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Navigating African Maritime History$
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Carina E Ray and Jeremy Rich

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497315

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497315.001.0001

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Desertion, Dereliction and Destitution: The Travails of Stranded West African Seamen in the United Kingdom, ca. 1921-1934

Desertion, Dereliction and Destitution: The Travails of Stranded West African Seamen in the United Kingdom, ca. 1921-1934

Chapter:
(p.139) Desertion, Dereliction and Destitution: The Travails of Stranded West African Seamen in the United Kingdom, ca. 1921-19341
Source:
Navigating African Maritime History
Author(s):

Ayodeji Olukoju

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780986497315.003.0007

This essay explores the lives of West African seamen stranded in Britain during the interwar years, the decline of the British shipping industry in the postwar colony, and the reluctance of colonial and imperial governments to provide humanitarian aid to stranded man. It explores the factors that led to the prominence of African destitution in Britain, including employer preference for white British labour in maritime roles. It also explores the efforts of humanitarian pressure groups, the West African elite who responded to the crisis, plus instances of individual acts of aid. It analyses Nigerian colonial correspondence and West African and British newspapers to determine that the way in which colonial governments responded to a crisis had less to do with lack of resources and more to do with the personal proclivities of colonial administrators.

Keywords:   Interwar Trade, West African Sailors, British Shipping, Interwar Britain, British Empire, Kru Seamen, Elder Dempster, Interwar Economy

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