Stephen Bourne

Nov 25, 2022

Under Fire

Black Britain in Wartime 1939-45

The History Press 2020

In Under Fire: Black Britain in Wartime 1939-45 (The History Press, 2020), Stephen Bourne tells the whole story of Britain's black community during World War II. On the home front, civilians came under fire from the Blitz in cities such as Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, and Manchester. Meanwhile, black servicemen and women, many of them volunteers from places as far away as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, and Nigeria, risked their lives fighting for the Mother Country in the air, at sea, and on land. Drawing on first-hand testimonies, Bourne sheds light on a wealth of experiences, from evacuees to entertainers, government officials, prisoners of war, and community leaders. Despite facing the discriminatory "color bar," many black civilians were determined to contribute to the war effort where they could, volunteering as civilian defense workers--air-raid wardens, fire-fighters, stretcher-bearers, and first-aiders. Among those remembered are men and women whose stories have only recently come to light, making Under Fire the definitive account of the bravery and sacrifices of black Britons in wartime.

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Ari Barbalat

Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.

Learn More

Also Hosted By Ari Barbalat