Royal British Legion Black History Month


Royal British Legion – Black History Month
Words by Officer Cadet Charlton & Mid Jackson

At the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Royal British Legion hosted the Black History Month Remember Together event, acknowledging the contributions through adversity of ethnic minorities in Britain’s wars, and raising awareness of the contributions of the Windrush generation and the British West Indies Regiment.

Seven Officer Cadets represented Bristol University Royal Naval Unit, assisting with the wreath laying ceremony and establishing unit presence. On arrival, we were greeted by the vibrant sounds of the Bristol Reggae Orchestra and Windrush Choir before taking our seats for the night’s discussion and Q&A session.

Key guests and speakers included Eddy Smythe, son of Flight Lieutenant John Smythe, a navigator for the RAF, born in Sierra Leone and one of six thousand young black men that volunteered to fight. His story highlighted the struggles of members of non-white British Colonies in their efforts to fight for Britain, and the underrepresentation of their efforts after the war.

We then enjoyed a delicious cuisine provided by Nadine’s Caribbean Cafe, the jerk chicken and chickpea curry proved popular with the Officer Cadets. Post dinner, we again engaged with other attendees before making our leave. The evening’s topic resounded in the Officer Cadets as we discussed our take on the evening and the conversations it raised.

In the words of the Royal British Legion, “By remembering, acknowledging, and celebrating their contributions, we not only honour their legacy, but also enrich our understanding of the UK’s diverse history…In doing so, we pave the way for a more inclusive and accurate historical account -one that recognises the invaluable role non-white Armed Forces personnel played in shaping the nation and upholding the values we hold dear.”

Special thanks to Farrah Chandra-Wade, RBL Community Engagement Officer – West of England

Reserve Forces