The First Black Footballer to Play for England

Vivian "Viv" Anderson MBE. Football coach, former and full international player

Written by Sathesh Alagappan

Today footballers of West Indian and African descendents are a familiar site in English football. For the most part, they are able to play the game as equals, and have had a significant role in shaping modern football.

However, in the 1970's and 1980's, black footballers were a rare sight. It took a brave wave of first and second generation West Indian migrants to break the mould. They faced discrimination and rampant racism from fans, but they helped change the face of football.

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/

 

The Military Service of Allan Charles Wilmot: Royal Navy & RAF during WW2

Allan volunteered first for the Royal Navy in 1941 when there was a call for service men from Jamaica. He saw an advertisement in the Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper when he was sixteen and a half years old and the advertisement stated that the British Government needed recruits for the Royal Navy. Allan applied, passed the test and was accepted.

Queen Elizabeth II - Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch

Queen Elizabeth II - Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch

Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of Britain and the Commonwealth in 1952 following the death of her Father King George VI. Answering the call of duty, she is now the longest reigning Monarch in British History.

Prior to her ascension, people from across the Commonwealth remained loyal and steadfast to the British Monarchy, rallying to Britain's defence and aid whenever needed. In particular, the people from the British Speaking West Indies have continued to serve both the Monarchy and Nation for more than 400 years.

Johnny Smythe RAF World War 2

Johnny Smythe RAF World War 2

Johnny Smythe OBE 1915 - 1996

Following the declaration of War in 1939, Johnny Smythe born in Freetown, Sierra Leone volunteered for the RAF, training as a Navigator Officer. A year later he became Navigator of a bomber squadron  before being promoted to Flying Officer.

In 1943 he was taken prisoner after being shot down by enemy fighters. He spent the remainder of the war helping on the escape committee at Stalag Luft One in Pomerania, Germany until he was freed by the Russians in 1945.

3rd Battalion British West Indies Regiment

3rd Battalion British West Indies Regiment

The following article was contributed by Paul Finnegan Royal British Legion, Halesowen Branch July 2015

On a recent visit to Ypres I visited Ypres Reservoir Cemetery in the town, primarily to see the grave of VC recipient Brigadier General Francis Aylmer Maxwell. The information panel at the entrance to the Cemetery stated that there were six graves of men who served with the British West Indies Regiment So I sought to find one. 

SS Empire Windrush Remembrance Sunday Service

HMS Forward Supports SS Empire Windrush Remembrance Sunday

SS Empire Windrush Remembrance Sunday is an annual event held at Holy Trinity Church. As with all Services of Remembrance it offers us a moment of reflection, contemplation and celebration for the achievements made by the people from the Caribbean who once again answered England's call for help.

In 1948, skilled professionals joined returning military personnel to help rebuild, care and protect a war torn country.

ANZAC, Gallipoli and WW1

ANZAC Day - Cannock Chase

ANZAC Day (25th April) honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire. It also marks the anniversary of the first military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

ANZAC day is observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands and Tonga. It was previously a national holiday in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

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