Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2006: Deported Chinese Seamen Remembered

During World War Two, Liverpool became the home of became home to the Chinese Merchant Seamen's Pool, which saw thousands of Chinese sailors arriving in the city to ‘do their duty’ for Britain. At one stage there were around 20,000 registered for work. Only about two thousand stayed at the end of the war, but this was two thousand too many for the incoming Labour government. Despite the fact that more than a few had married and had children, the Home Office was determined to reduce Liverpool’s Chinese population back to its pre-war level.

Hundreds of Chinese sailors were rounded up in Liverpool between October 1945 and July 1946, and sent back to China. Relatives and friends were often left with no explanation, and this caused great suffering. That was the thanks the Chinese were given for supporting the Allied war effort.

In 2006, following a campaign by the wives, children and grandchildren of those who had been cruelly snatched, a plaque was unveiled at the Pier Head. It reads:

‘To the Chinese merchant seamen who served this country well during both world wars. For those who gave their lives for this country. Thank you. To the many Chinese merchant seamen who after both world wars were required to leave. For their wives and partners who were left in ignorance of what had happened to their men. For the children who never knew their fathers. This is a small reminder of what took place. We hope nothing like it will ever happen again. For your memory.’
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