Our charity is proud to work in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, which helps veterans and their families across the Commonwealth. For Black History Month, we share the stories of several inspiring members of the Army family.
Our support for the Army family extends all over the world. During FY 22/23, we helped 70,000 people in 45 countries through a combination of grants to individuals and partner charities. The bulk of our overseas work is delivered in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), which supports the Army family in 46 Commonwealth countries.
This financial year, we were delighted to award a £195,000 grant to a project RCEL runs in conjunction with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s overseas aid programme. This ensures that Commonwealth veterans, widows and spouses – many of them elderly and frail – have access to a proper diet and nutrition. Soldiers who served our country loyally in times of conflict deserve a life of dignity, free from poverty and hardship.
Corporal Mutegana Eriasafu’s story
Corporal Mutegana Eriasafu was born in Uganda in 1926. In 1943, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the East African Army Medical Corps. After initial training in Kenya, he was posted to 11th (East Africa) Division and was later deployed as a front-line medic to Ethiopia and Egypt, supporting 7th (Kenya) Battalion, Kings African Rifles, who were fighting Italian forces in East Africa.
Mutegana has treasured memories of his Army career, in particular working with his Commanding Officer, Lt Col Bell. After being discharged at the end of the war, he returned home to Uganda in 1946 and financed his own training to become a transport manager and run his own business.
Mutegana still lives at home in Kampala with his family. The annual welfare grant he receives from the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, which our charity proudly funds each year, ensures that he and his family have access to proper nutrition and a healthy diet every day.
Our charity is committed to ensuring that Army veterans like Mutegana have a life of dignity, free from economic hardship.
Lance Corporal Wisdom Kudowor was born on 6th January 1928 at Atiteti in the Volta Region of Ghana. In 1942, Wisdom started Army training school in Kibi and joined the 26th West African Artisan Works company in Teshie, Accra.
In 1944, he left for Burma with the 82nd Division and returned in August 1946. On his return to Ghana, he undertook training with the British government and was selected to attend further training in the UK. Wisdom acknowledges that the opportunities provided by the British government resulted in his elevation to Principle of Accra Polytechnic and Director of the National Training Institute.
Alece Nyendwa was born in December 1928. At 92 years old, she is blind and cannot walk but lives with her extended family in Katete, Eastern Province, Zambia. She is the widow of Captain Abraham Mbewe who served with the 1st Battalion, Northern Rhodesian Regiment from 1939 to 1964, and then for three more years with the Zambian Defence Force until 1967.
The RCEL caseworker reported that Alece’s husband was a well travelled soldier. He served in Burma, Malaysia, Ethiopia, the Suez Canal and came to the UK in February 1952 for the funeral of King George VI. The caseworker asked why Alece’s name on an old photo was ‘Rosemary’ but on the application for assistance it was Alece. ‘Rosemary’ was the nickname her husband used to call her because of her beauty when they first married and lived in Dar es Salaam.
Soldier, now a CEO of Logistics of a military company, Sahr Sam has risen through the ranks to build a successful career and assist the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) with its support to service personnel in Sierra Leone.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Sahr joined the British Army in 2004 and served around the world in Germany, Cyprus and Canada. After eight years of service, he retired in 2004 and obtained a university degree in Business Logistics and Transport Management.
Since leaving the Forces in 2012, Sahr has become the CEO of Logistics at Direct Sierra Leone, organising the supple of military uniforms and accessories in various shops including Wilberforce Barracks.
Sahr was later asked to join the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) to help manage RCEL funds towards the Sierra Leone Ex-Servicemen Association which supports veterans in West Africa.
In his spare time, Sahr enjoyed relaxing with a good book, though he works out regularly and plays football to maintain his military fitness.