Sorting by


UK honours World War veterans in Western Kenya

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Neil Wigan, presented replacement medals to 15 veterans from Western Kenya region who served in the British Army during World War II. The medal replacement is part of a wider initiative to honour the vital role played by Kenyan veterans who took part in World War II and replace lost medals. This was the fourth ceremony to take place on Kenyan soil and comes a few months after His Majesty the King presented medals to four war veterans at the Kariokor Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Nairobi during last November.  

In addition to replacing lost medals, the UK through the Royal Commonwealth initiative continues to support veterans and widows through welfare grants to support their family needs. The grants, which are equivalent to the cost of two meals a day, have meant a significant improvement in the welfare of 829 Askaris and widows. The initiative is administered through the British Legion (Kenya) with significant assistance from the Kenyan Defence Forces Old Comrades Association. 

The event at the Kakamega Sports club was graced by County Commissioner Kakamega County, Managing Director Kenya Defence Old Comrades Association, Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi and Sam Mattock, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Order of Malta to Kenya, who has pioneered the efforts to honour the veterans.   

Speaking at the event, the High Commissioner said:

I am delighted to present these replacement medals and honour the service of these great men. These medals are a symbol of our appreciation at the highest level, to not only Kenyan veterans, but to all those across the Commonwealth who previously fought with the UK and contributed to peace. I’m proud to represent the UK and ensure their contribution is not forgotten. 

Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi said:

As Managing Director of the Defence Forces Comrades Association, I am delighted to meet with these venerable veterans. Today, I saw that the veterans are looking good and healthy, this can be attributed by the welfare assistance these veterans continue to receive from the Royal Commonwealth Ex Serviceman’s League and British Legion Kenya.  It is our hope and prayer that this assistance will continue till the last man is rested.

Sam Mattock said: 

This is another important milestone for Operation Africa Star, as we continue to raise funds to ensure these Commonwealth heroes can be honoured whilst there is time. We estimate 174 Kenyan veterans still ‘serving’ and urge people to look for us on Justgiving.

The event was part of the High Commissioner’s two-day inaugural visit to Western Kenya region. During the visit he made courtesy calls to Kisumu Governor Hon Anyang’ Nyong’o, Homa Bay Governor Hon Gladys Wanga and Kakemega Governor Fernandes Barasa and discussed areas of UK-Western Kenya partnership. The High Commissioner also had an opportunity to visit a UK funded family planning programme at the Homa Bay County Referral Hospital which is supporting mothers with modern family planning services and other health services. 

Notes to the editors: 

  • Neil tweets @FCDONeilWigan
  • You can follow UK activity in Kenya on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

  • The 15 veterans awarded today are: Joseck Odambi Okwako; Wilson Nzosi Litasa, Meshack L Musire and Joseph Murana from Kakamega County. Boaz Akoto Kehodo, Musa Ombazi Lusina, Laban Kehenji Kidaki,and Philemon Mudamba Vihiga County. Laboso Kipkemoi Cheruiyot, Helly Kipngeno Ngetich, Cheruiyot A Ngeny, and Paul Kipkoech Barchok from Kericho County. William Sitini Wanjala from Bungoma County; Joshua Korigo Barno and Kipsang Arap Bargetuny from Nandi County.

  • The first set of replacement medals were presented to a group of veterans in 2022 and efforts continue to identify further veterans who have lost medals. This was the fourth ceremony to take place on Kenyan soil and comes a few months after His Majesty the King presented medals to four war veterans at the Kariokor Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Nairobi during last November.

  • The Kenya Defence Forces Old Comrades Association (DEFOCA,) is an organisation which brings together retired officers and those who fought in WWII to preserve the legacy of their service and provide assistance to veterans.
  • The ‘Askari Appeal’ fund is the Kenyan part of a Commonwealth-wide initiative delivering welfare grants to needy pre-independence veterans and widows. It was started in 2000 and the funds raised annually by the British Legion (Kenya), combined with a grant from the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), are used specifically to help old Askaris who find themselves in need. In 2019 a further grant was made available from the UK Government through RCEL to support the eligible veterans and widows worldwide for a period of five years. This grant has now been extended for a further three years out to 2027 and has enabled the British Legion use our own locally raised funds to support an additional 121 Askaris and widows who are in need.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button