Appendix 1 - Passenger List
A list of passengers who boarded the USAT General W. C.
Langfitt in Mombasa has been compiled from the IRO's
'Nominal Roll of Persons Departing from Tengeru Camp on 30
January 1950 and Koja Camp on 2 February 1950'. In the original
document, the typeface in some names is very poor, making it
difficult to transcribe all names accurately. In addition, some
names on the roll have been crossed out completely, others crossed
out and then amended with a 'stet' noted in the margin. The
summary figures of the General Langfitt passenger list
show that 295 people from the Koja camp and 885 from the Tengeru
camp arrived aboard the General Langfitt, a total of 1180
people. The problems of determining the precise number of people
who arrived in Australia aboard the General W. C. Langfitt are discussed in Chapter 6 but a profile of the passengers can be
gleaned from age, gender, ethnic and religious identity, and
occupational details provided in the 'Nominal Roll'.
Although there were 410 males, only around 156 were adult males.
There were 757 females, approximately 402 of whom were adults, and
154 of these were widows. Around 30 per cent of the group were
children under twelve years of age. There were also a number of
infants under two years whose gender is not recorded. All but ten
persons were Polish, five of these being Hungarian, four Bulgarian
and one Czech. The majority (97 per cent) were Roman Catholic, the
remainder mostly Jewish and Orthodox. Apart from the 17 per cent
who described themselves as housekeepers and 16 per cent who were
students, the group comprised mainly tradespeople (30 per cent),
professionals (12 per cent), labourers and farm workers (11 per
cent) and clerical workers (7 per cent). Several participants
qualified the occupational categories listed in the General
Langfitt passenger list on the grounds that the
'African' Poles were warned that the Australian Selection
Commission gave preference to people with a trades skill or
qualification. Thus many Poles with professional qualifications did
not state this. There has been no way of verifying this, but a
preference for tradespeople is certainly consistent with Australian
immigration policy of the period.
These figures show that the 'General Langfitt Group' was
quite a unique immigrant group for that time. It comprised mostly
women and children, when the criterion for the selection of
immigrants was generally couples with or without dependent
children. The small number of adult males meant that the group also
contained a greater proportion of young dependants than was usual.
The occupational groupings given above show that it was also a
relatively highly skilled group.
Members of the 'General Langfitt Group' are, however, no
more or less exceptional than many other Polish people who have
settled in Australia. Millions of Polish people were deported to
the USSR. Thousands of these found their way to Australia via
different routes than that of the 'General Langfitt Group'.
Many other Poles, for example, were placed in European camps and a
select few in the armed services training camps in England. Others
ended up in German prisoner-of-war camps or have remarkable tales
of surviving the Nazi occupation. Their experiences of deportation,
separation and hardships would be no less horrific, just as their
efforts in rebuilding their lives would be no less courageous.
The experiences of all Polish people who suffered the displacement
of war could be summed up in the image of an older woman, after an
interview on a rainy Sunday afternoon, gazing out of the window
with hands held in prayer murmuring quietly in Polish. She offered
a haunting reminder of the enduring reality of the trauma of war
and displacement and the courage required to pack these experiences
away in a box labelled 'the past' in order to successfully
establish a new life in a new nation.
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