Nora Crook on the losses of the Caribbean, Brian McGuckin on Scots who died, Alison Hardie on the Chinese Labour Corps, Kate Purcell on the women left without husbands, and Marika Sherwood on the price paid where it all began: in Africa. Plus, letters from Barry Winkleman and Sirkka Betts
The Guardian’s chart (First world war deaths as a percentage of population, 10 November) effaces the Caribbean from the tally of losses, an all too frequent oversight. Presumably, the figures supplied by your named source cut off at 0.02% of the population, whereas for the British Caribbean the corresponding figure was about 0.01%. But this is not a negligible figure.
Over 1,200 young men from the British Caribbean (about a tenth of the volunteers), who were allowed only in 1915 to join the British West India Regiment to fight for king and empire, died of wounds, frostbite and sickness in Flanders and Africa. That number doesn’t include West Indians who enlisted directly in English regiments, like my uncle who joined the Artists’ Rifles from St Kitts and died of pneumonia without seeing active service.