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An oral history interview with Franklyn Parris in Cardiff, discussing his experience of growing up within a family which migrated from the Caribbean during the 1950s.

“When I came here… it was like a bird to being let out of the cage, you know…”

Franklyn Parris was born in St Kitts in 1947. When he was nine years old his father left for Britain and Franklyn went to live with his grandmother.

“My dad was a butcher in the West Indies, and when he came here he worked in the coal cuttings up in Nantgarw… When I was about six till it was about nine, I went to the market every Friday night with my dad to kill the animals to sell in the market on a Saturday.”
“When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be a minister in church. Church was a big part of life, especially from my time as a child went to church nearly every day, evenings and nights.”
“…My grandmother wrote to my dad and said you’d better send for him because he’d be on his own if anything happens to me… I was 13 and then I came here.”
“I started an apprenticeship as an engineer… I was successful and went in the Navy as an engineer. That was in 1968…Flew to New York, joined the ship… from there we went to Vietnam, we flew from Hong Kong with the soldiers because the war was on. I was away for eight months… Seen suffering, seen dead bodies, really shocking…”
“I’ve got two flags up in my house, St Kitts and Nevis flag and the Welsh flag… After being around Britain, I wouldn’t live anywhere else but Cardiff…”
“There have been testing times in the past, but there’ve been more good times than testing. People have made me feel more welcome. I got a tremendous amount of friends. I still feels lonely but I got friends, but it’s a loneliness that has been with me all my life and which will never go away.” 


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