Women’s role in World Wars acknowledged

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The contributions women made to World Wars I and II have not been overlooked by Lady Sandra Williams whose Halo Foundation for the needy has launched “War: The Exhibition”.
On the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I which was yesterday, Lady Williams said women on every island in the West Indies supported the World Wars’ efforts.
“They fundraised for war charities like the Red Cross, they put together medical supplies and other provisions for the war zone, they served as nurses to returning troops, they donated the wages as labourers to the war efforts and they even encouraged their men to enlist in the army,” she said.
The exhibition features the untold story of World Wars I and II and the sacrifice of thousands of West Indian men who voluntarily put their lives at risk to support their mother country.
The antique gas mask, soldiers’ belts, medals, helmets, newspaper articles commemorate the brave soldiers of Antigua and Barbuda who served in WWI and WWII.
Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams stated that it was key to note that as indicated in a documentary about the role of servicemen of the West Indies, they were enthusiastic to serve.
“Their children, the grandchildren of slaves all volunteered to serve their king and country at the time of the World Wars. I remember reading that the men and women, especially the men of the Leeward Islands were more enthusiastic to serve than the men from all over the world,” he added.
Sir Rodney noted that although extinguished from history, the stories of the men and women of Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean region as a whole, who volunteered for the British West Indies Regimen can now be told. “It is indeed a tragedy that 100 years after WWI the names of many Antiguans and Barbudans who served remain unknown,” he said.
Another notable mention was that of the men and women who volunteered in WWII, 26 hailed from Barbuda.
The month long mini-exhibition was organised by the Halo Foundation Inc. in collaboration with the Ex-servicemen’s Association, The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, the National Archives and the West India Committee based in the UK.
The exhibition is free and runs from October 15 through November 15, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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