Left Barbados for London Transport in 1956
Many of those who came to Britain had expected to stay for a few years, but remained for most of their working lives. They often maintained strong links with home, as well as making new friends at work and in the community.
Ralph Straker, recruited as a bus conductor in 1956, agrees.
He said: ‘I have a house already waiting on me there.
‘But my wife isn’t quite ready yet.
‘She’s waiting on the grandchildren… I am waiting to put my foot on the sands and sip my rum punch.
‘I’m looking forward to the day when we can do that.’
… from a 2010 article in Transport for London (here)
Ralph Straker passed on Saturday October 12, 2013 at 77 years old – which is not that old in Bajan terms, but he’d been living in the UK since 1956 and that fast pace must take a few years off a person. But Ralph and his wifey Monica had been married for 54 years, had hundreds of friends and their children and extended family, so Ralph by all accounts led a good life. He was a verger at his church for 45 years and you can’t call a man like that anything but a bedrock of the community and a true leader by example.
Mr. Straker was one of thousands from the Caribbean recruited in the 1950s by London Transit to counter the exodus of Brits after the war to places far afield like South Africa, Australia, America, Canada and the orient. That adventure alone is worth a read.
Our prayers for the Straker family and friends.