Iva & Bobby Hylton


William Robinson Clarke

‘Wife crossed Atlantic to join awaiting husband’

1925 - 2020

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Eugene Hylton had been married to his wife Iva for less than two years when, in 1944, he enlisted into the RAF in his native Jamaica. That summer, he was among the contingent of West Indian volunteers posted to RAF Hunmanby Moor near Filey in Yorkshire leaving behind Iva and their new-born son, Bobby.

After being demobbed Eugene returned to Jamaica but decided the future for him and his young family lay in England. In 1947, he sailed to Southampton on the SS Almanzora. His final destination was Burnley in Lancashire where he was to set up home prior to being joined at a later date by his wife and son.

The following year, Iva and Bobby boarded the Empire Windrush to join him.

Iva Maud Dahl was born at 102 Duke Street, Kingston, on May 10, 1925, she was the daughter of James Dahl, a carpenter and builder from Port Royal, and Iva, née Clay, a dressmaker.

Young Iva married Eugene Fernando Hylton in Port Royal in November 1942. Eugene was a seaman from Port Antonio, where he was born on September 29, 1920.

When Iva and Bobby arrived at Tilbury they made the long journey north to Burnley at 21 Napier Street. Bobby does not appear on the Windrush passenger list.

Iva was a beautician but soon found there was no demand for Afro hair and beauty treatments in Burnley or nearby Nelson. At the time, she and Eugene knew of only one other West Indian family living locally. She was obliged to find alternative employment and started working in one of the many mills in the area. She then studied nursing and in the 1960s became a district midwife in Burnley. Thus Iva became one of the many West Indians who were central to the development of the NHS. Eugene and Iva later adopted a son named Raymond Anthony ‘Tony’ Hylton. Tony was a year younger than Bobby and followed in his father’s footsteps by spending 15 years with the RAF.

Eugene and Iva returned to Jamaica in 1966 after Eugene was head hunted by a light engineering firm. Eugene became Sergeant at Arms for the Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal. Iva set up her own clothing company.

After selling their home in Russell Heights, Kingston they bought properties in Port Royal and Fort Lauderdale in the USA where they spent much of their leisure time. So much so that Iva became a USA citizen in 1990.

The couple eventually retired to Port Royal but Iva was still not idle. Amongst her other activities, was managing the St Peter’s Church Choir and being President of the Port Royal Citizens Association. She died in Port Royal in November 2020. Eugene passed away in 2002.

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