Jan Mohamed (a)

Document (a) about seafarer Jan Mohamed.

NATIONALITY AND NATURALISATION (including Certificates of British Origin): Special Certificate of Nationality (Coloured Seamen): Jan Mohamed. 1925-1930. Catalogue ref: HO 45/13750.

  • What type of document is this?
  • What do we learn about your seafarer’s journey?
  • The author uses language like ‘states’ and gives two different version of Jan’s name.
  • What does this reveal about the attitudes of the authorities?
  • Why was this document made?


Immigration Officer’s Report

Port of: HARWICH

Date of arrival 1-4-35

Subject: MOHAMED, Jan or John or


References to Files

Nationality: Without. Occupation: Ship’s Fireman

SEX: Male Age: States born 1897.

Continuous Certificate of Discharge No  976,527, London 2-5-1919

This man arrived from Antwerp on s.s “Roulers” on 1-4-25, and stated that he was born in Punjab, this was also entered in his Discharge Book. The book shows that he last signed on a British ship in South Shields on 31-10-1918 and paid off at Swansea 14-4-1919, after which (according to his statements) he was sent back to India as a passenger. He then signed on in Bombay the same year and paid off in New York then went on to Detroit where he worked as a labourer until October 1923, when he was sent back to India, he says , via Southampton and Liverpool.

He signed on the Finnish ship “Navigator” at Bombag on 4-2-25 and was paid off at Antwerp 30-3-25.

When going through some papers he had, a cutting from a Detroit newspaper was found- a copy is attached- he admitted that the second person mentioned was himself, he would thus have lost his British nationality and also his American citizenship.

He was refused leave to land under Art 15-1- and returned to Antwerp on the same boat on the same day.


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