There, I have cooled down now, but there is a war connection in this modest piece. I was reading something, who knows what and where, and I came across a ship name that I thought might be interesting to follow up. I investigated no further and have left it to now. It is a ship called the Empire Windrush. I know nothing of it. Let us investigate.
She was a German cruise ship launched in the 1930s called the MV Monta Rosa. She was converted to carry German troops during World War 2 and served various tasks until she was captured by the British in the Baltic Sea in 1945.
The British renamed her Empire Windrush and used the ship as a troop carrier between England and Singapore and she also made a trips to Japan after the outbreak of the Korean War. Oddly, she was operated by The New Zealand Shipping Company but I can't find out he reason for that.
What she is best known for, somewhat symbolically, even though it was only one voyage, was a visit to the Caribbean. An advertisement was placed in a local paper offering cheap sailing passages to England and many accepted, mostly native Jamaicans, who as citizens of the British Empire had a perfect right to live and work in England if they wanted, and quite a number did. Also onboard was Nancy Cunard, the great anti-fascist and anti-racism campaigner, and of course heiress to the Cunard shipping line. Empire Windrush docked in England, I assume at Tilbury, in 1948 with her human cargo who received a good and welcoming reception, albeit a little patronising. They later became known as the 'Windrush Generation'.
She was quite stylish and attractive vessel.
Well, everything that floats, sooner or later does not and Empire Windrush was no exception. In 1954 she sailed to Japan and during her return loaded with military people and injured soldiers she became troublesome. She made it to Port Said but once out into the Mediterranean, she caught fire. Four of the engine room crew were killed but all passengers were saved. Later an attempt was made to tow her to Gibraltar but the hulk sank in bad weather in March 1954 off the coast of Algeria. I expect she had been extremely neglected and run into the ground.
While I may have known nothing of her she is not forgotten with a few of memorials to her in England and a small replica of her was used in the 2012 London Olympics.