Apology plea for Chinese seamen deported from Liverpool

  • Published
Peter Foo
Image caption,
Families were kept in the dark about what had happened to the Chinese seamen, said Peter Foo

The son of one of 2,000 Chinese merchant seamen forcibly repatriated from Liverpool after World War Two is calling for an apology over the incident from the government.

The sailors crewed British ships bringing arms and food from America.

But the men, some of whom had married English women, were deported in 1946.

Peter Foo has set up a petition, requesting the Home Office acknowledge the events and apologise. The Home Office is yet to comment.

'Make me sick'

A BBC Radio 4 programme in 2005 detailed how deportation orders were served by the Home Office on the Chinese seamen during a series of police swoops on the Liverpool dock area.

Within 48 hours the sailors were on their way back to China.

Image source, Not specified
Image caption,
Peter Foo's mother went to the grave thinking her husband had abandoned her

Mr Foo said he was two when his father, Foo Hong Swang, was forcibly removed from his family.

He said: "After the war had finished in 1946, for two days the British Home Office ordered Special Branch and the police to round up all the Chinese seamen in Liverpool and take them back to the Far East and dump them."

He said the Liverpool families were never told about what had happened to the Chinese sailors.

"In my case at first I thought my father had died at sea or abandoned us."

He recalls his mother, Eleanor Foo, taking him down to Pitt Street in Liverpool to a seamen's club to see if there was any news of his father and there "was nothing; no news".

"My mother went to her grave thinking my father had abandoned her," he said.

"It really did make me sick to think I'd gone all those years thinking the worst and it just wasn't so."

Mr Foo said: "Very few people in the country know about this event.

He added the government should "just acknowledge it and let it be known it happened as it is part of history and give us an apology".

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