost in the Ypres Salient

The following article was contributed by Paul Finegan - Royal British Legion (Halesowen Branch)

In March I had the honour of accompanying The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor John Lines on a visit to The Western Front, which included an overnight stop in the Belgian town of Ypres; home to the Menin Gate. 

Equal Rights Charter

The Queen is to sign a new charter backing equal rights in every Commonwealth nation. 

The document declares - "We are implacably opposed to all forms of disrcimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds".

It was adopted in December 2012 by all 54 Commonwealth Nations and will be signed by the Monarch at an event in London on 11th March to mark Commonwealth Day.

International Women's Day

Woman of the British Empire. Please remember them. Thank you

International Women's Day - 8th March has been observed since the early 1900's, and is now a global celebration with many countries marking the occasion with a national holiday.

There is at least one inspirational woman in every family. A Grandmother, Mother, Sister or Daughter. Sadly, all too often their contributions to life outside of family matters are either deemed unimportant or under-estimated.

"There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"


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