Colour Prejudice in Britain: A Study of West Indian Workers in Liverpool, 1941-1951

By Anthony H. Richmond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE END OF THE SCHEME

A NUMBER Of problems in connection with the scheme for West Indian workers in Britain arose at the end of the war. Some of these, particularly with regard to employment difficulties, have already been discussed in Chapter IV. In this chapter consideration will be given to some of the administrative problems that arose with the winding-up of the scheme and the repatriation of men to the West Indies. It will be recognised, from what has been written so far, that when the official scheme was brought to an end in 1946 the West Indian technicians and trainees ceased to be a special group in any way. Both administratively and socially they merged with the other West Indians in Britain, in fact with the rest of the coloured population. In any remarks that have been made regarding the situation after 1946 it has not been possible to distinguish between the circumstances of the volunteer workers, who came over during the war, and the many other West Indians who took up residence in Liverpool and the surrounding districts, after the war. More will be said about this in section four of this chapter.

A few men left the scheme before the end of the war; some were repatriated on health grounds or for bad behaviour. Others joined the Merchant Navy or His Majesty's Forces. It is notable that of those who left the scheme at any early date to join the Services a high proportion were among the poor and badly adjusted cases. This is shown in Tables 20 and 21. This is not unnatural, since these men might be expected to be the most restless and unable to setle down. Furthermore, in some cases where the man had been involved in a criminal action of some kind he was advised to leave the scheme and try to make a fresh start elsewhere. It has been suggested that in other cases, where better adjusted or skilled men joined the Forces, it was often the result of an affair with a girl who had since become pregnant. In some cases the

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