A Man Who Escaped 20th Century Slave Trade

In 1907, a British sailor is seen unshackling an enslaved man who had been chained for three years.

The photo was taken by Joseph Chidwick, a crew member of the HMS Sphinx. The man in the photos had managed to escape a slave-trading outpost off Oman’s coast upon learning of the Royal Navy’s presence nearby.

In 2007, this image was given to the Royal Navy Museum by Samuel, Joseph Chidwick’s son, who shared the following remarks:

“The pictures were taken by my father who was serving aboard HMS Sphinx while on armed patrol off the Zanzibar and Mozambique coast in about 1907. They caught quite a few slavers and those particular slaves that are in the pictures happened while he was on watch. That night a dhow (sailing vessel) sailed by and the slaves were all chained together. He raised the alarm and they got them on to the ship and got the chains knocked off them. They then questioned them and sent a party of marines ashore to try to track the slave traders down. They caught two of them and I believe they were of Arabic origin. My father thought the slave trade was a despicable thing that was going on, the slaves were treated very badly so when they got the slavers they didn’t give them a very nice time”. ⁣

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