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May 22, 2015

Remembering Amos Ford

Amos Ford

His death may have gone largely unrecognized since it happened in March of this year, but Amos Ford’s death made several UK news outlets. He was a member of a group of about one hundred and fifty forestry workers who left the then British Honduras to travel to Britain to give support to King and Empire during the Second World War. By 1941 timber, needed for the war effort, was in short supply in Britain because of lack of labour, so the Forestry Commission launched a Commonwealth-wide recruitment drive. As the workers neared its destination, the ship was torpedoed by a U-boat, but managed to retaliate and succeeded in sinking the German sub. The incident was chronicled in The Daily Telegraph which described a “thrilling duel” on the high seas before the stricken steamer was able to “limp” into port in Iceland. And in nineteen eighty four, Ford published, “Telling The Truth: The Life And Times Of The British Honduran Forestry Unit In Scotland.” In his book, Ford spoke about the suffering, racism and humiliation they experienced travelling to the UK and eventually right up to their settling and return to British Honduras, he wrote, “None of us expected chandeliers, but our situation was much worse than we expected,” We were treated as lackeys.” One of eleven children, Ford was born in Belize City, on November 15 1916. After leaving school he took up a number of jobs and later went to Mexico to work in a mahogany camp. After the Honduran unit was disbanded, he moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to work with Newcastle Breweries. Later he became a civil servant in the Ministry of National Insurance (later the Department of Health and Social Security). It was during his time at the department that he came across documents relating to the wartime forestry units and was surprised that there was nothing about the Hondurans. The discovery set him on his quest to set the record straight.


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1 Response for “Remembering Amos Ford”

  1. Charles Sharpe says:

    I often met Amos when he lived in Totnes in Devon. A thoughtful, kind and wise man.

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