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Black History Month: London’s forgotten RAF hero who survived 3 heart attacks and an attack by the National Front

Eddie Noble never let the struggles of his life get him down

Eddie Noble with his works.

Eddie Noble served in the RAF (Image: Patrick Vernon)


In a city filled with millions of people, many of us go under the radar.

But there are few forgotten heroes that deserve recognition like Eddi Noble.

Born in 1917, Eddie grew up in Jamaica and when he was just a child, already experienced racism.

While at school, a letter was given to his mum saying that white parents didn’t want him playing with their kids.

He was the child of a domestic worker, to them, he was a lower class. If he wasn’t removed from the school, they threatened to take their kids away instead.

Sadly, for Eddie, he was removed from school and had to find another path.

Well accustomed to being treated unfairly due to the colour of his skin, he once said: “It was never anything else, apart from us being servants and them, masters.”

Eddie Noble serving in the Royal Air Force
Eddie Noble (far right) serving in the Royal Air Force in 1943. (Image: Patrick Vernon)

Despite being kicked out for nothing other than the colour of his skin and social class, it didn’t deter Eddie from still persevering and achieving his goals.

He joined the military and arrived in the UK in 1943 to help assist in the war; by the end of the war, there were 10,000 black people in the air force.

However, for Eddie and his other black colleagues, they were never granted promotions.

Even though they did their part, it was always their white peers who received promotions over them.

After the war, he was tasked with preparing Polish airmen for civilian life in Britain.

For Eddie and the other 10,000 Caribbean’s who helped serve during the war, this was their reward.

Windrush Green Plaque
The Windrush plaque put up by Westminster City Council with Network Rail, Great Western Railway and the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station. (Image: Westminster City Council)

Eddie other Londoners from the Windrush generation were promised a better life in England, but were ultimately pushed aside.

But with that, meant Eddie knew how to make a stand. As a thank you for his work, a family invited him to a party in his honour. However, when Eddie saw their names, it was one of the families that got him kicked out of college.

He bravely attended and when it was time to reply and give thanks, Eddie stood up and walked out, an act that gave him “more satisfaction than anything else he has did in his whole life”.

After serving in the war, Eddie left the air force in 1951 to pursue other avenues.

Like many of the Windrush generation, they lived through abuse, being treated like second-class citizens and constantly facing the fear of racist individuals. Sadly, in 1972, Eddie was assaulted by three National Front members.

This assault was so bad that they left him for dead, if not for a doctor passing by, Eddie may not have been able to go onto achieve so much.

The attack resulted in Eddie’s tear ducts being so badly damaged, that whenever he got emotional, he would cry uncontrollably.

This didn’t dampen his efforts to create a better world for him and the generations to come after.

It was imperative to Eddie that future generations knew about what he and his peers went through, so he was very passionate about education and teaching the next generation.

Eddie Noble died in 2007, in St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney.

His legacy however, will live on and for Eddie and others, it is imperative we continue to tell their stories to understand what life was like for them.

Documentary called ‘A Charmed Life ‘ which depicts and celebrates his life.

For Eddie, it was about living a life so full, that people had to respect him.

source: https://www.mylondon.news/news/east-london-news/eddie-noble-hero-windrush-21768738?utm_source=mantis_rec&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=more_like_this

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