Windrush 75, like previous commemorations, has highlighted the tenacity and resistance of the Caribbean men and women who arrived on June 22, 1948, on Empire Windrush, and who have laid foundations for those people who settled in the UK in later years.

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Of the 1,027 passengers shown on the official list, 802 gave their last country of residence as somewhere in the West Indies: 539 from Jamaica; 139 from Bermuda; 119 from England; 73 from Trinidad; 66 from Mexico (Polish refugees); 44 from British Guiana; 7 from other West Indian countries and 40 from other regions. There were more than 15 stowaways on board.

The arrival on June 22, 1948. became an iconic symbol of post–Second World War West Indian settlement in Britain. It was what the late Samuel Beaver King MBE (better known as Sam King) intended in 1995, when he invited Arthur Torrington to work with him on plans to commemorate in 1998, the 50th anniversary of the ship’s arrival. Sam was the first person to have preserved the stories of dozens of passengers on board. He collated their names and addresses and kept in touch with them. Also, he was the one who came up with the term ‘Windrush Generation,’ referring to those who arrived on the ship at Tilbury Docks on June 22, 1948. The members were of his generation.

After 1948, dozens of other ships and planes brought hundreds of thousands of West Indian settlers to the UK. Most passengers in the 1960s and 1970s travelled via British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The 1950s also saw an unprovoked and fatal stabbing of Antiguan-born Kelso Cochrane, aged 32, by white youths on May 17, 1959, in Notting Hill, London. The police were reluctant to prosecute anyone for his murder. To date, the police have not brought anyone to justice.

Since the publication of Windrush Foundation’s 2018 Windrush 70 book, the organisation has conducted further research on the work of the late Sam King MBE. It is published in the 2023 book called Mr Windrush, which includes details of his Windrush activities from December 1967.

On August 8, 1974, Sam and two other Windrush passengers, Vidal Dezonie and Euton Christian appeared on BBC 2’s, The Ship of Good Hope, which discussed the June 1948 arrival at Tilbury Docks. During June 1988, Sam organised the 40th anniversary of Windrush Day in Brixton, hosted by the Mayor of Lambeth. A commemorative plaque was unveiled in memory of the ship’s arrival at Tilbury Docks. He also organised a special service at Southwark Cathedral and appeared on TV programmes publicising the anniversary.

June 1998 saw the publication of his autobiography, Climbing up the Rough Side of the Mountain, which was a bestseller. He and I had organised the 50th Windrush anniversary events. The 60th Windrush Day commemoration saw the publication of a Windrush Pioneers video and booklet in which we hear the voices and experiences of more than twenty West Indians who were in Britain during the late 1940s and 1950s.

2018, the 70th anniversary, saw the hijacking of the terminologies, ‘Windrush’ and ‘Windrush Generation’ by the Tory Government. They defined Windrush Generation as those who arrived in the UK from the West Indies between 1948 and 1971. The description contrasted with that of Sam King who said that the Windrush Generation included only the passengers arriving on June 22, 1948, at Tilbury. The Government wrongly conflates ‘Windrush,’ ‘West Indian,’ and ‘Caribbean’.

The Windrush 75 website brings to the fore, dozens of Windrush Pioneers & Champions who may not be familiar names. It shows the diversity of passengers who travelled on the ship.

Windrush Pioneers travelled on Empire Windrush. Windrush Champions are West Indians who arrived in the UK after June 22, 1948, and who also made outstanding contributions to the community. We hope that Windrush 75 Pioneers and Champions will further your knowledge and understanding of Windrush history.

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