SCHOOLCHILDREN are shining a spotlight on some of Blackburn’s forgotten war heroes.
A new documentary shows how a group of Blackburn schoolchildren uncover the sacrifices made by Asian soldiers in the Second World War.
‘We Also Served’ is a moving and poignant short film, which follows pupils from Beardwood and St Bede’s high schools research into why the contribution of these soldiers is not more widely recognised.
The film documents the young people's journey, from discovering there are Asian ex-servicemen taking part in the Blackburn Remembrance Day parade to investigating the past.
Commissioned by Blackburn with Darwen Council's Museum and Art Gallery and funded by the Arts Council, it shows the young people interviewing local veterans, Fazal Hussain and Khadam Hussain, asking them about their experiences during the war.
Stephen Irwin, education officer at Blackburn Art Gallery and Museum, said: “They were amazed that these men who willingly left behind their homes and families, some never to return, are largely absent from textbooks.”
Youngsters also discover that soldiers who came from what was then British-controlled India were part of the largest volunteer army that the world has ever seen.
However they realise that their involvement is not widely recognised today.
Coun Damian Talbot said: “The appalling conditions that these men suffered are something we can barely imagine and what they did should never be forgotten.
Without the sacrifices of these brave men and indeed of all the soldiers who fought, the outcome of the war could have been a very different story.”
The documentary will be shown publicly for the first time at a special launch event next month, to which council and community representatives will be invited along with members of the Royal British Legion and Second World War veterans.
It is hoped that the film will be used as a teaching aid in schools and sixth-form colleges as well as by groups promoting community cohesion.