Winston Frank Clarke


William Robinson Clarke

‘From cabinet maker to engineer’

1925 - 2012

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Winston Franklyn Clarke was born in Alexandria, St Ann, Jamaica on 2 May 1925. He was single and a cabinet maker when he arrived in England in 1948. The Empire Windrush passenger list shows his address as the Colonial Club in St Martin’s Place, London, which was also the destination of nine other Windrush passengers. It offered affordable accommodation for men from the colonies.

The following year Winston (known as Frank) was living at 77, Wimpole Street in London. This too was a hostel, for people from abroad. From these humble beginnings Frank went on to travel often and widely, eventually owning homes in both Jamaica and England. Frank was the son of Jamaicans Richard Armitt Clarke, a cultivator and Kezia Elizabeth Clarke née Milne.

On September 14, 1954 Frank left Liverpool for Jamaica on the Reina Del Pacifico. He said he was returning to the land of his birth on a permanent basis. It seemed that after six years in England he had decided his future lay elsewhere – back home in the West Indies. The fact that he travelled in Third class suggests he had not made his fortune in England.

However, he either changed his mind or had completed the Reina Del Pacifico passenger list incorrectly because on March 23, 1955, he flew from Kingston to Idlewild Airport, New York in order to board the Samaria which duly docked in Southampton on April 4,1955. His address was shown as Chippenham Road, London W9 which is the same as the one he gave only six months earlier when he departed British shores.

Frank married Cuban-born Carrida Julia Gabay. When Carrida died in University Hospital of the West Indies, St Andrew, Jamaica in September 1995, Winston was shown on the death certificate as a retired engineer.

The reason for Frank’s change of occupation from cabinet maker to engineer can be explained by the fact that he worked for British Airways in England for many years. When he retired, he and Carrida moved to Jamaica. They were living in Kingston at the time of Carrida’s death.

Back in Britain in the mid/late 1950s life was a struggle for Frank and Carrida who were living with five other adults at St Margaret’s Road, Kensal Rise, London. The Clarke family later moved to Purves Road, Brent, London. Although happily retired in Jamaica, Frank made regular visits to his family in England and it was during one such visit that he died in Luton on June 12, 2012.

Final word on ‘Uncle Frank’ (as he was known to all his family) goes to the family: “Our dad was a kind thoughtful loving man who was extremely proud of his Jamaican heritage and his contribution to the betterment of the United Kingdom. He is sadly missed by us all.

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