View the h-albion Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in h-albion's January 2008 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in h-albion's January 2008 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the h-albion home page.
I don't think it is fair to say that the makers of Atonement were 'playing fast and loose with the facts' by including a black soldier in the Dunkirk scene. It is simply very hard to know: statistically one would expect there to have been a handful of black soldiers scooped up by the Military Services Act, and one or two of those may have been sent to France with the BEF, but equally they might have been sidelined into the RASC or similar. Although the IWM expert has never seen a black soldier in any of the Dunkirk photographs nor seen mention in any memoir or letters, he would be the first to say it does not mean that there were none there, and there is indeed supposed to be an extant photograph showing a black soldier, but he has never seen it nor found a reference to it. Of course there was racial prejudice in Britain at the time - the US Army would not have been able to operate its 'Jim Crow' policy in Britain without the compliance of the British government - but segregation was never as systematic as in the US army and USAAF. There were always a considerable numbers of black sailors in the Navy and by the end of the war quite a few West Indian (as they were then called) airmen flew with Bomber Command, so it is not inconceivable that there were black soldiers fighting in France. And, of course, the Mule Company of the Indian Army was with the BEF in France. Juliet Gardiner firstname.lastname@example.org ------ End of Forwarded Message