The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 39, Issue 2

Article 5
British Guiana’s Contribution to the British War Effort, 1939–1945

Arlene Munro


Like other Caribbean colonies, British Guiana made a contribution to the British war effort during the Second World War. It is common knowledge that Guianese recruits formed part of the South American Forces. In addition, Guianese volunteered to serve overseas with the British Navy, Royal Air Force and Women’s Corps. For many young persons this was an opportunity to receive training and work experience, and some of them did not return home, either because they perished in the war or because they chose to remain in their new country of residence. The colony made small but important financial contributions to the war effort at a time when the economic plight of its people was great. It also became a place of refuge for Jews who were being threatened by the Germans.