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Windrush Scandal: RAF Veteran Says His Service Should Be Enough

An RAF veteran, originally from Barbados has spoken out amid the Windrush scandal, saying his 60 years in the UK and his military service...

An RAF veteran, originally from Barbados, has spoken out amid the Windrush scandal, saying his 60 years in the UK and his military service should be enough.

It comes amid claims servicemen from Britain's former colonies, who lacked the proper documents to prove their legal status, have been affected by the Government’s so-called ‘hostile environment' towards illegal immigration. 

Windrush veterans at ex servicemens club

The new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said he will "do right by the Windrush generation" at his first Commons appearance.

This follows the former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, stepping down after she said she "inadvertently misled" MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants.

But there have been claims veterans from Britain's former colonies have been affected by the crisis.

Vince McBean, a former Army veteran, and Chairman of the West Indian Association of Service Personnel says the policy has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust amongst the community.

Mr McBean said: "We get many cases through here where servicemen have done their service, they've fought for our Queen and country, they've come under fire, returned fire, and left the army - and then they get a letter saying they have no right to be here."     

West Indian aircrew in RAF during Second World War
Thousands of volunteers from the West Indies served in the RAF during the Second World War

In 1960, Desmond Garnes left Barbados to join the RAF - he now fears he could be forced to return to Barbados.

"I don't know how it's going to impact me, I've been here for nearly 60 years - If I was asked to go back to Barbados, where would I go?"

He added: "My parents are gone, I don't have a home there." 

The association says that some have simply gone into hiding - but there are suspicions that others have been deported.

Mr McBean said: "I'm trying to find a particular serviceman right now because I remember around this table we gave quite a bit of money for him to fight the case but we don't know what's happened."

"But I know he's no longer in the country."

RAF veteran Des Garnes

RAF Veteran, Mr Garnes still has the original passport that allowed him entry into the UK but as he approaches his 81st birthday, he says he's not ready to uproot his life.

"My time in this country and what I've done, should be enough to justify my stay here."