Chudleigh Bryan


William Robinson Clarke

‘Passenger No 545 immortalised in iconic image’

1908 - 1926

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Dressed in smart pinstripe trousers, tartan socks, and polished brogues, Chudleigh Bryan looks every bit the stylish man about town as he relaxes reading his newspaper.

Taken by snapper Chris Ware, the photograph is one of an historic archive of Getty Images that were taken of Empire Windrush passengers after they arrived at Tilbury Docks on June 22, 1948.

Chudleigh was among the 236 men who were bussed to the Clapham South Deep Shelter in London, a former air raid shelter beneath the Northern Line that had been set aside as temporary accommodation by the Colonial Office.

His photograph was taken in one of the shelter’s subterranean tunnels, 180 steps below ground. His bunkbed visible behind him. Despite his recent month-long journey across the Atlantic, he looks remarkably at ease, seated on a wooden fold-up chair with his feet resting on a facing wall.

Boarding the Windrush at Kingston, Jamaica, as passenger number 545 and described as a farmer, Chudleigh Francis Bryan was born on April 24, 1926, making him 22, three years younger than indicated on the ship’s records.

After spending a couple of weeks at the shelter, Chudleigh left the capital and moved to Derbyshire where he would spend the rest of his life.

Like many of the West Indians on board the Windrush, he was a great follower of cricket at a time when the Windies team was on the up and up. Comprising the famed spinning duo of Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine, the West Indies

beat England at Lords in the second Test by a massive margin of 326 runs in June 1950. It was the first time they had ever defeated England on their home turf, inspiring Lord Beginner’s hit calypso song, ‘Cricket Lovely Cricket’.

The third Test was in Nottingham and Chudleigh was there bright and early for the opening day on July 20. He had made the short journey from Derby to Trent Bridge with two West Indian friends, one of whom, Jamaican Terence Brennand, had also been a passenger on the Windrush.

After queuing for entry to the unreserved area of the ground, the trio joined the crowd of 15,000 where they were very much in the minority, so much so that a reporter from the Nottingham Evening Post sought them out for an interview. The front page of the newspaper that evening quoted Chudleigh and his friends as hoping that the West Indies would bat first.

They did not get their wish and must have been disappointed when England won the toss and elected to bat. But they would have been delighted at the close of play as the Windies were well on top and went on to win the match by 10 wickets.

Chudleigh lived in Belgrave Street, Derby, and died on November 17, 1976, aged 50.

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