Within the last five years, the forgotten role of Black service personnel in the First and Second World Wars has been investigated by authors such as Stephen Bourne, Mark Johnson and Linda Hervieux. Collectively their research has demonstrated that men and women of African descent served in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force as well as on the Homefront during both global conflicts. Building upon their works we have released stories on the Merchant Marine, the West Indian Pilots and Ground Crew as well as WAAF Lilian Bader, to demonstrate the local presence of Black service personnel in Hull and East Yorkshire during World War One and Two. However, while most of these stories are overwhelmingly positive, it has been possible for us to highlight the sacrifices made by people of African descent during war with stories such as the death of Adolphus Meheux. To add further layers to this theme, we have found the graves of four Black servicemen who were linked to East Yorkshire.
 Stephen Bourne, Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War (Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2014) and Stephen Bourne, The Motherland Calls: Britain’s Black Servicemen & Women 1939-45 (Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2012); Mark Johnson, Caribbean Volunteers at War: The forgotten story of the RAF’s ‘Tuskegee Airmen’ (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2014); Linda Hervieux, Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes (Gloucestershire: Amberley, 2015).
 Wartime Recollections: Brenda Gray (nee Downs) http://www.angelfire.com/de3/fileycasualties/Brenda_Gray.htm [accessed 02/04/2017]
 With thanks to Stephen Bourne for bringing Vivian Florent to our attention and for his support. For more information on Vivian Florent see Stephen Bourne, The Motherland Calls, p. 125-126.
Last week, I visited the National Archives in Kew to gather information on the West Indian recruits who trained at Filey and the small contingent of Black American G.I’s based at Cottingham during World War Two. While records relating to the conflict are in abundance and the majority are very well preserved, after trawling through a large number of files kept by the Air Ministry, Colonial and War Offices it became increasing apparent that finding any specific information was going to be very difficult.
Dr Lauren Darwin