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EMPIRE WINDRUSH – CARIBBEAN PIONEERS

A Poem By Bryan Bailey

Four Nine Two they came brave and true

Seeking opportunities where streets were paved with gold

A time when innocence and hearts were barely new

And hope was their saviour that led them on

The war had since past and times were hard

Unemployment high and opportunities scarce

But courageous they were to make a new start

In a foreign country that claimed it cared

Some West Indian soldiers who fought in the war

Who now found themselves without any hope

Saw a new opportunity to come to these shores

Where life would be easier and better to cope

Plumbers, tradesmen, hard workers one and all

Torn from their families through heartache and strife

Answering the newspaper advert that called

From the Motherland, beckoning a better life

24th of May, the day they departed

Tears of sadness, mixed blessings would flow

Fathers, children, mothers, down-hearted

Praying for the day they would all return home

Some had just married and others so young

But all with a glint in their eye so bright

‘We will be back, when our job is done’

But alas, for some, that was their last sight

I look to my son and I cry at the thought

Of having to leave for such a long time

But souls who travelled with purpose and hope

Had to leave family for a better life

22nd of June, a day marked in history

The start of new life for these pioneers

Our dreams, our life, all we could be

Began with these travellers of early years

Audacious they were, these West Indian Pioneers

Not the first to make the journey to England

But the numbers that travelled in the coming years

Changed our history, truly significant

Give thanks and respect for all brave and true

Who made the decision to leave their homeland

Not an easy time but, they all had to choose

Respect I say, to those early West Indians

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