Friday, February 08, 2008

UK outbound passenger lists

Family Tree, Family History, Find Your Past, UK | in association with The National Archives of the United Kingdom has published online for the first time another decade of UK outbound passenger lists covering the years 1940 to 1949. Over 86,000 colour images have been added to the site listing 1,400,614 passengers travelling from British ports on 11,425 long-distance journeys.
The most popular destinations during this decade were USA, Canada, Africa, India, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, Canary Islands and Jamaica.

Findmypast UK outbound passenger lists now cover 1890 to 1949 a list 18.4 million passengers

Unsurprisingly the Second World War had a significant influence on sea travel during this decade. In May 1940 the threat to the UK from air attack and rumours of a possible invasion grew, leading to offers of hospitality and refuge for British children from overseas governments.
A UK-government-sponsored scheme - Children of the Overseas Reception Board, or CORB, was the result. Included among the outbound passenger lists of the 1940s at are details of 2,664 children who emigrated to destinations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over a three month period.
Known as 'Seaevacuees', the children ranged in age from 5 to 15 and the passenger lists show their parents and home address in the UK as well as their destination address overseas. 1,532 children went to Canada, 577 children to Australia, while 353 went to South Africa and 202 to New Zealand.
Thousands more would have travelled had it not been for the tragic events of 17 September, when the SS City of Benares - packed with 197 passengers including 90 children - was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic.

Whilst most of the CORB children returned to the UK after the end of the war in 1945, some remained permanently.

Following the war, the British wives of Canadian, American and Australian servicemen can be seen travelling out to join their new husbands overseas. Described as "dependent of" followed by the name of their husband, the women's old address in the UK is given as well as their new address overseas. In many cases, the wives are travelling with their young babies.

On a lighter note, the 1948 Olympics were held in London and following the games, numerous athletes can be found travelling home. Among them is Harold Sakata, a member of the American team, who later played 'Oddjob' in the James Bond movie Goldfinger.

There are also some famous names in the 1940s passenger lists, including Winston Churchill, Spencer Tracy, Walt Disney, Joan Fontaine and Benjamin Britten.

The passenger lists at now include 20 million names within 137,000 passenger lists spanning 1890 to 1949. On completion the records will go up to 1960.


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