from 'the War Budget', November 9th, 1916
'Our Far-flung Empire's Fighters'

White, Red, Yellow, Black and Brown
Against the Common Enemy

from other far-off places - Portugese colonial infantry


A phrase in a letter to "The Daily Chronicle" from Sir Alfred Sharpe, K.C.M.G., an experienced African administrator of many years' service, on the possibilities offered by the native population of Africa in connection with war service, suggests to the mind the wonders of an empire which draws to itself representatives of a score of races.

"There is no doubt," says Sir Alfred Sharpe, "that at least 100,000 African natives or more could be easily raised from the Eastern and Western Protectorates and Colonies of Africa. Nyasaland has already supplied a large number of Black soldiers who have taken part in the campaign in German-East Africa. These men form part of the King's African Rifles, and I think there must be fully 2,000, if not more, of them under arms at the present moment."

The Human Kaleidoscope

The 2,000 mentioned by Sir Alfred form only a very small part of the Empire's defenders overseas. There are all kinds of them - red, yellow, white, black and brown; and they come from all corners of the world.

The sun never stops shining on British soil somewhere or other, and since August 1914, it has never ceased to shine upon restless Englishmen and restless natives in every quarter of the globe who were making their way here or there to don khaki and fight the common enemy. It is one of the wonderful things about this war-this rush to the colours in all quarters of the globe, from Wei-hai-wei to the Falklands, from South Africa to Vancouver, from the Seychelles, Zanzibar, India, Uganda, Saskatchewan, the Gold Coast, St. Helena, and the Bahamas, in an endless stream, all ready to fight. There is doubtless not a city of size in all the world, except enemy cities, that hasn't furnished an exiled Englishman, while no end have come home from all sorts of out-of-the-way places. And every last one of the colonies, dependencies, and protectorates has furnished its quota.

Money, as Well as Men

In London any day there may be seen the Canadian and Australian, the Maori, the South African, sauntering about seeing the sights, either back from France on leave or, perhaps, just in from over the world and about to go across the Channel. Now and again there is an ebony face under the cap of the King's uniform - a soldier from the West Indies or Africa.

Not only in men have the colonies done great things - they have furnished some of the finest fighters of the war; but they have contributed much in money and in provisions.

Canada and Australia, of course, being the largest, have done the most. Canada's forces will ultimately number half a million men. Australia has already furnished three hundred thousand. South Africa has done nobly. At the beginning of the war she undertook her own defence, and thus released for European service the imperial regiments stationed there. South Africa suppressed the German-fomented rebellion, conquered German South-west Africa, later sent men to German East Africa, and has sent many more men to Europe, where recently some of them did wondrous work in Delville Wood during the "Big Push." South Africa sent, too, a hundred men to the Royal Navy.

Malay's Gift to the Navy

It is impossible to determine how many Indian troops are engaged in the fighting at present. There are still some in Europe, many in Mesopotamia, others in East Africa and in North China, Hongkong, the Malay States, and elsewhere. Still others are doing garrison duty and thus releasing the white regiments. Then there are great numbers in India itself, loyally preserving order. India's treasure-chests have been opened and money furnished for the prosecution of the war, while the gifts of Indian princes and potentates to the Red Cross and to other things have been characterised by true oriental magnificence.

Colonies and protectorates of Great Britain have been discovered since the war was begun which probably had been forgotten by many Englishmen. All have participated to the fullest extent possible. The contingent from the West Indies must now be considerable. The men came from Jamaica, Barbados. British Guiana, the Windward and Leeward Islands, the Bahamas, British Honduras, and Trinidad. Then, too, merchants living there have subscribed to raise and send home men for enlistment in British regiments. Bermuda sent ninety Europeans who have been attached to the Lincolnshire regiment, and a further force to join the Royal Field Artillery. The far-off Falkland Islands, which are almost South of South America, have done their bit, furnishing a volunteer force which did effective work in a scheme of defence against the squadron of von Spee. Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, the Malay States, all have sent men. The Malay States contributed a first-class battle-cruiser. From Hongkong, Shanghai, Tientsin, Chefoo, and Wei hei-wei many men have come home.

Even little Malta raised the King's Own Malta Regiment, and, in addition, sent a labour battalion to the Dardanelles.

Far-off Fiji raised two contingents and sent them to fight in Europe. The war at once reached the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia on the West coast of Africa. The West African frontier force jumped to a large figure, besides thousands of carriers. The European residents have been formed into volunteer forces, and most of them are now fighting. Rhodesia, too, has raised large forces which are now at work in German East Africa. British Africa has done well.


Japanese volunteers from New-Caledonia in the French colonial army