Caribbean Regiment – We were ‘there’ in World War II

Go Lean Commentary

75 years ago today – June 6, 1944 – was the Big One

… the fight to end all fights.

It goes down in history as “D-Day“. See the encyclopedic details in the Appendix below, and this VIDEO here:

VIDEO – WWII veterans and world leaders gather in Normandy for D-Day anniversary –

CBS This Morning
Published on Jun 5, 2019 –
Leaders from around the world are starting two days of observances to remember the 75th anniversary of D-Day. President Trump and Queen Elizabeth are part of this morning’s ceremony in Portsmouth, England, one of the main departure points for the WWII invasion of German-occupied France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also there, along with representatives from all 16 allied nations that took part in D-Day. Anthony Mason reports from Normandy.

History shows that this was the beginning of the end of World War II (WWII). The world has been forever changed since this war. This applies 100 percent for us in the Caribbean and we were ‘there’ in-person and “in spirit”. At the time of this war there were only 3 independent Caribbean member-states (Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Now today, in the 75 years since, there are 16 independent states. Those 3 independent nations did NOT participate in World War II. But the other countries – at that time colonies of the European powers at conflict (Britain, France, The Netherlands, USA) – did have to submit personnel to the war effort.

submit personnel to the war effort – that’s a euphemism for risking their lives for King and Country. As related in a previous commentary, that required ethos – National Sacrifice – had normally been missing in Caribbean life. An excerpt from that commentary continues as follows:

The term National Sacrifice is defined here as the willingness to die for a greater cause; think “King/Queen and Country”. This spirit is currently missing in the recipe for “community” in the Caribbean homeland.

To be willing to die for a cause means that one is willing to live for the cause. Admittedly, “dying” is a bit extreme. The concept of “sacrifice” in general is the focus of this commentary.

The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean wants to forge change in the Caribbean, we want to change the attitudes for an entire community, country and region. We have the track record of this type of commitment being exemplified in other communities. (Think: The US during WWII). Now we want to bring a National Sacrifice attitude to the Caribbean, as it is undoubtedly missing. This is evidenced by the fact the every Caribbean member-state suffers from alarming rates of societal abandonment: 70% of college educated population in the English states have left in a brain drain, while the US [dependent] territories have lost more than 50% of their populations).

So on D-Day, when all the sacrifices were spilled on those beaches in Normandy on the French coastline, Caribbean people were there, but not representing their Caribbean homeland; they represented their colonial masters. As a people, we did not have a “seat at the table”, but verily we were “on the menu”.

We need to further examine that day, D-Day; we need to look at the voluminous sacrifices of that day and take stock of where we are as a people today, still with no “seat at the table” … and still “on the menu”.

Why should we concern ourselves with this 75-year old historic sacrifice?

Because we need change and change only comes about as a result of sacrifice – someone’s sacrifice ensured that we have the changes-progress in society that we enjoy today. For most of the 42 million people in our region, the self-determination – think: majority rule, voters rights and civil rights – that is expected is a harvested by-product of the sacrifices of many people in World War II in general – 55 million people died – and on the French coastal beaches of Normandy on D-Day in particular – 19,000 people that day: 10,000 Allied troops & up to 9,000 Germans.

A previous blog-commentary with the title “‘At the Table’ or ‘On the Menu’” highlights this main point:

Change is hard! Reforming and transforming a community is heavy-lifting. A lot of societal reforms – human and civil rights – only come about as a result of advocates fighting for change … “at the top” or “from the bottom”. Changing “at the top” means conferring, convincing, consulting and cajoling leaders (political and business) to implement changes in policies and procedures; it means being “at the table”. Changing “from the bottom” means “taking to the streets” and rallying the masses to force governments and businesses – the establishment – to hear demands and make changes.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), a confederation to bring change and empowerment to the Caribbean member-states; to make the region a better place to live, work and play for all stakeholders (residents, Diaspora, visitors, businesses and institutions). This Go Lean book posits that the permanent change we seek will only take root as a result of adjustments to the community attitudes, the national spirit that drives the character and identity of its people. This is identified in the book as “community ethos” (Page 20); and that one such character, National Sacrifice is sorely missing in this region.

Why missing? Perhaps this is due to the ignorance that Caribbean people actually also gave blood, sweat and tears to the WWII war effort in 1944. The best example of our heroism and sacrifice is the historicity of the All-Volunteer Caribbean Regiment in the British Army. See some details here:

Title: Caribbean Regiment
The Caribbean Regiment (also known as the Carib Regiment) was a unit of the British Army during World War II. The regiment went overseas in July 1944 and saw service in the Middle East and Italy.

There had been resistance from the War Office to form the West Indian regiment but those who made their own way to the UK were able to enlist in the British Army. Nearly 10,000 West Indians travelled and joined the army in Britain.

Following discussion between the Colonial Office and the War Office, the Caribbean Regiment was formed in April 1944 of 1,200 volunteers. The recruits were drawn from all over the British West Indies; most were members of local Volunteer Defence Forces. A few officers and non-commissioned Officers were also drafted in from British Army units.

A detachment of 104 officers and men from the Atlantic island of Bermuda, made up of volunteers (conscription had been introduced to Bermuda shortly after the declaration of war, but those who were drafted to the Caribbean Regiment volunteered to do so) from the Bermuda Militia Artillery and Bermuda Militia Infantry, arrived on two ships, on the 13 and 23 April 1944, to form the training cadre of the new regiment at Fort Eustis, a US Army base near Williamsburg, Virginia. Under the command of Lt. Colonel H. Wilkin, OBE, MC, they prepared for the arrival of detachments from the West Indian islands, each under its own officers. Newly recruited men were tested in Virginia for fitness. With more experience, and a generally higher degree of education, many of the Bermudian men were made non-commissioned officers and distributed around the regiment.

Some of the Caribbean soldiers had already trained for deployment to the Pacific. The Bermudians had previously trained for the war in Europe. The new regiment trained in Virginia, where the regiment was the first to celebrate the King’s birthday in the U.S. since the American Revolution.

The Regiment left the USA for Oran, in North Africa, in June 1944. Oran was handed over to Free French Forces before their arrival, and the Regiment went on to Italy in July 1944, where it was employed in general duties behind the front line. In October it escorted 4000 German prisoners of war from Italy to Egypt, where it was used in mine clearance work around the Suez Canal area.

The regiment never saw front line action. This was due partly to inadequate training (with only a single battalion, it had not trained as part of a larger brigade – the smallest unit the British Army normally fielded on its own) and partly because of the anticipated political impact in the British West Indies if heavy casualties had been incurred.

In 1946 it returned to the West Indies and was disbanded.

Source: Retrieved June 5, 2019 from:

The world is coming together to remember, mourn and celebrate the big sacrifices of D-Day 1944. We, the people of the Caribbean, need to pay more than the usual attention to these activities.

In that previous commentary, it related the community ethos that was associated with peoples who endured the sacrifices of WWII. This was National Sacrifice, a deferred gratification and priority on being future-focused. All the D-Day Fallen Soldiers should be mourned and remembered; their sacrifices must be duly acknowledged, appreciated and honored. This is how to create that proper community spirit and value system for public service and National Sacrifice.

Take note, you Caribbean people.

The former British colonies, though they contributed to the Caribbean Regiment, still have not adopted this National Sacrifice value system. Most of the Caribbean (outside the US Territories) member-states do not even have a (work-free) holiday to honor the sacrifices of those that fought, bled or died for their country’s previous war efforts.

No appreciation, no sacrifice; no sacrifice, no victory.

And we wonder why our people in the homeland are so quick to abandon their communities. We refuse to give honor to those that died for the homeland, and verily, we refuse to live for the homeland.

Time for a change.

The 5 L’s should be considered. We need to Look, Listen, Learn as the world commemorates D-Day. Then we need to Lend-a-hand ourselves to help our community. After which we must Lead, in forging the proper ethos-spirit-attitude in our young people going forward. This is why National Sacrifice matters.

We hereby urge every stakeholders – resident and Diaspora alike – that love the Caribbean to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap to elevate our societal engines. All the mitigations and empowerments in this roadmap require people to be in the homeland, to stay and sacrifice when it would seem so much easier to just leave, rather we need them to prosper where planted. That is courageous. We also urge those that have left to consider repatriation – returning home – that would be heroic.

Too many defects in the homeland?

We hear you; we see you! We are making the sacrifices to make the progress. We hereby pledge to devote the needed “blood, sweat and tears” – but no war – to make our homelands better places to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – D-Day (Normandy landings)
The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later western Europe) from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 USBritish, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: UtahOmahaGoldJuno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled, using specialised tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. CarentanSt. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold which the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year.

See the full Wikipedia article (retrieved June 5, 2019) here:

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