Description

These are the scripts for the BBC Home Service radio news bulletins for 22 June 1948, spanning from 7am to 10pm. The second script announces the docking of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury. It reports that ‘five hundred West Indians … have come to work in this country’. It specifies that ‘Fifty of them want to join the Royal Air Force or the Army’, although some of the passengers had already served in the armed forces during World War Two.

Like other media sources, the bulletins contain omissions that obscure the reality: the Empire Windrush carried more passengers than the ‘nearly 500 Jamaicans’ who are referred to here. Passengers included men, women and children from Jamaica, Bermuda and Trinidad, as well as Polish refugees.

At 1pm it was broadcast that passengers without employment would be housed in the deep shelter at Clapham Common Underground station, arranged by the Ministry of Labour who had initially panicked at the news that hundreds of migrants were due to arrive seeking work. This bulletin also reveals that passengers had unloaded the ship themselves due to a dock workers’ strike. At 6pm the bulletin reports that 18 stowaways found on board had been fined or sentenced to several days’ imprisonment.

Transcript