Defenders pressure UK to recover anchor from historic liner

Posted on December 21, 2021 at 3:13 PM by

The maritime executive

The British government is under pressure to facilitate the recovery of the anchor of the unfortunate liner Empire Wind Rush, which has become a historical symbol of Caribbean migration to the UK.

Almost seven decades after the Empire Wind Rush sunk in tow at a position 23 nautical miles off the Algerian coast, activists are pushing for the ship’s anchor to be lifted from the seabed and displayed as a monument as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations.

Built in 1930 by Blohm & Voss, the ship was originally a German line and personnel carrier named the Monte Rosa before it was seized by the Royal Navy. After the war, it was used to repatriate British soldiers from distant overseas territories.

In 1948, Windrush arrived in Tilbury, UK on a historic trip from Kingston. In addition to the returned British servicemen, it was carrying 800 job seekers from Jamaica and other British Commonwealth territories to the Caribbean. His arrival marked the start of migration from the Caribbean to the UK after World War II, and his name was used as a shorthand for newcomers, who were often referred to as the ‘Windrush Generation’.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Windrush continued its mission of repatriating British military personnel from overseas. In March 1954, she left Hong Kong with 1,500 passengers and crew for what turned out to be her last trip. She suffered a fire in the engine room on the morning of March 28, 1954 and quickly lost all power. Efforts to contain the blaze failed and within half an hour the captain ordered all personnel to abandon ship. The ship managed to make a distress call and all were rescued except for four engineers who died in the initial fire.

The HMS destroyer Saintes responded to the scene, and her crew managed to install a tow rope to bring the still burning vessel to Gibraltar. However, on March 30, Windrush sank and sank in 2,600 meters of water.

by Windrush The 1948 trip from Jamaica remains a key moment in modern British history. Upon arrival in Tilbury, her anchor was photographed in an iconic and powerfully poignant image, and she remains a symbol of the immigration of Caribbean migrants to the UK.

“I saw with my own eyes how a physical object, like the HMS bell hood, perhaps by connecting people to the memory of a ship and its crew. I have no doubt about it by Windrush The anchor will become a similar ‘touchstone’ for the Windrush generation and the general public, ”said David Mearns, a deep-sea wreck hunter.

In June, the UK House of Commons debated the issue of weighing anchor, with some MPs calling on the government to facilitate the mission. Since 2018, June 22 has been celebrated as Windrush Day in the UK.

“A tangible piece of this famous ship can be used to tell the story of the remarkable Windrush generation for years to come,” said Helen Hayes, Labor MP.

With the help of British law firm Ince, the activists are tasked with raising $ 660,000 to fund the mission to raise anchor from the seabed. So far, they have managed to raise around $ 10,000.

“Because the ship sank slowly, we would expect the intact hull to rest upright on the seabed, as is normal with ships that sink in deep water, so the aft anchor will be easily accessible for recovery, ”says the group in a GoFundMe appeal.