Tag Archives: world war 2

A nonpartisan campaign to seek apology for the forced repatriation of Chinese Sailors after Second World War

Many thousand Chinese men served in the Chinese Labour Corps in France during the First World War and on the British Merchant ships that supplied Britain in both World Wars. They were renowned to be knowledgeable in their duties, hardworking but were paid less than their British counterparts. Many of them died alongside their British colleagues on land and at sea. At the end of the Second World War over 2000 Chinese seamen who had helped in the war effort lived in Merseyside.

The then Labour Government were concerned that they would stay permanently, also the Seamen’s Union were worried that they would undercut their wages and take their jobs. In 1946 the Liverpool Constabulary carried out the orders from the British Government to deport Chinese sailors in Merseyside. They rounded up the Chinese seamen from lodging houses and from the streets under false pretences and forcibly deported them illegally to China. The men were told that they would not be able to return to the UK.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

RAF 100

Think about it. Have you ever seen graphic footage of the Blitz? Not cheery chaps sifting through some light rubble with the WVS serving tea nearby. No, nothing like that. But bodies and horror.

The footage exists. A little was shown in the 1970s in the series “The World at War” but generally we are much more familiar with appalling images of the Holocaust than we are with the facts of area bombing either in Germany or Britain. The scale is hard to grasp now. Over 600 dead and nearly 900 injured in two nights of bombing in Southampton alone.

A few weeks ago Royal Mail issued a series of stamps to mark the RAF’s centenary. Inevitably they show chocolate box images of bright blue skies, fighter planes and Red Arrows without a wartime heavy bomber in sight. Perhaps the Royal Mail felt that images of the Lancaster had been “done to death” already. Done to death indeed.

People like my late Dad, AC2 W H Clark, an RAF wireless operator during WW2, knew exactly what area bombing meant. What is rarely realised today is that there was a massive backlash about the carnage at the time. In the current sentimental climate it is hard to believe but both during and after the war in many quarters Bomber Command was an embarrassment and so were its veterans. Like many of his generation Dad felt that stigma. He did not collect his service medals. Also, like many of his generation, he frequently messed up his life in an era when there was little sympathy for “combat stress” and little compassion about the lost opportunities of survivors who had given up precious years of youth to war service.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments
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