In the Line of Duty: Askaris of The British Empire & Great War Stories

Askaris practacing shooting in German East Africa

Askaris of The British Empire is a touring heritage photography project which seeks to recapture the contributions and sacrifices made to The Great War by African service men.

Supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery, this touring exhibition covered various locations across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire- visiting the venues of Luton Library, Radlett Library, Reel Cinema, Borehamwood and Stevenage museum with display spanning October to December 2017. Due to high demand the exhibition tour was extended to a further three venues across 2018, featuring at Hertford Theatre, Lowewood museum and Basement@Bunyan, Bedford.

Many of the exhibitions were timed to coincide with both Black History Month and Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

The exhibition catalogue can be viewed here: In The Line Of Duty Exhibition catalogue

The touring exhibition was accompanied by a seminars, presentation, poetry and creative art workshops. These took place between October 2017 – October 2018 in response to the exhibitions. Volunteers were also involved at various stages in the project.


Basement@Bunyan: Exhibition

17th September- 12th October 2018

Audience feedback in response to the exhibition:

“deeply moving- a reminder of the horrors of colonialism and the sacrifices of many to defend against aggressors… Lest we forget” K. Morris

“Enlightening” G. Wright

“Utterly heartbreaking and humbling spotlight into a little known aspect of the war. These brave men who gave their all should never be forgotten.” V. Tarlo

“Great exhibition, very awe-inspiring to see- Things you don’t truly know about WW1- The hidden history” J. Murray


Basement@Bunyan: Workshop

3rd October 2018

A commemorative print workshop took place as part of this exhibition. 17 adults attended and created a range of relief printed cards to commemorate the centenary of the end of The Great War and inspired by the exhibition images.

Audience feedback in response to the workshop:

“Very good workshop” L. Watson

(When asked what they’d enjoyed most about the workshop) “The immediacy of the process, simple with good results!” S. Jones

“Thank you for all the extra tips” A. Gray

“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop” Anon


Basement@Bunyan: Presentation

22nd September 2018

A presentation was given to unpick the exhibition content further, followed by a question and answer session.

Audience feedback in response to the presentation:

“Very informative talk” B. Stevens

“Interested to find out more!” P. Savage

“I’ve learnt so much new information. the exhibition is very well done and tells the story well. Thank you!” F. Stewart

“Very interesting, particularly the human stories behind the scenes” Karen. B


Herts Police Officers Headquarters, Welwyn Garden City: Presentation

4th April 2018

A presentation was given to retired Police Officers during their bi-monthly meetup, exploring the images and stories of the Askaris exhibition.

Feedback from attendees of this presentation included:

“This aspect of the war I had no knowledge about so it was very interesting” Anon

“I knew nothing of the African war so that was most interesting” J. Wild

“Excellent” V. O’Kelly

“Excellent presentation. It was interesting to know the African side of WW1 has been so neglected” Anon


Stevenage Museum: Exhibition

10th November- 6th December 2017

Audience feedback in response to the exhibition:

“Everything in the exhibition was very informative.” Anon

“Well displayed and informative.” Alfred Galea

“Good display. Very interesting.” K. Ansell

A presentation to unpick the exhibition contents through discussion, was shared on the 10th November.

Audience feedback in response to the accompanying presentation:

“Everything in the exhibition was very informative”.

“Superb presentation and very informative and interesting, with great pictures”.


Radlett Library: Exhibition
October 18 – November 27


Audience feedback in response to the exhibition:

 “Lovely exhibition- A real eye opener”- Rachel Parker

‘This is an area I knew very little about. The photos and text tell a harrowing story of the pain and loss the soldiers went through”.- Chloe Wade


Reel Cinema, Borehamwood: Exhibition

 26th October  – 20th November

Luton Central Library: Exhibition

17th October -29th October 2017

Audience feedback in response to the exhibition:

“Fantastic Exhibition”  – Liz Maguire

“Wonderful” – Ejel Khan

“Nice exhibition, but a shame that so many died for so few; at least the days of empire are over, which means conquest and stealing wealth from the planet for the1% who plunder ! Empire Finished Now new world order”. – Wayne

“The Empire has a lot to answer for since they robbed Africa and other countries are still doing so.”

“God Bless them All”– S.M. Birde

“Wonderful Photographs”– Edward Glenister

Thursday 8th November 2018 @ Willesden Green Library: Askaris of the British Empire Presentation

See below for highlights of our talk from November 2018 as part of SAAFI’s Somalis in WW1 Centenary Celebrations.