THE EIGHTH CHINESE MERCHANT What brought me to write this iBook was the revelation a decade ago of the forced repatriation of Chinese seamen from the United Kingdom in 1946; a combined operation of the then Labour government, the Home Office, the special branch of the police, the local police force and a shipping company. The seamen had served in Britain's Merchant Navy, mainly on Holt's prestigious Blue Funnel Line, and sailed between the Port of Liverpool and North America for the duration of World War Two keeping the United Kingdom supplied and fed. Many of the 1946 deportees were married to local women in Liverpool and had children and property there. All were either tricked or coerced manu militari into boarding especially equipped cargo ships to be sent back to a China then caught in the turmoil of civil war.
But this is also the story of my grandfather who ran a large cafe-cum-gambling house much frequented by those Chinese sailors. It is also the story of the sudden decline of that cafe and of the small boy who observed the demise and demolition of the old Edwardian house it occupied, and only grasped the how and why of what had happened 50 years after the events took place.