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West India Regiment DCMs & MMs for WW1 in East Africa

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The West India Regiment (WIR) was a British Regular Army Imperial Service Caribbean regiment recruited primarily in Jamaica.

It differed from the British West India Regiment (BWIR) which was a war-time service regiment of volunteers from all over the Caribbean.

On the outbreak of the Great War the 1st Battalion the West India Regiment was serving on garrison duty in Sierra Leone. Signallers from the battalion were sent to German Kamerun on 26 October 1914. (Official History pages 42 & 183n).

There one West Indian gained a DCM:

5062 Sjt. L. Jordan, W. Ind. R. For conspicuous gallantry and initiation in taking command of troops and repelling an attack. On a subsequent occasion he maintained signalling communication under heavy fire.

(London Gazette 25th November page 11557, and confirmed for German Kamerun on page 253 of Bryan Dyde's The Empty Sleeve. The Story of the West India Regiment of the British Army.)

The 2nd Battalion the West India Regiment then replaced the 1st Battalion in West Africa, and after the Kamerun campaign was concluded the 2nd Battalion was posted to the East African campaign.

So far I have not discovered any DCMs to the 2nd Battalion for service in Kamerun.

After East Africa the 2nd Battalion was moved to Egypt but it did not see any fighting before the war ended.

Sadly the War Diaries of the WIR are scanty and The National Archives often confuses them with the BWIR.



Bryan Dyde on page 260 lists 8 DCMs, 6 MMs and 2 MSMs earned by the 2nd Battalion in East Africa.

I think that I have found 11 DCM awards for East Africa and I am attempting to locate and date the actions that resulted in these awards being made. Any information on all the awards will be appreciated.

Does any Member know details (through diaries or personal accounts) of the action resulting in this award :

6135 S./M. J. Coutts, W.I. Regt. For the display of both initiative and skill in two patrol actions. In the first he handled the supports with high ability; while in the second, on his own initiative, he executed a useful flank counter-attack, thereby saving a difficult situation.

(London Gazette 26 May 1917 page 5187.)

Edited by Harry Fecitt
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Further to the previous post R.W. Walker's Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920 (Midland Medals 1981) does not list the WIR but lists everything West Indian under BWIR on page 190.

The three BWIR awards for Egypt & Palestine have been described in: http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/319801.html

This reference book also contains several errors over unit identities for the East Africa campaign eg: South African Other Units on page 218 lists awards to an Uganda unit, a King's African Rifles unit, and an Indian Army Volunteers unit amongst its errors.

Sadly the more recent Citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the Great War 1914-1920 by Walker and Buckland (Naval & Military Press 2007) repeats these research errors, although the citations are extremely useful.

Edited by Harry Fecitt
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