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History: Beliezean Lumberjacks in Scotland

History: Beliezean Lumberjacks in Scotland

I came across the following documentary while watching the Community Channel, they seem to have quite a good selection of programmes on for Black History Month including the one I watched about Belizean Lumberjacks in Scotland.

Newly discovered archive footage and a reunion make this story of the British Honduran tree cutters helping Britain out in the 1940s a memorable documentary.

A group of more than a thousand lumberjacks from the British Honduras (now Belize) sailed to Scotland to work in the forests and free up the Scots to go to war. All aged in their 20s and used to cutting the hardwood mahoganay, they had to adapt to a cold climate, living in camps, and being the first black faces the locals had ever seen.

But along with the Americans, the foresters were well paid and liked to party! This documentary revisits those memories when three of them meet up again and reminisce about their experience and what marrying local Scots girls and staying on has meant to them. As one of them notes: “keeping the timber industry going at this time was a major contribution to the war effort.”

It’s a part of British history that is not well known and comes to life through photographs, recollections and archive footage.

The Community Channel