John Loader Obituary
We have received some sad news to begin the New Year, with the passing of one of the staunchest, long-term supporters of the Chagossian people, John Loader.
Mr Loader, a World War 2 veteran, died recently at the age of 97.
He has supported the exiled Chagossians ever since he heard of the setting up of the UK Chagos Support Association. During the Second World War, he was stationed on Diego Garcia in order to re-fuel and service Sunderland aircraft, where he made a short film about the Islanders, which you can see at extract of on the right.
After the war, when he found out about the deportations, he was shocked that such an act could be perpetrated by his own country's government in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
You can find the full version of his film on Youtube.
Celia Whittaker, one of UK Chagos Support Association's founding members, recalled meeting Mr Loader several years ago.
"I had the pleasure of meeting John and some of his family a few years ago and found him an interesting, knowledgeable, kind and generous man who was appalled at the injustice done to the Islanders whom he had liked very much during his service time on their homeland.
"As well as the film and spreading the word of their plight as far and wide as possible, he also made financial contributions. He hoped to live long enough to see them get the justice that has been so harshly denied them."
Mr Loader was also a generous financial supporter of UK Chagos Support Association over the years, and of the wider Chagossian community. He will be much missed and the thoughts of the whole community are with his family at this time.
I know the whole community will also want to take a moment to celebrate the vigour and enthusiasm with which he championed the Chagossian cause throughout his long life.