Military Records often relate to the garrisoning of soldiers who offered protection both on land and at sea. Barbados sent soldiers to many of England’s wars.
My grandmother had one story of military service in the family. It was her uncle Clifford Brooks. She said Clifford was killed in the Boar war and that her grandmother, Georgiana (Dawdie) Olton-Brooks, got a small pension for him. She said that a breastplate was sent back to Barbados that read “Clifford Brooks died for Freedom”, but it had since disappeared. I would not have thought to look for military records for anyone in the family were it not for this story about Uncle Clifford.
During World War I, many Barbadian born men and women joined regiments and were sent overseas. Uncle Henry Clifford Brooks was in the British West Indies Regiment, 10th Battalion. He died in 1918 and is remembered along with others at St. Germain-Au-Mon-D’Or Communal Cemetery Extension, Rhone, France. The cemetery was begun in October, 1917, and used by the Rest Camp and the small British Hospital until November, 1919. There are now over 100, 1914-18 and over 10, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. The cemetery covers an area of 1,169 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall. The number of identified casualties there is 117.
On a visit to Barbados, I search the names at the Bridgetown WWI monument but did not locate his name. I later discovered that some of the dead were honored on a plaque kept at St. Mary’s Church in Bridgetown. This is where I found Clifford Brooks among the names others who died in the Great War. I also found that there is a penciled in notation in the Church Register for Uncle Clifford stating that he signed on for the War in Jamaica. This likely accounted for his being mistaken for a Jamaican in the records and therefore not being added to the Bridgetown Monument.
Barbadian born men and women in the Diaspora were often drafted and may have enlisted in the military in their host countries. For those in the United States, registration cards can be viewed at ancestry.com. Canadian records can also be viewed online. Below is a record for another relative who was drafted into the Royal Canadian Army.