Finding Home – A Windrush Story

Alford Dalrymple Gardner is one of the few living passengers to have travelled on the Empire Windrush. He is one of 10 whose portrait was commissioned by King Charles, and appears in the BBC’s Windrush: Portraits of a Generation special. Now published for the first time, this is his stirring life story.

On 24 May 1948, the Empire Windrush sailed from Kingston, Jamaica, to harbour at Tilbury Docks. It carried 1,027 passengers and some stowaways, and more than two thirds of them were West Indies nationals. On 22 June 1948 they disembarked onto the docks, Alford Dalrymple Gardner was among them. Alford’s story traverses both the uplifting highs and intolerant lows that West Indian migrants of his generation encountered upon travelling to Britain to forge out a life.

From joining the British military during World War II to returning to Jamaica once it was won-only to come back to the UK when the government decided it needed him again-Alford witnessed milestone events of the 20th century that shaped the country he still lives in today. In the context of a supposedly ‘post-Imperial’ Britain where the lives of West Indian migrants hang precariously on the whims of the Home Office, Alford’s heartening testimony is a celebration of those who endured hardships so that generations to come could call this place home.

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Birth of the Windrush Generation – pdf download