Introduction to the Gallery

The gallery pages are intended to showcase photographs, drawings and paintings of West Indian and African soldiers and their equipment.


All the pictures to be found here are already in the public domain but we have tried to draw as many together in one place as possible, in order to present a fuller picture of each regiment. In doing so, we have chosen to widen our scope well beyond the years of the First World War itself, to cover the period from the 1860s to the early 1920s. All pictures have been grouped according to regiment, in order to avoid confusion and to allow the viewer to easily identity distinctive uniform and equipment details. Accordingly, there is a separate gallery page for each unit.


Often, when we have come across pictures on the internet, we have found the descriptions of them to be unreliable and frequently erroneous, with pictures being described with wrong dates and incorrect subject details, or sometimes cropped in a way which misrepresents their subject matter. Sadly, it is our experience that the creators of websites about Caribbean or African soldiers frequently seem to illustrate them with the first pictures they come across, which they then make assumptions about, leading to many being misidentified. As pictures are shared and copied, these errors are compounded.


In order to try to rectify this and create a useful and reliable resource for amateur researchers and interested parties, we have made efforts to check the pictures we have found against the collections of the Imperial War Museum, the National Army Museum, the German Federal Archives and other collections, in order (wherever possible) to correctly identify both the subject matter and the correct dates. The file names we have used are normally the product of these identifications.


The process of identification is ongoing and some tentative file names may change as a result (mainly for images we have not yet matched to images in museum or archive collections). Where a collection reference number is already included in a file name however, this indicates we are satisfied with the identification and no further change to the file name is envisaged.


We are also conscious that many images to be found on the internet have been used without regard to copyright and ownership. This is a serious issue and we have taken the view that whilst we cannot prevent this from happening elsewhere, we nonetheless have a legal responsibility to acknowledge the ownership of images wherever possible. Accordingly, where we have been able to establish the ownership of any particular image (and believe it still to be legal to display it), the correct reference number and ownership details have been included in the file name. We would ask all users of images from our galleries to respect their ownership and correctly attribute this when they use them.