Wales

D-Day: African-American soldiers remembered for war efforts

Members of the African-American community gather
Image caption People arrive at the ceremony

A plaque commemorating the contribution of African-American soldiers in World War Two has been unveiled.

A ceremony was held at the Carew Control Tower in Pembrokeshire on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Organisers said the role played by servicemen and women of African-American heritage had been under-acknowledged.

More than 30,000 African-American service personnel were based in Wales in the lead up to D-Day.

They were stationed in Cardiff, Swansea, Barry, Abergavenny, Aberystwyth, Pontypool and Pembroke. 

John Brock, 92, president of the Carew Control Tower Association, remembers the soldiers arriving in Pembrokeshire.

He said: "I was 17 back in 1944 and I remember those days well.

"I remember that the Afro-Caribbean soldiers were lovely people, they were humble and so proud to support us in the war.

"They would always want to talk to us about where they came from. The saddest part was that when they gathered together, they would stay in their groups.

"Without their help we wouldn't have won the war."

Image caption The plaque was unveiled at the Carew Control Tower in Pembrokeshire
Image caption John Brock said he remembered American soldiers arriving in Wales

Members of the Windrush Cymru Elders attended the event, as did April Hill Jackson, an exchange student at Swansea University, who is originally from Texas.

Her grandmother, from Cardiff, married an American GI, and sailed to the United States before settling in the Lone Star State.

Ms Jackson and her mother have been researching their family history, as well as the stories of other Welsh women who married American soldiers.

Image caption April Hill Jackson has been researching her family tree

"Theirs are incredible stories of their experience of war and love and the journeys they made," she said.

"It's so important that this ceremony recognises the efforts of the Afro-American soldiers - they were exposed to hatred and hostility in the US.

"They made such a huge sacrifice, laying down their lives for a country which didn't recognise their rights as human beings."

Image caption A period of silence was held at the ceremony

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