World War I – Forgotten Heroes – a Centenary Project

In 2015, I was supported by the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Project to develop a portraiture project to create a legacy for the people from Britain’s dominions and colonies who fought alongside the British.  Working with two other artists (Janice Wilkins and Felicity Borwick), and WWI historians we unearthed images of “forgotten heroes”.  Taking inspiration from the photographs, we produced new ‘colour’ portraits to honour and commemorate their service.  Together with their stories, the portraits were exhibited as part of the Festival of Ideas at the Michaelhouse Centre in Cambridge.  Below are some examples of my paintings.  Several are now in private collections, including  the portrait of Jogendra Sen, which is now part of the UK Government Art Collection.

Did You Know many nationalities fought alongside the Brits during the war? For example, nearly 1.5 million men from India and modern day Pakistan fought for Britain during the First World War? Over 50,000 were killed.  Soldiers from the West Indies Regiment saw action in France, Palestine, Egypt and Italy.


Why do painted portraits still matter

World War I Facts Centenary website

Site about the contribution of people from India

Site about the contribution of people from the Caribbean

Caribbean Role of Honour

BBC film clip about the British West Indian Regiment

Jamaica and the First World War

The British West Indies Regiment

The Forgotten Soldiers Guardian article about George Blackman, from Jamaica about his experiences fighting in the First World War

Eugent Clarke the oldest known World War 1 veteran in Jamaica who met the Queen at the age of 108

Site about the contribution of people from Africa

Tommies and Tariqs independent newspaper article

BBC History: India and the Western Front

National Archives story on the most famous Indian pilot of the First World War Indra Lal Roy

British Library some primary source material including photos

Film clip about Indian soldiers

BBC World Service Africa’s contribution to the war effort and recruitment of African soldiers, with audio clips. You can also find about the fighting that took place in Africa here

Fantastic photos of African soldiers in the French army

Kenyas Forgotten Heroes