It seems an opportune time, a few days before Remembrance Sunday 2021 to draw attention to the great achievement in having found so many of the Caribbean recruits for WW2. The Roll of Honour has been spruce up and updated with over 100 new additions to the First Contingent and further additions and revision to the Second Contingent.
We are now fairly confident that the list for the second contingent is complete, but the search still continues for the last hundred servicemen from the first contingent. The list will remain live and will be modified as new discoveries are made.
It is worth mentioning that the call for a commemorative memorial in Filey for the service personnel still continues. Glenn Parsons (the nephew of Gilmour Westcarr and Edwin Samuels) is moving forward on this, on behalf of all the families and this week he took the opportunity to address the Filey Town Council meeting. The council denied permission for the memorial in the first appeal back in May. In this the second appeal, the council have yet to make a decision.
The Lawrance Family
We will consider including researched and relevant stories that are offered into the archives.
Here Cheryl Lawrance wanted her family story told and contacted the project to share the fruits of her labour with fresh new discoveries in building her family's history. Her work continues and it is likely that this story may grow over time but it remains an interesting story as it stands.
Read the Lawrance Story
George Pontifex Reeves
Additions to the Roll of Honour continue each week as do new entries about the lives of the veterans written by relatives in remembrance.
However this week we also have a great new story submitted by John Ellis about George Pontifex Reeves, a merchant seaman from Sierra Leone who lived in Hull. He was also in the Royal Navy and was posted with Churchill's Hawkes Battalion during WW1, serving in the trenches in France and Flanders. He later played his part in WW2.
Read the story of George Pontifex Reeves.
Two and half months from starting the Roll of Honour to identify as many of the West Indian recruits as possible, the list now has 2251 volunteers. This represents more than half of those servicemen who trained at RAF Hunmanby Moor.
The list now differentiates between the first contingent who arrived at the end of June or early July 1944 and the second contingent who arrived in November 1944.
The search to add more names will continue but we encourage anyone who is able to contribute to contact us - it would be wonderful to find as many volunteers as possible.
Many thanks to Audrey Dewjee who has been instrumental in compiling this list.
We have started to create a comprehensive list to honour the recruits from the West Indian colonies who trained at RAF Hunmanby Moor, Filey. This is the first time such a list exists online.
We will add more names to the list, but please get in touch to suggest further contributions and to share individual stories.
Further new stories about the WW2 Caribbean service personnel who trained at Filey have been added to our website.
The young recruits are not well remembered and by bringing their stories to the fore we hope that they become visible and are seen as individuals who contributed a great deal.
There will be additions to the RAF WW2 recruits section as these stories are shared so please bookmark and revisit. We welcome further contributions so please contact us with your story.
New stories: RAF recruits in WW2
To support the 2021 commemoration of the WW2 Caribbean service personnel who trained in Filey (see December’s blog post), we are adding a number of new stories to the website.
The stories about the servicemembers have been written by relatives, who recall stories they were told.
The first story, about Gilmour Westcarr, has been written by his nephew Bernard. More will follow, and we welcome further submissions.
Last month we released an extension to our story on Black lion tamers in Hull and East Yorkshire. The latest feature was written by Martin Hale, the grandson of 'Black Joe' Maccomo.
After reading our feature on the lion tamers, Martin was astounded to recognise his grandfather, Albert May, in the header of the story, showing him as part of the Manders Menagerie.
Read Martin's feature on the fascinating life of Albert May.
Today we have published a blog post rounding up the project's activity in 2018, while looking forward to the next Our Histories Revealed exhibition which starts at Goole Museum on Tuesday 5 February 2019.
Read this week's blog post.
Black History Month 2018 has come to a close. If you missed our final daily tweets using the hashtags #BHM2018 and #fullfacthistory, you can catch up below.
Lion tamers were a significant part of the travelling Menagerie show. The first Black lion tamer was Martini Maccomo, who performed with Manders' Royal Menagerie in Beverley as early as 1860. Others followed...
As we move closer to the anniversary of WW1, a reminder of the brave local soldiers of African descent who played roles in all conflicts. We remember Theophilus Davis in WWI, John Lewis Friday at Waterloo and many more.
The last of our daily tweets showcasing some of the many stories on the African Stories website. 31 years after Akyaaba Addai-Sebo and Ansel Wong's push for a Black history month, Black history should be in the everyday. It's time to re-tell history without bias.
Follow @AfricansInYorks on Twitter.
#BHM2018 - Week 4 - 29 October 2018
Black History Month 2018 is almost over! Here's a round-up of our daily tweets over the last week using the hashtags #BHM2018 and #fullfacthistory.
Paul Robeson: athlete, film and stage actor, writer, singer, orator, lawyer and human rights activist. He visited Hull and East Yorkshire several times between 1931 and 1960 performing concerts to his adoring fans.
Adelaide Hall was an early Jazz pioneer at the Cotton Club, recorded with Duke Ellington and played at the Moulin Rouge in a bid to escape racism in America. She entertained troops during WW2 then came to Hull in 1948.
Within every family are a myriad of stories to be heard. We are delighted to have encouraged families to talk, listen and discover their own histories. Today we celebrate those in the present and their kin!
'First Black punk in Hull' Roland Gift led the '80s band Fine Young Cannibals with massive hits like 'She Drives Me Crazy' on their album The Raw and the Cooked. He starred as Danny in Sammy and Rosie Get Laid in 1987.
A Victorian fashion for showing off 'specimens' of the empire in human zoos saw six Congolese 'Brandesburton Pygmies' shown across the country over a period of three years. This came a century after the Hottentot Venus in 1811.
England vs New Zealand in Hull tonight is a reminder of some of the pioneering rugby players of African descent who enjoyed success: Clive Sullivan, Roy Francis and Zook Ema.
Ira Aldridge, the 'African Roscius', was the first famous Black actor on the stage in Britain and a world reknowned Shakespearean actor who made some of his earliest appearances here in East Yorkshire between 1829 and 1859.
Follow us on Twitter at @AfricansInYorks.
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