ALLAN WILMOT first volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1941 when there was a call for military volunteers from Jamaica.
He saw an advertisement in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper when he was sixteen and a half years old stating that the British government needed recruits for the Royal Navy. Allan applied, passed the test and was accepted.
His service on HMS Hauken, in the Caribbean theater of war, had its dangers, which came mainly from German U-boats in the area.
They often sank British and Allied tankers as well as freighters. For example, on May 25, 1942, the SS Empire Beatrice, an unescorted and unarmed freighter, was sunk by a torpedo fired by a German U Boat (or submarine).
At the time, Allan was part of the team that rescued nine survivors from a raft and took them to Kingston, Jamaica.
However, he felt that his career was not progressing fast enough. At the same time, the British government began recruiting Jamaican volunteers for the Royal Air Force ground crew, and advertisements appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner in late 1943. He applied to the RAF and was been accepted.
After the end of the Second World War, the British were quick to demobilize thousands of West Indian soldiers. Allan was among them, and having returned to Jamaica in 1946, he felt that was not the place he would settle, and so he returned to London.
Life in London during the winter of 1947 was not pleasant, but he survived. He soon realized he could employ his talent in London show business, and he did so with some success with The Southlanders, a male quartet that dominated the entertainment scene from the 1950s to the early 1950s. 1970s.
The Southlanders have shared the stage with most popular British artists including Jimmy Young, Morecambe & Wise, Vera Lynne, Andrews Sisters, Marty Wilde, Max Bygraves, Tommy Trinder, Petula Clark, Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock, Bruce Forsyth, Helen Shapiro, David Frost, Norman Vaughan, Shirley Bassey, Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, to name a few.
Additionally, the Southlanders’ hit records, such as: I am a Mole and I live in a Hole, were produced at Abbey Road Studios by George Martin whose productions in the 1960s made Beatles music the national and international favourites.
After 24 years in the business and with fierce competition from these talented young bands, he realized his days as an artist were numbered.
He got a job with the Post Office’s Telecommunications Department in 1974, and he retired from the service in 1990. Over the next two decades, he was instrumental in establishing the West Indian Ex- Services Association (now the West Indian Ex-Services Association). Service Staff Association).
During the 1980s, they had secured a permanent meeting place at 161 Clapham Manor Street, London.
The aim was to ensure that their contributions and services would not be forgotten by present and future generations of Britons. Their members provide social services on a voluntary basis.
He has held senior positions (including that of President) within the Association over the years. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Memorial Gate Council, chaired by Baroness Flather, JP DL FRSA.
The Memorial Gates, a war memorial, located at the Hyde Park Corner end of Constitution Hill in London, commemorates the armed forces of the British Empire from Africa, the Caribbean and the five regions of the Indian subcontinent who served during the First and Second World Wars. The memorial was officially opened in 2002 by Her Royal Majesty The Queen.
He published his memoir in 2015 and believes the book, Now You Know’, will help others read about the contribution he and others have made to Britain from 1941 to the present day.
Allan continued to serve communities in the UK and on 16 April 2019 he received the ‘Certificate of Recognition’ from the Mayor of Lambeth, Councilor Christopher Wellbelove, for his voluntary work in the borough.
Allan passed away suddenly but peacefully on October 20, 2021.
Contribution of the Windrush Foundation