FROM THE ARCHIVES: An old soldier, World War II veteran, Wendell Christian remembers the Hurricane of 1930

Wendell McKenzie Christian, Station Officer, Dominica Fire Service (1921-2011)

Wendell McKenzie Christian was born at Delices, Dominica on March 5, 1921, to Leeward Islands Police Force Sergeant, Williams Matthew Christian and his wife Beryl Christian nee Jones, both from Antigua.

Wendell Christian’s main focus in this January 8, 1995, interview at Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is on the hurricane of September 1, 1930, which devastated Dominica. That hurricane in Dominica history is simply known as the Hurricane of 1930 and is the fifth deadliest hurricane on record, as it went on to kill 8,000 people in the Dominican Republic. The Hurricane of 1930 and Hurricane David were the two most devastating hurricanes to strike Dominica in the 20th century.

Wendell McKenzie Christian was the younger brother of Henckell Lochinvar Christian, MBE, Minister of Education and Health during the 1970s and at the time Dominica became independent, and Lemuel McPherson Christian, MBE, founder of the Christian Musical Class and author of the musical score of Dominica’s national anthem.

A veteran of the British Army in World War II, Christian was a police drill instructor at Fort Young Police Headquarters after the war before being seconded to form part of the modern fire service in 1954. He passed away at the age of 90 years at Lanham, Maryland on October 7, 2011.

A tribute to Wendell Christian by Dr. Irving Andre, a sitting Judge of the Superior Court of Brampton, Ontario can be read here: https://thedominican.net/2011/10/the-last-salute-to-christian.html. A memoir on the Dominican veterans and other West Indians who served in the British military may be found here:  https://shelfwise.directfrompublisher.com/catalog/book/king-country.

This may be the only interview of a Dominican who experienced the Hurricane of 1930, recalling that event and the culture of the time.

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1 Comment

  1. EJ Thomas Jr.
    August 3, 2020

    To his living family and well wishers:
    I recall from memories: a very sincere, honest, straight forward, sensitive and well meaning man.
    Though my relationship with him was strictly on business terms I would like to adjoin my condolences with the countless students alive that he inspired as a music teacher.

    Please permit me to take this micro credit …
    Mr Christian, MBE, founder of the Christian Musical Class and author of the musical score of Dominica’s national anthem, was my dad’s Mr. Boise/EJT Sr. and later my tenant in River Street where he lived- upstairs to the back – and kept his classes to the front for dozens of students on the upper floor of our 1200sq.ft . building. I recall him as a composer, a truly wonderful, respectful family man to align with his influence in music and achievements . Sir, May your soul rest in eternal bliss.

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