Focus on ethnic minorities’ role in Great War

Britain's Baroness Warsi was in Belgium today on a visit focusing in on the role played by ethnic minorities during the Great War as we gear up for commemorations marking the centenary of the start of the conflict next year.

Baroness Warsi is the UK's Minister for Faith and Communities and herself of Asian heritage. In November 1914 one third of the British contingent on the Western Front was Indian. A Sikh platoon was also involved in the hostilities at Hollebeke (Ieper) and it was during this conflict that a Victoria Cross, one of the UK's highest gallantry awards, was bestowed on an Indian soldier for the first time.

The minister's visit included trips to several Great War cemeteries and the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper, a key destination for British school children learning about the war. On Wednesday afternoon Baroness Warsi visited the Menin Gate memorial in Ieper as well as the adjacent Indian Forces Memorial.

On Wednesday evening the UK's Faith and Communities Minister will read the Exhortation during the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate that will also be attended by members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.