Windrush 75 – the armed forces and the Windrush Generation

The Windrush anniversary has been a welcome opportunity to mark the contribution of the Windrush Generation.

Yet it isn’t widely known that more than 100 of the passengers on the Empire Windrush 75 years ago were serving or former Caribbean Armed Forces personnel, and more on the ship were seeking to join the services.

In the Second World War some 16,000 men and women from the Caribbean volunteered to come to the aid of Britain, and made a huge contribution. When the war ended around 3000 remained in the UK to help rebuild the country, and were to form a foundation for the Windrush Generation. The passengers on the Windrush were followed by many more over the post war decades who chose to join one of Services.

The sense of solidarity and perseverance of the Windrush Generation is reflected in their service in the Armed Forces. We should never forget their sacrifices which have defended our freedom.
To that end the Royal British Legion has partnered with the National Windrush Museum (NWM) in a number of projects to mark the anniversary.

First, RBL has contributed special Service and Sacrifice pages to a NWM online exhibition to explore the Armed Forces connections to the Windrush Generation. Find out more at Windrush 75 (

The RBL has also supported the International Windrush Conference in London on 23 and 24 June, and in particular the delivery of panel discussions each day to explore the many kinds of service and sacrifice of people from the Caribbean and the Windrush Generation in the Armed Forces.

And RBL has also partnered with the NWM in the creation of ‘pop-up’ exhibitions for Windrush symposia and community events all around the country, to highlight these Armed Forces connections and heritage in this anniversary year.

“Phillip Parker”