West Indians in Britain during WW2

West Indians in Britain during WW2

…Nice bit of history…
This BBC program was of course long before Alva Clarke’s “Calling the Caribbean”  in second half of the 20th century at Bush House, BBC, London; long before Sir Learie was knighted, etc…Historic stuff….

In this film, made during the Second World War by the Ministry of Information, a group of West Indians, led by Una Marson and Learie Constantine, assemble at Broadcasting House in London.  They describe to listeners of a popular BBC radio series, ‘Calling the West Indies’, how people from the Caribbean are supporting the war effort.

Constantine speaks about factory workers, and introduces some war-workers, including Ulric Cross, a bomber navigator from Trinidad. Cross tells of his work in the RAF and Carlton Fairweather introduces a film about lumbermen from British Honduras.  The film ends with a dance in the BBC studio.  (Stephen Bourne)

Interesting piece of history….and the quality of the video is very good considering how old it is…….Ulric Cross is in his 95th year, in excellent health and quite the gentleman ……  he has  received many awards both at home and abroad and had a very distinguished career after the war.

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On April 19, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Thanks for sharing this record of our contribution to the war effort. Interesting.

  • Elsie Yong  On April 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    ” Lest we forget”
    Thanks Cyril, for reminding us of our history as a people.

  • iain  On April 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thank you Cyril for this great report on West Indians in the UK during the war. Comparing American footage, what strikes immediately is the seeming effort towards making race irrelevant. Footage of blacks and whites dancing would be enough to cause riots here in the US at that time. African American soldiers returning from Europe and being exposed to equal treatment were sometimes killed when they expected the same. For this and more I do applaud the British and I’m happy the we from the Caribbean contributed so significantly in the war effort. Great history lessor for our kids as well.

    Thanks again.


  • Michael Aubertin  On April 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    You have made an armchair historian very happy. My father was part of the West India Regiment in Saint Lucia. He was stationed abroad briefly. It was interesting to see the apparent ‘humanity’ that the war effort brought about. It’s sad, though, that it disappeared so soon and was replaced by bigotry. They learnt very little from Hitler’s rascism, apparently!

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