June 22 - 1948 - The Empire Windrush Arrives at Tilbury
The Empire Windrush was mostly an unexceptional transport ship, but on one voyage in 1948 it managed to take a group of 492 Jamaican immigrants from Kingston to Britain. This would be the establishment of a real Afro-Caribbean community in Britain, and the earliest group of Caribbean immigrants to Britain would become known as "the Windrush generation." The larger history of the ship itself was not a great portent for such a groundbreaking moment. The ship was launched as the Monte Rosa for a German line in 1930. The Monte Rosa was a cheap cruise liner of a type extremely popular in the 1920s. With the rise of the Nazis, the leisure cruises became propaganda tools, and then in World War II the Monte Rosa became a Nazi transport ship, carrying troops and, once, deported Norwegian Jews. By the end of World War II, it became a British ship and was rechristened Empire Windrush, taking its name from the River Windrush. The Windrush was a minor troop transport until it arrived in Kingston with a large amount of berths available for its return to Britian. So the Empire Windrush would become a landmark ship by taking on nearly 500 immigrants.