the ying-yand symbol

Why did it happen?

The situation at the end of the War

Racism was evident in the merchant navy from the early years of the twentieth century, as we have already seen.

Social class was also a factor. In the Government papers we have seen there are several references to the social class of our mothers. There are clear indications that this is of relevance to the decision being made. For example, the statement in the notes of the Home Office meeting of 19th October 1945 categorising the women married to the Chinese seamen as being '. of the prostitute class...' A statement with absolutely no evidence to support it.

We have also seen that the shipowners' fear of competition and Holts' desire to maintain its cheap source of labour was also a factor.

Some of our fathers were union men and we have evidence that men with union connections were blackballed when they got back to their home ports. They could not get a ship back to the UK.

Officials and politicians may have been afraid of the possibility of high unemployment after the War. This had occurred after World War One. And is not unusual as high levels of Government spending are cut back and large numbers of discharged servicemen come on to the labour market.

We know that the City of Liverpool wanted the housing occupied by the men.

Sadly for our mothers and ultimately for us, they had little political influence. In relatively small numbers and in a devastated Britain they were never going to be seen as a priority.


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