In Flanders Fields - 1915
by John MacRae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In October 2008, a simple request from Cy Grant ( author of "A Member of the RAF of Indeterminate Race") in London for the number of Trinidad & Tobago aircrew in WW2 soon turned (for me) into a major research project with Cy & Hans Klootwijk's launch in late October of their website Caribbean Aircrew in the RAF in WW2.


While my initial research area was on Trinidad & Tobago and the RAF, my search for information led me to several WW2 Forums on the web and in particular  the WW2Chat Forum where I was introduced to Geoff’s WW2 Search Engine.

This powerful search engine permitted me to do an en mass search  on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s database for Caribbean related entries  and I was able to broaden my research area to include The Caribbean War Dead in general, and together with his WW1 Search Engine, the WW1 Caribbean War dead was soon added to my database.

 In matters of Nationality, the CWGC classifies each person in one of 6 nationalities, none of which includes any West Indian Island. Where possible, I have included the appropriate Island and have corrected minor spelling errors of place names, as well as including additional next of kin information. As time goes by, Service history & causes of death will be included as acquired.

In spite of these powerful search tools and the kindness and help willingly given by the members on the WW2Chat and WW1Talk Forums, my database is woefully incomplete and still very much a work in progress, with weekly updates the norm. Much information has been gleaned from the records of The National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago and the work of their greatly underappreciated and helpful staff is to be commended. I must also thank Ms Parks of the Port of Spain City Hall who took time out of her busy schedule to locate and make available the Minutes of the Port of Spain City Council’s Meetings.

Being based in Trinidad, accessibility to data on Trinidad & Tobago Nationals is far easier to come by than for the other Islands and no other reason should be deduced for the omission of such other personal information for Nationals of the other West Indian Islands. It is my hope that visitors to this site will contribute to this database by correcting such errors and omissions that seem to be inevitable in a database of this sort.  You may contact me direct via email
As a raison d'etre for publishing this Caribbean Roll of Honour, I hope I may be forgiven for borrowing this poignant line from the Yad Vashem Holocaust website and is from David Berger's last letter,

Vilna 1941:
"....I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named David Berger."

 

Jerome Lee
Chaguaramas Military History & Aerospace Museum
Trinidad
July 2009
 
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