We Also Served
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Britain was helped during the war by soldiers and workers from abroad. Some of these people, or their relatives, now live in Birmingham.
2,500,000 men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka volunteered for the British Armed Forces. It was the largest volunteer army in history. 16,000 Caribbean people and 70,000 Irishmen joined the British Armed Forces, as well as 375,000 men and women from African countries. Many people from Britain Jewish community and refugees from Poland and Czechoslovakia joined the army, the RAF or the Royal Navy.
Commonwealth people produced vital materials for Britain during the war, including food, rubber and oil, and risked their lives in the merchant navy. Other Commonwealth citizens, and 100,000 people from Ireland, came to Britain to do essential war work in factories, construction and the medical service.
After the war, many of these ex-servicemen and war workers settled in Britain, or returned to help with the re-construction and economic recovery in the 1950s.
Black Service Personnel in World War 2