Document reveals more than 500,000 black soldiers were underpaid in second world war

More than half a million black African soldiers who fought in the British army during the second world war were paid up to three times less than their white counterparts, a newly unearthed document has revealed, prompting calls for an investigation and the government to compensate surviving veterans.

The document, buried in Britain’s national archives, reveals how the government systematically discriminated against African soldiers, paying white personnel – even those living in African colonies and serving alongside African soldiers in British colonial units – far more than their black counterparts.

The international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, acknowledged that inequalities existed in the past.

Labour MPs are calling for a government inquiry into the matter. On Wednesday, Wayne David, the shadow defence minister, demanded an immediate official investigation: “The defence secretary ought to make an announcement to the House of Commons and put on the record that this was wrong and that he’ll put it right – as simple and straightforward and emphatic as that … There needs to be a full-scale government inquiry and all the information needs to be brought forward.”

The document was uncovered by the makers of a documentary for Al Jazeera English’s People and Power series. It reveals that Britain paid its soldiers not only according to their rank and length of service but also the colour of their skin.

Original  Source


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