Lloyd and Catherine Case


William Robinson Clarke

‘Mr and Mrs were on same ship but could not share same cabin’

1919 - 1993

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Like the majority of his male shipmates, Jamaican-born Lloyd Case travelled below decks in C class on the Empire Windrush, where records have him down as ‘Not accompanied by husband or wife’.

His English wife, Catherine, was on the same ship but travelling first class and similarly designated. There had been no attempt to disguise the fact that they were married – both gave the same address in Staffordshire.

Under the ship’s rules, C class was restricted to men, while women were compelled to travel in first class for their comfort and safety. Segregation between the decks was strictly applied, with members of the crew guarding the stairways.

Judging by the experience of another female first-class passenger, Joyce Poultney, Lloyd and Catherine would have had little contact during the 26 days they were at sea. Joyce was only allowed to see her husband, a serving member of the armed forces travelling in C class, for around one hour a day.

It would have been different if Lloyd and Catherine had both travelled first class, but the cost was prohibitive. A single first-class fare cost £48, while C class tickets sold at £28 and 10 shillings (10 shillings of which was an administration charge). This was still pricey but represented the going rate. As a newly married couple, they would have saved a very welcome tidy sum by travelling separately. Lloyd and Catherine had married in England in 1945 while he was serving in the RAF as part of the ground

crew during the Second World War. Born on September 1, 1919, he arrived in the UK in the summer of 1944 as part of the first contingent of West Indian volunteers and was posted to RAF Hunmanby Moor near Filey in Yorkshire for initial training. Catherine was the daughter of miner George Worker and lived in the village of Woodville near Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

When Lloyd was demobbed, the couple moved to Jamaica rather than remain in Woodville. However, things did not work out for them in Jamaica and they made the decision to return to England on the Windrush.

They settled back in Woodville and were living there in July 1974 when Catherine died aged only 48. Lloyd later married Janet Latham, who was also from the village. Lloyd passed away from cancer on April 12, 1993. He was aged 74.

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