VE Day Commemoration to Commonwealth and Windrush Veterans

Hundreds are expected to gather on Windrush Square in Brixton, South London, on Tuesday, 8 May 2018, to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Allied Victory (over the Luftwaffe) in Europe, also known as VE Day.  The significant role that African and Caribbean soldiers played in Britain’s military successes during both World Wars is only now beginning to be recognised. This will continue on Windrush Square at noon on 8 May 2018.  Organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust, with support from Lambeth  Council, Tate Library and The Black Cultural Archives.

With the recent conversation being played out in the media about the so-called Windrush Generation and their descendants, it has largely been forgotten that most of those who arrived on the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean were ex- service personnel.  After serving king and country in WWII, they were invited to Britain to help rebuild a broken country ravished by war.  However, people from Africa and the Caribbean were in Britain long before the Windrush, and even before WWI.

The guest of honour for our VE Day commemoration is none other than Allan Willmott, who has the unique distinction of being a Caribbean veteran of both the RAF and the Royal Navy during WWII.  Allan came back in Britain with more than 200 ex-service personnel from the Caribbean on a ship called the Al Manzora.  This was in 1947, the year before the Empire Windrush arrived at the Port of Tilbury.

For more information about some of the African and Caribbean pioneers who served in WWII, join us at the African and Caribbean Memorial on Windrush Square, Brixton, London, SW2 1EF (next to the Black Cultural Archives) on Tuesday, 8 May 2018, from 12:00 – 13:00pm.

Tracey Francis

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