Housing association will honour Great War BME soldiers to mark Armistice Day centenary

A Leeds housing association is to pay tribute to the bravery of black and minority ethnic (BME) Commonwealth soldiers who served Britain in the First World War.

Chapeltown-based Unity Homes & Enterprise is theming its AGM next week to coincide with the centenary year of Armistice Day.

Colonel Karl Harris
Colonel Karl Harris, chair of the British Army’s Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Network.

The meeting will be address by Colonel Karl Harris, who chairs the British Army’s Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Network. This aims to help inform, support and inspire men and women from ethnic minorities.

Colonel Harris recently completed a year-long deployment to Iraq as the United Kingdom’s Special Defence Adviser to the Ministry of Peshmerga, supporting the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga Reform Programme.

He will be followed by Lucy Moore, projects curator: First World War for Leeds Museums & Galleries. In 2017, she received a grant from the British Council to visit India to research the life of Jogendra Nath Sen, a Bengali-born member of the Leeds Pals battalion.

Moore is publishing more about his life in The Leeds Pals: A Handbook, which is due out shortly.

“We gave careful consideration to the theme for this year’s event,” said Ali Akbor, Unity Homes’ chief executive. “To mark 100 years since the end of the Great War, we believe it is reflective of our roots as a BME-led organisation to highlight the heroism of black and minority ethnic soldiers in that terrible conflict whose contribution is sometimes forgotten amongst the many who lost their lives.

Lucy Moore
Lucy Moore, projects curator: First World War for Leeds Museums and Galleries.

“Lucy Moore speaks with great authority on these matters, and Colonel Karl Harris will bring us right up to the present day by talking about the valued role servicemen and women of BME origin continue to fulfil in the modern British Armed Forces. It promises to be a memorable occasion.”

The meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, 25 September at The Sheepscar in Chapeltown, will begin with a performance from Bradford-based south Asian arts organisation, Kala Sangam, which specialises in Bharatanatyam dance and Carnatic music.



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