’They had on their Sunday best’: David Lammy is overcome with emotion as caller reflects on her family’s Windrush journey

25 June 2023, 13:13 | Updated: 25 June 2023, 13:14

Caller and David Lammy get emotional about Windrush.
Caller and David Lammy become emotional as they discuss the impact of the Windrush generation. Picture: LBC

By Alice Bourne

Not long after the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain in 1948, this caller and David Lammy became emotional as they discuss its impact.

Caller Jackie told David Lammy: “I’m so emotional about this, I don’t know why I always get so emotional about Windrush but I always do.”

She continued: “My parents were born in the 1920’s they went through the Great Depression they went through war, my father was injured and brought back home and my mother lost her mother and sister.”

“But,” she said: “You never mentioned the war unless you mentioned Windrush because it was so important to them, so important to my parents.”

Sounding overcome with emotion Jackie retold her mother's words: “She used to tell me, ‘These people, they came from the Caribbean and when they landed they put on their Sunday best and they looked amazing.'”

An emotional David told her: “Jackie you can’t see me but I’m going to start crying now.”

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Jackie continued: “As a child, I would always see black people in uniform, and I remember wondering why do black people always wear a uniform?

“As a child I wasn’t sure but now I know it's because they are bringing these skills to help us rebuild our country and it makes me so proud that they would come over here to help like that and to be met with such hostility…”

David concluded the call: “You evoking your parents as people born in the 1920s who experienced the Second World War and your sense of tremendous gratitude for the Windrush putting their best suits on and wearing their uniforms, thank you so much.”

The ship, which had around 500 men and women on board, was the first to bring workers from the Caribbean who had answered Britain's call to help fill post-war labour shortages.

The King was among those taking part in dozens of events on Thursday when he attended an anniversary service in Windsor after describing the Windrush generation's legacy as “profound and permanent.”

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