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Battle of Bamber Bridge - 80th anniversary

We had a great day for a day of themed celebration to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Bamber Bridge.

Saturday 24 June from 12noon to 8pm at Ye Olde Hob Inn, Church Road, Bamber Bridge.

Efforts to remember the occasion, which was one of the most significant racial disputes of its type in the country, have been ongoing and this was a chance for people to learn more about the history.

In co-operation with the Preston Black History Group, the event took place outside Ye Olde Hob Inn and will include themed entertainment and a history walk following the route soldiers will have taken back in 1943.

The event had music and dance, military vehicles, food and drink and children's activities. 

Event schedule

12.00 - Opening and Welcome

12.30 - Live entertainment starts with music from 1940s: Swing Lilli de Carlo, Folk Singer Dave Metcalfe, Pink Vintage, The Swing Kings and rock and roll band - Doug Perkins and the Spectaculars. Joined all day by DJ Dave Afro.

14.00 - Guided History walk with Clinton Smith of Preston Black History Group, Alan Rice from the University of Central Lancashire and film maker Danny Lyons.

12.30 to 15.30 - Free Face Painting 

12.30 to 14.00 - Children's entertainer

Punch and Judy acts throughout the day


Other activities taking place to mark the 80th Anniversary 

Thursday 22 June

The film 'The Railway Children Return' will be shown at the Methodist Church, Station Road, Bamber Bridge. PR5 6ED.

Doors open at 6.40pm, film starts at 7pm. The film is loosely based on the Battle of Bamber Bridge and will be introduced by its producer Gemma Rodgers.  

Get tickets now

Friday 23 June

Battle of Bamber Bridge 80th Anniversary Commemorative Event - IBAR (Institute for Black Atlantic Research), UCLAN

In June 1943, African American troops based at Bamber Bridge mutinied against the Jim Crow segregation conditions imposed in the European theatre. They found support from local residents. This international symposium is part of a commemorative weekend of events for the 80th anniversary of the mutiny on 23 to 25 June 2023, and stems from a project honouring their joint fight against racism in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States, Ministry of Defence, the US Defense Department, South Ribble Borough Council, Studio Canal and Preston Black History Group. Thanks to Studio Canal for allowing us to show the film.

16.00 to 20.30 University of Central Lancashire Fylde Road Preston PR1 2HE

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Saturday 24 June

The film 'Choc! Late Soldiers From The USA' will be shown at the Methodist Church Station Road, Bamber Bridge PR5 6ED.

Doors open at 6.40pm and the film starts at 7pm.

This Emmy award winning film tells the story about some of the 140,000 black American soldiers who came as a part of the American involvement in WWII. The film, some of which was shot in Bamber Bridge, and includes interviews with former residents of Bamber Bridge.

The film will be introduced by its producer who will be joining us from America for these celebrations.

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Following the film, there is a premier of the a new play: "The Battle of Bamber Bridge '' by Kevin Kelly. It's a dramatic retelling of the events that led up to the incident as well as portraying what happened this very night 80 years ago. Please note there will be extreme racist language and portrayals of violence in the drama".

The play will begin at approximately 20.45, following the showing of Choc'Late Soldiers From The USA.


Sunday 25 June

The Methodist Church will host a service that will be dedicated to the memory of the events of 24 June, 1943. This service will be led by the minister Karen Le Mouton, with contributions from a number of the Church's visitors. This is an open invitation, and a warm welcome awaits all. Starting at 10.30am.


What was the Battle of Bamber Bridge?

The battle started when white American military police (MPs) attempted to arrest several African American soldiers from the racially segregated 1511th Quartermaster Truck Regiment, at the Ye Olde Hob Inn for being out of uniform.

In a confrontation on the street afterwards, a white MP shot and killed Private William Crossland. Both sides exchanged fire through the night. Although a court martial convicted 32 African American soldiers of mutiny and related crimes, poor leadership and the racist attitudes of the MPs was acknowledged as a cause.

Bullet holes have since been found in the former Natwest bank building that related back to the shooting.


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