UK Bestows Honors upon 15 World War II Veterans

February 16, 2024

The United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Kenya, Neil Wigan, has bestowed honors upon 15 veterans from Western Kenya who served in the British Army during World War II (1939–1945).

Addressing the Award Ceremony at the Kakamega Sports Club on Thursday, Wigan stated that the medals symbolize the British Government’s appreciation, not only for the Kenyan veterans but also for those across the Commonwealth who actively participated with the UK in contributing to world peace.

“I’m proud to represent the UK and honour the service of these great men to ensure their contribution is not forgotten,” he said.

The High Commissioner stated that the replacement of the medals is part of a broader initiative to honor the crucial role played by Kenyan veterans in World War II and to replace any lost medals.

In addition to replacing lost medals for the veterans, the UK Government, through the Royal Commonwealth initiative, has consistently provided support to veterans and widows in the form of welfare grants to meet their family needs.

The grants, amounting to the cost of two meals a day, bring about a substantial enhancement in the welfare of 829 Askaris and widows.

This initiative is administered through the British Legion (Kenya) with substantial assistance from the Kenyan Defence Forces, Old Comrades Association.

The 15 veterans who received awards included 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 hail from Vihiga County.

Others honored were Laboso Kipkemoi Cheruiyot, Helly Kipng’eno Ngetich, Cheruiyot A N’geny, and Paul Kipkoech Barchok representing Kericho County.

Also recognized were William Sitini Wanjala from Bungoma County, Joshua Korigo Barno, and Kipsang Arap Barg’etuny from Nandi County.

This was the fourth ceremony held on Kenyan soil, coming a few months after King Charles III bestowed medals upon four war veterans at the Kariokor Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Nairobi last November.

Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi, the Managing Director of the Defence Forces Comrades Association (DEFOCA), stated that the welfare support from the Royal Commonwealth, Ex Servicemen’s League, and the British Legion Kenya has provided the veterans with a new lease of life.

DEFOCA is an organization that unites retired officers and World War II veterans to preserve the legacy of their service and offer assistance to veterans.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and Kakamega County Commissioner Michael Mwangi commended the initiative and advocated for a more robust UK-Western Kenya partnership.

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