Bryan Bailey – Empire Windrush – Caribbean Pioneers

Empire Windrush – Caribbean Pioneers©

by Bryan Bailey – 15 June 2008

492 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 heart ache and strife
Answering the newspaper advert that called
From the mother land, beckoning a better life

24 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 eyes 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
22 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 there homeland
Not an easy time, but they all had to choose
Respect i cry, too those brave West Indians

Bryan Bailey has a regular spot on Roots 95.4FM as an elder character called ‘Mr Clarke’, Wise old man who speaks his mind through poetry, on Thursdays between 8 and 10 hosted by ‘The General’ and ‘Mr Bassa’.