UCLan to mark Battle of Bamber Bridge 80th anniversary through public event

31 May 2023

A public event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Bamber Bridge has been organised by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Professor Alan Rice meets with key stakeholders for the 80th Anniversary event. (L-R) Professor Alan Rice, Jemma Rodgers, Producer of The Return of the Railway Children, Aaron Snipe, Senior Foreign Service Officer, Embassy Spokesperson US Embassy, and Clinton Smith, Chair, Preston Black History Group. Credit Tony Maiden from the Black History Group.

On Friday 23 June, it will be exactly 80 years since a gun-shot stand-off occurred in Bamber Bridge between black American troops stationed in the town during the Second World War and their own military police.

The gun shots fired during this revolt saw some of the few shots fired in anger in England during the War. Caused by intrinsic racism in a segregated army, the Battle led to the death of one soldier and injuries to four others, as well as to the conviction of 27 black American soldiers.

Professor Alan Rice from UCLan’s Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR), has helped to organise a public event to commemorate the historic occasion.

He said: “In what became known as the Battle of Bamber Bridge, the black American soldiers received support from local residents in a manner they would never do back home in the United States. Here, they were seen as fellow fighters against fascism and not just tolerated as extra bodies during the war effort.

“Now, 80 years on, UCLan is commemorating the event through an international symposium that is open to the public to attend either in-person or online.”

The symposium will feature discussions of historical racism in the US military, collusion by the British Government and responses by locals and the troops themselves.

Guardian journalist and author Gary Younge will also speak at the event and the African American film-maker Gregory Cooke will show his 2023 film Invisible Warriors, which documents the struggles of African American women workers in WWII, and take part in a Q&A session led by Professor Alan Rice.

The Battle of Bamber Bridge 80th Anniversary Commemorative Event is organised by IBAR and UCLan’s Research Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX).

It will take place on Friday 23 June from 4.00pm – 6.00pm in Foster Lecture Theatre on the Preston Campus, followed by a reception on the Student Centre rooftop terrace.

People can book tickets to attend in-person via Eventbrite. Book tickets to attend in-person

Anyone wanting to attend online can do so via Microsoft Teams. However, the film screening isn’t available for online attendees. Join the event online here

For more information contact [email protected]


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