Free Event: BAME Seafarers in the First World War

A free workshop organised by AHRC public engagement centre, Gateways to the First World War, will be held at the University of Portsmouth which will explore the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) seafarers in the First World War.

Where: University of Portsmouth, University Library 

When: Wednesday 24th January 2018, 11.00-16.00

BAME seafarers appear to have been employed in large numbers in the mercantile marine, including in coastwise shipping around the UK as well as in oceanic trades. Thousands of BAME seafarers were exposed to the dangers of merchant seafaring in the First World War, including being sunk by enemy mines and torpedoes. Hundreds died and have no grave but the sea. Equally, BAME seafarers also served in Royal Navy vessels around the UK. The contribution of those BAME seafarers who died, and the many more who survived, is almost invisible in accounts of the First World War at sea. Those who died are usually commemorated far from where they served, on memorials in Mumbai and Hong Kong. Some attention has been given to the post-war ‘race riots’ in port towns in the UK, but the role, contribution and experience of BAME individuals and communities in seafaring itself seems to have been ignored.

This workshop will help identify steps that can be taken to enable greater engagement in the history of BAME seafarers in the First World War. The workshop is intended to engage participants from academia, the heritage sector, community projects and individual researchers. It is hoped that the workshop will give rise to or encourage the development of specific proposals for research and/or heritage projects, including community-based projects under the HLF First World War: then and now programme.

View the programme and book your place here.

If you have any questions relating to the event please contact Dr Melanie Bassett at

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3 Responses to Free Event: BAME Seafarers in the First World War

  1. Mary Fraser December 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    This sounds really interesting and the first time I’ve come across your organisation. As I’m writing the history of the civilian police in the First World War for publication as a research monograph with Routledge, we have much in common. You might be interested to see the types of things I’ve uncovered at

  2. Sandra December 21, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

    Sold out!!! Gutter. Only saw this on fb feed. Will there be another event?

    • Melanie Bassett January 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks for your response. We do have a waiting list. however, I do appreciate that the release of such tickets may be of short notice to some. As the event has received such a popular response we are looking into recording it and writing a detailed report of the discussions. We will post something after the event so that interested parties can subscribe to a mailing list or the like. Best wishes, Mel

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