The Voice – Campaign launched to recover Empire Windrush anchor

Campaign launched to recover Empire Windrush anchor

PLANS TO retrieve the anchor from the HMT Empire Windrush have been revealed today, on the 75th anniversary of the ship arriving in Tilbury.

The Windrush Anchor Foundation has been established to raise the £1 million needed to recover the anchor as a lasting memorial to a voyage that shaped the UK.


The funds will be used to locate the wreck, where the Windrush sank in the deep Mediterranean waters off the coast of Algeria in 1954. The 1.5 tonne anchor will then be lifted and brought back to the UK to be conserved and go on permanent display.

The campaign is being backed by social commentator and campaigner Patrick Vernon who played a key role in the drive to establish Windrush Day, which was first marked on June 22, 2018.

Vernon, trustee of the Windrush Anchor Foundation, said: “The arrival of the Windrush 75 years ago has come to symbolise the beginning of Britain’s evolution into a modern and prosperous multicultural country.


“At the centre of the iconic image of the Windrush docked at Tilbury is the ship’s anchor, a symbol of hope and belonging.  Our project will bring the Windrush anchor back to Britain.  It will become the centrepiece of a public monument to the Windrush generation and their contribution to this country.  And we will help to ensure that the Windrush story is never forgotten.”

The Empire Windrush sank in the Mediterranean in 1954 (David L Mearns/Bluewater/PA)

The foundation is aiming to raise the funds with a mix of public and corporate donations. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to accept public donations to fund the initial £80,000, which would fund approximately one-day of sea time during the recovery expedition.  The remaining funding is being sought from donors and corporate sponsors with discussions underway.

Extensive research and preparations have been made to ensure the practical feasibility of the project.  The money raised will be used to locate the wreck where the Windrush sank at a depth of 2,800 metres in the Mediterranean off the coast of Algeria and safely recover the 1.5-tonne anchor and bring it back to the UK.


During the conservation period, expected to take at least one year, a jury-led competition will be held to select the winning monument design.

Today (June 22) marks the 75th anniversary of the Windrush’s arrival in England in 1948. The ship, carrying more than 800 people from Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago arrived in Tilbury, Port of London to start a new life in the UK.

Michael King, foundation trustee and the son of the Windrush Foundation founder Sam King MBE, said: “My father would have thought of the anchor as keeping the ship in the right place once docked, as Jesus is the anchor of our Christian faith.  So, the Windrush anchor will be the symbolic anchor for the Windrush Generation keeping us steady.”

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