BAME Seafarers in the First World War


BBC, “Black and British.”

Black Cultural Archives,

British Council, “Remember the World as Well as the War” (2014) – features links to the British Council Report of the same name, plus external resources.

British Library, “Asians in Britain.” – Learning Resource highlighting the context of Asian migration to Britain, and the influence of Asians to British life. Special focus is on the British Library collection.

British Library, “India in Britain Timeline.”

Crew List Index Project (CLIP)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, – search of those commemorated on CWGC monuments. There is also a section on ‘Forces’ featuring information on the Indian Army

Fjordr, Blog: “The World’s War on the East Coast.”

Heritage England, Heritage Calling Blog, “Forgotten Seafarers of the First World War.” – A blog inspired by our BAME Seafarers in the First World War workshop and web content.

Imperial War Museum, “Lives of the First World War” – an interactive database to find archives related to, and add stories of, those who served during the First World War. In particular there is a group for Singapore Merchant Sailors

Imperial War Museum, “Researching the British Empire in the First World War. “

John Siblon, “Exploring black people’s involvement in the First World War’: Free workshop reviewed,” IWM Research Blog, 2016.

Maritime Archaeology Trust, “Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War,”

Maritime History Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada – holds many British mercantile records for the period.

Merseyside Maritime Museum, “Black Salt: Britain’s Black Sailors” – link to their exhibition (on display until late 2018)

National Archives, “How to look for Merchant seamen serving 1858-1917.”

National Archives, “Merchant Navy operational records.” Podcast, 2008.

National Archives, “Tracing merchant seamen, 1857-1918.” Podcast, 2012

National Archives, “Tracing your merchant seamen ancestors through crew lists and agreements.” Podcast, 2013

National Maritime Museum, “Crew Lists of the British Merchant Navy – 1915.”

Port Horizon Project, Southampton, – includes fact sheets about different BAME seafarers including Bangladeshi, Caribbean, Chinese, Greek, India, Pakistani, Polish and Somalian merchant navy seamen.

Southampton City Archives – holds the Central Index of Merchant Seamen. See here for more information on the collection.

The Open University, “Beyond the Frame: Indian British Connections.” – details of an AHRC-funded project (2007-2010) which investigated the influence and impact of South Asians on British life. The project was in partnership with the British Library (see links above).

Young, Baroness Lola, “The Hidden History of the Sinking of the SS Mendi” British Council, 31/10/2014.



Bourne, Stephen. Black Poppies. Britain’s Black Community and the Great War. Stroud, The History Press, 2014.

Bressey, Caroline. “Looking for Work: The Black Presence in Britain 1860–1920.” Immigrants & Minorities 28, nos. 1-2 (2010): 164-182.

Cable, Boyd.  A Hundred Year History of the P&O. London: Ivor Nicholson and Watson Limited, 1937.

Costello, Ray. Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012

Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your First World War Ancestors A Guide For Family Historians. Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2013.

Frost, Diane. “Racism, work and unemployment: West African seamen in Liverpool 1880s–1960s.” Immigrants & Minorities 13, nos. 2-3 (1994): 22-33. (Special issue on “Ethnic Labour and British Imperial Trade: A History of Ethnic Seafarers in the UK”, the introduction to the issue by Frost is also useful as context to the study of BAME seafarers).

Green, Jeffrey. Black Edwardians: Black People in Britain, 1901–1914. Abingdon, Oxon: Frank Cass, 1998.

Hook, F. A. Merchant Adventurers 1914-1918. London: A & C Black, 1918.

Howarth David, and Stephen Howarth. The Story of P&O. London: Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1986.

Jarvis, D. B. and S. D. Cross of Sacrifice: Volume V: The Officers, Men and Women of the Merchant Navy and Mercantile
Fleet Auxiliary, 1914–1919. Uckfield, East Sussex: Naval and Military Press, 2000.

Jenkinson, Jacqueline. “‘All in the Same Uniform’? The Participation of Black Colonial Residents in the British Armed Forces in the First World War.” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40, no 2, (2012): 207-230.

Koller, Christian. “The Recruitment of Colonial Troops in Africa and Asia and their Deployment in Europe during the First World War.” Immigrants & Minorities 26, nos. 1-2 (2008): 111-133.

Metcalf, Thomas R. Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860- 1920. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2008.

Nasta, Susheila and Stadtler, Florian. Asian Britain: A Photographic History. London: British Library and Getty Images, 2013.

Olusoga, David. The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire. London: Head of Zeus, 2014.

Olusoga, David. Black and British: A Forgotten History. London: Pan Macmillan, 2016.

Padfield, Peter. Beneath the House Flag of the P&O. London: Hutchinson, 1981.

Plumridge, John H. Hospital Ships and Ambulance Trains. London: Seeley Service & Co, 1975.

Ransely, Jesse. “Introduction: Asian sailors in the age of empire.” Journal for Maritime Research 16, no.2 (2014): 117-123.

Rentell, Phillip. P&O Orient Liners. Southampton: Kingfisher Productions, 1990.

Rogers, Colonel H. C. B., Troopships & Their History. London: Seeley Service & Co, 1963.

Saunders, Tim and Richard Hone. Finding Uncle Bill: Tracing Great War Ancestors. Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2010. (DVD)

Siblon, John. “Negotiating Hierarchy and Memory: African and Caribbean Troops from Former British Colonies in London’s Imperial Spaces.” The London Journal. A Review of Metropolitan Society Past and Present 41, no. 3, (2016): 299-312.

Visram, Rozina. Ayahs, Lascars and Princes: Indians in Britain 1700-1947. London: Pluto Press, 1986.

Visram, Rozina. Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History. London: Pluto Press, 2002.

Wemyss, Georgie. The Invisible Empire: white discourse, tolerance and belonging. Aldermaston: Ashgate, 2009.

Wemyss, Georgie. “Littoral Struggles, Liminal Lives: Indian Merchant Seafarers’ Resistances.” In South Asian Resistances in Britain, 1858 – 1947 edited by R. Ahmed and S. Mukherjee. London: Continuum, 2011.

Woodman, Richard. History of the British Merchant Navy, More Days, More Dollars, The Universal Bucket Chain: 1885-1920. Stroud: The History Press, 2010.

Wills, Simon. Voyages from the Past. A History of Passengers at Sea. Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2014.

Winegard, Timothy C. Indigenous Peoples of the British Dominions and the Great War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.