Neville Henry


William Robinson Clarke

‘It was homeward bound for family man’

1924 - 1985

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When Neville Henry booked his ticket for the Empire Windrush, he gave his address as 60 Trinity Lane in Hinckley, Leicestershire, where his wife, Mary, lived.

He hailed from British Guiana and returned there after being demobbed from the RAF. He was reunited with his two brothers George and Louis, and step-siblings Sylvian, Adele, and David Kissoon. The Empire Windrush took him back to England to be reunited with Mary and his baby son.

Born Neville Joseph Henry in Georgetown on January 2, 1924, he enlisted into the RAF towards the end of the Second World War and bore the service number 727073. His first posting was at RAF Melksham in Wiltshire.

In 1946, while still with the RAF, Neville married Rosemary ‘Mary’ Robinson in her hometown, Hinckley. The newlyweds lived at the family home with her father, Joseph, a dyer’s labourer. Her mother, Lily, had died in 1935, leaving six children.

Neville and Mary’s first child, Paul, arrived in the world on January 1, 1947. Vivian, Kim, Melanie and Dela followed in quick succession. The couple would go on to have five more children, the last being born in 1964.

As the Windrush did not call at British Guiana, Neville travelled to Trinidad to join the ship at Port of Spain. The passenger list gave his occupation as ‘fitter,’ a trade he learned while in the RAF.

He secured employment as an engineer at Jones and Shipman in Narborough Road, Leicester. Every day, he travelled 12 miles to work on a push bike and on one occasion was even caught speeding. Later, he bought a motorbike and sidecar and would also use it to take Mary and their first two children on holiday in Wales.

Neville then found a job as an aerospace engineer at Bristol Siddeley in Coventry. It later became Rolls Royce where he worked as a turner. By 1956, the family had moved into their own home at 58 Higham Way in Hinckley, where their other children, Amanda, Joanne, Shorna, Brett, and Matthew were born. It was here that Mary lived until her death in 2019.

Mary and her work colleagues were once invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and she took Neville along as her guest. He surprised everyone when they met the High Commissioner for Guyana and it transpired that he knew Neville.

Neville was a hard worker and liked by everyone, remembered most of all for his beaming smile. In 1985, he returned to what had become Guyana, where he died on December 24 that year. Mary and some of the children made the long journey to attend his funeral. Paul, Amanda, Kim, and Dela have also died.

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