19 September 2018
Paddy Gardner is working on a research project with Ian Richards, the UK Ambassador to Eritrea and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in an effort to track down the descendants of servicemen who fought at the battle in Eritrea, in northeast Africa, in 1941.
Mr Gardner said: "During the spring of 1941 Allied forces from across the Commonwealth fought together against Italian and Eritrean Ascari troops in Keren, Eritrea; then known as Abyssinia.
"Keren was a strategic location, valuable to both sides, with its road and railway providing direct routes to Asmara, the capital, and ports to the Red Sea. In spite of tremendous odds, after two months of intense combat, the Allied troops emerged victorious.
"Despite it’s clear significance as the first major Allied victory of the Second World War, it still seems nowadays few have heard of Keren.
"This is part of the reason that the UK embassy, working together with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is attempting to get into contact with the relatives of Commonwealth soldiers who served and fell at Keren. It would be a great step forward to giving Keren the recognition it deserves, if we were able to commemorate those that served through their families and loved ones, perhaps even shed some light on and learn about the stories of these brave individuals."
If you or someone you know has a relative who fought at Keren, please email Mr Gardner on UKgardnerp@gmail.com