D-Day in Normandy – Barbados Connections

Remembrance Day stories

June 6, 1944 – D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe

Bajans and other Caribbean warriors were there. May God bless them all. Here are a few items that I found on the net about Bajan Warriors during World War II…

The Significance of D-Day – Guyana Chronicle

An article written June 13, 2004 provides background details of the invasion and covers a June 6, 2004 60th Anniversary Ceremony at the Barbados Legion.

Remembering The Other Forgotten Soldier – Montreal Gazette

A wonderfully written piece about blacks at war – having to fight those who tried to prevent them from doing their part as well as the Nazis and Japanese. A must read.

Owen Rowe Obit.jpgOwen Rowe RCAF.jpg

“I was supposed to go to the Pacific front but then the Canadian commander called me to his office and said, “Sorry, Rowe, it’s not our fault. The Canadian troops in the Pacific are under the indirect command of the American forces and they don’t want blacks…”

Barbados Warrior – Flying Officer Owen Rowe, Royal Canadian Air Force

Listen to a Recording of Owen Rowe telling his story here.

Errol Barrow – Royal Air Force Flying Officer, First Prime Minister of Barbados


Errol Barrow was our first Prime Minister – but before that he flew 45 operational bombing sorties over Europe – mostly at night – during a time when RAF Bombing Command was taking 5% losses per mission. Ten missions, and half your friends were gone. Flying crew life expectancy was a matter of months.

Think about that.

Errol Barrow Wikipedia entry here.

Walter Tull – Early Black Pro Footballer & Great War Hero, Fell March 25, 1918 France.

I came across Walter Tull’s story on the internet and learned that his father was Bajan. OK, a Great War hero (not WWII), but once again, a must read. Website here.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life

15 responses to “D-Day in Normandy – Barbados Connections

  1. John

    The 1.7 million fallen soldiers of the Commonwealth in the two world wars are commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission individually. You can google the site.

    It is a site that makes you appreciate the sacrifice people will make for a cause in which they believe and of which they feel a part.

    Each name on the Cenotaph in Bridgetown appears on the “Debt of Honour Register”

    I was able once to direct a friend to the last resting place of a relative who fell in the First World War.

    Makes you think.

    Russia lost 20 million people in the Second World War alone.

    I don’t think we really appreciate the type of sacrifice that was made in stopping Hitler.

    It is a pity the Cold War isolated two sets of people who shared a common cause for most of the Second World War.

  2. Pingback: Barbados Free Press » Blog Archive » Barbados First Prime Minister Errol W. Barrow: Signature For Sale, Who Was “Kayo”?

  3. Eyebother

    The father of the retired surgeon ER ‘Mickey’ Walrond was one of the Bajan RAF pilots that was shot down and died

  4. Paddy O'Furniture

    My father left Barbados in 1941 with several other Barbadians who joined the Canadian Army in Montreal.

    After training in Canada and England, he landed at Juno Beach in Normandy on June the 9th, 1944. The Canadian group fought in France and Germany. In early 1945 the Canadians liberated parts of Holland. In particular they are remembered for liberating the town of Appeldoorn.

    My father also participated in “special operations” to assist a Canadian General Officer to “liberate” a boat engine from a German factory.

    At the time of the German surrender my father was attending lectures for allied soldiers at the Cite University in Paris. This was the only time in his life that he attended a university.

    After the German surrender my father, along with many others, signed up to serve in the Pacific for the anticipated campaign against Japan. He was granted an extended leave to visit Barbados prior to re-assignment. While he was on his way home the Japanese surrendered and he was honourably discharged from the Canadian Army.

    In 1950 my father returned to Canada. The Canadian Army was seeking experienced combat veterans to serve in Korea. He joined the army again and served with the PPCLI regiment in Korea. For their actions at Kapyong the 2nd Battalion, PPCLI was awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation. (This is the unit equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross).

    My father remained in the Canadian Army until 1958 and settled in Ottawa.

  5. Search for elders: eyewitnesses to Barbados’ history from 1938 to 1948

    Dear Sir or Madam

    We are wondering if you can help us:

    My colleague and I are London-based independent producers of educational resources. Because of my Caribbean family background, we specialise in Caribbean history – 17th century to 1970s.

    We are currently researching the period 1938-1948.

    We are looking for Barbados’ elders to interview: women and men who can tell us about experiences in Barbados (or elsewhere in the Caribbean) from 1938-1948 – we have a particular interest in the war years

    The initial objectives for the material we gather are a book and online resource – for schools and colleges. [NB. we have fully researched archive sources to provide us with a strong understanding of this history – including in-depth consultation with experts such as Mr Warren Alleyne. We are now seeking personal testimonies to bring history to life].

    We are wondering if you can help us to find people with good stories. Our search for contributors is designed to provide Learners and Educators with a broad and diverse perspective of the years 1938-1948.

    We are wondering if you can recommend Elders with good stories and clear recall who might like to help us.

    We will be travelling to the Caribbean in the coming months to record interviews with those who, as we say, can ‘bring this history to life’.

    Please feel free to ask us for any further information that can help you to help us.

    If you would like to see an example of the kind of work we do, you can view a trailer for our last resource for schools and colleges on the University of Washington’s ‘Black Past’ website: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=video/first-black-britons

    Once again, many thanks for your time and assistance. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Best wishes

    Tony T
    Writer, Researcher, Producer

    Sweet Patootee Ltd
    T/F: 01144 207 686 5101
    W: http://www.sweetpatootee.co.uk

  6. Anonymous

    I am doing a study on Barbadians in World War 2 can you give me more information about your father.

  7. Anonymous

    can you provided me with more information see address posted above

  8. Candice A

    My grandfather, Rawle Lawson Knight, who was from Barbados fought in WWII. I know that he was on the front lines, having been shot while in Europe. He met my grandmother, Catherine Phillips in Wales, where she was from, and after they got married, following the war, they settled in Toronto, ON where my father and his siblings were born. I am trying to find out more information myself and since he is now deceased I find it even more difficult to come by.

    On a another note, I know that he was quite the cricket player. If anyone can help me find out more about my family I would greatly appreciate any leads you might be able to provide. Thank you!


  9. Pingback: Searching For Barbados Relatives Of Rawle Lawson Knight « Barbados Free Press

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  11. reality check


    Don’t forget that Stalin went on to eliminate 30,000,000 million Russians citizens to maintain his own power.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Russia was and, to a lesser extent is still a dictatorship of the chosen few.

    While flawed and not perfect, the freedoms we retain today in Europe and North America through many heroic and personal sacrifices come from basic concepts such as freedom of the press, democracy, integrity and accountability.

    The price of democracy is eternal vigilance and the courage to speak out.

    We owe so much to those who believed in these concepts and sacrificed their lives for things we take for granted.

  12. CanuckBajan

    My mother and uncle both joined the Barbados Volunteer Force and served with other Caribbean servicemen & women during WWII. My mom was with the Royal Corps of Signals and my uncle joined the RAF. There were many stories of fun adventure but the shadow of their immense task and responsibility was always present. That duty continues to this day around the world. Lest we forget.

  13. John

    November 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm
    My mother and uncle both joined the Barbados Volunteer Force and served with other Caribbean servicemen & women during WWII. My mom was with the Royal Corps of Signals and my uncle joined the RAF.

    The Barbados museum has a section on Bajans men and women who served in the war.

    Remember seeing a photo of the women who went.

  14. John

    reality check
    November 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Don’t forget that Stalin went on to eliminate 30,000,000 million Russians citizens to maintain his own power.


    I agree.

    Stalin was no sweetbread and rates with Hitler as a horrible creature.

    I was trying to say that people when faced with an apparently overwhelming evil will work for the common good.

    Any enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Churchill hated Communists but saw correctly that Hiltler was the greater pressing threat.