The Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group has called for a “tangible” memorial to British soldiers and Loyalists who died in the American Revolutionary War.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester told The Epoch Times, “There is no memorial at the moment for those who died on the British side and maybe that is something we should talk about, a tangible monument.
He said the “tone of voice” of such a memorial, on US soil, should be respectful to the hosts, but he said: “A tangible moment would be a goal. I think it’s a good idea.”
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was created in 2011 following a successful campaign by MPs and peers to block plans by the regional government of Flanders in Belgium for a new road across the Pilckem Ridge, a key feature of the Ypres battlefield of WWI.
Work has begun to mark the half-quincentenary, the 250th anniversary of the United States Declaration of Independence, in 2026, and the American Battlefield Trust has begun discussions with Britain’s Battlefields Trust and with the APPG on War Heritage on appropriate ways to preserve Revolutionary War battlefields as an “enduring legacy” of commemoration.
The American Battlefield Trust aims to protect 11,000 acres in South Carolina and Georgia, which were part of the British Army‘s Southern Campaign between 1778 and 1781.
Howard Simmons, former president of the Battlefields Trust in England, told The Epoch Times, “In 1778 the northern campaign came to a halt and the British launched a strike in the southern colonies, where there were many loyalists. It became a civil war between loyalists and patriots. There was fierce fighting and they want to preserve 11,000 acres there that are still intact.
American Battlefield Trust director of communications Mary Koik said the southern campaign was largely a war between American neighbors and brothers and she said, during the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina in 1780 there was only one person born in Britain, and that was the commander of the pro-British force, Major Patrick Ferguson.
The American Battlefield Trust – which also covers Civil War and War of 1812 battlefields – has protected 55,000 acres in 24 states, most of which is turned over to the National Parks Service, and hopes to secure its first site in Ohio later this year.
Koik said 8,500 British regulars and 1,700 American “loyalists” were killed in action between 1775 and the British defeat at Yorktown in 1781, while many more died of disease or their wounds.
The British were ‘enemies’ but not ‘real bad guys’
She said that although they tried to crush the idea of independence, the Redcoats were just doing a job and weren’t “real bad guys”.
Asked how Americans view redcoats today, Koik said, “The passage of time turns a lot of corners and it’s a lot less hectic than something that happened in the middle of the 20th century. They were the enemy, but they’re more of a philosophical foil than a real villain.
King George III had actually tried to hire Russian troops from Catherine the Great to fight in America, but a deal fell through when she demanded the Mediterranean island of Menorca in return.
Simmons said the French had played a “pivotal” role in the conflict and said, “The Americans would not have secured Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown had it not been for the presence of French troops. It is indisputable.
“But the Americans were also financed by the Spaniards and the West Indies were more important to us than America. The Spanish took the Bahamas from us and were about to invade Jamaica and that’s part of the reason we signed the agreement in 1783 ending the war, because we couldn’t afford to lose Jamaica,” he added.
Simmons said: “The war was a real turning point for Britain.”
He said he hoped American academics would come to Britain closer to 2026 and examine the “wealth” of documents that shed light on the war.
Last month, Government Minister Lord Sharpe of Epsom said planning for the half-quincentenary was at an early stage, but Lord Faulkner suggested one possible way to mark it was to “identify and rededicate the graves of British soldiers” who died, fighting in vain to hold the British down. rule what is now the United States.
After the battle of Princeton in 1777 the British victims were buried in a mass grave, but the exact site has never been found.
But Koik said it was not just British graves from the American Revolutionary War that had not been located.
The Maryland Mystery 400
She said: “One of the big stories on the American side is the Maryland 400a regiment tasked with holding off the British so that the rest of the American army could escape [during the Battle of Long Island in 1776]. Only a dozen men made it back alive.
Their bodies were buried in trenches but Koik said the grave has not been located: “It’s somewhere in Brooklyn. We don’t know where he is. The current guess is that it is under an auto repair shop.
She told The Epoch Times, “At the height of the war, there were 22,000 British regulars in North America, the traditional redcoats, and up to 25,000 American loyalists. There were also German mercenaries, the famous Hessians, and about 1,200 of them died, along with fighters from the Iroquois Confederacy.
After the war, 5,500 Hessians remained in America, and the majority of Loyalists also remained in the United States. Many more moved to Nova Scotia, which remained under the British crown, and a small number moved to British islands in the Caribbean or to Florida, which was controlled by the Spanish until 1819.
Several thousand black men, who had won their freedom fighting for the British, went to England after the war.
Simmons said: “A very large number of soldiers who fought very bravely were Scottish or Irish. Some have returned here and others have settled there.
One of those who survived was John Graves Simcoewho commanded the Queen’s Rangers in New York and allegedly massacred 40 Native American allies of George Washington in what is now the Bronx and later became Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.
A memorial to Simcoe in Exeter Cathedral describes him as a ‘patriot’ and a ‘Christian’ and adds: ‘He served his king and his country with a zeal surpassed only by his piety towards his God.