The World War II Veterans’ Family Association is a legally registered Civil Society Organisation in the Gambia which is non-political. All descendants of WW II Veterans who accepts the aims and objectives of the Association are eligible for membership. Its membership has reached over 400 comprising of widows, daughters, sons and grandchildren of WW II veterans living in the Gambia and abroad. The Association is established:
– To contribute collectively towards raising awareness on the legacy and plight of WW II veterans of the Gambia.
– To advocate for fair compensation and reparations to WW II veterans and their families(especially widows).
– To research and document all relevant information pertaining to the WW II veterans of the Gambia.
The World War II Veterans’ Family Association is indeed grateful and sincerely appreciates the goodwill of the British government and its citizens for providing “charitable support” to WW2 veterans and their families (especially widows) in 48 countries across the world including the Gambia. The grant we understand is being managed by the Royal Commonwealth Ex-services League(RCEL) in partnership with the Gambia Legion. The WW2 Veterans family Association however wishes to reiterate that in the case of the Gambia, less than 10% of eligible beneficiaries (WWII veterans and or their widows) are aware of such support and do actually benefit from the fund. It is important to highlight that the majority of veterans and widows in The Gambia, until their death never received any such support. This is a reality and the WW2 veterans family association have adequate proofs to back these assertions.
The WWII veterans family association has discovered that those who are charged with running the affairs of the Gambia Legion and for managing the funds, failed in reaching out to the eligible beneficiaries i.e “Veterans who served the British Crown prior to their country gaining independence or one surviving eligible widow after the veteran has deceased and who are living in poverty”. It is in a bid to raise awareness and highlight the plight of these veterans and their widows that we aptly refer to them as “the forgotten soldiers” and “the forgotten widows.”
In light of the above, we are calling on both the UK government (through the British High Commission) and the Government of the Gambia (through the Ministry of Defence and or Foreign Affairs) to take urgent action to address this undesirable situation and regularise a “decades long anomaly” so that our gallant soldiers and legends can be given the recognition and dignity they deserve. We as siblings who continue to live and support the remaining WWII veterans and their widows, are calling on the RCEL and Gambia Legion to reach out and work closely with the association so that the support reaches the eligible veterans and their widows.
In commemoration of this important day therefore, we wish to join the people of The Gambia in particular and of the world in general to celebrate REMEMBRANCE DAY and pray for the departed souls of our gallant veterans to rest in peace. Amen.