The University of the West Indies Press
Caribbean Wars Untold: A Salute to the British West Indies
Humphrey Metzgen, John Graham
Caribbean Wars Untold: A Salute to the British West Indies
US$ 9.99
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There’s a story about what supposedly happened when Barbados heard in September 1939 that Britain had declared war on Germany. To show the island’s solidarity, the colonial government in Bridgetown cabled a message to London. “Go on, England,” the cable reportedly read, “Little England is behind you!”

Quaint in the re-telling; but Britain’s Caribbean colonies were all eager to do their bit for the war effort, though the hostilities had precious little to do with them. The contributions of Barbados and the other territories to World War II—as well as Britain’s various other military encounters—may have been modest, not to mention unseemly to modern sensibilities, but they were sincere. And in Humphrey Metzgen and John Graham, former British Army officers, they find equally sincere chroniclers.

From the story of the local militias, raised to defend the islands against attack from other colonial powers, through the exploits of the West India regiments, which saw action across the globe in the 19th century, this book recounts the valour shown and, inevitably, the prejudice faced by Britain’s Caribbean subjects in the service of the Empire.

The book’s focus is on the world wars, in particular World War II. A number of vivid accounts from Caribbean soldiers and airmen, as well as from women who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in London, are included. And war buffs will delight in the descriptions of the U-boat battles that ranged across the Caribbean Sea.

Ultimately, however, the Caribbean experience of fighting for the mother country was one of “undervalued loyalty, unwanted assistance and frustrated enthusiasm”; perhaps the greatest legacy of the Caribbean’s involvement in Britain’s wars, as the authors speculate, was the hastened desire to leave the Empire altogether.

Maps and Charts
PART 1 Five Hundred Years of International Conflicts and Wars
1. Historical and Conceptual Perspectives
2. The Spanish Empire
3. Strife and Settlement
4. The Growth of British Power and the Demise of Spain
5. Britain’s Fight for Supremacy over France
6. Self-Defence: The Militia
7. The Emancipation Era
8. Small Wars, Peacekeeping and Heroism
PART 2 The Impact of the First and Second World Wars
9 The First World War, 1914–1918
10. The Interwar Years, 1919–1939
11. The Outbreak of the Second World War
12. Service Overseas
PART 3 The Sea War and the Role of Enemy Submarines in the Caribbean
13. The War at Sea: The Setting
14. The War at Sea: The Unseen Foe
15. The War at Sea: The Victors
PART 4 The Remnants of Five Hundred Years of War and Conflict
16. The Caribbean Legacy
Appendix A The U-Boat War in the Caribbean
Appendix B West Indians Awarded the Victoria Cross
Appendix C Private Johnson Gideon Beharry Receives the Victoria Cross
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
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