Thousands of black African soldiers who died fighting for Britain during the First World War remain in unmarked burial sites after being overlooked by the War Graves Commission, according to MP David Lammy .
The Labour politician has revealed how soldiers who took part in the East African campaign were denied a proper burial.
He said: “The Commission is a beloved organisation and prides itself on equality.
“But equality was not extended to African soldiers who helped to win the war.”
Lammy, 47, exposes the “hidden history” in a Channel 4 documentary where he travels to Kenya to see the unmarked sites.
He said: “There are these amazing cemeteries in Kenya and Tanzania with great dedication to British soldiers but not to the Africans.
“They were thrown in unmarked graves. This was a policy by Winston Churchill’s government saying their graves can be thrown to nature.”
Lammy added: “It’s time to take a fresh look at how Africans sacrificed their lives.
“What was disturbing was the lengths to which the establishment went to ensure Africans were not buried alongside British soldiers – macabre things like measuring skulls. It was shocking.”
He also spoke to families of soldiers left in unmarked graves.
“One family said they didn’t know where their grandfather was buried and had just received a lock of hair.
“Even an unknown soldier in Britain has a stone,” he said.
Lammy is calling for a new commission to be set up to atone for the injustice. He said: “I want to correct a historic wrong.
“There isn’t even a plaque – it’s just scrubland next to a railway station and no one would know under their feet are Africans who died in the war effort.”
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