Grenada's Ambassador remembers Joseph Daniel

Joseph Daniel served in the 8th Battalion of the British West Indies Regiment.

The War Office was not reluctant to engage the Regiment in Europe. The climatic factor was used as a pretext for the racial tone (black West Indians should not be opposed to white forces). It was only after an intervention of King George V that the War Office decided in May 1915 to accept the West Indian contingent. The first contingent of the British West Indies Regiment arrived in England in October 1915. Three battalions were sent to Egypt in 1916. In July 1916 battalions 3 and 4 arrived in France. Their main task: the carrying of shells. The BWIR battalions serving in Europe never participated in active fighting. They were attached to units as working parties (handling ammunition, digging cable trenches, construction light railways). In Egypt BWIR machine gunners were involved in the first line fighting.

The British West Indies had a population of approximately 2 million people. A total of 15 500 men were recruited. Grenada sent 445 men, which was almost 8% of its population at that time (and more than the average recruitment number of 4.9%). In the Commonwealth War Graves database the total loss of the British West Indies Regiment is recorded to 1390; more than 1000 men died of sickness, mainly pneumonia.

Joseph Daniel is the only soldier from Grenada buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. He was the son of Abraham and Rose Joseph. He married Margaret Sybil. At the time of his death, she lived in British Guiana (Guyana).

A total of 21 men from the BWIR are buried in Lijssenthoek.