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Community Gateway funded project marks Black History Month at event in Cardiff Bay

25 October 2018

Partners at Black History Conference

Lottery-funded research project shines a spotlight on Welsh-born or domiciled Somali and Yemeni merchant seamen who fought and died during World War II.

Dr Richard Gale and Dr Andrew Williams from the School of Geography and Planning recently co-organised an event, to coincide with Black History Month, with the Horn Development Association (HDA), a local Somali and Yemeni community organisation.

They have been working with the HDA with support from Cardiff University’s Community Gateway project to identify Welsh-born or domiciled Somali and Yemeni merchant seamen lost during World War II. The event was held at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, with the sponsorship and participation of Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services and was an opportunity for the HDA to share the results of an 18-month long research project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Previously, these Somali and Yemeni soldiers were simply labelled as British on local rolls of Remembrance, denying them a full and proper place in commemoration of war losses. Recognising the heritage of the more than 4,000 men highlights the strength and longevity of the ties between Somalia/Somaliland and Wales, and affords them the rightful respect for their sacrifices.

A range of Welsh Government, local council and academic representatives attended the event. They heard from several speakers including Councillor Fay Cunningham from South Tyneside, Bob Purkiss a former Merchant Seaman, trade union Secretary, and member of the Race Equality Commission for Wales.

Dr Gale and Dr Williams will be working with the HDA to support follow-on research which will seek to reconstruct the multicultural history of South Wales port cities in the first half of the 20th Century.

Dr Gale said: “We are excited to work with the HDA and help them continue their excellent work investigating, profiling and celebrating the impact and contributions of diverse ethnic groups on South Wales – culturally, economically and socially.”

The Community Gateway project is proud to support the project and we look forward to receiving news of further findings.

For more information on the research project contact

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