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Flag of United KingdomLiverpool Chinese
Seamen Memorial

london chinatownOn 26 January 2006, a memorial plaque was installed at the pier head in Liverpool close to the Liverpool museum and some distance from Liverpool Chinatown.

This memorial plaque commemorated a tragic incident and a miscarriage of justice that occurred more than half a century ago.

Forced Repatriation

At the end of World War Two thousands of Chinese seamen were forced to leave the UK. These men had arrived in the UK to work on ships plying the dangerous seas during the war and many of their friends died during service.

The British Government decided that their numbers had grown too big to be acceptable leading to the decision to repatriate them back to China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The same thing had happened after the First World War.  Then, too, men who had served in the British merchant marine had been forced out of the country.

In both wars many of the men had arrived in the UK to work and were glad to return home however, in both conflicts some of them had married local women and even had children.

Lives changed forever

Their families had no idea what happened to them and some even assumed they had been deserted by their husband or father.

Many of their wives faced great hardships and some were forced to give up their children for adoption.

The lives of everyone involved changed irrevocably; wives became widows and children became orphans who had to grow up without their natural fathers.

More misery and agony awaited those who were given up for adoption. They essentially became orphans and forced to grow up in a different environment even though their natural parents were alive.

The children of these seamen eventually form an organization and lobbied for a memorial.

Letting go and moving on

The memorial plaque cannot return the lost lives of the victims. Neither can it return the loss of affection or warmth of the family that were rightfully theirs.

Their lives have been changed forever but hopefully the memorial plaque can help victims to come to terms with the unfortunate event, let go of the sad past and move forward in their lives.

Hopefully, the memorial plaque will also offer a lesson to policy makers so that no innocent children should have to suffer the loss of their parents or ruined childhood because inhumane policies and unjust decisions.

Yvonne Foley

One of the children affected by this history was Yvonne Foley whose discovery of her parentage led her to initiate a movement to build the Liverpool Chinese Seamen memorial.

Read her story authored by herself.

 

 

 

Related article:

london chinatownUnited Kingdoms main page
World War Two / Sino Japanese War

 

 

 


Memorial to the Chinese Seamen




Ceremony to unveil the memorial

Yvonne Foley who led efforts to establish the memorial

Images of ceremony copyright of Yvonne Foley
All rights reserved

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