Alford Gardner

Alford Gardner was born in 1926 in Jamaica. Before volunteering in 1947 for service the Royal Air Force he had thoughts of migrating to the USA. After some weeks of military training in Jamaica, he and other volunteers travelled to England via North America.

He served as an Engineer and Motor Mechanic during the war with Germany. While on leave in London, he remembers renting accommodation and sleeping through a German bombing raid. Buildings a few houses away were completely destroyed.  After the war Alford was demobbed and sailed back to Jamaica. But, he found it difficult to settle down and felt that his future was in England. He returned to England on the Empire Windrush and landing at Tilbury Docks in June 1948. Before returning home he had taken an Engineering course at a college in Leeds. So, he made his way to Leeds.

Accommodation there was not easy to find, and it was difficult even finding a room to let. Eventually he and four other West Indians rented a house. He was unable to obtain a job in Engineering and felt that it was due to racial discrimination. He was not happy that his engineering skills could not be put to good use. Factory work was the only opportunity available, and he found ways in using those skills there.

Alford got married to a local young Yorkshire woman and they had eight children who are all doing well.