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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online
When referring to this web file, use "bermuda-online.org/history1900-1951.htm" as your Subject
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1900. Birth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of Alice Margaret Kennedy who, at the age of 18, entered a Roman Catholic convent, became Sister Jean deChantal Kennedy of the Sisters of Charity and later taught at Bermuda's Roman Catholic Mount St. Agnes Academy where she became a Bermuda schoolteacher, choir director, artist, historian (as a member of the Bermuda Historical Society), librarian, environmentalist (as a member of the Bermuda National Trust), wrote her own plays and was the author of Bermuda books that included Bermuda and the French Revolution (which won for her first prize at the 350th Anniversary celebration in 1959); Biography of a Colonial Town; Bermuda's Sailors of Fortune; Frith of Bermuda, Gentlemen Privateer; Isle of Devils; Bermuda Hodge-Podge and Bermuda Book of Pirates. On retirement from the teaching profession, it is believed Sister Jean went to live at the Sisters of Charity retirement home at 125 Oakland St, Wellesley, MA, where she narrowed her activities to writing and keeping abreast of modern Biblical research.
1900. West Indian workers were brought to Bermuda to work on the construction of the dry dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard.
1900. December 23, Reginald Fessenden transmitted intelligible speech by electronic waves from Cobb Island in the Potomac River. The next day, he did so from Brant Rock, MA to ships in the Atlantic and Caribbean. With his Bermudian connections, he was a father of radio.
1901. January 1. A Bermuda Parliamentary Election Amendment Act stated that the right to vote in general elections and the eligibility to run as candidates for the House of Assembly were limited to property-owning males. On the surface, this appeared to be a conservative male reaction to the earlier unsuccessful attempts in 1895 and 1896 to give females the same voting rights as men.
1901. February. HMS Hotspur, after being retired from distinguished Royal Navy active service became a coast defence and port guardship at the Royal Navy Dockyard, Bermuda. She was a Victorian ironclad ram - a warship armed with guns but whose primary weapon was a ram. She was built at Govan, Scotland by Napier, launched 19th March 1870 and completed 17th November 1871. She was commissioned at Devonport in 1871, and remained in reserve until 1876. She was similar in layout to Monitor HMS Glatton. She was an armored gun house with four gun ports. This was built instead of a turret as it was believed that the turret would not withstand a ramming. She served with HMS Rupert in the Sea of Marmara during the Russo-Turkish war of 1878. She then returned to Devonport, where she remained until her major reconstruction between 1881 and 1883. Her only active service thereafter was with the Particular Service Squadron of 1885. She was guardship at Holyhead until 1893, was again in reserve until 1897, and was posted thereafter to serve as guardship at Bermuda, where she stayed until sold for scrap in 1904. Her armament (after reconstruction in 1883) consisted of a 10ft armoured ram, 2 x 12 inch guns, 2 x 6 inch guns, 8 x 3 in quick-firers. 8 x machine guns. Displacement: 4331 tons, Speed: 12.6 knots. Compliment: 209.
HMS Hotspur at Bermuda 19011901. Rev. Charles V. Monk bought the Bermuda weekly newspaper New Era and Home Journal published from 1881 to 1884 by Mr. Spedon and ran it until 1905.
1901. Port's Island Hospital was built for Boer War prisoners-of-war. More than 4,500 South African prisoners of war (men and boys) arrived on HM ships and were transported to exile on various islands in Bermuda from 1901 to 1902. Bermuda was one of the places selected as a prisoner-of-war-camp for the Boers because of its distance from South Africa. The Boer War Cemetery in Bermuda was built by Boer prisoners. Unfortunately for the local civilian population, HM ships and the British Army garrison, the POWs brought with them an outbreak of enteric fever.
1901. June 28. SS Armenian arrived in Bermuda with 963 Boer prisoners of War, who were distributed to Darrell's and Burt's Islands.
1901. 19 July. The SS Ranee arrived in Bermuda with 518 Boer prisoners of war, who were distributed to Darrell's and Burt's Islands.
1901. July 24. The New York Times reported that "the Boer prisoners of war confined on Darrell's Island make almost nightly attempts to avoid the patrolling gunboats Medina and Medway and to gain the mainland by swimming. The water between Darrell's Island and the beach is calm, and all night long the gunboats sweep it with their searchlights."
1901. August 1. The SS Manila arrived at Bermuda with 607 Boer prisoners of war, distributed to Tucker's Island.
1901. August. Watford Bridge was begun, mostly for Royal Navy personnel to access the Royal Navy Dockyard on Watford, Boaz and Ireland Islands. Until 1900, a “horse ferry” - a small flat-bottomed boat that could accommodate a horse and carriage - traversed the channel. The bridge eventually spanned the 450 feet of the channel. Great cast-iron cylinders were sunk into bedrock and filled with concrete. Some 3,000 tons of local stone, 200 tons of cement and 55 tons of granite were required for the works, along with 433 tons of steel for the bridgework and central swinging span.
1901. September 13. The SS Montrose arrived at Bermuda with 932 Boer prisoners of war, distributed to Tucker's and Morgan's Islands.
1901. December 20. The SS Harlech Castle arrived at Bermuda with 340 Boer prisoners of war, distributed to Hawkin's Island.
1901. The first automobile to be seen in Bermuda, a steam-driven vehicle, drove along Front Street.
1901. On the death of his mother Queen Victoria, King Edward VII (see right) was enthroned.
1902. January 17. The SS Montrose arrived at Bermuda with 1259 Boer prisoners of war, distributed primarily to Hawkin's Island.
1902. Primarily as the result of the economic boom created by the massive Walker Works project of expanding and modernizing the Royal Naval Dockyard, hundreds of West Indians from many Caribbean islands arrived in Bermuda by sea. The scope of that massive construction included Watford Island, Boaz and Ireland Islands, the building of a Watford (Swing) Bridge and construction of a railway to carry tons of fill for the reclamation of land from the sea.
Bermuda stamps 1902 set
1902. In Bermuda, headquarters of the Royal Navy's America and West Indies Station, with Vice Admiral Douglas in command of the Station, the following Royal Navy vessels were based at the RN Dockyard: Cruisers: Ariadne; Calypso; Charybdis; Indefatigable; Pallas; Retribution; and Tribune. Torpedo-boat Destroyers: Quail; Rocket. Sloops and gunboats: Alert; Columbine; Fantome. Gigs: 4.
1902. A new (replacement) floating dockyard arrived in Bermuda for the Royal Navy at HM Dockyard.
Bermuda Floating Dock 1902
Placed in the same position as the original Bermuda Floating Dock of 1869. Source: Royal Navy1902. The Cup Match cricket tournament between St. George's and Somerset was played for the first time, at Somerset. A Cup Match Trophy award was created, as below:
Cup Match Trophy since 19021902. The first bridge to and from Watford Island, begun in August 1901, was completed.
1902. Bermuda Biological Station was founded.
1903. February 10. The SS Madiana, a Quebec Steamship Line vessel that had been calling regularly at Bermuda, landed on a Bermuda reef and was damaged beyond repair. She had been built as the Balmoral Castle in 1877 by R. Napier & Sons of Glasgow. She had been renamed the San Augustin before reverting to its original name and was then sold to the Quebec Steamship Line in the early 1890s. It later transpired the ship's officer-of-the-watch had mistaken Gibbs Hill Light for that of St. David’s Lighthouse. The crew and passengers were all saved. Their luggage was retrieved the next day. For some years, the Madiana was above water, which enabled her to be stripped of anything of value. In 2013, one can still see her boilers and propeller shaft in visiting the wreck.
1903. March 31. Famed American painter Winslow Homer wrote to his New York dealers to inform them he was sending "three Bermuda drawings that should attract attention as it was about the time all Bermuda hotels close for the season and the people return to New York."
1903. April. Professor Edward Laurens Mark, with Charles Bristol of New York University, two of the founding fathers of the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR), arrived in Bermuda to look for a site for the BBSR. A temporary site was found, the Hotel Frascati in Flatts. June 22. The first group of students arrived.
1903. A group of Bermudians formed Bermuda Fire and Marine Insurance Company for the sole purpose of insuring fire and marine risks within Bermuda.
1903. September 24. The formal opening of the first Watford Island Bridge, completed in 1902, in heavy rain. Many Bermudian families of today in Somerset first came to Bermuda to be employed on the construction of the South Yard and the bridge. The structure had been started in August 1901 and eventually spanned the 450 feet of the channel. Great cast-iron cylinders were sunk into bedrock and filled with concrete. Some 3,000 tons of local stone, 200 tons of cement and 55 tons of granite were required for the works, along with 433 tons of steel for the bridgework and central swinging span. Before that, a horse ferry, a flat-bottomed boat that could accommodate a horse and carriage had been the only way to cross the channel. “The bright smart-looking khaki of the soldiers quickly assumed the appearance of brown paper; many pretty dresses became limp and bedraggled, and clung affectionately to their fair owners.” But the weather cleared for the opening of what was considered the crowning structure in the work of providing continuous overland communication throughout Bermuda following the completion of the Causeway at St. George’s Parish in 1871. The people of Somerset had constructed a triumphal arch at their end of bridge and a great crowd gathered. The Governor, Sir Henry LeGuay Geary, KCB, pressed an electric bell and the swing span opened to allow a procession of boats, including as passengers all the schoolchildren of Somerset, to enter Mangrove Bay. This particular Watford Island Bridge lasted for 54 years.
1903. The Rev. Charles Monk, an AME minister and publisher of the "People's Journal" defended exploited workers at the Dockyard and was sued in a criminal libel trial.
1904. Quote from a British 1904 Defence Report on Bermuda. "The Bermudas command no trade route, but they afford for His Majesty's Navy in time of war a secure harbour, refitting station, and convenient base for operations in the neighboring seas, being about equidistant from Canada and the British West Indian possessions, with both of which direct cable communications exists. The adequate protection of this naval base, is therefore, of great importance, and the place has, for these reasons, been constituted one of the four Imperial fortresses." It is believed the Royal Navy in Bermuda surveyed and/or undertook improvement of local shipping channels at that time in the preparation of that report.
1904. 2 August. HMS Hotspur, which had arrived in Bermuda in 1901, was sold for scrap by Royal Navy authorities in Bermuda.
1905. Carl Gibbons and Edgar Hollis, two teenage boys searching thoroughly for a lost cricket ball hit very hard and far and expensive to replace, accidentally discovered a deep hole. They explored it in hope of finding the ball. What they discovered was a scintillating natural wonder that was to have major repercussions on Bermuda's tourism industry, the Crystal Cave in Hamilton Parish. It was opened to the public three years later. When the Wilkinson family, owners of the property since 1884, were told of this discovery, they wasted no time in setting off to explore the entrance and to find out how deep it went. Bernard Wilkinson, the fourteen-year-old son of Mr. Julian Wilkinson, was lowered into the hole by his father using a strong rope tied to a tree. Bernard descended 140 feet with a lamp from a bicycle to light his way. What he found was beyond his or the Wilkinson family's wildest dreams. It was an underground world of delicate splendor with magnificent crystal formations of every size and shape surrounding a clear lake 55 feet deep. One of the very first visitors to see the profusion of pristine white stalactites, soda straws and helectite formations above the cave was the great American humorist Mark Twain.
1905. Lizards were brought to Bermuda from Jamaica.
1905. The SS Bermudian made her first appearance at Bermuda and, with the Trinidad, continued service until WWI. She was the first ship specifically designed for the New York-Bermuda voyage and for 10 years, until the Great War of 1914-1918, knew no other ports. After war service she returned to the New York-Bermuda run but underwent a refit and a change of name to Fort Hamilton.
SS Bermudian1906. First Newport (Rhode Island) to Bermuda yacht race. Eight vessels participated. It began with the then-radical idea of racing normal boats in the ocean. It was the brainchild of Thomas Fleming Day, editor of the USA's most influential boating magazine, The Rudder. St. David's Head, Bermuda, saw the landfall of perhaps the first-ever ocean race by yachts, in what became the Newport-Bermuda Race, now one of the longest-running such competitions in existence. The race was sponsored in the United States by the Brooklyn Yacht Club and started in lower New York Bay. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club agreed to host the event and festivities following the Race. The finish line was agreed off St. David’s Lighthouse. The winner of the first Bermuda Race was Tamerlane, with Thomas Fleming Day, its sailing master. Sir Thomas Lipton, a challenger in the America’s Cup competitions, donated the prize, the Lipton Trophy, for the occasion, at Day’s behest. The base of the trophy carries a silver plaque with a view of the City of Hamilton from Fort Hamilton.
1906. The floating dock "Bermuda" - built in 1866 in North Woolwich, England - which first arrived on Bermuda’s shores in 1869, in the process of being towed away from its post at Dockyard after having been replaced and partially dismantled, was caught in a gale and drifted over to Spanish Point, where it got lodged on the rocks and became unmovable It has been there ever since as a rusted relic. It was first built in 1863 as a patented invention of Messrs Campbell Johnstone and Co. It weighed 8,200 tonnes and could lift any vessel afloat at the time except for the Great Eastern, which was a large iron sailing steam ship. It was the largest floating dock ever constructed and only lost that distinction to its successor in 1901, Admiralty Floating Dock #1, also made for the Bermuda Dockyard. In her prime, the ‘Bermuda’ was used to accommodate large warships. The Bermuda was more than 47,000 sq ft and 381ft long and 123ft at its maximum width, and a depth of 74ft. It could easily accommodate ships up to 370ft long and 25ft wide. (In 1950, the Bermuda Government tried to clear the bay of the remnants of the dock using dynamite, to no avail. The now rusted and ruined floating dock is located at the entrance to Stoves Bay, also known as Pontoons in Spanish Point).
1906. John J. Bushell, of "Palm Vale", South Shore Road, Devonshire, established the first tourist bureau in Bermuda.
1906. Christmas Eve. Canadian Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932), see below - later to become famous for his Bermuda connections, made the first radio broadcast in history. Radio operators on ships in the Atlantic were shocked to hear a human voice emitting from the equipment they used to receive Morse code. Many operators called their Captains to the radio room, where they heard Fessenden make a short speech, play a record, and give a rendition of "O Holy Night" on his violin.
Fessenden, making his historic 1906 broadcast
1907. Crystal Cave was opened to the public, three years after it was discovered.
1907. January. Mark Twain and his friend the Rev. Joseph Twichell again arrived in Bermuda by sea, for a 24-hour visit after 4 days at sea. Twain, widowed in 1904, was also accompanied on this trip by his secretary Isabel Lyon, who later wrote her own journal. It appears that shortly after they returned to the USA from Bermuda, Twain planned another Bermuda visit three months later.
1907. March 17. Woodrow Wilson and Mary Peck enjoyed a vacation in Bermuda, during which time they became well acquainted with Mark Twain.
1907. March 17. According to an article from the Chicago Daily Tribune of that day entitled "Mark Twain Seeks Place to Wear White", Mark Twain headed to Bermuda, on the same vessel as Woodrow Wilson and Mary Peck, for a longer visit and "summery climes" and was quoted as saying he was "in search of rest, British humor, and an opportunity to appear logical in March in a white suit." Once again he was in the company of the Rev. Joseph Twichell. A young schoolgirl, believed to have been Paddy Madden whom Twain had met on a previous voyage, accompanied them.
1908. The first bus on the island was a 12-seater. It frightened a horse, causing a doctor to be tossed to the ground. That incident is believed to have been one of the catalysts - Mark Twain in Bermuda was another - that led to the passing of a law in May 1908 that would ban all motor vehicles from Bermuda's roads for nearly 30 years.
1908. March, electricity was introduced to an initially small group in Bermuda by the Bermuda Electric Light Power and Traction Company Ltd. It is believed Mark Twain was one of them, at his Pembroke house.
1908. April 7. In the Royal Gazette newspaper of Bermuda, prominent American marine and landscape artist Mr. Prosper L.Senat and his wife, both then in Bermuda, advertised he will be making a final exhibition of his winter's work, at the Hotel Hamilton tomorrow, Wednesday, 8th inst., from 10am until 6:30pm. In addition to the watercolors remaining unsold there will be shown most of those already disposed of, which it is his custom to take to the States for delivery, together with a large and interesting collection of Black and White compositions which it is Mr. Senat's custom to make a preliminary to his more important works, and seldom seen out of his studios." It was later determined Senat worked in Bermuda many more times after this supposed final exhibition. He is known to have executed works up until the early 1920's and it is probable that these too were exhibited.
1908. May. With cars banned by the 1908 Act, the use of horses brought constant criticism over the state of the city's streets.
1908. Creation of Zuill's Folly landmark in Smith's Parish. A concrete observation tower erected by a local landowner on the island's highest elevation. It was the intent of the owner to lure visitors to the top of the tower to view the island from one end to the other. While never a commercial success as a tourist attraction the site today has a 60 foot tower atop the structure which contains numerous commercial stations including a 4 channel .X25 UHF wireless packet data network.
Zuill's Folly1908. October 31. Appointment of Lieutenant General Frederick Walter Kitchener as Governor of Bermuda. He was the younger brother of Earl Kitchener. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Kitchener.
1909. The Tercentennial Celebration of Bermuda was held in the city of Hamilton and town of St. George. It included a memorial monument and tribute to Admiral Sir George Somers inlaid at the Bermuda Cathedral in Hamilton.
1909 to 1923. Bermuda became the operational headquarters for the Royal Navy's Fourth and Eighth Cruiser Squadrons.
1909. In July, a group of local dignitaries went by boat to see the largest pinnacle at North Rock. They returned with a plan to encircle it with reinforced concrete and put a 50-foot metal frame on top, with a gas-powered beacon that would be visible at sea for more than 8 miles
1909. The three-masted passenger Quebec-built 19th century barque Edinburgh, one of the world's last classic sailing ships, foundered off the shores of Bermuda and was washed up on a beach after more than 25 years of transatlantic service. She had an exquisitely carved, life-sized figurehead (see below). In early 2007, an unidentified European collector captured this "masterpiece" of Canadian folk art after it was sold at auction in New York and paid more than more than Canadian $300,000. The 180-kilogram oak carving of a buxom female figure was created in 1883 by renowned New Brunswick artist John Rogerson. The carving was recovered from the Edinburgh by an American diplomat in Bermuda. It was later held by several US museums, and its likeness was used in the 1970s on a special issue by the US Postal Service celebrating the country's bicentennial. The figurehead is believed to have been modeled on the Duchess of Edinburgh, the Russian-born daughter of Czar Alexander II and daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria.
Edinburgh ship's figurehead wreck 19091909. The Westerfield Cup, so-named for it's sponsors, was made specifically for this, the third Newport-Bermuda Yacht Race, by Reed and Barton, decorated with a floral pattern in relief and had three handles. In one pane were the crossed flags of the Atlantic Yacht Club and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in enamel. It was inscribed Bermuda Race 1909. George Runk, in the schooner Margaret, won.
1910. Bermuda was granted its own new Coat of Arms. It features a sinking Sea Venture and replaced the less popular original which featured three sailing ships.
1910. A Canadian corporation attempted to bring regularly scheduled, motorized public transportation to Bermuda and went so far as to form the Bermuda Trolley Company Limited. Unfortunately, nothing came from it as there was a bitter altercation between some of its principals and various people in Bermuda that reached its climax in 1924 when an entirely separate entity, the Bermuda Railway Company, was formed. Had the Canadian owned Bermuda Trolley Company not been interfered with, it would have brought public motorized transportation to Bermuda far earlier than when such train services finally began in Bermuda in the 1930s.
1910. The booklet "Bermudas: Orphan Islands of the Atlantic, with a subtitle of ‘Bermuda, Land of Sunshine and Flowers" was written and published by a New York Judge. He was a notable visitor to Bermuda, along with Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and a president-to-be and others. He was Judge Warren W. Foster. So taken with the island, he wrote about it and its charms and advantages, versus the long haul to more foreign places. Described as a confirmed bachelor on the New York social scene, he had earlier earned some notoriety in New York when, sitting in the Court of General Sessions, he sentenced Frank Kenny to three months' imprisonment upon a conviction of the defendant by a jury for petit larceny of taking and using a horse and wagon. The judge, like Mark Twain, was against the use of motor cars.
1910. Birth of Alma (Champ) Hunt, who became one of Bermuda's most famous cricketers and also played in Scotland, at the Aberdeenshire Cricket Club.
1910. The Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery ended their task of re-fortifying Bermuda. They had started as the new century began. Their final mission was the completion of gun emplacements and fortifications at the newly-built St. David's Battery at St. David's Head. As a result, the eastern 9.2-inch gun at Fort Victoria was moved to the St. David's Battery, where it was used as a practice piece for the newly-formed Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA). With another similar gun installed, the new battery had two of the largest guns ever mounted on British colonial fortifications, plus two smaller ones which guarded the entrance to the Narrows Channel and the inspection anchorage of Five Fathom Hole. All these heavy defensive weapons directed against invasion-minded enemy foreign warships were manned by the BMA.
1910. Royal Navy in Bermuda measures were also taken to beef up defenses. Bermuda became the home of the Fourth and Eight Cruiser Squadrons on the North America and the West Indies Station, with Bermuda as the Royal Navy's central base on that Station, supported by Halifax to the north and Jamaica and other British possessions in the Caribbean arena 900 miles to the north of Bermuda. In overall command of the station was Rear Admiral Arthur M. Farquhar, CVO, appointed in 1909, whose Bermuda home was at Admiralty House in Pembroke.
1910. April 1. HMS Brilliant was one of the vessels based in Bermuda at that time, attached to the 4th Cruiser Squadron. She was an Apollo class cruiser, begun in March 1890, completed for service in 1893. One of her crew died on this day and was buried in Bermuda at the Royal Naval Cemetery. He was Joseph William Eagle, Chief Yeoman of Signals, 39. At his funeral later that same day he was buried with full military and Masonic honors, watched by members of the Dockyard community including members of the Lodge of Loyalty No. 358 (which had started in the Dockyard), as Chief Yeoman Eagle had become a Mason of that Lodge on June 25, 1909.
1911. The Bermuda Cathedral was consecrated
1911. St. George's native Samuel Seward Toddings established The Mid Ocean newspaper (later, Mid Ocean News). An afternoon newspaper for many years, it was bought by The Royal Gazette in 1962. In October 2009 it announced it was to cease publication indefinitely.
1911. The liner Oceana was bought by the Bermuda North Atlantic Co and operated between New York and Bermuda until purchased by Spain and renamed Alphonso XIII. She was built by William Denny & Bros., Dumbarton in 1890, 6,844 gross tons when launched; length 477 ft; with clipper stem, 2 funnels, 2 masts, twin screws and speed of 16 knots. Passenger accommodations: 208 first class, 100 2nd, 100 3rd class. Launched 30 Dec 1890 as the "Scot" for the Union Line's UK to South Africa service. Maiden voyage 25 Jul 1891, leaving Southampton for Madeira and Cape Town. In 1895, she was rebuilt to 7,859 tons with 531 ft length and passenger accommodations for 400 1st class, and 25 2nd class. In 1899 was used as a troop ship during the Boer War. Sold 1905 to Hamburg America Line, renamed "Oceana" and initially cruised between Naples and Alexandria. 8 Jun 1906 started 1st Hamburg-NY voyage and by 25 Dec 1910 made 7.5 round trips on this service. Scrapped in Italy 1927.
Oceana1911. February 15. The Memorial Monument to Sir George Somers was unveiled in St. George's, with the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment in attendance.
1911. April. At the Agricultural Exhibition, an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) unit then in Bermuda presented a prize for the quality of his chickens to Bermuda's Governor, Lieut General F. W. Kitchener. He was Captain Percy H. Falkner, who knew Governor Kitchener from Africa days. Falkner was in the Boer Wars, including in 1899-1902, which resulted in the accommodation of some 5,000 Boer prisoners at Bermuda. He was involved in the relief of Ladysmith, including actions at Colenso and Spion Kop, and thereafter in operations at Vaal Kranz, Tugela Heights and Pieter's Hill, followed by work in Natal and in the Transvaal, ending in the summer of 1901.In Bermuda and later elsewhere, he was an expert on the raising, rearing and welfare of chickens, so much so he was mentioned at length in Lewis Wright's major written tome the "Illustrated Book of Poultry". That weighty tome of upwards of 800 pages and running through many editions with lavish pictures of strutting roosters and following hens is said to be one of the most famous books on the subject of the lowly chicken. His presentation of a Bermuda plaque in 1911 on chickens came from his lifelong passion for the chicken in its many forms and breeds. Later, as an army surgeon, he travelled the British Empire. As Lieut-Colonel Hope-Falkner, he retired from the Indian Medical Service, RAMC, and died in Malta in 1950.
1911. The Bermuda Advertisements Regulation Act prohibited unsightly advertisements in Bermuda.
1911. The Imperial Hotel, Church Street Hamilton, east of the Hamilton Hotel, was much enlarged. It may have been the longest surviving hostelry in the City.
Imperial Hotel, Hamilton, Bermuda1911. The House of Assembly finally approved the plan for North Rock referred to in 1909 and work began. It was finally completed in 1912, after some mishaps.
1911. The silent black and white movie, a short drama "Her Mother's Fiancée" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0233859/ was made in Bermuda.
1912. Prince George, grandson of Queen Victoria, Marquess of Milford Haven, visited Bermuda briefly, as a lieutenant on HMS New Zealand.
1912. The Quebec Steamship Company (later, absorbed into Furness Withy and its Furness Bermuda Line), released this 1912 poster of Bermuda and the West Indies.
1913. There were four steamers serving the Halifax-Bermuda run. They were the Cobequid, Caraquet, Chignecto and Chaleur.
1913. Bermuda Trade Development Board was founded.
1913. Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, then a naval cadet, visited Bermuda on HMS Cumberland. He became King George VI in 1937.
1913. December. Herbert Brenon's "Neptune's Daughter" was filmed in Bermuda, for release in 1914. The film, shot in various locations around Bermuda including Crystal Caves, starred Annette Kellerman - an Australian swimmer turned actress. Neptune's Daughter, though well-financed, had inspired very little faith in its backers and was almost never made. It had only reluctantly been approved by Universal head Carl Laemmle who, according to Kellerman, "begrudged every bit of the $35,000 that went in to it." Director Herbert Brenon required a foreign setting for the film - a fantasy romance based loosely on ancient myth about a mermaid seeking vengeance on the land-dwelling king who accidentally kills her sister in a fishing net only to lose her heart to him. Bermuda must have seemed perfect. It was then still a forgotten colony, undiscovered by North American visitors, sparse and lonely, awash with cedar forests. It seemed, according to Kellerman's biographer, "a rather exotic place, strange and beautiful enough to imagine its tropical seas might be peopled by mermaids." A cargo ship arrived here carrying Kellerman and a crew of 20. The star was already well known in Bermuda. She had been famously unsuccessful at three attempts to cross the English Channel and in 1908 earned notoriety for championing a one-piece bathing suit for women. Her arrival on the island caused something of a stir and The Royal Gazette even issued a casting call: "Miss Kellerman in one of her scenes will require the service of at least 50 pretty Bermudian belles to represent mermaids; and it is certain that many Bermudian maidens will avail themselves of this opportunity!" Among the first scenes filmed was shot on the lawn of the Princess Hotel - where Kellerman herself stayed - in which the fictional King William surveyed his army and navy. His "fleet" was actually an assembly of 20 local fishing boats and his men a hundred soldiers from the 2nd Queen's Regiment then stationed at Fort Prospect and loaned as extras by Governor Bullock. Yet the scene which most impressed locals was shot within Crystal Caves. The area proved the perfect setting for the "witch's cave" demanded by the script. The caves were then still unlit, so Brenon wired New York for the studio's chief electrician. With the help of Percy Wilkinson and a Mr. Spurling from the Bermuda Electric Light Company, the scene was filmed a hundred feet below ground - a first in motion picture history. The result, according to The Royal Gazette, was "magnificent beyond description." Yet an accident on set in January nearly forced Neptune's Daughter to be abandoned altogether. While filming an under-water fight scene in a glass tank on Agar's Island calamity struck. "While we were doing the fight, suddenly the front wall of the tank burst with a report like a cannon," Kellerman said of the accident some years later. "The out-rush carried me 20 feet beyond the tank, where I lay, bruised and bleeding, with a great piece of flesh cut from my right foot." The incident was covered in The New York Times ("Miss Kellerman Hurt: Glass Tank Bursts in the Course of a Performance in Bermuda" read the breathless headline) and kept both Kellerman and director Brenon off the set for some time. The picture was released in April 1914 and was an immediate sensation, grossing nearly one million dollars. Though the scene in Crystal Caves caused wonder in Bermuda - censors and clergy members in the United States took a rather dimmer view. Kellerman, in the era of silent films, wore her "unconventional" swimwear - a body stocking that made her appear nude in many scenes. It proved for some the corruption of the "moving pictures." Still, this curious mermaid fantasy evidently struck a cord. The allure of either Kellerman or exotic Bermuda kept the film in circulation for seven months. Its record of 19 successive weeks as top-grossing film stood until 1955. Today, the film survives in fragments stored in archives in Russia and Australia.
1914. August 4. World War 1 - the Great War - began in Europe. Bermudians enlisted for service overseas in some numbers, given the small size of the population. Units from the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) and Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) left the island for service in Europe. Many were later killed in action. (See under November 11 in Public Holidays and Bermuda's War Veterans. Bermudians enlisted for service overseas in considerable numbers. The local forces at that time were divided largely on the basis of colour, with black Bermudians serving in the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery, while white Bermudians were to be found in the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC), mostly associated with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Individuals, including some from the local forces, signed up separated with other units overseas, such as the Royal Navy, the Royal Flying Corps and various army regiments.
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps sent to France 1914. British Army photo.
1914. August 4. At the beginning of the First World War, the British War Department started to buy up the Daniel's Head peninsula in Somerset, first acquiring the land that is now Westover Farm. This was followed by the purchase of the properties to the northwest, owned by Walter Barker and C. A. V. Frith. The purpose of those acquisitions was to add "ears" to Daniel's Head, for the new and revolutionary age of "wireless" transmission of information, via radio and Morse Code, had matured into the activities of war. Great masts for the reception of Allied data and the interception of enemy transmissions were erected.
1914. The Port's Island Hospital for Boer War prisoners-of-war was used to house 3 German nationals interned and 58 German merchant seamen in the 1914-18 Great War. They grew vegetables to supplement their diet and spent most of their time making souvenirs, marked GPOW Bermuda.
1914. December 2. The first Bermuda £1 banknote was printed by the American Bank Note Company in Ottawa, showing King George V.
Above. 1914. Proof of first Bermuda Government £1 note.
1914. September 10. The Royal Canadian Regiment embarked in S.S. Canada for Bermuda and sailed the following day at noon under escort of HMCS. Niobe. About 5 p.m. on Sunday 13 September, the Islands of Bermuda were sighted, and the same evening the ship entered the passage of St. George. The battalion disembarked on Monday 14th, relieving 2nd Battn Lincolnshire Regiment which embarked that night in the Canada and sailed for Halifax the next morning. A, B, & C Cos went to Boaz Island near the Dockyard. D, E, & F Cos. to St. George's, while G, H & K and Nos 1, 2, 3, & 4 Provisional Cos, with Headquarters and M.G. Section went to Prospect. It was reported in one officer's diary that: "The Regiment was the highest paid Corps which had ever been stationed in the Island and the shopkeepers promptly took advantage of it as "soldier prices" quite equaled those for the American tourist."
1914. September 22. The first Bermudian to die in the Great War was William Edmund Smith, a black man who had joined the royal Navy in Bermuda. He was drowned when his ship, HMS Aboukir was torpedoed in the North Sea off the Hook of Holland by a German submarine. It sank within 20 minutes with the loss of 527 men. He was the son of William Felix Smith and his wife Emma Jane, nee Douglas, of Herman’s Hill, Somerset. His name, with 18,000 other service personnel, is on an obelisk at the Royal Naval Memorial in Chatham, south east England aqnd in Bermuda. Officer’s Cook First Class Smith joined the Royal Navy in 1912 aboard HMS Sirius which formed part of the Royal Navy’s North America and West Indies Squadron. At the end of that tour, he joined HMS Aboukir as conflict commenced. When two other cruisers, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy, went to the scene to rescue survivors they too were torpedoed by the same U-boat with a loss of over 1,4500 lives.
1914. November. 6838 Private Allen Arthur Cuthbertson, one of the members of the Royal Canadian Regiment sent to Bermuda to relieve the Lincolnshire Regiment, died in Bermuda on 16 November and was buried at the British Army's Prospect Military Cemetery, Grave Ref 848.
1914. First arrival in Bermuda of Frances Hodgson Burnett, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Hodgson_Burnett. Born in England on November 24, 1849 and died on October 29, 1924 in the USA, this American naturalized author won international renown in 1886 for her book "Little Lord Fauntleroy" before she emigrated to the USA. In 1911, her "The Secret Garden" was published and also became a global best seller. It has often been claimed, wrongly, that she wrote this book based on a garden she kept in Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. Actually, it was a garden in England - to be specific, the walled garden at Great Maytham Hall at Rolvenden, Cranbrook, Kent - where she wrote it, with its 18 acres of parkland nearby with bluebells, daffodils and flowering trees. Three years after her book was published she visited Bermuda for the first time - and stayed. After a brief sojourn at the Princess Hotel, she rented the house "Clifton Heights" owned by the Outerbridge family, in Bailey's Bay, on the North Shore Road. Burnett settled in Bermuda to get away from the chronic claustrophobia of an adoring public in the USA and the winter weather of her Long Island New York home. At "Clifton," she indulged in her passion for growing roses, especially after her earlier English times. She once wrote to her friends about her 762 roses: "They will bloom when New York is 70 degrees below zero and London is black with fog and slopped with mud and rain." They did. She loved Bermuda so much she continued to reside here, especially in the winter months, until her death in New York in 1924 at the age of 75. She was buried at Roslyn Cemetery, Roslyn, New York, USA.
1915. February. The Royal
Canadian Regiment then in Bermuda was reorganized to the four-company system,
and dispositions were as follows:
Headquarters (Prospect); M. G. Section (Prospect); "A" Co. (Boaz Island); "B" Co. (Prospect); "C" Co. (St. David's Island) (2 Platoons at Prospect) and "D" Co. (St. George's Island.
1915. February. The Governor of Bermuda received word from Downing Street in London of the possibility of "several thousand" German military prisoners-of-war arriving in Bermuda. He warned London that they would have to be inoculated before they arrived because of the damage caused in 1901 to the local population, HM ships and British Army garrison when 4,500 Boer War POWs arrived. As it happed, those expected to come never arrived.
1915 April. 7665 Private Louis Roy, one of the members of the Royal Canadian Army sent to Bermuda to relieve the Lincolnshire Regiment, died in Bermuda on 2 April and was buried at the Calvary Roman Catholic civilian cemetery near Hamilton, Grave Ref 85.
1915 April. 7665 Private Joseph R. Marshall, one of the members of the Royal Canadian Army sent to Bermuda to relieve the Lincolnshire Regiment, died in Bermuda on 24 April and was buried at the British Army's Prospect Military Cemetery, Grave Ref 520.
1915. May and June. According to the Haig Report (written by Field Marshal Earl Haig, British Army Commander-in-Chief), the Bermuda contingent of the Royal Garrison Artillery, men of the Bermuda Militia Artillery served with the Canadian Corps during the operations subsequent to the capture of Vimy Ridge. "They were employed on heavy ammunition dumps, and great satisfaction was expressed with their work. Though called upon to perform labor of the most arduous and exacting nature at all times of the day and night, they were not only willing and efficient but also conspicuous for their cheeriness under all conditions. On more than one occasion the dumps at which they were employed were ignited by hostile shellfire and much of their work was done under shellfire. Their behavior on all these occasions was excellent, and commanded the admiration of those with whom they were serving."
1915. 6 August. The Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps took over the Guard at Port's Island Prisoner of War Camp and that at Blue Hole on 11th Aug.
1915. August 12. The 38th Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F) arrived in Bermuda via S.S. Caledonia to relieve the Royal Canadian Regiment.
1915. September 7. A hurricane caused a loaded ammunition ship, to be wrecked on the reefs of the South Shore. The master lost his life. The vessel was the SS Pollockshields, German-built in 1890 as Herodot, sold in 1903 to the Hamburg American Line and named Graecia. Requisitioned as a supply ship for the Great War, the Graecia was captured off Gibraltar by the British and converted for an ammunition vessel for their anti-German war efforts as SS Pollockshields. On August 22 she had sailed from Cardiff, headed for Bermuda, but nearby met hurricane and fog conditions. Captain Ernest Boothe found himself in shallow water on a lee shore: attempts to reverse against the storm winds failed and the ship ran firmly aground on a reef several hundred yards from safety. Thereafter began one of the most daring and successful sea rescues in Bermuda’s history, spearheaded by the whaler, Antone Marshall (1880-1952). Marshall had a whaling boat he had imported from New Bedford and with a team of volunteers he transported the little vessel from its anchorage at Jews Bay to Elbow Beach, reaching the shore around 3am on September 8. The rescue operations began at daylight, with storm winds still blowing, and after four trips through the surf, almost all the crew was taken off the Pollockshields without loss of life. Captain Boothe was the exception. Determined to be the last man aboard, he was swept overboard. His floating, bloated body was found several days later at Christian Bay, Southampton.
Rescue of the Pollockshield's crew
1916. In Hamilton, the single room at the old Customs House (later, the Colonial Secretariat, later yet the Cabinet Building) was far too small for the Public Library (later, the Bermuda National Library). It was transferred to Par-la-Ville, in premises owned by the Corporation of Hamilton, where it is today (mostly in an extension built and opened in 1957, no longer the original Par-la-Ville).
1916. On September 23, a hurricane hit Bermuda.
1916. Cavendish Hall School was founded, to provide a sound education for the girls and boys of Devonshire Parish, a function it accomplished effectively for over a half century in the landmark building still standing at its centre.
1916. Sgt W. (Billy) Richardson, Bermuda Militia Artillery, wrote in his diary about his Great War experiences in Europe. "Our first job was digging trenches. I had a Bible my Auntie gave me and I took it to the trenches. I told those guys: “Tell my Auntie if I don’t come back, I took the Bible with me.”
1916. In the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps a contingent was attached until the end of the Great War to the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. An official British Army report states: "Originally they joined as a complete machine gun unit, and were found invaluable when there was a scarcity of this weapon in Flanders. After the formation of regular Machine Gun Companies, the Bermuda Volunteers were transformed into Lewis Gun Sections, in which sphere they have done good work. Physically and intellectually they are as fine men as any to be found to their Brigade, and their conduct has always been exemplary. It is hoped that many more soldiers of this stamp can be sent from the Island of Bermuda."
1916. November 5. Harry Francis Bridges was killed at Vermelles, France. He was a Lance Corporal, Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps attached to 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. Service No. 25334. He is buried in the British Cemetery in Vermelles. The original wooden cross from his grave hangs on the wall in St. Marks Church, Cherry Orchard, Worcester, England near where he was brought up.
1916. The silent and black-and-white movie "Innocent Lie (The)" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006860/ was filmed in Bermuda.
1917. January. Opening
of New Town Cut Channel St. George's, Bermuda, by Royal Navy dredgers.
With a peech by Governor Sir George
Bullock in Market Square.
1917. March 22. Bermudian A. W. ("Bill) Forbes was a junior wireless officer aboard the New Zealand Shipping Service's Rotorua, 11,140 tons, one of the larger ships in the British-flagged Merchant Navy when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in the English Channel, 24 miles from where she had begun her voyage to Wellington, New Zealand, at location 50.17 North, 03.07W, with London general cargo. He survived as did all but one of the crew. The U-boat was UC 17, commanded by Ralph Wenninger. Forbes survived, went on to join Cable and Wireless and in 1937 pioneered the radio direction finding of flying boats enroute to and from Bermuda.
1917. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital's main entrance patio was erected, with roman numerals on the front facade showing this year's date. Plans for the original King Edward VII Memorial Hospital appeared around 1910, but construction of the project was delayed due to World War One. The building was opened to the public by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1920, and remained in operation until the opening of the existing KEMH acute care building in 1965.
1917. At Admiralty House, Pembroke, Bermuda, residence and headquarters of the Royal Navy's Bermuda-based Admiral of the West Indies and North America Squadron, staff there included individuals in the following photograph:
1917. August 8. Bermudian actor Earl Cameron was born in Pembroke. He later had a career spanning appearances in over 60 films and TV programmes and recently also celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his appearance in the cult TV programme “The Prisoner”. When a youngster, he joined the British Merchant Navy, and sailed mostly between New York and South America. When war broke out he found himself stranded in London, arriving on 29th October 1939. As he himself put it in an interview for The Royal Gazette Newspaper “I arrived in London on 29 October, 1939. I got involved with a young lady and you know the rest. The ship left without me, and the girl walked out too.” His first acting role came in 1942 when he got a part in a West End production of Chu Chin Chow. He was good enough to act in a number of plays in London, including The Petrified Forest. He understudied with Amanda Ira Aldridge, an opera singer, singer, teacher and composer, daughter of the famed black American actor Ira Aldridge. His breakthrough acting role was in The Pool of London, a 1951 film set in postwar London involving racial prejudice, romance, and a diamond robbery. He then appeared in the 1955 film Simba, a drama about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in which Cameron played the role of Peter Karanja, a doctor trying to reconcile his admiration for Western civilization with his Kikuyu heritage. From the 1950s he had major parts in many films including: The Heart Within (1957) in which he played Victor Conway in a crime movie yet again set in the London docklands; Sapphire (1959) in which played Dr Robbins, the brother of a murdered girl; and The Message (1976) - the story of the Prophet Muhammad; Tarzan the Magnificent (1960) in which he played Tate; Flame in the Streets (1961) in which he played Gabriel Gomez; Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) in which he played Mang; Guns at Batasi (1964) in which he played Captain Abraham; Battle Beneath the Earth (1967) in which he played Sergeant Seth Hawkins; Sandwich Man (1966) in which he played a bus conductor; and the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965) in which he played the role of James Bond's Caribbean assistant Pinder Romania. More recently, he was in The Interpreter (2005) in which he played the fictitious dictator Edmond Zuwanie. In 2006, not looking at all 89 years old at the time, he had a brief speaking part early in the film The Queen, playing the affable artist painting the Queen (Helen Mirren). He has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, one of the earliest of which was in the BBC 1960 TV drama The Dark Man in which he played a West Indian cab driver in the UK. The show examined the reactions and prejudices he faced in his work. In 1956 he had a smaller part in another BBC drama exploring racism in the workplace entitled Man From The Sun in which he appeared as a community leader called Joseph Brent. He was in five episodes of the TV series Dangerman alongside series star Patrick McGoohan. He worked with McGoohan again in 1967 when he appeared in the TV series The Prisoner as the Haitian Supervisor in the episode "The Schizoid Man". His other work on popular TV shows includes: Emergency Ward 10; The Zoo Gang; Crown Court; Jackanory in 1971; Dixon of Dock Green; Doctor Who; Neverwhere; Waking the Dead; Kavanagh QC, Babyfather; Eastenders (as Mr Lambert), Dalziel and Pascoe, and Lovejoy. He has also appeared in a number of other one off TV dramas including: Television Playhouse (1957); ITV Play of the Week (two stories - The Gentle Assassin (1962) and I Can Walk Where Like Can't I? (1964); the BBC's Wind Versus Polygamy (1968); ITV's A Fear of Strangers (1964); ITV Play of the Week - The Death of Bessie Smith (1965); The Great Kandinsky (1995); and two episodes of Thirty-Minute Theatre (1969 and 1971). Cameron is a member of the Baha'i Faith. He currently lives in Warwickshire in England. He is married to Barbara Cameron. His first wife, Audrey Cameron, died in 1994. He has five children. In Bermuda in 2007, accompanied by his wife, he was given the Prospero Award for lifetime achievement in his field by the Bermuda International Film Festival. In the Queen's New Year Honors List 2008/2009 he was awarded a CBE for services to drama after a movie, television and theatre career spanning seven decades.
1917. September 17. Four Bermudians, all members of the Bermuda Militia Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery, were killed on duty in an accident involving a mast at Daniel's Head when a section of the structure gave way. They were Sergeant William James Fowler and Gunners Richard Thomas Ambrose Alick, Joseph William Wilson Butterfield and Clarence Wentworth Dill. All four men were buried with full military honours, with Union flags covering their coffins and the band of the Bermuda Militia Artillery preceding them. At least twenty carriages followed, containing relatives and friends of the deceased. Fowler was buried in St. George's, but the other three were laid to rest in "the new military cemetery on Somerset Island, which lies close to the seashore". Their deaths were considered to have been in the execution of their duties just as much as if they had died at the Front. His Excellency the Governor was in attendance, along with contingents of the army and navy, and hundreds of spectators lined the road to the cemetery." The BMA/RGA men are memorialized in a stained glass window of the Cathedral in Hamilton, along with other Bermudians killed in action.
1917. November 9. The USS Margaret and several other US Navy ships arrived in Hamilton, Bermuda after having set out on November 4 from Newport, Rhode Island, on the first leg of what would prove an eventful voyage across the Atlantic. On this stage of the trip Margaret's companions included the tender Hannibal and five other yachts converted to patrol vessels: Helenita (SP-210), May (SP-164), Rambler (SP-211), Utowana (SP-951) and Wenonah (SP-165). Each of the six former yachts towed an American-built French submarine chaser, a 110-foot craft with insufficient range for long trips. Though Helenita, Margaret, May and Utowana broke down along the way, the little flotilla reached Hamilton safely. Following rest and repairs, the group set out again on 18 November, bound for the Azores. Helenita and Utowana remained at Bermuda.
1917. December 12. The death while at sea, in action against the German Navy, of Bermuda-based Lieutenant Commander Ernest Grant Ede RN, while on convoy duty in the North Sea on HMS Pellew. His wife, Winifred, was a Bermudian restaurant owner. Their infant son Herman had been born earlier that year (in 1940, as a Flying Officer, the first Bermudian to die in World War 2.
1918. New Year's Day. A gunshot reverberated on the waters of St George’s Harbour and an innocent bystander lay dead on the deck of a military tugboat, the US Army tug USACT Fred E. Richards. It happened after several American vessels were passing through Bermuda on their way to the killing fields of Europe. It is said that several Russians of Red and White persuasions were aboard and they had a fight on board involving guns. One hapless seaman stuck his head out of a porthole, was shot and died, buried the next day at sea. He was Thomas A. Crealy, Seaman of the Fred E. Richards, aged 33. Among those who attended the burial at sea was 16-year-old Leonard Tucker, later known as ‘Dickie. It was this incident that later caused him to create his Guild of Holy Compassion to seamen who died in Bermuda.
USS Margaret off Bermuda 1917
1918. The first United States military base in Bermuda was established in the Great Sound at Morgan and Tucker's Islands, for the US Navy.
1918. February 25. Arthur Percy Bridges, brother of Harry Francis Bridges who was killed in France fighting for Bermuda and the UK, died of wounds in Bermuda. He had been invalided from the UK, having served in the same unit as his brother.
1918. April 10. U. S. subchaser No. 126, displacement 77 tons; grounded and partially sank near Two Rocks Passage, Bermuda Harbor; finally sank about 100 yards south of Agar's Island; salvaged; no casualties
1918. June 1. 21-year-old Bermudian Leonard DeGraff Godet died in the First (Great) World War. He was a brilliant student who gave his life while serving with the Royal Flying Corps. Mr. Godet was born in Paget in 1896. He was a Rhodes Scholar. He received his pilot wings on August 14, 1917 and went to France on active service four days later. He died when his plane was brought down in flames across German lines in France, after completing 16 long-distance raids.
1918. Over 240 black Bermudians served with the Bermuda Militia in the Great War
1918. October 18. The Bermuda Colonist newspaper published this account of the gallantry and heroism of Bermuda's military hero in the UK, Lieutenant Arthur Rowe Spurling, Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, Lincolnshire Regiment, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force. "A formation of British machines had been carrying out some important operations well over the German lines. On the return journey the weather suddenly became hazy, and one of the pilots lost touch with the formation in the clouds. The British pilot set his course due west, and flew on for some time. Having made what he thought was sufficient allowance for the distance to the British lines, he put down the nose of his machine and saw beneath him an aerodrome. The wind, however, freshened considerably, and so far as covering the ground was concerned he had been making only half the speed shown on airspeed indicator. As he circled over the aerodrome, preparing to land, a German Scout machine suddenly appeared from the clouds above him, and immediately to attack. Marveling at the unusual temerity of the German in daring to attack over an English aerodrome, the British pilot checked his descent and opened fire on his attacker. At this moment he became aware that no fewer than thirty German machines were actually climbing towards him from the aerodrome. Realizing now that he was over an enemy aerodrome, he dived towards the first group of German squadrons, both he and his observer firing on every machine upon which they could get their guns to bear. The enemy pilots appeared too bewildered by the outstanding audacity of the British airmen to attack them effectively at first, and their own tremendous numerical superiority seemed further to confuse them. One German plane burst into flames in the air, two more went down spinning and side slipping completely out of control. Four enemy scouts had by this time got into position to attack, clinging to the tail of the British machine. Two of these were sent blazing to earth. Shaking himself clear of the remainder, the British pilot opened his throttle and sped homewards leaving on that German aerodrome three blazing wrecks, and two other crashed machines as a highly satisfactory outcome of what might have proved a fatal mistake.
1918. November 2. A prestigious military decoration was awarded to a Bermudian First World War hero in London. He was Lieutenant Arthur Rowe Spurling, from Hamilton. Earlier, he'd been awarded another medal, the Star Trio. He was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying his bomber into the centre of a formation of some 30 German planes. He and his observer shot three down in flames and sent two others crashing to the ground. He had sent a postcard sent to his half-sister Ethel in Bermuda after he was injured twice on the front line. He and his wife had a daughter, Ilys Spurling Marsh, who was brought up at "Penarth", the family home in Rosemont Avenue. Her father rarely talked about his wartime experiences, including the heroics which led to his DFC. Her father, known as Rowe, was born in 1896 and joined the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps in February 1915, sailing with the first war contingent for England in May and soon after being posted to the Lincolnshire Regiment. His 1916 postcard to Ethel describes how was "wounded in the hand" on July 3 and returned to the front to be "wounded in the foot and buried for a few hours" on July 13. He was commissioned in July 1917 and qualified for service in the Royal Flying Corps in September, before being posted to France and joining 49 Squadron in July 1918. His DFC was announced in the London Gazette on this day, in a report which described how he got separated from his formation and was attacked by a Fokker biplane at 2,000 feet. "Lt. Spurling then observed some 30 machines of the same type, heavily camouflaged; with great gallantry he dived through the centre of the formation, shooting down one machine in flames; two others were seen to be in a spin." Five of them then closed on his machine, but by skilful manoeuvring, Lt. Spurling enabled his observer to shoot down two of these in flames. The three remaining aircraft broke off the combat and disappeared in the mist. A fine performance, reflecting the greatest credit on this officer and his observer." He returned a hero to Bermuda after the First World War and obtained his commission again in World War II, serving in Canada with RAF Ferry Command, where he was credited with unearthing a Nazi spy. He married Ilys Darrell in 1948 and ran a taxi service on the Island, as well as importing mushrooms and starting the Rowe Spurling paint supply company. He and his wife moved to Guernsey in the early 1970s but eventually sold up there with a plan to return to Bermuda. Instead, Lt. Spurling developed Alzheimer's Disease and died in a nursing home in England, aged 88. His body was flown back to the Island for a funeral at the Anglican Cathedral and he is buried in Pembroke.
Lieutenant Arthur Rowe Spurling in WW1 (left) and as a Royal Air Force officer in WW2 (right)
1918. Watched by members of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, German prisoners-of-war interned in Bermuda since 1914 left Tobacco Bay in St. George's in lifeboats for a ship moored at Five Fathom Hole which took them to Germany.
1918. En route to the USA from Britain with a cargo of Dover chalk, the three-masted, steel-hulled, 236 foot vessel Taifun, built in Greenock, Scotland in 1894, was badly damaged at sea in a bad storm. She was stranded there for 3 years and in February 1921 was further damaged by a steamer in the harbour. She was left to decay.
1918. Spanish influenza epidemic in Bermuda, imported from the USA.
1918. After years of declining sales, caused since 1875 by increased competition from larger arrowroot enterprises in USA and the Caribbean, the Camden Arrowroot operation in Paget ceased. Arrowroot had been a staple of the Bermudian economy.
1918. November 11. The Great War ended, to great rejoicing. Ninety people lost their lives fighting for Bermuda and the UK in this war.
1919. The Bermuda Union of Teachers was formed. It was Bermuda's first union.
1919. When Prohibition began in the USA, liquors of all kinds was smuggled from Bermuda into the United States, until prohibition ceased in 1933. With peace in Europe after World War I, a bizarre chapter in the story of liquor in the USA began. It was to last 14 years, a period of unparalleled smuggling, piracy, murder, and lawlessness. New words were added to the American vocabulary, such as "hijacking," "speakeasy," "home brew," "rum-running," and "rum row." America's experiment with Prohibition strained the country's moral fiber and consolidated the operations of organized crime. Although the Volstead Act was passed in October 1919 and the United States Coast Guard set up its defenses against smuggling by sea in 1920, Americans refused to take the prohibition against alcoholic beverages seriously. Breaking the law became the norm for many; speakeasies sprang up, and stable, conservative "pillars of the community' made dandelion wine and beer in the cellar and served "bathtub gin" to their guests. Smugglers of every variety brought imported liquor over the back roads of the Canadian border arid bottled goods in sacks into the coves and estuaries along both the Atlantic and the Pacific Coasts. By ship from Bermuda was one of the most lucrative routes. They called them rum-runners but in fact every kind of liquor in the many different kinds of scotch, gin, vodka, beer and liqueurs were eagerly sought. The rum-runners were a motley crew who met a fleet of tramp steamers, New England and Canadian fishing schooners, steam yachts, and even tugboats that sailed from islands off Newfoundland, from Bermuda, and from the West Indies. At first, the heavily laden vessels dropped anchor just outside the three-mile territorial limit and later, after the United States worked out international agreements, outside the 12-mile limit. When federal jurisdiction was limited to just three miles off the beaches, almost anything that floated was employed to transfer cargoes from the anchored fleet to hiding places ashore. Even rowboats were used at times. When the territorial boundaries were pushed out to 12 miles, more seaworthy craft were needed able to carry several hundred cases of contraband at high speeds and in all weather. The principal rum row, the lineup of larger vessels, was off the New York-New Jersey coast, nearest to the largest collection of thirsty drinkers, but others were established in New England waters, off the Virginia Capes, and in Florida. In Bermuda, this "export" of previously all-imported liquor was to prove very profitable to some Bermudians and the crews they employed and was one of the major reasons why, especially in the days of Prohibition, Bermuda, as the nearest offshore foreign place to New York and New England, became a favorite watering hole and vacation spot for New Yorkers and New Englanders. Furness Withy, see below, was quick to see the development implications of this.
1919. Furness Bermuda Line was awarded the mail contract for the New York to Bermuda service.
1919. December. Furness Withy took over the regular New York-Bermuda shipping service operated since January 1874 - 45 years - by the Quebec Steamship Co and before it by Samuel Cunard who had operated a service between Halifax and Bermuda from 1833 to 1886. The Quebec Steamship Co had provided the first regular connection with New York, and built the first new ships for the Bermuda trade in the 1880s. Quebec SS Co was acquired from Canada SS Lines by Furness, Withy & Co and operated as Furness-Bermuda Line. (The Trinidad Shipping & Trading Co was taken over in 1920, and in 1921 the two companies amalgamated to form the Bermuda & West Indies SS Co. In 1929 the Red Cross Line (C. T. Bowring & Co) was purchased. The Bermuda & West Indies SS Co ceased operation in 1959 but the passenger service to Bermuda continued under the management of Furness Withy until 1966).
1919. Willochra was sold to Furness Withy. She was refitted and renamed Fort Victoria. Initially, she was operated by the Quebec Steamship Co of Montreal.
1919. Autumn. First appearance in Bermuda of the US Navy's new type of naval vessels, submarine chasers. Long vessels, narrow in the beam, they were surface reactions to the new underwater threat of the submarine, the devastating effect of which the German Navy had demonstrated early in the First World War. A group of them passed through Bermuda on their way home to the United States.
1919. Alfred Birdsey moved to Bermuda when he was only 7 years old. Later, he became an entirely self-taught artist, mentored by two American artists – Donald Kirkpatrick and Joe Jones.
1919. Frenchman Pierre Louis Dowle - known locally as Peter - arrived in Bermuda, later married a Bermudian, had twin daughters Josephine and Jeane. But his real claim to fame came when he set up a photographic studio in the 1920s and proceeded to take photographs from the air of both the US Navy submarines, submarine chasers and more, mentioned below.
1919. May 22. First aircraft seen in Bermuda, a Burgess N-9H Jenny. A-2646. It was flown over the City of Hamilton Harbor by United States Navy Ensigns G. L. Richard and W. H. Cushing. With registration number A2646, it was powered by a Wright-Hispano 150 horsepower engine. It was a naval scout hydro-airplane that normally traveled on the deck of her mother ship the USS Elinore. The aircraft had a gross weight of 2765 pounds and a top speed of 80 miles per hour. The 8725 ton cargo vessel was launched in 1917 as the General de Castelnau and was transferred from the US Shipping Board to the US Navy for war service. After the war, she had dumped gas drums and mustard gas shells in deep waters off Virginia. In 1919, she was in the town of St. George in Bermuda after a scientific research voyage south of Bermuda, sheltering from bad weather. The sole passenger on the airplane was Governor General Sir James Willcocks. He dropped from the open cockpit the first "Air Letter" posted in Bermuda.
1919. June 6. The last Bermudian to die from the effects of the Great War was black Bermudian Hayford Douglas Simmons. He died of the effects of the war when still in service.
1919. July 1. Symons, Joseph Henry Fulton, Gunner, Bermuda Militia Artillery (who was reported to have been killed during the Great War), returned home.
1919. Formation of The Bermuda War Veterans' Association, a year after the First World War or Great War ended, to support returning Bermuda servicemen, in much the same way as a returned servicemen association had been established in Australia and New Zealand. However, the BWVA was at that time intended only for returnees of the white Bermuda Volunteer Rifles Corps. A similar self-help group had not then been set up for the black returnees of the Bermuda Militia Artillery.
1919. First company of Girl Guides was formed in Bermuda, for white girls only.
1919. Bermuda and West Atlantic Aviation Company formed. (See Aviation in Bermuda).
1919. American artist Clark Greenwood Voorhees (1871 to 1933) began to paint images of Bermuda. Voorhees and a small group of fellow Old Lyme artists began to spend their winters in Bermuda. Drawn by the mild climate and gorgeous colours, the artist eventually purchased a house on the island that he named ‘Tranquility.’ He was a first-rate American Impressionist, one who explored the many facets of a particular region, an artist who was keenly sensitive to the subtleties of climate and geography. This group of painters reflected the brilliant light and jewel-like colours peculiar to Bermuda.
1920. May 28, an American “O” class submarine (O-2) arrived as the first of seven vessels of the Eighth Division, out of New London. This news was published the following day, the reporter noting that “a flock of R-boats will be here next week probably”. On Saturday, May 29, the O-7 and O-9 came in, the former “little war-boat” going aground on “Sugar-loaf Rock” in the harbour and interested groups gathered along Pitts Bay road and many watched the salving operations from Point Pleasant. The local newspaper noted that it had often been suggested that that reef should be removed: a few charges of TNT properly applied would shatter it. The following Thursday, June 3, four “R” class submarines of the Second Division steamed in, bound for Honolulu, and accompanied by the tenders, USS Beaver and “Eagle Boat” 14, bringing a total of 11 submarines at Bermuda. On Monday, June 7, all seven of the “O” class submarines left on the return run to New London, after a week of maneuvers in Bermuda waters.
1920. July 24. An attempted mutiny in St. George's by members of the black Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) ended in a soldier’s death, after being shot. He was named as Hilton Simmons. The event also resulted in an unknown British soldier wounded, and at least one Bermudian soldier charged in court. An unnamed BMA man was arrested and confined for reasons unexplained which prompted a “spirit of unrest” among BMA soldiers. A number were arrested and taken to the guardroom, but one escaped and, according to the Royal Gazette newspaper, “got several of his comrades to join him in an attempt to release the prisoners: to effect which they attacked the guard with rifles and fixed bayonets. The guard resisted them, and they were repeatedly warned to go back or they would be fired upon.” After a British soldier was injured, the guard opened fire, killing Mr Simmons and wounding others. The guard was later cleared of charges.
1920. The first official Royal Visit to Bermuda was when Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later, briefly, King Edward VIII) concluded his tour of the British Empire. He was then a serving Royal Navy officer. It was the first of three visits to Bermuda by him, on the 1920 refitted Royal Navy battle cruiser Renown, on a tour of Bermuda, the Caribbean, the USA and Australia. HMS Renown, lead ship of a class of two 26,500-ton battle cruisers, was built at Glasgow, Scotland. Completed in September 1916, she served with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea during the remaining two years of World War I. On this first occasion, one of his official duties was the opening of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on its present Paget location, formerly the much smaller Cottage Hospital in Paget Parish. Another was to St. George's, where he was the principal guest at the 300th anniversary celebrations of the establishment at the State House of Bermuda's first form of self government and the completion of St. Peter's Church in 1620 and to formally open the Somers Gardens, the main feature of which is a monument - the Somers Memorial - to Admiral Sir George Somers whose body was shipped to England but whose heart was buried here. He also came to lay the foundation stone for a memorial to honor the scores of young Bermudians who fought and died in Europe during the Great War. The Government of the day had solicited designs for a small monument in the Cabinet grounds. It was never built.
1920. Manufacture and presentation of The Mace to the House of Assembly as the authority invested to the Speaker of the House by Her Majesty the Queen. The Mace was made in London by Garrand and Company of silver gilt to commemorate the tercentenary of the institution of Parliamentary Government in Bermuda. While the House is in Session the Mace always points to the Government of the Day.
Bermuda Mace 1920
1920. At Elliott School in Devonshire, Mr. E. P. Skinner was imported from Barbados, with his Bermudian wife, to run the school. She taught music.
1920. The Furness Withy shipping group from the United Kingdom began to invest in Bermuda's tourism industry. It did so by taking over the old Quebec Steamship Company and calling its new service the Furness Bermuda Line.
1920. The Bermuda Government issued a series of commemorative stamps to mark the tercentenary of Bermuda.
1920. In Bermuda, legislation was enacted for the expropriation of certain land at Tucker's Town to be used for the building by Furness Withy of the Mid-Ocean Golf Club and the development of Castle Harbour Hotel. Mostly black home and land owners were dispossessed but compensated.
1920. Following expropriation of the land in Tucker's Town on which it sat, Marsden Church, built in 1861 for its mostly black community, announced its relocation to the South Road, Smith's Parish.
1920. The Governor instructed the Commissioner of Police to recruit white police officers from the United Kingdom, after a legislative consensus that the island's police should not be predominantly black.
1921. Newspaper the Colonist Daily amalgamated with The Royal Gazette. At the time, the Gazette was well-established, having first been published in 1828. However, it was still only published semi-weekly, becoming a daily paper in 1946.
1921. Acquisition of the 21-acre Montrose Estate doubled the size of the Public Gardens, later Bermuda Botanical Gardens.
1921. Members of the Colonial Parliament of Bermuda debated labor shortages and commented on what they perceived as the undesirability of West Indians.
1921. July. Bermuda legislators banned the export of liquor to the USA.
1921. December 15. The Mid Ocean Club opened as a Private Golf Club.
1922. Riddle's Bay golf course in Warwick Parish opened, claimed by that club to be Bermuda's oldest golf course. Winding along a peninsula which at its widest measures only some 600 yards, the 5800 yards of this par 70, 18-hole course offer scenic delights and plenty of challenges, including two ponds and three ocean holes. These scenic links provide the golfer with a magnificent challenge to both his or her game and camera. Originally designed by architect Devereux Emmet who shortly afterwards built the Congressional Golf Course near Washington, D.C. (site of the 1997 U.S Open).
1922. The St. George’s Historical Society purchased the property at the corner of Featherbed Alley and Duke of Kent Street. It became a museum.
1922. New Zealand-born British artist Owen Heathcote Grierson Merton, RBA (1897-1931) - see www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Merton settled in Bermuda for several years, following the 1921 death of his wife and after a brief stay at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. His Bermuda and other artworks are shown at http://www.thomasmertonsociety.org/omwcs.htm.
1922. June. The Canadian Government Merchant Marine, a government financed operation, inaugurated a Montreal to Bermuda to West Indies service, with Halifax replacing Montreal in the winter months. The vessels Canadian Fisher and Canadian Forester were employed on the run.
1922. September 21. A hurricane hit Bermuda.
1922. December 17. The New York Times ran this advertisement from the Bermuda Trade Development Board.
Note the hotels then in operation, many no longer extant.
1923. Plant Protection Service was established in Bermuda.
1923. Furness Withy began the development of the Mid Ocean Club and Castle Harbour Hotel.
1923. Caraquet, an English vessel, was wrecked of Bermuda.
1923. The Bermuda Woman’s Suffrage Society (encouraged by the earlier successes of suffragette movements in Great Britain and the United States, where women gained voting rights in 1918 and 1920 respectively) was founded with about two hundred property-owning females in its ranks and touting as its key objective the extension of the property vote to women. Spearheaded by stalwarts like Gladys Morrell, Doris Butterfield, Edith Heyl, Kate Seon, Anna Maria Outerbridge and Rose Gosling, the Society also had a number of male supporters, including Stanley Spurling (later, Sir Stanley Spurling), Harry St. George Butterfield and Allan Frith Smith (later Sir Allan Frith Smith).
1924. Opening of the (first) Bermudiana Hotel, just outside the City of Hamilton on Bermudiana Road, Pembroke, within easy walking distance of the city. It was built by the Furness-Withy shipping line and was the first hotel built in Bermuda after the First World War. During the heyday of Bermuda tourism it was one of the most popular hotels. It was designed by the American firm Warren & Wetmore which also designed Grand Central Terminal and the Biltmore and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in New York City. The hotel was known for its lush 15 acres of grounds, swimming pool and grand ballroom, although the original hotel had quite a boxy modern design which shocked Bermuda at the time. An advertisement from the 1930s billed it as the “centre of social activity in Bermuda” and bragged about its “fireproof construction.”
1924. A Mr. Cummings arrived in Bermuda, surveyed the land, and announced that a railway was the perfect solution to the island’s transport problems. It was then deemed by many Bermudians and residents as the ideal way to claim to the rest of the world that Bermuda, unlike so many other places on the world's business and tourism map, did not need or want motorcars in the islands and could harness a far more practical alternative. As his reward, Mr. Cummings was granted a handsome retainer as chief engineer of the as-yet still un-built railway, to continue until the whole track was laid - an event with did not commence to be laid until seven years later.
1924. Dr. E. F. Gordon arrived in Bermuda. Despite his name he was no Scotsman. He was the offspring of an unfortunate African slave who was hunted down and driven into slavery. He had received degrees from Edinburgh University and after graduation had practiced as a medical General Practitioner in Scotland.
1924-1926. Lady Ramsay, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, resided in Bermuda, at Soncy in Pembroke Parish. Her husband, Captain Alexander Ramsay, was stationed in Bermuda then.
1924. (See aftermath of Bermuda Trolley Company Ltd of 1910). An entirely separate entity, the Bermuda Railway Company, was formed. Had the Canadian owned Bermuda Trolley Company not been interfered with, it would have brought public motorized transportation to Bermuda far earlier than when such train services finally began in Bermuda in the 1930s.
1924. White & Sons began a supermarket business in Bermuda.
1924. French angelfish, black fish boasting vibrant yellow highlights, not native to Bermuda, were released in local waters by the then-Aquarium curator, Louis L. Mowbray.
1925. First airship arrived in Bermuda from New York, carrying 200 lbs of airmail. (See Bermuda Aviation).
1925. The American movie "Eugene O’Neill and John Held in Bermuda" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0490916/ was filmed in Bermuda, as a black and while short film, a documentary. The cast were Eugene O’Neill [himself], John Held [himself]. A Print exists in the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House film archive.
1925. The Bermuda Recorder began life, initially as a bi-weekly newspaper. A. B. Place was a printer. He and four others, Henry Hughes, David Augustus, Joaquin Martin and James Rubaine, were the founders. (Such was the contribution made by A. B. Place to the community that the Bermuda Government’s media room was later named after him). For the next 50 years it became the voice of the black community.
1926. 21st April. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary - later, Queen Elizabeth II - was born in London.
1925-1926. The Canadian Government participated actively in Bermuda's shipping services.
1926. The King Edward VII Gold Cup was donated to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club by Sherman Hoyt who had arrived in Bermuda in 1924 for that year's Newport- Bermuda Race. The Cup had a unique sailing history. It was originally presented by His Majesty King Edward VII for the 1907 Jamestown Exposition Regatta, in commemoration of the first English settlement in America 1607.
1926. May 13. Oona O'Neill Chaplin, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oona_O'Neill was born at Spithead, Harbour Road, Paget Parish. Her parents, then living at Spithead, were Americans the playwright Eugene O'Neill (born in USA October 16, 1888, died November 27, 1953) and Agnes Boulton. Her only sibling was brother was her brother Shane (born 1919 in USA). She later became close to Peter Arno (cartoonist), Orson Welles (actor and film director) and J. D. Salinger (novelist). On June 16, 1943 she married British-born actor Charlie Chaplin, which caused her to be disowned by her father. With Chaplin she had a good marriage despite the age difference and had a number of children, five daughters (Geraldine Chaplin, born July 31, 1944; Josephine Ronet, born March 28, 1949; Victoria Thieree, born May 19, 1951; Jane, born May 23, 1957; Annette, born December 3, 1959) and three sons (Michael, born March 7, 1946; Eugene, born August 23, 1953; and Christopher, born July 6, 1962). She died in 1991.
1926. Veendam II, with a guest capacity of approximately 500, left New York on Holland-America's first Caribbean cruise, for calls that specifically included Bermuda.
1926. The Perfume Factory was the creation of "aromatic chemist", Herbert Scott, who first visited the island that year, and apparently noted two things, the attractiveness of Miss Madeline Smith, later Mrs. Scott, and that the flowers blowing so luxuriantly on every side were being wasted." Perhaps due to his interest in both, a leading product of the Perfume Factory became "Passion Flower", "just about the most expensive fragrance a lady can have, and one of the rarest."
1926. A grand scheme was devised to improve the Pembroke Marsh by turning most of it into solid ground, creating the foundations for a racetrack for horses and other sporting facilities. But nine tenths of it never happened. Only the Tennis Stadium was built as a result of the plan, later purposefully near the tracks of the Bermuda Railway Company.
1926. October 22. Havana-Bermuda Hurricane direct-hit, Category 4, winds of 114 mph (190 kph). It killed 88 in Bermuda, damaged or destroyed 40% of all buildings and caused $100 million in damages. It was one of the most powerful hurricanes in Bermuda's history. Among the buildings severely damaged was Elliot School, opened in 1848 and the Opera House in Hamilton. When it passed directly over the Island, there were wind gusts of up to 143 knots. The centre passed over Bermuda just after noon. It was most eerie and the water in the Camber was flat calm. Then the winds came in from the opposite direction and the anemometer registered 138 mph before it broke. The hurricane had an onset of torrential rain and winds from the southeast, but most of the damage occurred after the eye had passed over Bermuda and the winds came from the northwest. Elsewhere, banana trees by the thousands were destroyed, fields of lily bulbs submerged beneath the tremendous downpour, and the famous, ancient cedar at Old Devonshire Church used as a belfry fell down. The hurricane was ultimately responsible for a total of 738 deaths, including 650 people in Cuba. Two Bermuda-based British Royal Navy warships, the Calcutta and the Valerian sank and the 88 who died during this storm were all sailors and officers onboard the Valerian.
A commemorative plaque for those who lost their lives, first hung in the Dockyard RN chapel, then, with the destruction of that edifice later, was re-housed at Commissioner's House at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. The quotation from The Muse in Arms by E.B Osborne, commemorates them. The Valerian went down less than five miles from the safety of the Royal Naval Base at Dockyard, about 70 miles to the South. The steamer, Eastway foundered in the same storm, taking 22 crew members with her. A survivor of the Valerian, one of only 19, would recall the events of that day on the front page of The Royal Gazette and Colonist Daily. But the events surrounding the loss of the Eastway, and the rescue were never published - until much later. The 1926 hurricane season was a devastating one that ultimately claimed over 1,400 lives and cause billions of dollars in damage to the Bahamas and Florida. As the naval headquarters for the Americas, HM Dockyard at Ireland Island dispatched the HMS Valerian, a minor vessel from its fleet, to render what aid it could to the Bahamas. Having fulfilled her obligation, the Valerian, under the command of William Arthur Usher, left Nassau on October 18, 1926 to return to her base in Bermuda. A day into their voyage, Captain Usher received reports from the US weather service that a tropical storm was forming to the South of Puerto Rico. Since the weather reports intimated the "eye" would pass some 300 miles north of the island, Captain Usher never gave it much thought. Besides, no hurricane had hit Bermuda in October for over 100 years - a dangerous precedent on which to rely. However, the storm grew far more powerful than the weather forecasters had predicted and unaware that the storm was heading straight for them, Captain Usher continued his voyage home. He nearly made it. At about 8 a.m. on October 22, 1926, and about five miles from Bermuda, the crew spotted Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Even though the wind howled about them and waves broke on her deck, Captain Usher anticipated no difficulty in entering the Narrows, having done so before under similar conditions. As he later testified before a court martial: "Indeed, at that time, I felt assured of reaching harbour in safety as there was no immediate indication of a violent storm, also there was a complete absence of swell that sometimes denotes the approach of a storm." However, this was no ordinary storm and a half-hour later the weather changed so severely that Captain Usher realized he could no longer proceed through the Narrows. He turned the ship around and headed straight into the storm. Gale force winds were lashing the ship at 100 mph with a driving rain and flying spray obliterating everything from view. By noon the centre of the storm was reached and the clearing came, but with it mountainous seas that seemed to approach the ship from all sides, shooting the vessel onto a crest and dragging it down into the trough until it seemed she would snap in two. Once the centre of the storm had passed over, the wind picked up from the north west and again flung the ship from crest to trough as if it were no more than a bath toy. At 1 p.m. a series of squalls struck the ship on the port side with such force that she was thrown on her beam ends and heeled 70 degrees over to starboard in a stomach-churning movement. It was at this moment that the mainmast and wireless were carried away and with it any chance of an SOS. Above the howling wind, Captain Usher heard the engines stop and word reached him that the Valerian had run aground. Before he could catch his breath, the enormous vessel keeled over about 60 degrees and started going down. Word spread "all hands on deck" and with only enough time to cut away one raft, the crew had less than one minute to abandon ship before the ocean claimed her. Hanging onto the bridge, Captain Usher was swept away by waves, bumped his head and finally came up alongside a raft to which he and 28 of his men clung. In his account before the court later, Captain Usher recalled the events that followed: "Unfortunately the bottom of the raft got kicked out and this entailed much greater effort in holding on. The experience of clinging to this raft for 21 hours, with only a problematical chance of being picked up was indeed trying enough for the hardest. Luckily the water was warm, but the north west wind felt bitterly cold to those parts which were exposed. Sunset came and as it grew dark we looked for Gibbs Hill Light, or some other light, as we had no idea of our position, but nothing was seen, not even the glare. The 12 hours of night, with waves breaking over us, were an experience never to be forgotten and many gave up during that time. They got slowly exhausted and filled up with water and then slipped away. The raft was slowly losing its buoyancy and as everyone wanted, as far as possible, to sit on the edge, it capsized about every 20 minutes, which was exhausting; we all swallowed water in the process and the effort of climbing back again. Twelve held out until the end, when HMS Capetown was sighted at about 10 the following day, to the relief of all." By the time the Capetown picked up the survivors, the buoyancy of the raft was such that it would not have supported anyone for another hour. The Capetown, which had ridden the storm out safely at sea, had actually begun a search for the Valerian the previous day, but had been called way by the SOS of the steamer, the SS Eastway, of the St. Mary Steamship Company, which was about 70 miles south of Bermuda and in serious trouble. The Eastway had left Norfolk, Virginia for Brazil on October 18, 1926 with 7,500 tons of cargo and 1,760 tons of bunker coal. She was commanded by Captain J. H Vanstone and carried a crew of 35. On October 21, the ship received a wireless warning that a hurricane was approaching, but on the course she was steaming, it was assumed that she would encounter only its outer fringes. This assumption proved a fatal miscalculation as by the 22nd, she was being swept by tremendous seas which smashed one of her port lifeboats, washed away much of deck gear and ripped off her hatch covers. She also developed a slight list which increased as the day wore on. Captain Vanstone personally supervised the efforts of his crew to place fresh covers over the hatches, and it was while engaged in this work without a lifeline that he was washed overboard and drowned. At 5.38 p.m. the Eastway sent an SOS: "Urgent bunkers awash and hatches broken urgent no life belts." This message was picked up by the steamship Luciline which returned the following message: "According to your position I am only 30 miles away am standing toward you at full speed suggest you send up rockets on chance I may see them." An hour and a half later, the Eastway turned on her beam ends and sank with 22 crew members, including all the officers, except the third officer, referred to in various documents only as "Mr. Davey." Crew had earlier unhooked the falls of the starboard lifeboat and cut the lashings so the boat floated clear when the vessel sank. Twelve men who were swimming in the vicinity, managed to scramble into her and could only watch in horror and shock as the steamer sank with 22 of their friends and fellow crew still on board. Four officers and 84 men of the Valerian were lost. The survivors, two officers and 19 men, clung to a single life raft overnight and were rescued by HMS Capetown on the morning of October 23. It was thought that those below were unable to come up when the vessel turned onto her beam ends, while those on the bridge were unable to get off because of the heavy seas and the ships' 15 degree list. The Luciline arrived on the spot at about 10 p.m. and searched the area until noon the following day when she came upon the survivors who had drifted all night. They were brought to Bermuda and transferred to the Bermuda-based tug Powerful at daybreak on October 24, 1926. During a formal investigation in the United Kingdom in April the following year, it was revealed that the Eastway was overloaded by 141-tons when she left Virginia. This decision cost the crew their lives, and the registered manager, Watkin James Williams, was found "blame-worthy" and culpable, and ordered to pay 1,000 Pounds towards the costs of the inquiry.
1927. April 28. Birth in Bermuda of businessman and legislator John Irving Pearman.
1927. January. The pilot gig Ocean Queen II, of Bermuda, sank. It had rowed out from St. Catherine's Beach in St. George's to rendezvous with a merchant ship off Kitchen Shoals but was lost in mountainous seas off the coast of St. David's. The men who died - drowned - were Goulrich Richardson, Irving Pascoe, Ernest Tucker, George Brangman, Edgar Smith and Robert Gibbons. The bodies of the drowned men were never found. The pilot gig itself was found floating upside down off Elbow Beach several days later.
1927. Following the Canadian Government's participation in Bermuda's shipping services from 1925-1926, the Canadian National Steamships Company was established by Act of Parliament in Ottawa, to consolidate shipping services from Halifax and Montreal to Bermuda, the West Indies and elsewhere. The Canadian National Steamship Company was owned by Canadian National Railway Co. and operated services between Montreal / Halifax and the West Indies and to Australia (until 1936). They also ran Vancouver to Alaska routes.
1927. August 4. Under its full title of the Pembroke Marsh Recreation Area Scheme, recently adopted by the House of Assembly, with a preliminary survey having been made in 1926, a British purpose-built Cutter Suction Dredger, General Asser, arrived in Bermuda from Glasgow, Scotland, specifically chew into the prehistoric wetlands of the Pembroke Marsh. Massive infilling began.
1927. June 1. Birth in Bermuda of Dame Lois Browne-Evans, DP, JP, a major player in Bermuda's Progressive Labour Party (PLP). She attended Central School and the Berkeley Institute. She became Bermuda's first female lawyer, first female leader of a political party, first female Attorney General. She was made a Dame (female equivalent of a knighthood in 1999) or services to Bermuda.
1927. August. Incorporation by Act of Parliament of the Bermuda Historical Society, upon a petition of Members William Sears Zuill, Catherine Fitch Tucker, Hereward Trott Watlington and Harry St. George Butterfield, who stated as the Society's objectives "the encouragement of the study of the history of the colony and the collection of books, pictures, furniture, weapons, dresses and other objects relating to such history." It was from its East Broadway site at the time that the Society began doing valuable work, influencing many of its members into undertaking research and writing papers on historical subjects and acquiring and preserving colonial records (including the purchase in 1932 of the famous portraits of Sir George and Lady Somers and related period memorabilia).
1927. George Walker, Royal Navy, drowned whilst serving on the rescue tug HMS St Blazey in the harbour of Hamilton, Bermuda. She was in the Royal Navy's "Saint" class, showing pennant W 46. She was built by J. Cran and Somerville Ltd, Leith, Scotland, launched on 16 January 1919 and commissioned in August 1919.
1928. January 1. Bermuda joined the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).
1928. In Hamilton,
Bermuda, the law firm of Conyers Dill and Pearman, one of the island's
oldest, was established. Later, it employed more than 150 lawyers
advising on complex multi-jurisdictional legal issues, with offices
across 11 countries in multiple time zones and jurisdictions.
new era began with the commencement of service from New York to Bermuda and
back of the steamship Bermuda, which included for the wealthy passengers
a "swimming pool, reminiscent of the baths of the Roman emperors."
(She was on the route until unfortunately burned in 1931 at No. 1 Dock in
Hamilton, in full sight of the offices of Watlington & Conyers, local
agents for Furness).
1928. A new era began with the commencement of service from New York to Bermuda and back of the steamship Bermuda, which included for the wealthy passengers a "swimming pool, reminiscent of the baths of the Roman emperors." (She was on the route until unfortunately burned in 1931 at No. 1 Dock in Hamilton, in full sight of the offices of Watlington & Conyers, local agents for Furness).
1928. Under the Furness Bermuda flag, a major sea change for Bermuda occured with the arrival of the second liner specially built for the Bermuda trade, the appropriately named MS Bermuda. The design of the vessel was striking, not just from the outside but the inside too, with its lavish interior swimming pool, the look of which was based up a Roman bath. The comfort of furnishings, magnificence of decoration and perfection of construction made this the flagship of the Furness Bermuda Line supreme, new Queen of the Seven Seas, swift and silent, safe and spacious, staunch and steady-the motor ship Bermuda". The ship gave three years (see 1931) of sterling silver service to Bermuda, and was the precursor of "The Millionaires' Ships" exemplified by the superlative Queen of Bermuda.
MS Bermuda, 1928
1928. Furness Bermuda Line issued this poster of the Bermuda ships on its service. It showed the MS Bermuda, SS Fort Victoria and SS Fort St. George below a typical Bermuda cottage.
1928. The Canadian National Steamships Company took over the management of most of the fleet from the Canadian Government Merchant Marine Ltd.
1928. December 15. Arrival
of first of the Canadian National Steamships Company "Ladyboats" - the Lady Nelson. In the days before
established air services in the Caribbean, the five White Lady boats
sailed from Halifax and Montreal, down the islands, and up the Demerara
River to Georgetown in Guyana. These ships, oversized steamers, were named
after wives of British Admirals. The Lady Nelson, Lady Drake, and Lady
Hawkins sailed from Halifax year round to Bermuda, the Windward and
Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Guyana, every two weeks. The Lady Rodney and
Lady Somers (named after the wife of Admiral Sir George Somers who
colonized and became the Father of Bermuda) which were much bigger than
the other three, serviced Bermuda, Nassau and Jamaica, from Montreal in
the summer, and Halifax in the winter. Later, Boston was added to the
were not big ships as far as tonnage went. Built by the Cammell Laird
& Co., at Birkenhead, England, the Lady Nelson had a gross tonnage of
7970 tons, the same as the Lady Hawkins and the Lady Drake built shortly
afterwards. The Lady Rodney and Lady Somers were slightly larger, being
8194 gross tons but the passenger accommodation was different. In the
first three, it numbered 132 first class, 32 second and 53 third plus 48
deck-only passengers, while the Lady Rodney and Lady Somers carried a
total of 125 first class passengers only. But they earned the title of
sisters for all were outwardly of the same design made by A. T. Wall &
1929. January 14. The third of the Canadian Ladyboats - the "Lady Drake" - arrived, serving ports between Canada and the West Indies.
1929. April. The fourth and fifth of the Canadian Ladyboats - the "Lady Somers" and "Lady Rodney" - arrived, serving ports between Canada and the West Indies.
Lady Rodney first arrived in Bermuda
1929. Canada passed legislation which gave women the vote. Bermuda still did not have it.
1929. The US Stock Market crashed. The resulting Great Depression and its repercussions impacted on Bermuda.
1929. December 18. 269 passengers plus a crew of 165 left New York and were aboard the Furness Withy vessel Fort Victoria en route to Bermuda. In dense fog, the vessel, after stopping to await an improvement in conditions, collided with the Clyde-Mallory liner Algonquin, en route from Galveston, Texas, to New York, with 189 passengers. The two Bermudian survivors were Mrs. Writa Johnson and Warren Brown, then a 3-month-old baby. All on the Fort Victoria were ordered to abandon their sinking ship. Originally named Willochra, Fort Victoria was built by William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, UK. She was yard number 507 and was launched on 14 August 1912 in the Clyde, Glasgow. Completion was on 7 February 1913. Willochra was built for the Adelaide Steamship Company. In 1913, Willochra was chartered by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. In November 1914, Willochra was requisitioned as a troopship. In 1919, Willochra was sold to Furness Withy. She was refitted and renamed Fort Victoria. Initially, she was operated by the Quebec Steamship Co of Montreal but in 1921 she was transferred to the Bermuda & West Indies Steamship Co, based in Hamilton, Bermuda. Both companies were owned by Furness Withy. Algonquin cut into the port side of Fort Victoria. Distress calls were made by both ships, which were answered by the United States Coast Guard and other ships in the area. All on board Fort Victoria were rescued before the ship sank later that day. The ship was a 7,714 GRT cruise ship. She was 411 feet 7 inches (125.45 m) long with a beam of 56 feet 7 inches (17.25 m). She was powered by two quadruple expansion steam engines which could propel her at 16 knots (30 km/h) As Fort Victoria she was fitted up for 400 first class passengers, no lower class accommodation being provided. To replace Fort Victoria, a contract was given to the British firm of Vickers-Armstrong to build the SS Monarch of Bermuda, which entered service in 1933.
1930. February 12. The first edition of the Bermudian Magazine was published.
1930. February 12. Somerset Brigade Band was formed.
1930. The stair well at Sessions House leading to the Chambers that houses the Members of Parliament was flanked by ancient pieces of Westminster Palace statutory were presented to the Bermuda Government by the House of Parliament in London.
1930. In Bermuda at the House of Assembly, the Innkeepers Act was enacted giving hotels, restaurants and theatres legal sanction to refuse service to Negroes and Jews.
1930. February. Lord Baden Powell, founder of the international Scout movement after his days in South Africa, visited Bermuda to inspect the Cubs and Scouts here then. (A stamp commemorating this event was issued in August 2007).
1930. April 27. Bermuda Floral Pageant was held. First of its type, it began a tradition. A group of enthusiasts celebrated Spring by parading flower-bedecked floats pulled by horses through the streets of Hamilton to the Bermudiana waterfront, where a Lily Queen was crowned.
1930. June 6. Dr. William Beebe and Otis Barton descended into the waters off Bermuda in the bathysphere and diving helmets (see photos below) Barton designed in 1928 for the New York Aquarium.
1930-35. Bermuda's agricultural economy was devastated by US tariff laws.
1930. During the summers of both 1930 and 1931, Veendam II of Holland-America Line sailed on five-day roundtrip cruises between New York and Bermuda.
1930. Ten years after the first radio station, KDKA, began in Pittsburgh, PA Bermuda's first commercial radio station was opened and owned by Thomas J. Wadson. He used the call letters TJW and did the broadcast from his Front Street shop (still open today). It was the forerunner of ZBM radio in Bermuda much later.
1930. In the summer, the magnificent Furness Withy liner "Bermuda" arrived in Hamilton once again began her seasonal weekly run from New York.
1930. In the Pembroke March Reclamation Scheme, some 253,000 cubic yards of material was dumped into the Pembroke Marshes, some of which came from the cutting of Black Watch Pass, being excavated for the new road on level ground from Hamilton to the North Shore. Where water once lapped at the north end of Court Street, massive dumping filled the wetlands with the "reclaimed" land later occupied by the Transport Control Board buildings.
1930. 8 July. Royal Navy
records show the death, at the RN
1931. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later, briefly, King Edward VIII) visited Bermuda again, en route to Buenos Aires to open a British Industries exhibition. During his stay he played golf on the Mid Ocean course.
1931. The Bermuda Trade Development Board, forerunner of Bermuda Tourism, produced this Visitors' Map.
1931. June 16, evening. After only 3 years of service since 1928, the steamship MS Bermuda burned in 1931 at No. 1 Dock in Hamilton, in full sight of the offices of Watlington & Conyers, local agents for Furness). The fire raged throughout the night and into the next day, riveting the attention of local residents. In danger of capsizing due to water pumped onto the fire, MS Bermuda survived to be able to travel to a shipyard in Britain under her own steam, a temporary bridge being erected for the voyage. But at the end of five months of refitting in Glasgow, Scotland, the MS Bermuda was declared a total loss after burning in the shipyard on November 19 and was sold for scrap. It broke loose of its tow on the way to the breakers' yard and was smashed to pieces on the northwest coast of Scotland at Badcall Bay, Scourie, Sutherland, during a winter gale. Badcall Bay is normally a gorgeous part of Scotland as the picture below shows, but not for the MS Bermudian on that day.
Demise of MS Bermuda, 1928, with the photo on right showing her, ravaged by fire, sailing off to the UK for repair and to meet her final end at Scotland's Badcall Bay (far right).
1931. This Week in Bermuda, a magazine, began and eventually became one of the Island's oldest and most famous tourist information publications.
1931. Summer. The Minutes of the Public Works Department referred to the Pembroke Marsh works then ongoing and said in part :"His Excellency the Governor drew attention to the fact that the new road would cut out a portion of the best grazing land unless the cutting was bridged over. The Director recommended that the cutting be bridged over and the necessary fencing or wall at the top be built as part of the new road works. The Director stated that the actual archwork of the tunnel is now complete, but that the facades at each end and the concrete support piers have still to be done when the excavation has been taken down to road level."
1931. Arrival in Bermuda of cruise ship Monarch of Bermuda for Furness Withy Line and it's New York to Bermuda service. She was 579 feet long with a beam of 76 feet. Completed in 1931 she was 22,424 gross tons and powered by steam turboelectric propulsion (engines by Fraser & Chalmers, Erich (turbines), and by General Electric Co Ltd, Birmingham (motors)), driving 4 screws. She was fitted with 3 funnels, had 2 masts and a cruiser stern. Her service speed was 19 knots. Accommodation was provided for 799 passengers in 1st class and 31 in 2nd class. She carried a crew of 456.
Monarch of Bermuda arrival 19311931. August 31. Pilot C. Nelmes of Bermuda was killed when his aircraft a Curtiss HS-2L aircraft, of World War 1 vintage, of the type once used by the United States Navy and Canadian authorities but later deemed by the former to be too dangerous to fly after 1928, crashed at Grassy Bay off HM Dockyard when over-flying a ship. There were two survivors. This flying boat made its debut as a warplane by patrolling against enemy submarines. The manufacturer was Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. Inc. of Hammondsport and Buffalo, NY, and the patrol flying boat was built under license by Galaudett Flying Boat Company, College Point, Long Island, NY. Its wingspan was just over 74 feet; height 14' 7"; length 38' 6"; top speed 91 mph; range 517 miles; empty weight 4,700 lbs; gross weight 6,432 lbs; fuel capacity was 141 gallons; crew were three people; service ceiling was 5,000 feet; engine was a Liberty 12 at 350 HP and the sea level climb was 220 feet per minute. The United States Navy flew them on anti-submarine duty off the East Coast from bases in Nova Scotia. When WW1 was over, they donated twelve of the planes to Canada. In 1919, the first HS-2Ls went into Canadian civil use in Québec forestry work, remaining the predominant bush aircraft until 1926 or 1927. It was to mark the dawn of the Canadian bush pilot tradition. The Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) was formed by the Government of Ontario in 1924 to protect the province's vast forests. At the time it was one of the largest airborne forest services in the world. They constructed a hangar at the edge of the St Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie to house their fleet of surplus Curtiss HS-2L's. Using aerial detection of forest fires, aerial transportation of fire crews and equipment, map making, aerial photography, and forest inventory, they ushered in a new era of ecological maintenance -- in their first year of operation alone, 600 forest fires were spotted. The wooden hull of the flying boat presented a few disadvantages. It could be damaged by rocks or dead trees, and had a tendency to get waterlogged after the long weeks and even months it spent in water. This increased the weight of the craft and caused performance to become sluggish. The aircraft needed to land in a fairly large lake to be able to take off again. It often required a mile to take off and climbed so slowly that it needed a lake or sea surface of 3 to 5 miles in length to achieve sufficient height to clear trees and hills. Its average speed was about 65 miles per hour (105 km/hr). The H-boat, as it was known, had an ambiguous safety record - it could land in rough water, but if it stalled and went into a spin, it was impossible to pull it out again. The U.S. Navy branded it as too dangerous for violent maneuvers, and afterward there were few accidents - as one USN officer said: "All the good HS-2L pilots were killed off by 1923, and therefore there were no more accidents." It is believed that Nelmes of Bermuda bought his Curtiss HS-2L in Canada, from OPAS.
Bermuda Railway over coastal bridge1931. October 13, afternoon. The first full successful trial run of the Bermuda Railway was made from Hamilton to Somerset (as the line to St. George's had not yet been completed).
1931. On October 31, the Bermuda Railway was officially opened, a few weeks after commenced operations with the first train, after a year of building. (But see 1910 and 1924). The official party assembled at # 1 Shed in the city where they were welcomed by a reception committee. Governor Cubitt and Lady Cubitt were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. O. A. Jones, for the construction engineers; H. W. Watlington, who had guided most of the railway legislation through Parliament; Mr. Stemp, Managing Director and traffic coordinator of the Bermuda Railway Company; and J. R. Conyers, Vice President. Then came Major R. W. Appleby, Attorney General of Bermuda at the time and one of the Railway Commissioners. (Later, he became a founding partner of one of the two great local legal partnerships).
Courtesy the late Joseph J. Outerbridge, Bermuda Trade Development Board (TDB). The latter issued this to celebrate the opening of the Bermuda Railway.1931. November. Watlington & Conyers announced that the ship "Monarch of Bermuda", its $8 million flagship, the first passenger ship in the world to have private baths and with other super new technology on board, had passed its speed and duration trials off England and would begin its New York to Bermuda run as planned.
1930's. Further protectionism in the USA ended agricultural imports.
1932. Watlington Waterworks opened in Devonshire.
1932. Death of Bermudian-born and American Rev. Dr. Francis L. Patton, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Landey_Patton after whom a Bermuda school is named. He was born in 1843. He distinguished himself as a preacher, theologian, academic and ultimately the head of Princeton University. He was reported as having been a personal friend and adviser to a number of world leaders, including US Presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson.
Dr. Francis Patton
1932. First company of black Girl Guides, First Excelsior, was formed in Bermuda. There was also a Brownie Pack and Rangers.
1932. July 22. Death in Bermuda of the American-naturalized Canadian-born pioneer in the field of radio with a previous Bermuda connection and Bermudian relatives, Professor Reginald Fessenden (born October 6, 1866).See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Fessenden. At the Whitney Institute there, he had been the Headmaster. Fessenden had married a Trott (an old Bermuda family) and in his memory there are scholarships called the Fessenden-Trott Scholarships. He made it possible for radio voices to be broadcast (Marconi's radio only did Morse code). He was buried in St. Mark's Church cemetery. On his grave (on a stone lintel at the top of the memorial) is inscribed: "His mind illumined the past and the future and wrought greatly for the present." When Fessenden retired to Flatt's Village (because of a heart condition) in 1928, he bought 'Wistowe' and remodeled it. He was buried at St. Mark's Church Graveyard in Smith's Parish.
1932. Biggest lobster ever caught in Bermuda weighed 16 lbs.
1932. American artist and architect Donald Morris Kirkpatrick and his wife Renee Despard moved to Bermuda, where Kirkpatrick worked for the local architectural firm of Onions and Bouchard. He designed and built a house named “Landfall” overlooking Crawl Point, and the couple moved into their new home in 1934. Homes in Bermuda designed by Kirkpatrick included the following: Troon, the home of Mrs. M.A. Dunne, in Tucker’s Town; Commonland Point, the home of Mrs. G.B. Hollister, in Shelly Bay; as well as homes for Terry Mowbray, Lady Williams, and Dr. Harry Curtis. Also, in collaboration with others, he helped design the Pink Beach Cottage Colony and the Bank of Butterfield building.
1932. Furness Withy released this poster of its 1932 shipping services to and from Bermuda. Featured with the SS Monarch of Bermuda and the about to start brand-new SS Queen of Bermuda.
1933. Arrival, for the first time, of the QTEV Queen of Bermuda, a lovely vessel and cruise ship belonging to the UK-owned Furness Withy shipping line. She steamed between New York and Bermuda on a weekly basis until 1966, except for war service.
1933. British military seaplanes were based in Bermuda. A hanger was constructed at the Royal Navy Dockyard in Sandys Parish and the small RAF Bermuda station began. Although controlled by the Royal Navy, the base was manned entirely by Royal Air Force personnel. But all British aircraft were all part of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). They included a number of Hawker Osprey, Fairey Seafox and Supermarine Walrus seaplanes.
1933. December 16. After almost 60 years occupation of
52 Front Street, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) acquired a fine water site at Albuoy's
Point, Hamilton, built a
large Club House on their new property and moved into their new (and present) quarters.
Institute in Paget was established as a Bermuda school. It was founded by C.
G. G. Gilbert.
10. The opening, after its construction, of
the Severn Bridge (now extinct), which connected the isolated St.
David’s Island with St. George’s Island and via The Causeway with the
1933. Gilbert Institute in Paget was established as a Bermuda school. It was founded by C. G. G. Gilbert.
1934. May 10. The opening, after its construction, of the Severn Bridge (now extinct), which connected the isolated St. David’s Island with St. George’s Island and via The Causeway with the Main.
1934. June. After Herbert Leslie Lambert was murdered in Bermuda - chopped 119 times with a hatchet - Martha Annette Outerbridge was found guilty and hanged, singing hymns. She was the last women in Bermuda to get the death penalty.
1934. August 15. Charles William Beebe, Sc.D, LL.D, doctor of science, again chose Bermuda and its "Nonsuch Island" for his now-famous ultimate dive. His boat was Ready, a former gunboat aged 60 (now in St. George's Harbour). He was again going deep beneath the sea. Dr. Beebe broke all maritime and scientific records with this submersion at Bermuda. He lived to write the tale in his best-seller, Half Mile Down. William Beebe was born in Brooklyn in 1877. By the age of 22, he was the Curator of Ornithology for the famed New York Zoological Society (Bronx Zoo), for whom he worked for the extraordinary period of 53 years. His first book in 1905 was called Two Bird-Lovers in Mexico, written with his new wife, Mary Blair Rice. He was made Director of the Department of Tropical Research in 1919 and at his direction, the first overseas research station of the Society was established at Kalacoon, Guyana. While Beebe spent a few years at Columbia University, his degrees were all honorary and he was self-taught. His genius came to the fore on a 22-country world tour for the study of a much-hunted bird. His four volume A Monograph on Pheasants, published after the First World War, remains an ornithological classic. In 1927, he married Elswyth Thane Ricker, the famous author of The Young Mr. Disraeli. It was a marriage of convenience, for she preferred writing on the farm in Vermont and he was addicted to travel and expeditions. In 1928, Beebe had met Otis Barton, a wealthy engineer and both were interested in deep-sea research. Barton had designed a submersible that Beebe christened "bathysphere", from the Greek bathos, for depth. By 1930, they were ready to try out the steel ball, a mere five feet in diameter, in deep water off the south coast of Bermuda. Nonsuch Island, a former quarantine hospice, was chosen for the base station. The tug Gladisfen was to tow HMS Ready, which was rented for the research from W H. Meyer of St. George's. The Ready was a barge at the end of its long life and had no engine. Beebe had it fitted out with a crane and winch, by which means on a steel cable almost an inch thick, the bathysphere was lowered into the abyss. Dives, or submersions, were carried out in 1930, 1932 and 1934 under the flags of the Explorers Club of New York, the New York Zoological Society and the National Geographic Society. The 1932 dives were memorable for Beebe broadcast the descent to the entire world via the original ZFB-1 radio station. He was an outstanding publicist, who today would probably have his own TV show, invigorating the public with the wonders of the natural world. Most of his expeditions were immediately published as books, two of which were about his Bermuda research. On this day, Barton and Beebe descended to the staggering depth of 3,028 feet below sea level. The pressure on their underwater home was in excess of 7,000 tons at a little over half a mile under the sea. Beebe reported seeing many forms of sea life, some of which were later ascribed by others as possible hallucinations brought on by pressures of the deep. At the depth of 3,000 feet, in the chapter "A Descent into Perpetual Night" of Half Mile Down, Beebe described the darkness "as if all future nights in the upper world must be considered only relative degrees of twilight.. Beebe used some of his book royalties to purchase land in Bermuda, (which was appropriated as part of construction of Fort Bell and Kindley Field in 1941. This was a great disappointment, but he used the compensation to buy 220 acres of wilderness in Trinidad, which he called "Simla", after the city in northern India. Aged 85, Dr. Beebe died and was buried there in 1962. While best remembered for his Bermuda dives, his Simla, now part of the Asa Wright Nature Centre, is his most enduring contribution to the science and preservation of the natural world.
Beebe dives 19341935. April 3. The Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V, and his wife, landed at Penno's Wharf, St. George's. They were met by Governor Sir Astley Cubitt. They were on the last stop of a honeymoon tour.
1935. After Mr. Samuel Seward Toddings' death in 1935, his son, S. Seward Toddings Jr, took over his father's role at the Mid-Ocean, changing the name of the newspaper to the Mid-Ocean News in 1940.
1935. Wing, 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), arrived in Bermuda. They stayed until 1939.
1935. Furness Withy released this poster of its 1935 shipping services to and from Bermuda.
1935. Carveth Wells first visited Bermuda and wrote "Bermuda in Three Colors." 1935. Published in New York by Robert M. McBride. 271pp; 64pp illus from photographs. Had chapters on Bermudian history, train travel, bicycling, carriage trips, a "who's who" of Bermudians, old recipes, &c. 8. 5" x 5. He was an explorer and world traveler as well as an author and radio commentator. One of the most famous lecturers on the "expedition circuit," his fame being eclipsed perhaps by only Richard Halliburton and Lowell Thomas. Wells was also a prolific writer, and wrote a book about the filming of the Cudahay-Massee expedition to the Ruwenzori. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Circumnavigators, Adventurers and Explorers Clubs.. He was born in 1887. Before he was six he could knit, crochet, sew and make baskets, while his hobby was breeding silk worms and white mice. After receiving his classical education at St. Paul's School, he graduated from London University and for a time practiced engineering. He then went on to travel nearly every corner of the globe as a soldier, explorer, writer, naturalist and railroad builder. He authored Years in the Malay Jungle, In Coldest Africa, Let's Do The Mediterranean, and The Jungle Man and His Animals. He also won a wide following with his radio broadcasts and travel films. In the 1950s, he became a regular visitor to Bermuda with his wife and mina bird.
1936. February 13. The Bermuda Olympic Association was formally established, through the keenness of local swimmers and the initiative of men such as John King, Chummy Hayward and Jim Murray. A move to obtain recognition from the International Olympic Committee had commenced in 1934. It had involved a great deal of work and correspondence. An invitation to take part in the 11th Olympiad in Berlin was received shortly thereafter.
1936. Bermuda Gas & Utility Co. Ltd was founded and later became the largest distributor of propane gas on the Island, serving about 14,000 residential customers, who mostly use it for their stoves, as well as commercial customers, such as restaurants and hotels, who primarily use it for kitchens and laundry.
1936. Establishment in Bermuda by expatriate Scots working here, including James Murray, of the Caledonian Society of Bermuda.
1936. In December, King George VI (see right) took over the Crown from his brother Edward VIII, who abdicated when told his American wife-to-be would never be recognized as Queen because she was divorced.
1936. Wilfred Onions and Valmer Bouchard established a company known as Onions Bouchard, Architects. Traditional Bermuda architecture was the mainstay of the company's home designs, as it helped preserve the Island landscape of traditional cottages, with moon gates, Flemish gables, fishtail chimney caps, lime-washed roofs and 'eyebrows' over doorways. John McCulloch later joined the company, adding to its name.
1937. March 16. Sinking off Bermuda of the Norwegian steamer Iristo, due to her captain's poor judgment. The Iristo ran into the same trap as the Spanish liner, Cristobal Colon. Unfamiliar with Bermuda reefs, her captain was surprised by the sight of the wreck of the Cristobal Colon. At the time, the Cristobal Colon still sat high in the water, four and a half months after she ran aground. Unaware that the Spanish liner was supported by a barely submerged reef, the captain ordered his ship to turn away. The course change caused the Iristo to crash into a submerged reef. While under tow, the Iristo sank one mile east of the reef's northeast breakers. Captain Stephensen was brought before the Marine Board of Inquiry and cited for the wreck of the Iristo. Originally the Lake Jessup, the 250 foot freighter was built by an American company in 1918, in Lorain, Ohio. She was bound for Bermuda then Demerara, British Guiana, carrying a mostly Bermuda cargo of cattle feed, hay, flour, 200 barrels of gasoline, a fire engine and steamroller. Her bow and stern sections, heavily overgrown with coral, sit opposite one another. The bow is within 18 feet of the surface. Divers can see the remains of both the fire engine and steam roller originally bound for the island, as well as one of the ship's spare propellers (with its blades protruding up from the wreckage). Rising from the middle of the skeletal remains are the Iristo's once massive steam engine, with two huge boilers, the top portions of which rests just 23 feet from the surface. They are heavily encrusted with large helmet sized colonies of Brain and Star Corals. Also, the ship's two-foot diameter propeller shaft now sits exposed to view.
1937. May 6. Hindenburg airship disaster over Lakehurst, New Jersey. The German dirigible was promoted as the future of trans-Atlantic flight, but instead it became the notorious poster child of air disasters. As the hydrogen-filled blimp was landing in Lakehurst, it suddenly burst into flames and crashed in front of shocked bystanders, killing 35 of the 100 passengers and crew on board—and putting an end to the short-lived air travel program. One result of this was the decision of Imperial Airways and Pan American World Airways to put forward their plans to fly a shorter distance over the Atlantic, specifically to Bermuda.
Hindenburg air disaster
1937. St. David's Island was connected to the rest of Bermuda by the Severn Bridge.
1937. Oliver Caisey, Sr. (with his race horse Fanny) became the first black jockey at the Shelly Bay race track. His groom was Claude (Poker) Furbert.
race track, as it was then (now long gone)
1937. The most expensive building ever built in Bermuda up to this time, the (in US$) million-dollar terminal building for flying boats, was completed at Darrell’s Island in the Great Sound. It was opened just in time for the first commercial passenger flight arriving on 18th June.
1937. June 16, Imperial Airways (later British Airways) and Pan American World Airways together unofficially began the first scheduled air service to Bermuda from Port Washington, New York.
1937. By Act of Incorporation, the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust was officially created, formed in 1936 and the forerunner of the Bermuda National Trust.
1937. September 10. The Sandys Boat Club was formed, by a group of men who from 1934 regularly raced their boats among themselves in Mangrove Bay. They formed the club as an organization to encourage and promote sailing, boating and social events. Founding families included those by the name of Jack, Pitman, Parker, Herkes and Sheen.
1937. The Bermuda Historical Society (BHS) purchased the wooden sea chest belonging to Admiral Sir George Somers, the Father of Bermuda, of early 17th century Italian origin. The chest is thought to be Venetian and has a scene from Greek mythology showing Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, surprised by Acteon, a hunter, while bathing. To punish him she turns him into a stag, whereupon his own dogs attack and kill him, no longer recognizing him as their master. The chest was sold to the BHS by the Bellamy family of Plymouth, England, in 1937. The Bellamy family, direct descendants of the Admiral, also sold Sir George's lode stone. This was used to magnetize his compass needles during his earlier seafaring voyages. The lode stone is thought to date back to 1600. Egg-shaped and banded by strips of iron, it is mounted on an oak plinth with a plaque which states 'Lodestone, Sir George Summer, obit 1610'.
1937. King Edward VII Gold Cup, began in Bermuda when New Yorker Sherman Hoyt returned to its British tradition the prestigious King Edward VII Royal Trophy he won in 1911. He presented it to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Now the Wimbledon of Match Racing, the oldest match race event in International One Design sloops.
1937. November. Death at sea of former British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, born in Scotland (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937). He had been a distinguished passenger on board the popular liner Reina del Pacifico which called at Bermuda often. He had been hoping to enjoy a cruise to South America, but never got there. He died aboard the vessel. As Bermuda was a route stop, the ship brought his body to Bermuda. Given his stature in life, Bermuda gave him a singular salute in death, an official funeral procession befitting a former British Prime Minister. His remains were received with full military and civilian honours and a ceremonial guard of honor from the Sherwood Foresters of the British Army then stationed in Bermuda, plus hundreds of other British and local military forces. His body lay in state at the Anglican Cathedral overnight in Hamilton. The next day, during a solemn procession first on Front Street then on Church Street which attracted more than 20,000 spectators - the largest crowd ever to converge in the city, British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marine bearers, some brought to Bermuda especially for the occasion, carried MacDonald's flag-draped coffin to the Royal Naval Dockyard Bermuda paddle steamer tug Sandboy which loaded it onto HMS Apollo, waiting in the Great Sound to receive it for transport to England. The naval vessel then steamed off to England. In 1933 and 1934 MacDonald's health declined, and he became an increasingly ineffective leader as the international situation grew more threatening. His pacifism, which had been widely admired in the 1920s, led Winston Churchill and others to accuse him of failure to stand up to the threat of Adolf Hitler. In May 1935 he was forced to resign as Prime Minister, taking the largely honorary post of Lord President vacated by Baldwin, who returned to power. At the election later in the year MacDonald was defeated at Seaham by Emanuel Shinwell. Shortly after he was elected at a by-election in January 1936 for the Combined Scottish Universities seat, but his physical and mental health collapsed in 1936. A sea voyage was recommended to restore his health, but it was in vain.
Ramsay MacDonald's coffin coming ashore from the Royal Navy's paddle steamer tug
Royal Marines outside the Cathedral for the funeral
Sherwood Foresters and others at the funeral procession, in their Army Bermuda Shorts and long socks
Royal Navy march-past with coffin at Ramsay MacDonald's Bermuda funeral
Soldiers and sailors salute the coffin at Ramsay MacDonald's Bermuda funeral
Pictures kindly supplied by Trevor Smallman, son of one of the British Army in Bermuda Sherwood Foresters. His father was present at the funeral.1938. Imperial Airways (later British Airways) and Pan American World Airways together officially began the first flying boat and aircraft service between Long Island and Bermuda.
1938. The elegant and important Front Street building in Hamilton, completed in 1841, was remodeled as the Colonial Secretariat, (and after 1968 became the office of the Premier of Bermuda, heading the Bermuda Government. It also houses the Senate of Bermuda - which meets here every Wednesday in the 8 months or so the House of Assembly is in session at Sessions House)
1938. The Ireland Island Cooperative Society was formally established, as an affiliate of the Manchester, England group with which it had enjoyed dealings for many years.
1938. Women of Bermuda gained the right to vote, if they were eligible.
1938. August 29. Time Magazine USA reported: "Last year the coral-pink prettiness of the Bermuda Islands attracted 79,856 visitors. Of these, well over 90% were Americans, but only 1,088 tourists sailed there on U. S. ships. Early this year, in an attempt to divert U. S. tourist dollars into U. S. pockets, Eastern Steamship Lines decided to run the steamer Acadia (cruise capacity 400) on a weekly schedule to Bermuda, competing chiefly with the British-owned Furness Bermuda Line. At busy Hamilton, island capital and chief tourist port, Competitor Furness and Canadian National Railways occupy all four berths, which meant that Eastern would have had to anchor in the harbor and ferry its passengers ashore. Best alternative was to use the harbor at sleepy St. George, where the piers are owned by the St. George Corporation. Hitch there was that there was only one hotel, the St. George, which is so regularly patronized that it never needs to advertise. Obvious solution lay in the ship-hotel idea, used successfully for years by cruise ships in Bermuda, but not by regularly scheduled steamers. Last March, to the alluring slogan "Your Ship Is Your Hotel," the Acadia began sailing into St. George, tying up, and keeping house for its passengers. For small-budget vacationists this was just the ticket, and Eastern's idea clicked profitably. Island innkeepers, as well as Furness Bermuda, which controls three hotels, were alarmed. They could easily imagine Bermuda harbors dotted with ship-hotels, the inns covered with cobwebs. Last June they had a bill introduced in Bermuda's Legislature barring ship-hotels from St. George and Hamilton harbors. But when the Governor Lieut.-General Sir Reginald J. T. Hildyard, opening Parliament to consider the legislation, mentioned Eastern as the chief offender, the U. S. State Department protested such direct aim at U. S. shipping, and the bill died. In July, Furness Line boats adopted the ship-hotel plan themselves, right in Hamilton harbor. This time hotels ashore really felt the pinch. At a session of the Legislature, a new bill was offered. It mentioned no U. S. shipping line, carefully exempted "transit passenger ships" (cruise ships), and, as a loophole in case of protests* placed a power of exemption in the hands of the Bermuda Trade Development Board. Last week in Bermuda's Legislature, over protests from St. George merchants, this bill became a law, subject to approval of the British Colonial Office. Same day the law was passed, Furness Bermuda suavely announced abandonment of its expedient ship-hotel policy. The US Sate Department did not protest.
1939. January 14. Construction began in Bermuda of the magnificent, 14-acre Grape Bay, Paget, property known as Chelston, for California oil baron with the unusual name of Carbon Petroleum Dubbs (born June 24,1881, died August 21, 1962 in Santa Barbara, CA, USA). It took two years to be completed.
1939. March. Pan American's Boeing 314 NC 19604 began flying to Bermuda. It replaced the S-42 on the PA 160/161 New York service. With amenities modeled on those of the great luxury liners of the period, the 12 Boeing-314 Clippers operated by Pan Am and British Overseas Airlines Corporation remain the most luxurious aircraft ever to take to the skies. The sumptuous flying boats, which used to fly through Bermuda in the 1930s and '40s, are highlighted here. The lavishly illustrated book includes sections on the aircraft's extensive use of the Darrell's Island airport in Bermuda. They were the largest aircraft of their type ever built, with a maximum of 74 passengers and 10 crew. They used island airports such as the one then in Bermuda as intermediate stepping stones for ocean-spanning flights across the Atlantic and Pacific. The aircraft were commissioned from Boeing by Pan Am founder Juan Trippe – also the developer of Bermuda's Castle Harbour Hotel – specifically for trans-oceanic flights. PanAm operated nine of the aircraft while three were purchased by Imperial Airways, forerunner of today's British Airways and also flew through Bermuda en route to New York and other destinations. The aircraft were built between 1938 and 1941. 84,000 pounds, four-engined, they were 106 feet long, had a wing span of 152 feet and had a top speed of 199 miles per hour. After World War Two, seaplanes became obsolete because new, long-range aircraft such as the Lockheed Constellation could cross the Atlantic and Pacific non-stop.
1939. Piggly Wiggly began operating in Bermuda, copying the name from an American operation. It was started by the Crisson family and remained theirs until 1946.
1939. With World War 2 imminent for Britain, a 99 year lease was granted by the UK to the USA for land bases at St David's Island and Morgan and Tucker's Islands.
1939. Warwick Camp in Warwick Parish was fortified, to help defend the Dockyard against potential German raiders.
1939. The Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA), Bermuda's only gunners, based at the St. David's Battery, operated the only operational guns in the whole of the island. It was a single battery of three officers and 103 other ranks, with a commandant and adjutant from the Royal Artillery and with 11 other ranks from the RA as instructors and equipment maintenance personnel.
1939. August 28. The Queen of Bermuda left Hamilton for New York at her usual time but almost 10 years would pass (until February 1949) before she carried another passenger to Bermuda.
1939. August 30. On arrival in New York on the morning, 700 passengers from the Queen of Bermuda were disembarked as usual, but the usual bustle of preparing the ship for another batch of holiday-makers was missing.
1939. August 31. The Queen of Bermuda ocean liner sailed from New York under sealed orders received by her captain from the British Admiralty. As the liner sailed down the Hudson River, every Allied vessel in port gave her the traditional three blasts as she passed by on her way to war. She was en route to a shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she would be stripped of her opulence and fine furnishings and many special timbers and re-emerge as a utility auxiliary requisitioned British warship.
1939. September. When World War 2 started, the entire British Empire joined the UK against Germany. Darrell's Island was taken over as a Royal Air Force station, with two commands operating on it. RAF Air Transport Command operated large, multi-engine flying boats, carrying freight and passengers between Europe and the Americas. RAF Ferry Command was responsible for delivering airplanes from manufacturers to operational units. One of the first to enlist in the Bermuda Militia and Bermuda Contingent of the Caribbean Regiment was William Edwin Smith, nephew of the man by the same name who was the first black Bermudian killed in action in the Great War 1914-1918.
Royal Air Force at Darrell's Island1939. Construction of brand-new Royal Naval Air Station on Boaz Island. As part of the preparations for World War 2, the increased workload at HMS Malabar caused problems due to the limited space available. With so many of the locally-based or in-transit Royal Navy warships carrying catapult-launched seaplanes such as the Hawker Osprey, Fairey Seafox and Supermarine Walrus seaplanes, the need for prompt, efficient and spacious aircraft maintenance was a high priority. Thus, the new station was built. Its primary role was the servicing, repair and replacement of spotter floatplanes and flying boats belonging to naval vessels. Early in the Second World War, with no other units to fill the role, aeroplanes from Boaz Island were used to maintain anti-submarine air patrols, using whatever aircrew were on hand, including pilots from the Bermuda Flying School on Darrell's Island. It had two good-size hangers and launching ramps on either side of the island and they allowed continuous operation in any wind direction. With the Battle of the Atlantic over, the station was reduced to care and maintenance status in 1944. Some remnants still survive but all that remains of the Fleet Air Arm facility today is a hangar on runway road, and two slips.
1939. September. As the requirements of the RAF and Fleet Air Arm could not be filled by the output of British factories, the Air Ministry placed orders with manufacturers in the neutral USA for all manner of aircraft. These included flying boats, like the PBY Catalina, which, designed for long-range maritime patrols, were capable of being flown across the Atlantic, albeit in stages. Imperial Airways, which had become the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), continued to operate in Bermuda throughout the War, as well, though in a war-role, with its new Boeing flying boats painted in camouflage.
1939. September. A Bermuda Government station began operating from a studio in the Walker Arcade in Hamilton. (It finally went off the air in 1944).
1939. Establishment of Bermuda Militia Artillery as one of the consequences of World War 2, a month after it began.
1939. Bermuda became a busy Royal Navy port. Countless thousands of seamen and civilians were rescued at sea from vessels torpedoed by the German Navy. The anomaly in the command structure referred to in 1933 was rectified when this part of the Royal Navy Dockyard was transferred to the FAA and given the name of HMS Malabar.
1940. January. 112 bags of mail were taken by Bermuda-based censors sent out from England from a Pan American Airways flying boat. They included securities and large money transfers and even packages of diamonds.
1940. January 27. With guns installed, HMS Queen of Bermuda set sail for the River Plate of Graf Spee fame and the South Atlantic Command. Thereafter she spent 1940 patrolling the cold and turbulent waters of the South Atlantic visiting the isolated Tristan da Cunha and Falkland Islands.
1940. March 31. An organization of patriotic British Bermudian ladies formalized their operation begun at the outbreak of the war of their Ladies’ Hospitality Organization (LHO) at the Bermudian hotel. Their first formal action action was the creation of the Naval Recreation Rooms at the hotel, as a place of relaxation and recreation for naval ratings and other non-commissioned ranks of the Royal Navy. The ladies received the active support of the Furness Withy Line which then owned the hotel and its subsidiary Bermudiana Hotel Company. The LHO was constantly active with all sorts of events including beach parties. Afternoon and evening groups were organized to prepare food for the visitors and a library, canteen and a Sunday Evening Sing Song were common. Founding members of the group included Mrs Appleby, Mrs Blee, Mrs J. R. Bridge, Mrs Alice Britton, Mrs Butterfield, Mrs Christiansen, Mrs Ruth Fountain, Mrs Edmund Gibbons, Mrs Harnett, Mrs Gosling, Mrs Harvey, Lady Kennedy Purvis, the Admiral’s wife at Bermuda, Mrs. Parker, Mrs A. B. Smith, Mrs Talbot and and others. They often worked in association with the Sailors’ Home.
1940. April 14. the pre-war Bermuda liner, Monarch of Bermuda, delivered Scots and Irish Guards detachments to Narvik in Norway.
1940. The Hamilton Princess Hotel was closed for the duration of Word War 2 by order of the British Government. American residents and visitors left the Island in droves. Bermuda lay at the crossroads of the Atlantic. Flying boats or clippers flying back and forth across the Atlantic, had to stop in Bermuda to refuel or wait out the weather, particularly during the winter months when the gales blew across the ocean. The answer to Bermuda’s financial woes came partly when the British decided to upgrade the tiny mail censorship department in Bermuda consisting of a few local postmen, to a force to be reckoned with. This meant that most mail flying back and forth across the Atlantic was passing first through Bermuda. Also, Bermuda was an important rendezvous for wartime convoys. Another important advantage was it was safe from the chaos and danger of air raids. For these reasons the hub of the British Censorship Department was moved from Liverpool to Bermuda. Hundreds of British censors and examiners began to move into the Princess and the Bermudiana hotel which was used purely for housing. At one point, there was talk of bringing as many as 3,000 censors to Bermuda. There was a protest from Bermuda, because that many censors would put a tremendous burden on the Island’s food and water supply, so the plan was abandoned and there were probably never more than 700 here at one time. At any rate, the Hamilton Princess became the HQ of British Atlantic and North American postal censorship activity, intense intelligence operations for the British Government in Bermuda, much to the annoyance of some anti-British, pro-German Americans whose ships and aircraft were subject to scrutiny. The censors used basement rooms in the hotel and depended greatly on British Intelligence reports. It led to the post-war publication of The Princess Spies by CIA Officer Thomas F. Troy who died in 2008. It was an article, not book. (It's possible, perhaps even likely, the Hamilton Princess Hotel has a copy, given its involvement. If so, it might be available there for inspection). The operation at the Princess Hotel, near Hamilton, Bermuda was essentially the filter through which all correspondence in the Western hemisphere was inspected. To the average person during World War Two, censorship during times of war was a routine activity. It didn't generate much interest. And that's exactly how British Intelligence authorities wanted it to look because behind the walls of 13 rooms within the hotel, top secret sleuthing, a la James Bond, was taking place. Even the majority of the "examiners" didn't know what went on behind closed doors. Under the leadership of British Intelligence officer William Samuel Stephenson, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stephenson, (see photo right) a Canadian some say was one of the real-life inspirations for the literary and movie super-spy James Bond, the co-ordination of the secret "offensive" censorship took place in the 1940s. Troy says espionage experts used technologically-advanced techniques to break into letters and packages in order to produce and plant "forgeries useful in propaganda and blackmail operations." The group of experts could obtain the contents of any package leaving no trace of their tampering. Using innovative techniques for the time they could even extract a letter from an envelope without cutting, steaming or replacing it with a forged replica. Their work proved to be so useful to the combined efforts of the war that Sir William called the censorship initiative "a political weapon of very special importance . . . credit to all concerned." The hotel has many other fascinating connections to the legacy of James Bond and to victory of the Allied Forces in World War two. It housed twelve hundred secret agents, experts, scientists and linguist in the former Adam Lounge, dubbed Room 99, from 1940 to 1945. It was chosen because of because of its strategic geographic location. Working out of a two-storey wooden building plus what became the Gazebo Lounge and the Adam Lounge, (the Gold Lounge today), the men intercepted all postal, telegraph and radio traffic between the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Flying boats to Darrell's island would drop off packages which were delivered by launch to the Princess dock. The mail was sorted in the present-day Gazebo Lounge area before being sent over to the Adam Lounge to check all the details. The parcels were then searched by the Imperial Censorship staff for microdot messages that could have been sent by German spies. The men would decode the secret correspondence, extract the letters from the tightly sealed envelopes and put them back without anyone knowing. They were led by Senior Representative of British Intelligence, Sir William Stephenson or code name "Intrepid", who helped to trap German spies and agents in the US. The Canadian and his team thus helped uniquely to frustrate the operations of Hitler. The department was actually used as a training ground with censors learning their craft and then being moved off to places like Trinidad or Jamaica. So in total, probably 1,100 censors worked here at different times. They were hugely beneficial to the Island, and helped to save its economy. Many censorship staff members rented houses, ate in local restaurants, and spent their money in shops. The censors were trained in every language imaginable. Head of uncommon languages Robert Bigwood spoke over 30 different languages. They worked at trestle tables in the wooden portion of the hotel which is no longer there. Former censor, the late Margaret Mair Cooper, remembered the hotel to be a bit shabby back then, and the wooden part hot and stuffy. There were some advantages to staying at the hotel though. In their leisure time censors could swim in the pool, and there were also endless and very intense games of tennis. One of the last remaining censors, Sheila Reddicliffe Lightbody, who in 2012 was in her 90s and living in the United Kingdom, described the Princess at that time as “a gaunt unattractive building but its rooms were spacious and well designed. There were good bathrooms and views over the fifth floor windows of gardens and cottages and a glimpse along the northern shore to the Dockyard. My roommate and I would often take a quick dip in the harbour during their coffee breaks. We got into the habit of lunching on fruit and Ryvita (crackers) to make the most of the sticky summer heat when the tide was in. Otherwise there was also a good swimming pool right there at the cliff top.” Sir William retired in 1964 and moved into a suite at The Princess with his wife. They eventually moved into a home in Paget were he lived until he died at the age of 93 in 1989. The hotel was re-opened after 1945 by the British Government with the nickname, "Bletchley in the Tropics" after Bletchley Park, the name of the English country house where Britain's spymasters had their HQ and where the "Enigma" code was broken. Stephenson reported directly to Bletchley Park.
1940. The Bermuda Flying School was established on Darrell's Island with the goal of training pilots for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy (RN). The school trained volunteers from the local territorial units using Luscombe seaplanes. Those who passed their training were sent to the Air Ministry to be assigned to the RAF or the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The Commanding Officer of the school was Major Cecil Montgomery Moore, DFC, who was also the commander of the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers. He had left the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps to become one of at least eighteen Bermudian aviators of the Great War. The school trained eighty pilots before an excess of trained pilots led to its closure in 1942. The body administrating it was adapted to become a recruiting organisation for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), sending two-hundred aircrew candidates to that service before the War's end.
1940. June 8. Flying Officer Herman Francis Ede, Royal Air Force, of Bermuda, was killed in action. He was the first Bermudian killed in action during World War 2. Following the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, Ede was flying Gloster Gladiators with the RAF's 263 Squadron in Norway protecting the fleet anchorage at Skånland. On 2 June 1940, the squadron was ordered to prepare for evacuation. Along with the remaining members of his squadron and 10 aircraft, Ede embarked on HMS Glorious on 7 June. The next day, Glorious, along her escorts Ardent and Acasta, were sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Ede was just 23 years old, the son of the late Lieutenant Commander Ernest Grant Ede (killed in action during World War 1) and Winifred Louise Ede, of Pembroke, Bermuda. His name is inscribed on the 5th Panel at the Runnymede Memorial, Berkshire, England.
Gloster Gladiator biplane, of the type flown by Ede.1940. November 26. Death in Bermuda at the age of 72 of Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, born April 26, 1868, Hampstead, London, England. British newspaper proprietor who, with his brother Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, built the most successful journalistic empire in British history and created popular journalism in that country. A shy individual, he let his brother handle the public and journalistic side of the business, while he handled financial matters. In October 1940, Lord Beaverbrook, with the approval of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, sent Harmsworth on a secret war mission to Canada and the United States. Upon the completion of the job, Harmsworth went to Bermuda to take a rest. He died of dropsy in Bermuda at the age of 72. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Harmsworth,_1st_Viscount_Rothermere#Bibliography which does not mention where his grave is situated. He is buried in grave 271, a prominent one by itself at St. Paul's Churchyard, Paget Parish.
1940. A shipment of some 500 “Old Masters” was discovered on the SS Excalibur of the American Export Line which had docked in Bermuda. The items seized by British censors resident in Bermuda at the Princess Hotel Pembroke and elsewhere were priceless artwork by Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Picasso, etc. These significant artworks had been confiscated by the Gestapo and other German authorities from Jewish individuals and families. Instead of remaining in Bermuda they were conveyed by air to Montreal, to avoid problems with Bermuda’s humidity.
1940. Construction started in Bermuda from scratch of two new military bases for the USA, one on St. David's Island at Fort Bell for the US Army and US Army Air Force and the other at what became the US Navy Operating Base. They took two years to build and cost US taxpayers over US 45 million.
1940. August. Bermudian graduates of the Bermuda Flying School left Bermuda for England on SS Mataroa, bound for the Royal Air Force. They included Geoffrey Bird, John Brewer, Bobby Burnard, Royston Dodwell, Joseph Robert Gibbons, William Kempe, Jim Lang, Geoff Osborne, Jack Pitt, Teddy Nicholl, Pete Perenchief, Percy Roach, Martin Smith, Francis Stephens, Jackie Thomas, Jimmy Vallis, Alan (Smokey) Wingood, Jimmy Whitecross. Other Bermudians too joined the RAF, as graduates of the Bermuda Flying School. Those who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force included Fred (Red) Adderley; Harold Dale; Arthur (Copper) Jenkins; Norman Jones; David Kopec; Charles Nunn; Arnold Redman; Richards (first name unknown); Norman Sumpter; Squires (first name unknown); Robert Oatway; Geoffrey Welch; Herbert (Chummy) Zuill.
1940. August 24. On leaving Bermuda, HMS Penzance of the Royal Navy was on its way home to Britain when it was torpedoed by the German submarine U-37.
1940. Former King Edward VIII (who abdicated in December 1936 and was replaced by his brother, George VI), re-titled the Duke of Windsor, see http://www.britishpathe.com/video/duke-and-duchess-of-windsor-at-bermuda - arrived in Bermuda with his wife, the Duchess of Windsor. They arrived on the American Export Line ship "Excalibur." He was en route - via a Canadian Ladyboat from Bermuda to the Bahamas, to take up his post as Governor. He and his wife spent a week in Bermuda at Government House where they created some problems there for staff, and played golf.
HRH the Duke of Windsor after his 1940 arrival in Bermuda, inspecting a Royal Navy honour guard, Royal Gazette photo1940. November 5. Loss of Bermuda-based armed merchant cruiser Jervis Bay, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Jervis_Bay_(F40) - a 14,000 ton former passenger liner - Halifax/UK convoy HX84 from Canada to the UK with 37 ships and this ship as its solitary escort (Capt Fegen). Named after Admiral Jervis, it was attacked by the German 11 in-gunned pocket battleship Admiral Scheer in mid-Atlantic. The convoy was ordered to scatter as Jervis Bay headed for the "Scheer", guns firing. The end was in no doubt and she went down with all her 189 crew including a number of Canadians, but her sacrifice saved all but five of the merchant ships. There is a memorial to the ship at Bermuda's Albouy's Point. The brass plaque on the monument asks us to "Remember Captain E.S. F. Fegen, VC Royal Navy, the Officers and ship's company of H.M.S. "Jervis Bay" who cheerfully gave their lives in successful defence of their convoy, fighting their ship to the last against hopeless odds. The SS Jervis Bay began life in 1922 out of the great Vickers shipyards at Barrow in Furness and was taken into the service of the Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line, which operated ships to and from Australia. All of its vessels were named after Australian bays, Jervis Bay being some 90 miles north of Sydney. After the outbreak of war between England and Germany in 1939, the ship was commandeered by the Royal Navy and fitted out with eight six-inch guns. First sent on station to the South Atlantic, the vessel was assigned to Bermuda Convoy Escort Duty in May 1940, and from June 1940 to the Bermuda and Halifax Escort Service, a service that would last but a mere six months, ending its demise on November 5 at position 52.26N, 32.34W. In its last days, Jervis Bay was the only armed escort for the 37 merchant ships of Convoy HX84, out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for Great Britain. Meanwhile, the pocket battleship, KMS Admiral Scheer had broken out of the North Sea, making its way through the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland en route to raid Allied shipping in the Atlantic Ocean. Convoy HX 84 became its prey as the sun set on the cold, grey reaches of the North Atlantic. Captain Edward S. Fogarty Fegen, commanding officer of the Jervis Bay, immediately ordered the helmsman to set a beeline directly into the guns of the Admiral Scheer, to allow the convoy to scatter and escape as best it could. The Jervis Bay was out of action in 15 minutes and sank two hours later with the loss of 190 men, still drawing fire from the Admiral Scheer. Sixty-five of the crew were rescued by the Swedish vessel Stureholm. Captain Fegen was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, later donated to the Royal Naval Museum at Portsmouth by his daughter, Barbara Fegen. The citation for his VC notes his "Valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his live to save the many ships it was his duty to protect". The Admiral Scheer then proceeded to sink six other ships of the convoy, being the Mopan, Maidan, Trewellard, Kenbane Head, Beaverford and the Fresno City. A tanker, the San Demetrio, was also shelled and set afire, its crew abandoning ship. The ship was found by some of her crew in a lifeboat two days later, still on fire. They climbed back on board, put out the fires, repaired the engines and limped into port almost two weeks after the tanker was declared to be a loss, such is the courage of the merchant mariner. The Jervis Bay had seven six-inch Mark VII guns and two three-inch anti-aircraft guns, which figured little in the ensuing battle. It was the proverbial sitting duck, with guns half the range of its opponent. The Admiral Scheer was sister ship to Admiral Graf Spee of River Plate fame. She was refitted as a heavy cruiser and began raiding in November 1940, sinking 17 merchant ships for 114,000 gross tons. After "faultily concentrating her effort on the armed merchant cruiser, Jervis Bay", she allowed Convoy HX84 to scatter. Thereafter the Admiral Scheer disrupted Allied shipping as far away as the Indian Ocean, returning to port in April 1941, having never been located by Allied hunter forces. Under Captain Theodor Krancke, the ship was the most successful capital commerce raider of the war. She was then used ineffectively in the Artic and Baltic and was sunk by RAF bombers in Kiel on April 9, 1945, later buried under a new dock. The raider weighed in at 16,200 gross tons, which could be propelled at almost 30 knots. It was commissioned in November 1934 with a length of 610 feet and a beam of 71 feet. The vessel mounted six 11-inch guns in two turrets of three; eight 5.9-inch guns and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes in two quadruple sets. HMS Jervis Bay visited the Island on a number of occasions before she was sunk. On at least one occasion, her crew participated in local cricket matches. A photo after one such match was first published in the Scottish newspaper the John O'Groats Journal. A sundial memorial to the lost sailors was erected at Albouy's Point within a year of the incident and is annually honored on Remembrance Day in a service nowadays led by the Bermuda Sea Cadets. The Scottish town of Wick, which is near John O'Groats, is the latest community to create a dedicated memorial in honour of the sailors of HMS Jervis Bay. Eighteen of the crew were from the county of Caithness in north-east Scotland, of whom nine died when the ship was sunk. As well as Bermuda and Scotland, there is a memorial to HMS Jervis Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada from where she sailed on her final voyage.
1941. January 16. Bermudian Douglas William Howard Hutchings was lost at sea. He was an oiler, whose first job was in the engine room of the Queen of Bermuda, but had transferred to another vessel. (At the time of his death, Queen of Bermuda was on duty in the Falkland Islands far to the south). There were two British vessels sunk that day, the Zealandic and the Oropesa. Both were attacked off Rockall, some 300 miles from Iceland and Ireland on the route from the North Sea to the Atlantic. The cargo ship Zealandic was lost with all hands and Oropesa, a passenger liner, lost 105 crew and passengers, with 143 being rescued. Given that he was originally on a passenger liner, it is possible that Hutchings was lost on the Oropesa. It was sunk by U-96, a boat familiar to most through its incarnation as the lead actor in the film, Das Boot.
1941. February 15. With the USA about to be given 99-year free base rights in Bermuda, the USA's Bureau of Yards and Docks awarded a fixed-fee contract to a US firm to accomplish the construction of an air station for seaplanes, and subsequently expanded to include a fuel-oil depot, a supply depot, and operating base, a submarine base, and an anti-aircraft training school. Adjacent water, ideal for seaplane operation, and proximity to existing ship channels resulted in the choice of Morgan and Tucker Islands, situated in Great Sound, within the hook of the western end of Hamilton Island, together with an adjacent area on Hamilton Island at Kings Point, as sites for the air station and the operating base. Darrell Island, also in Great Sound and about a mile and a half to the east, then in use as an air station by commercial airlines, was developed as an auxiliary seaplane base. Submarine facilities were constructed on Ordnance Island, at the eastern end of the Bermuda group, in St. Georges Harbor, adjacent to the town of St. George. This location, while remote from the operating base, was chosen because of the availability of the site, the existing facilities, and its proximity to the sea lanes serving the islands. The general topography of the leased areas was gently rolling, varying in elevation from sea level to a maximum of 40 feet. The base development plan issued by the Chief of Naval Operations to support the 15,000-plane program, indicated Bermuda as a major naval air station, with facilities for the operation of two patrol squadrons of seaplanes on a permanent basis and one additional squadron with tender support. In addition, facilities were to be provided to support the emergency operation of one carrier group from an airfield to be developed by the Army. Thus began construction of a Naval Air Station USN NAS Bermuda/NAS Annex, Morgan's Point for flying boats, and an airfield for landplanes. The terms of the agreement were that the US-built airfield, on British territory, would be a joint US Army/Royal Air Force base. When the airfield became operational in 1943, RAF ATC relocated to it, taking over the West end of the base in Castle Harbour.
1941. February. Bermudian Shelton, Stanley Arthur, member of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps who had been attached to the Lincolnshire Regiment, died in action.
1941. March. While Anglo-American staff conferences were going on in Washington on how to best combat the Germans, the Battle of the Atlantic had taken an extremely critical turn. In Admiral Stark's opinion it had become, in fact, "hopeless except as we take strong measures to save it." Four of the most powerful surface vessels of the German Navy--the pocket battleship Scheer, the heavy battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the 8-inch cruiser Admiral Hipper - were on the loose, prowling the Atlantic sea lanes and adding serious destruction to the mounting toll of the U-boat packs.8 Submarine attacks could be countered by light escort vessels; but the German surface raiders, whether in refuge or at sea, presented a different threat, one that only capital ships or strong cruiser and carrier forces could meet. Admiral Stark had not at all exaggerated the seriousness of the situation. By March it seemed to him only a matter of at most two months before the United States would be at war, "possibly undeclared," with Germany and Italy; although the Army at this time was counting on at least five months' grace. Admiral Stark discussed his analysis with the President on 2 April and again the next day, thrashed out the steps to be taken, and was told to adopt the strong measures he thought were required: to draw up plans for escort of convoy west of longitude 30° west and issue orders for the transfer into the Atlantic of a heavy striking force, including three battleships, from the Pacific. The destructive forays of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had given President Roosevelt an understandable concern for the safety of the American bases, particularly those which were most exposed or of most value to the Navy--Bermuda, Trinidad and Newfoundland.
1941. March 27. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, flew to Bermuda from the USA and made this statement to a packed Bermuda House of Assembly: I have today signed a document implementing the agreement of September last for the leasing of United States Bases in Bermuda and elsewhere and I wish to express to you my strong conviction that these bases are important pillars of the bridge connecting the two great English-speaking democracies. You have cause to be proud it has fallen to your lot to make this important contribution to a better world." The conduct of official relations rested on the base agreement signed on this date; but, not being a treaty, the base agreement was inferior to local legislation, and any laws that failed to conform to the agreement stood until repealed by act of the colonial authorities. The objections raised by representatives of the colonies during the negotiations foreshadowed, and the lack of enthusiasm with which the colonies received the agreement further indicated, that any conflict of law would not easily be corrected. Instead of enacting a general nullifying ordinance, the colonies preferred to deal with specific conflicts as they arose.
1941. March 29. The initial construction effort of the US Naval Operating Base as an air station for flying boats and other aircraft in Southampton Parish began. Dredge-filling the narrow funnel-shaped channel between Morgan and Tucker islands more than doubled their original combined area of 40 acres. The one island thus formed was then connected by causeway to King's Point, on Hamilton Island. The principal structures built at the air station comprised a tender pier, three seaplane ramps and parking area, a large seaplane hangar, barracks for 1,100 men, quarters for 140 officers, a bombproof power plant, and the usual industrial, administration, and storage buildings. At the Hamilton Island site, underground storage was provided for fuel oil, diesel oil, and gasoline, as well as barracks for fuel depot and air station personnel, a 50-bed dispensary, a large magazine area, a radio station, and a 10-acre water-catchment area with storage for 5,000,000 gallons of rain water. All these installations were of a semi-permanent character. Soon after construction began, it became essential that naval air patrols be placed in operation as quickly as possible. This was accomplished by using the established facilities owned by British Imperial Airways on Darrell Island. By an informal agreement with the British and local governments, permission to use this island on a temporary basis was granted. Here, existing facilities were augmented by barracks, water supply, paved parking areas, landing floats, and other temporary essentials. This work was undertaken in May and the island put to immediate use, continuing so until March 1942, at which time the permanent naval air station was usably complete and in operation.
1941. April. Bermudian James Hugh Arnold Linton was killed in action in Egypt, while serving with the British Army.
1941. April 7. The President of the USA directed the Secretary of War to have Newfoundland reinforced and to send garrisons to Bermuda and Trinidad immediately.
1941. April 26. Bermudian Howard Sinclair Burgess died in action. He was a fireman and trimmer and with 28 others on the Henri Mory was torpedoed. The Henri Mory had sailed with a cargo of iron ore from Pepel and Freetown in Sierra Leone for Barrow in Scotland. One source suggests that the ship came to Bermuda and it is possible that Burgess joined the vessel and his fate here. The Henri Mory had left Convoy SL-68 and was travelling independently when the ship was torpedoed by U-110 in the North Atlantic. The U-110 had a very short career of only two sailings and was sunk a few weeks after the Henri Mory went down. The boat became famous for it remained afloat long enough for the British to board it and remove an Enigma code machine and many secret documents.
1941. Bermuda Workers' Association (BWA) was formed and founded by Dr. Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon, a Trinidad-born medical doctor who was trained at the University of Edinburgh and once had his practice in Kingussie, Scotland. His wife also trained at Edinburgh for a medical degree but did not complete it. His Bermuda-born children were Pamela and Patricia. The union was the forerunner of the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU).
1941. April 20. USA sent garrison troops to Bermuda. Newfoundland on the northern flank, Trinidad on the southern, and Bermuda in the center were the first of the new Atlantic bases to be garrisoned. The first contingent had arrived in Newfoundland in January 1941, ahead of the construction forces, and in April the first garrison troops arrived in Trinidad and Bermuda, only a few weeks after the advance party of construction people. The timing was not exactly what the War Department had at first envisaged. In spite of the pessimism over the chances of Britain's winning the war which in September 1940 still colored the War Department's estimate of the situation, General Marshall laid down the dictum that garrisons would not be sent to the Atlantic bases until construction was well advanced. Some definite threat to the base sites might require the dispatch of a garrison prematurely, but this was a possibility that could apparently be waited for. The Bermuda force of some 860 men, comprising Company G, 11th Infantry, Battery F, 52d Coast Artillery, and Battery B, 57th Coast Artillery, and commanded by Col. Alden G. Strong, landed in Bermuda on this Sunday. It had been preceded, a week before, by Brig. Gen. Francis B. Wilby, chief of staff of the First Army, and Lt. Col. Harold F. Loomis of the War Plans Division, who had been surveying the general situation and choosing sites for the coast defense guns and who now were among those on hand to welcome Colonel Strong and his men. Within a few hours after he arrived, Colonel Strong had drawn up in collaboration with Capt. Jules James, USN, commandant of the naval base, a joint plan for the defense of the islands, for which he disposed his troops as follows: one 2-gun battery of the 8-inch coast defense guns was to be placed at Fort Victoria, on St. George's Island, and another on Somerset Island, not far from the U.S. naval base; a like-sized battery of 155-mm. guns was to be placed on Cooper's Island, near the Army base, and another on Hamilton Island, in the vicinity of Riddle's Bay; and the infantry company, quartered in the Castle Harbour Hotel, was to be the mobile reserve. Meanwhile the two US military bases were being built. They completely changed Castle Harbour in the east and the Great Sound in the west.
June 1941. The US military contract re Bermuda contract was supplemented to undertake the development of submarine facilities on Ordnance Island. Under this program, and its subsequent additions, a number of existing buildings were rehabilitated to provide housing and messing facilities for crews while ashore, improvements and additions were made to the existing water and sewer systems, waterfront structures were repaired, and offshore moorings installed. The use of Ordnance Island was obtained under a lease extending to December 1955, under the terms of which the United States could regain all removable improvements placed by or on its behalf at any time before the termination of the lease. The island was returned to its owners in July 1945.
1941. June 27. The remission of customs duties and local taxes under Articles XIV and XVII of the base agreement was not enacted by the Bermuda legislature until this date, exactly three months after the agreement came into effect. Even then there was only a partial conformity. Bermuda continued to levy duties on bulk petroleum products not consigned direct to the Army and Navy and on household effects and personal belongings. Various wharfage charges were assessed on goods destined for the bases, and a stamp tax was levied on bank checks and steamship tickets. Even at the end of 1941 the State Department was still pressing for determination of a few of the matters.
1941. July 15. Sinking by the Italian submarine Morosini in 37.23N 20.32W of the SS Lady Somers, 8194 tons, built in 1929, with many lives lost. She was the first of the five white Ladyboats to suffer from the war, owned by the Canadian National Steamship Company. The popularity of the Lady Boats peaked just prior to World War II in 1939, and then things changed dramatically. White paint became grey, few passengers surfaced; there were regular blackouts and no bananas, but lots of torpedoes to keep them company. Within four months of the Loss of the Lady Somers, German U-boats attacked three of the four remaining Lady Boats.
1941. Concurrently with the building of the US Military bases in Bermuda, the oyster-shell scale (insulaspis pallida) and the Juniper Scale were imported accidentally. Both arrived in separate shipments of conifers. The Juniper Scale began to decimate virtually all Bermuda's endemic Cedar trees.
1941. April 7. Captain Jules James, USN, read his orders as Commandant, USNOB Bermuda and hoisted his pennant over the former residence of Mrs. Margaret V.B.T. Wooley-Hart on Tuckers Island. (This building later became the Religious Center).
1941. June. The Free French submarine Surcouf was sent to Bermuda, but from late July to late November, the boat was refitted in New England.
1941. August. Spitfire Bermuda One Mark IIb P8507 was bought for the Royal Air Force by Bermudians, by public appeal. It shot down five German aircraft before it failed to return on this date.
Spitfire Bermuda One1941. August 9-12. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met on the warship USS Augusta - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Augusta_(CA-31) - off the coast of Newfoundland and created the Atlantic Charter, the basis of the Allied war plan during World War 2.
1941. Late August. The SS Navemar, out of Seville, bound for New York via Lisbon and Havana, arrived in Bermuda. She was one of the refugee ships, with mostly Jewish passengers escaping from Germany, who had been looking for many months if not years for a friendly country to give them political refuge. Those on the Navemar had visas for the United States, but as they were due to expire, they had to put into Lisbon to have them renewed. With the bureaucracy of the day and a war on, they had tried to get new visas, but the Consulate did not have enough typewriters to process the paperwork in time. An American Jewish refugee committee sent cash to buy up typewriters in Lisbon, upon which the lives of the Navemar passengers depended. In Bermuda, the women and children were allowed off the ship and were given a picnic by the ladies of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire and the Bermuda Women’s Auxiliary Force, for which a notice of thanks was published in The Royal Gazette and Colonist. Among the Navemar complement at the tea party was Hannah Arendt, perhaps the most important female philosopher of the last century who coined the phrase “banality of evil”, Marc Chagall’s daughter Ida, and Lucille de Saint-Andre, who wrote a fictional account about the Navemar and the infamous Vichy French concentration camp, Gurs, entitled, “Bye Bye, Baden-Baden.” But because of anti-Jewish laws still in effect that had not been repealed (and would not be until 1959), the ship was then sent on to New York where the passengers were received gladly as refugees and allowed to stay. (The ship was not so lucky, it was later - in 1942 - torpedoed by the Italian Navy off Spain).
1941. English censorette Margaret Stapleton was raped and murdered in Bermuda, after leaving a dinner party at Bleak House in Devonshire. Harry Sousa was later convicted and hanged.
1941. 11 September. HMS Bermuda, a Colony class cruiser, displacement 11,040 tons, overall length 555 ft 6", with twelve six inch guns in four triple turrets. was launched at Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland and completed 21 Aug 1942. She served in WWII and was then refitted 30 Jun 1944 to 27 Mar 1945. She visited Bermuda 3 times: Feb 1958, Jul 1959, and Feb 1962.
HMS Bermuda1941. October. By the end of October American forces were committed to the task of destroying all German and Italian vessels or planes encountered anywhere in the western Atlantic.
1941. October. With her engines needing repairs, HMS Queen of Bermuda arrived at Newport News, Virginia, for a major overhaul in order to continue her work as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. One of her three funnels was removed as well as the masts. A catapult and hanger for two Sea Fox spotter aircraft were installed. Earlier, with stops at South Georgia and South Orkneys, the ship's journey had included a rendezvous with Norwegian factory ships ten days and had protected them for the next two months, dodging icebergs, escorting the Norwegian factory fleet into Freetown in west Africa. The ship had also entered the difficult harbour at Deception Island to look for signs of habitation by the Germans.
1941. November 24. Lieut. Cecil John Greenway Wright, RNVR. He served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on HMS Dunedin when it was torpedoed on November 24, 1941, by U-124, halfway between Sierre Leone and Brazil. He was one of the 419 men lost, only 67 of the crew surviving. In 1940, Dunedin had been posted to the America and West Indies Station at Bermuda and thereafter was on the South Atlantic Station, pursuing enemy surface ships in those waters. Wright was a veteran of two World Wars, having served in the Great War in the Canadian Field Artillery and thus was one of the oldest men from Bermuda killed when fighting for the Allies.
1941. September. The USS Augusta - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Augusta_(CA-31) which in August achieved a unique claim to fame from the visit of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill - began her visits to Bermuda, eventually as flagship of the Atlantic Fleet of the United States Navy.
USS Augusta anchored off Bermuda1941. December. With the entry of the USA into the War, the US Navy began operating air-patrols from the Island, mostly with VJ-15.unit aircraft. Bermuda was a forming-up point, during the War, for convoys numbering hundreds of ships. Despite the importance of guarding against Axis submarines and surface raiders operating in the area, the RAF had not posted a Coastal Command detachment to maintain air cover. The Fleet Air Arm operated ad-hoc patrols from its base RNAS Boaz Island (HMS Malabar) on Boaz Island. This was a repair facility which had several aeroplanes on hand, but no aircrew. It operated its patrols using pilots from ships at the Dockyard on Ireland Island, and RAF and Bermuda Flying School pilots from Darrell's Island. These patrols ceased with the arrival of a US Navy patrol squadron, which operated from Darrell's Island until the US NAS became operable. The RAF operated from its two facilities in Bermuda until the end of the War, when both Commands withdrew their detachments. Darrell's Island reverted to its pre-War role as a civil airport, until the replacement of flying boats as trans-Atlantic airliners by land-planes, like the Lancastrian, the Tudor, and DC4, led to its closure in 1948. The senior RAF officer in Bermuda, during the War, Wing Commander Mo Ware, was loaned to the civil government to oversee the conversion of the RAF's end of the military airfield into a Civil Air Terminal. Pre-fabricated buildings were relocated from Darrell's Island to assemble the first terminal. Mo Ware remained with the local government after leaving the RAF, becoming the Director of Civil Aviation for many years.
1941. Completion in Bermuda after a 2-year (from 1939) building project of the magnificent, 14-acre Grape Bay, Paget, property known as Chelston, for California oil baron with the unusual name of Carbon Petroleum Dubbs (born June 24, 1881, died August 21, 1962 in Santa Barbara, CA, USA). The finished stately and elegant Bermuda home, on which no expense was spared, featured a 10,000 square foot main house overlooking Grape Bay and boasted 15 bedrooms and 19 baths, including three guest cottages and a staff cottage. It also included a well-equipped home cinema, a nearly Olympic size swimming pool, a croquet lawn and a wood-burning pizza oven. High ‘Bermuda tray’ ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, multiple sets of French doors, generous room proportions and a general consistency of finish throughout the estate were hallmarks of Chelston.
1941. December. Bermudian Walter Hewson Perinchief died in action at El Alamein, serving with the British Army.
1942. January 14-16. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Bermuda after visiting President Roosevelt in Washington DC.
1942. January 19. The "Lady Hawkins" a regular caller at Bermuda, one of the much-loved Canadian Ladyboats, 7988 tons, was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-66, with the loss of 250 lives, having sailed from Halifax on January 14 en route to Boston to pick up passengers, then Bermuda. She was torpedoed off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at 35-OONN 72-30W. At 0200 hours two explosions awoke the passengers and crew. About twenty minutes after being torpedoed by German U-66 (Korvkpt. Richard Zapp/Knight's Cross), the ship sank. The torpedoes had destroyed six of the life boats. The remaining boats were overloaded and many people struggled in the water before drowning. The Master, Capt. H. O. Giffen, 85 crew, one gunner, and 164 passengers were lost. The Chief Officer, 21 crew and 49 passengers were rescued after 5 days in an open boat by the U.S. ship Coamo and landed at Puerto Rico. The Chief Officer, P. A. Kelly was awarded the MBE and the Lloyds War Medal for bravery at sea. Bermudian Noel Lumley Meyer was returning to Bermuda via Canada after service with and having been invalided out of the Royal Air Force. He was travelling on the Lady Hawkins. Meyer was last seen helping survivors into lifeboats, 71 persons later being rescued. The USS Buckley sank the U-66 by ramming on May 6, 1944. At least one relative of the 71 survivors lives in Bermuda today.
1942. February 4. The Canadian tanker Montrolite, 11,309 tons, was torpedoed by German U-boat U-109 northeast of Bermuda at 35-14N 60-05W.
1942. February 11. Northwest of Bermuda, at 36-12N 67-14W, the German U-boat U-564, under the command of Reinhard Suhren and sent for operations off the US East coast, destroyed the Canadian tanker SS Victolite, 11,410 tons, bound for Venezuela. None of Victolite's crew survived.
1942. February 18. The huge Free French submarine Surcouf, a frequent and popular visitor to Bermuda, ordered by the French Government in December 1927, launched on 18 October 1929 and commissioned in May 1934, was accidentally sunk by collision with the American freighter Thompson Lykes, on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Captured by the Royal Navy on July 3, 1940, instead of being sunk at Mers El Kebir, Surcouf was sent to Bermuda in June 1941, but from late July to late November, the boat was refitted in New England. Lost with all hands, it was the world's greatest submarine disaster to that date. Her range was 18,500 kilometers (about 10,000 nautical miles) at 10 knots, 12,600 kilometers (6,800 nautical miles) at 13.5 knots and 110 kilometers (60 nautical miles) at 5 knots, submerged. Her test depth was 80 meters or 250 feet. Her capacity was 280 tons. Her complement was 8 officers and 110 men. Her armament was two 203 mm (eight inch) guns in a twin turret, two 37 mm anti-aircraft cannon, four 13.2 mm anti-aircraft machine guns, eight 550 mm torpedo tubes, with fourteen torpedoes carried and four 400mm torpedo tubes, with eight torpedoes carried. She also carried one aircraft, a Besson MB 411 float plane. On February 12, she had left Bermuda for the war in the Pacific. An official joint U.S. and Free French report stated she was accidentally rammed and sunk, with the accident due to both vessels running at night with no lights because of the menace of German U-boats. A later French investigation commission corrected the initial report and stated that the Surcouf had been sunk by US planes in the morning of the 18th in a "friendly fire" accident. There has been much other speculation. One of her crew died as the result of the tragedy.
1942. March. Burial at the Royal Naval Cemetery, Ireland Island, Bermuda, Grave No 396, Plot A, of 21 year old French crewmember Marcel Alexandre Le Dantec of the Free French submarine Surcouf.
1942. March. Bermudian William Cardy Hollis Hallett, stationed in Malta where he flew Hurricanes, was killed in action while serving in the Royal Air Force.
1942. May 1. The ship James E. Newsom, 671 tons, was shelled by German U-boat U-69 northeast of Bermuda at 35-SON 59-40W.
1942. May 5. The "Lady Drake" one of the much-loved Ladyboats, was torpedoed and sunk north of Bermuda at 35-43N 64-43N by German U-boat U-106, en route from Bermuda to Boston. As a result, the service stopped until 1947.
1942. Conscription began in Bermuda for all fit men below a certain age. One result was that it swelled the ranks of the Bermuda Militia Artillery to five offers and 120 other ranks.
1942. May. Bermudian John Edward Darrell Carlyle Brewer of 215 Squadron Royal Air Force, was killed in action over Singapore, fighting the Japanese.
1942. May 22. The ship Frank B. Baird, 1,748 tons, was shelled by German U-boat U-158, south east of Bermuda at 28-03N 58-50W.
1942. June 7. USS Gannet (AVP-8) was sunk after being torpedoed by German submarine U-653 off Bermuda. 22 men were rescued by a daring landing by two flying boats of VP-74 based at the US the Naval Operating Base Bermuda. The stricken vessel was accompanied by HMS Sumar, based at the HM Dockyard, one of the crew of whom was Bermudian Kenneth Dunkley who had joined the Royal Navy when war erupted. Both ships were looking for survivors from the cargo ship Westmoreland, also sunk by the same German U boat.
1942. June 30. The German U-boat U-158 was depth charged west of Bermuda by US naval aircraft.
1942. Bermudian West, George Wendell, died in 1942 at Timor from war wounds.
1942. 21 August. HMS Bermuda, a Colony class cruiser, displacement 11,040 tons, overall length 555 ft 6", with twelve six inch guns in four triple turrets. was launched at Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland and completed 21 Aug 1942. She served in WWII and was then refitted 30 Jun 1944 to 27 Mar 1945. She visited Bermuda 3 times: Feb 1958, Jul 1959, and Feb 1962.
1942. Late summer. The Riddle's Bay area, which had formerly been used as a golf course and resort area, was rehabilitated and equipped as a recreational area for US naval personnel. Concurrent with the construction program underway at the several areas leased by the Navy, the Army was developing Kindly Field, on Long Bird Island, at the eastern end of Bermuda. At this airfield the Army, pursuant to Joint Board directives, provided all landplane facilities constructed at Bermuda, including those used specifically by naval aircraft. Here, within the base area, the Army contractor, on a reimbursable basis, built facilities for the temporary support of one carrier air group of 90 planes. These included barracks for 550 men and 125 officers, messing facilities, storage buildings, nose hangars, and radio aids. Inasmuch as Bermuda had no fresh water from ground sources, it was obtained for the air station and the operating base by use of seven evaporating units with a daily capacity of 50,000 gallons, and a system of rain-water catchment areas, which, including roof areas, totaled 20 acres. The water thus collected was stored in reservoirs and chlorinated before entering the distribution system. Southlands, located along the south shore line of Hamilton Island, was secured under a short term lease for the development of an anti-aircraft training school. Construction included a night-vision training building, repair shops, magazine loading sheds, magazines, instruction buildings, and barracks, gun platforms and control tower, roads, walks, and services. This activity was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in January 1945.
1942. November. Bermudian Harris, Elgar Frederick, a British Army parachutist, a Somerset man of the Perinchief family, died in Tunisia in November 1942, along with all the members of his group who jumped with him from their plane. They were never seen again.
1942. December 4. The US 31st Construction Battalion arrived in Bermuda with 27 officers and 1,027 men. Completed activities at the operating base, air station, and submarine base were then in full use.
1942. December 10. The Green Lantern, a family-owned diner, on Serpentine Road, Pembroke, was opened by Cyril and Bernice Burns. Mr Burns bought the building for £275 from Jos Brown after previously acquiring the business from William Steede and Faith Bassett-Steede.
1943. February 27. The USA's 49th Battalion, with 27 officers and 1,080 men, arrived in Bermuda a month before the contract's termination, to augment the 31st Battalion. Together the battalions completed such unfinished projects as roads, utilities, grading, accessory buildings, and general clean-up. In addition, they undertook the operation, maintenance, and repair of the entire naval establishment under the cognizance of Public Works Department.
1943. Bermudian Geoffrey Welch, flying for the Royal Air Force, was killed in action over Benghazi in Libya during the North African campaign.
1943. April 8. Construction of the US Bases in Bermuda under the-then-operable contract was terminated and a new contract negotiated with the original contractors to complete several major items of dredging still unfinished. This second contract remained active until June 28, 1944.
1943. April 13. HMS Queen of Bermuda, after having served in various roles including taking badly wounded Australian soldiers back home, sailed of the Clyde to Glasgow, Scotland, where she was paid off as an Armed Merchant Cruiser, with her engines no longer able to keep up speed in convoy and related duties. She was replaced by newer, faster and smaller warships and once again became a troopship until long after the war ended.
1943. April. John Bloren Watlington and his long-time friend Hal Dale, both of Bermuda, after serving with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC), left Bermuda for the Royal Canadian Air Force Flying School, from where they graduated later as Pilot Officers. John had earlier been educated at Saltus Grammar School and Ridley College, in Canada, before going to University of Pennsylvania.
1943. April. Bermuda hosted a conference on European refugees, one remembered by Jewish chroniclers for avoiding the issue rather than for doing anything to save the lives of Jews and other Holocaust victims. Held at the same time as the heroic Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto -- the meeting brought together small delegations from the United States and Great Britain to discuss what the Allied response should be to persistent reports that Jews were being murdered wholesale by the Nazis. Unwilling to give full credence to the reports of Jewish genocide, the delegates were instructed to discuss the problem of European refugees generally. That little would come from the conference was presaged by a telegram from a British official to the Bermudian hosts: "Our point of view which is being made clear to Americans is that excessive publicity is to be deprecated as calculated to raise exaggerated hopes. Outcome of meeting which must perforce be of a largely exploratory character." Britain was represented by Richard Law, parliamentary undersecretary of state for foreign affairs; Osbert Peak, parliamentary Under-secretary of state for the Home Office, and George Hall, Financial Secretary to the British Admiralty. A lower ranking delegation was sent by the United States. Headed by Princeton University president Harold Dodds, it included U.S. Sen. Scott Lucas (D-Ill) and Rep. Sol Bloom. Although Jewish, Bloom, who served as chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was protested by American Jewish groups as being unsympathetic to the plight of his co-religionists. Three venues were made available to the delegates for their meetings and lodgings: the Belmont Manor Hotel in Warwick, the Mid Ocean Club in Tucker's Town and the Horizons in Paget. As the Bermuda government only hosted the meeting but played no role in its proceedings, its archives do not include reports of what went on inside the meetings. An article in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust -- forwarded to Heritage by officials at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum -- said the choice of Bermuda as the venue was calculated. "Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long suggested the island of Bermuda, which, because of its inaccessibility during wartime, would allow both sides control of the press, and the conference itself could be kept free of the representatives of private agencies such as the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the World Jewish Congress." This encyclopedia article was written by Henry L. Feingold, author of The Politics of Rescue. "The composition of the American delegation; the refusal to include Joseph Schwartz, head of the European branch of the JDC; the rejection of rescue suggestions by Joseph Proskauer, head of the American Jewish Committee, and by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, head of the American and World Jewish congresses; and the fact that the State Department limited the number of press correspondents to five, representing the major news agencies, convinced even the most hopeful rescue advocates (mostly, but not exclusively, American Jewish groups) that the Bermuda Conference would be simply a ploy to deflect an aroused public opinion." The only member of the American delegation who was concerned for the Jewish victims of the Nazis was "George Backer, whose leading positions in the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT) and the Jewish Telegraph Agency made him especially knowledgeable about the fate of European Jewry," according to Feingold. Backer tried to get the conference to back aggressive rescue efforts, specifically proposing a campaign to save "125,000 Jews in eastern Europe who faced certain death" as well as pleading "to save thousands of children who could assure a Jewish future." Both pleas were rejected. Instead of sympathy for Jews and other victims, "both delegations manifested the fear that Berlin would 'dump' refugees with the Allies and use them as a weapon to compromise the Allied drive for final victory," according to the encyclopedia article's author. Subsequently "The American Jewish press was virtually unanimous in condemning the conference," he wrote. "Some spoke of it as particularly cruel duplicity in the midst of a mass-murder operation. Public protest, rather than being stilled, reached new heights."
1943. May 1. Bermudian Pilot Officer James Outerbridge, Royal Air Force, was killed, shot while attempting to escape from P.O.W. Camp, Italy. Born 5 Sept. 1922. Educ. Whitney Institute., Bermuda; Rossall School, England. Accepted for Rhodes Scholarship but was interrupted by war. M.E.F. 1941-3.
1943. May 19. the Angelus, 255 tons, was shelled by German U-boat U-161, north of Bermuda at 38-40N 64-00W.
1943. The introduction to Bermuda of a mosquito larvae-eating minnow in places including the Pembroke Canal.
1943. July 15, USAF/ex USAAF aircraft crashed with fatalities. Official USAF record of 32041 (ex USAAF B-24D 42-40440, VB-105) in Castle Harbour, at the end of the military base runway, after takeoff Bermuda. 11 Crew killed. One of the crew of the Bermuda-based 6th Crash Rescue Boat who tried to rescue the aircraft crew was Bronson Hartley.
1943. June 16. Comedian Charles Chaplin, then 54 years old, married his fourth wife, Bermuda-born 18-year-old Oona O'Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, in Carpenteria, California. They went on to have eight children and remained married until his death on 25 December 1977.
1943. July. Bermudian Thomas, Alfred John, Royal Air Force, was killed in a bombing raid over Germany.
1943. July. Bermuda issued a St. David's Lighthouse postage stamp.
St. David's Lighthouse 3d postage stamp1943. July 30. The ship Constellation sank off Bermuda. She was a wooden hulled vessel with four masts originally built in 1918 and measuring 192 feet in length. (Later, Peter Benchley based his novel The Deep around her). She was a wooden hulled vessel with four masts originally built in 1918 and measuring 192 feet in length. She was originally the Sally Persis Noyes but when sold, was renamed. She was rebuilt and provided with modern comforts, including electricity, refrigeration, plumbing, a modern galley and large staterooms. She found her way to New York. When World War II began for the USA in December 1941, with the subsequent demand for ships of any kind, then owned by Intercontinental S.S. Company, she was converted back into a cargo vessel. While en route from New York to Venezuela, carrying a general cargo of building materials, medicinal drugs and 700 cases of Scotch whiskey, her steam pumping gear broke down, and she took on water from the increasingly rough weather. The crew used hand pumps for several days but could not keep up with the leaking vessel. Captain Howard Neaves, then 71 years old, headed toward Bermuda for repairs but while waiting for a local pilot she was driven by the strong current when her hull was broken apart on the reef.
1943. August. Appointed the previous week as new Governor and Commander in Chief of Bermuda was David George Brownlow Cecil, Lord Burghley. Young (38), straw-haired, a scion of the house of Cecil, which has furnished Britain with some of its most distinguished statesmen and soldiers. His father was the Marquess of Exeter; from him it was expected that some day Lord Burghley would inherit enormous estates in Northamptonshire and Rutlandshire. His wife was a sister of the Duchess of Gloucester.
1943. August 20. HMS Indomitable arrived in Bermuda en route to the USA, escorted by Royal Navy destroyers HMS Obdurate, HMS Obedient and HMS Opportune.
HMS Indomitable1943. Mid October. The USA's 31st Battalion, which had served continuously on Bermuda for nearly two years, was returned to the mainland after being replaced by CBMU 540, which was followed by the CBMU 551 on December 11, 1943, to replace the 41st Battalion; the two maintenance units were then merged into one unit and designated CBMU 540.
1943. October. Bermudian Whitecross, James Standley, who had joined the RAF in November 1940 was killed when flying over Germany.
1943. A new church school, the Bermuda Institute, began, under the vision of the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist church at their Jews Bay location. It then had an enrolment of twenty-six students and one teacher.
1940s. Many new plant species were introduced to Bermuda.
1944. The prolonged and frustrating struggle to secure the vote for women ended when the Women’s Suffrage Act, piloted through the Bermuda Legislature by Henry Tucker (later Sir Henry Tucker), was passed, giving all qualified female property-owners the right to vote and to run as candidates in general elections. In addition, the new law allowed them to cast ballots and vie for the offices of Mayor, Aldermen and Common Councillors in the municipalities of Hamilton and St. George’s and for positions on the parish vestries. The extension of the franchise to women notwithstanding, the increased number of voters on the electoral role amounted to less than three thousand. The first women to vote did so at a by-election in Paget later that year, on October 4.
1944. The Bermuda Workers’ Association, under the leadership of Dr. E. F. Gordon was formed. The association fought for trade union rights and was committed to the removal of segregation and the adoption of universal adult suffrage.
1944. February 5. US Navy convoy CK-1, having departed Charleston on January 20, 1944 with six Army Transport Ships, eleven small oil tankers and six tugs, escorted by Raven/Auk Class minesweepers, USS Owl, Kewaydin, Swerve, Threat and Tide, and three sub-chasers, PC-484, PC-1176 and PC-1261, having just made a brief stop at Bermuda, and was proceeding in heavy weather, when LT-23 had engine trouble and was told by the Commodore: ‘You will have to return to Bermuda unescorted … a Navy Tug from Bermuda will meet you in a couple of days.’ Heading again for Bermuda, the main engine broke down, followed by the auxiliary, which ran the bilge pumps, so LT-23 began to take on water. Spotted by a plane out of NOB Bermuda, the unit received the message a number of times by blinker: ‘How long can you stay afloat? ‘Until we sink!’ was the reply. The engines were restarted and shortly thereafter, the tug USS Cherokee arrived to escort LT-23 to Bermuda, where she went into drydock at HM Dockyard, Bermuda.
1944. Bermudians Allan (Smokey) Wingood and Hugh Watlington, both Flight Lieutenants in the Royal Air Force, went to Buckingham Palace in London to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal respectively, for bravery in battle, from King George VI. They were flying Wellington bombers. They were accompanied by Mrs. Peggy Wingood, wife of Allan Wingood, and their baby daughter Katherine.
1944. Dr. E. F. Gordon, originally from Trinidad but by then a Bermudian, became President of the BWA.
1944. May. Americans took over censorship of mail passing through Bermuda, and most of the censors returned to the United Kingdom. Around 60 chose to remain in Bermuda. During the time here the Bermuda censors helped to catch over 40 German spies operating out of the United States.
1944. The Parliamentary Committee on Emigration issued a report noting that due to over-population, Government should look for places where Bermudians could emigrate.
1944. April. The Bermuda Contingent of the 1st Battalion Caribbean Regiment (Overseas Contingent) left Bermuda for the battlefields of Europe, via the USA. They were 100 volunteers from the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) and Bermuda Militia Infantry, under the command of white officers Major Fuller and Bermudians Lieutenant Stuart Outerbridge and Lieutenant Robert Card.
1944. May 1. Bermuda Mystery movie released in USA. Directed by Benjamin Stoloff; written by John Larkin (story), Scott Darling (screenplay). Cast were Preston Foster; Ann Rutherford; Charles Butterworth; Helene Reynolds; Jean Howard; Richard Lane; Roland Drew; John Eldredge; Theodore von Eltz; Pierre Watkin; Jason Robards Sr.; Kane Richmond; Emmett Vogan; Edward Keane; Chester Clute.
1944. May. Americans took over from British censors then based in Bermuda the censorship of mail passing through Bermuda, and most of the censors returned to the United Kingdom. Around 60 chose to remain in Bermuda. During the time here the Bermuda censors helped to catch over 40 German spies operating out of the United States.
1944, June. an Armed Forces Radio Station, which used the call sign WXLQ, transmitting on the 1240 kcs medium wave band frequency, went on the air from Kindley, for a two-year stint. At the same time and as a consequence, the Bermuda Government station, which had operated from a studio in the Walker Arcade in Hamilton since the war started in September, 1939, finally went off the air.
1944. June 4, 1110 hours, off the coast of West Africa, the USS Chatelain reported a sonar contact, the submerged German U-boat U-505. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_505 and a US Navy account at http://candotg.org/USNavy.htm. The accompanying US Navy Task Group jumped into action. The USS Guadalcanal could not attack without damaging itself so Captain Gallery moved the ship quickly out of harm's way. Supported by the Destroyer Escorts USS Pillsbury and USS Jenks, the USS Chatelain swiftly attacked. As the sonar crew maintained contact with the submerged U-505, the USS Chatelain attacked with a salvo of 24 hedgehogs that missed. While the USS Chatelain opened the range to turn and make another attack, two fighter planes from the USS Guadalcanal fired their guns into the water to help mark the location of the submerged U-505. The USS Chatelain then fired a pattern of 14 depth charges forcing U-505 to the surface. It was the opening saga in a major event that was soon to impact on Bermuda. U-505 was a Type IXC/40 submarine, one of 54 of this type that got put into operation, a long-range warhorse of the German Navy that could operate in the Caribbean or Atlantic or Indian oceans without refueling. She went into service in 1941, with a range of 13,000 nautical miles. She was captured off western Africa, towed to Bermuda and hidden, with no news of its capture until the end of the war in Europe on May 7, 1945.
She was one of the U-boats which had departed from a massive concrete submarine pen at an occupied French port. Her target was the southeast Caribbean, where most of the fuel supplies for the Allies was shipped from Venezuela, Trinidad and Curaēao. She was built at the yards of Deutche Werft AG in Hamburg. Commanded by Oberleutnant Harald Lange, she was commissioned in August 1941. She was on her 12th patrol, having sunk eight vessels over those voyages. In February 1944, Lange took the boat south to the sea lanes off southwest Africa to prey on supply vessels bound for Europe with supplies such as iron ore. On this day she was intercepted by TF 22.3 under the command of Captain Daniel Gallery, USN and was depth-charged. Lange brought the damaged boat to the surface to save his men and thus surrendered, actions for which he was for a time after the war ostracized at Hamburg, although they had taken all standard procedures to scuttle the boat. Captain Gallery, USN, of Task Force 22.3 managed to get a boarding crew (see third photo below) onto the U-505 before it could sink and they saved the boat intact. Once the Germans had abandoned the U-505, Task Group 22.3 dropped whaleboats into the water with crews trained in boarding and salvage procedures. Some of the crews rescued the surviving German sailors from the sea. One whaleboat from the USS Pillsbury pulled up alongside the damaged sub. The crew's mission was to board the U-boat, overpower any remaining German sailors and take control of the submarine. It was an incredibly dangerous operation. The U-boat was going in circles, she was flooding with seawater and was most likely rigged with explosive charges intended to prevent her capture. It was the first time since 1815 that the US Navy had captured an enemy vessel at sea and was both the first and only submarine captured but not sunk by the US Navy
. The men of TF 22.3 were sworn in writing to secrecy and the boat was towed across the Atlantic by USS Abnaki to the US Naval Operating Base at Bermuda, accompanied by the ships of TF 22.3, USS Guadalcanal, Chatelain, Pillsbury and Pope.
In bottom photo the Nine-Member US Navy Boarding Party who towed U505 to Bermuda were Albert L. David, Lieutenant, Junior Grade; Chester A. Mocarski, Gunner's Mate, First Class; Wayne M. Pickels, Boatswain's Mate, Second Class; Arthur W. Knispel, Torpedoman, Third Class; George W. Jacobson, Chief Motor Machinist's Mate; Zenon B. Lukosius, Motor Machinist's Mate, First Class; William R. Riendeau, Electrician's Mate, Third Class; Stanley E. Wdowiak, Radioman, Third Class; Gordon F. Hohne, Signalman, Third Class.
Capture of U-505. US Navy photos1944. June 19. Arrival in Bermuda (until May 20, 1945) of the captured German submarine (unterseeboot) U-505 (see above and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_505) and crew, held incommunicado until the end of the 1939-45 world war. The U-505 was destined to become one of the most famous submarines of the war, not only for its capture with secret code books and machines intact. The U-505 stayed in Bermuda from that day until it left for the Philadelphia Navy Yard on May 20, 1945 after 11 months undetected in the Great Sound, the crew having left for POW camps in the United States in the autumn of 1944. Some of the crew who arrived in Bermuda on June 19, 1944 and stayed until the autumn of 1944 are shown in the US Navy photo below.
U-505 in Bermuda
Some of the captured U-505 German Navy crew. US Navy photoOnly one German sailor died. The 58 who survived and were transported to Bermuda as US prisoners-of-war included Oberleutnant Lange who had been taken from the water unconscious and severely injured. At the US military hospital then recently erected in Bermuda, one of his legs had to be amputated, so he remained here longer. While in Bermuda, Lange was cared for by a young nurse of the Jones family of 'Inwood', Shirley, the late wife of Lt. James Humphreys, USNR, of Paget. She related that Lange's major worry was that his wife would remarry in his absence, since it would have been assumed in Germany that the U-505 had been lost with all hands. Lange himself did not believe that his boat had survived the scuttling attempt until Captain Gallery showed him family articles from his cabin. The U-505 was taken to Chicago in 1954 and forms a major exhibit and war memorial at the Museum of Science and Industry. In the company of Rear Admiral Gallery, Harald Lange toured his last command in a meeting of friends in 1964. One member of the crew of the U-505 moved to Chicago and for several decades until his death was an intimate tour guide for the submarine. An outside display for many years, the U-505 has since been moved into a purpose-built building to ensure its survival into the future as the only Unterseeboot to survive the war above water.
US Navy official photo of that parade
1945. June. Edward Brennan, a stepbrother in Bermuda's Vallis family, died in action over Germany, having joined the RAF and later transferred to the American Army Air Force. He was awarded the USA's Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Medal and posthumously, a Purple Heart.
1945. BOAC began thrice weekly Bermuda-Baltimore service from Darrell's Island, with Boeing 314 flying boats. The first flight was by G-AGBZ RMA Bristol.
1946. January. Kindley Field Airport, Bermuda, was opened. It was established on that part of the US military base once reserved for and used by Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). The senior RAF officer in Bermuda during the War, Wing Commander E. M. "Mo" Ware, OBE, DFC, was loaned to the civil government to oversee the conversion of the RAF's and its Transport Command end of the military airfield into a Civil Air Terminal. Pre-fabricated buildings were relocated from Darrell's Island to assemble the first terminal. Ware remained with the local government after leaving the RAF, becoming the Director of Civil Aviation for many years. Although no longer maintaining any detachment in Bermuda, the RAF continued to use Island as a trans-Atlantic staging after WW2 While most foreign military aircraft passing through the Island had used the US military end of the airfield, the RAF continued to disperse its aircraft at the former RAF end of the field. Large detachments of tactical aircraft, accompanied by larger refueling, transport, and maritime patrol aircraft, regularly staged at the island on transits between the UK and the garrison at Belize, etc.
1946. January. First commercial flight by any airline to Kindley Field Airport, Bermuda by Pan Am. The Boeing Stratoliner S-307 "Flying Cloud" was built in 1940. She was the first to fly as high as 20,000 feet. Only 10 were built. She carried 5 crew and 33 passengers, later re-configured for 45 passengers at an average speed of 187 mph. After flying routes in Texas, California and Mexico for Pan Am, she was taken over from December 1941 by the US Army Air Force and put to work in South America. After WW2, she was returned to Pan Am which flew it on the New York to Bermuda run for a short time in January 1946 until she was sold. She was moth-balled at Tucson, Arizona, for years. It still survives, despite a crash-landing near Seattle in April 2002. She is now owned by the Smithsonian.
1946. March. British South American Airways Corporation (BSAAC), an airline created by World War II veteran pilots in an effort to provide service into the previously untapped South American trade and passenger routes, commenced transatlantic services with a BSAA plane making the first operational flight from London Heathrow Airport to Bermuda and beyond. The airline operated mostly Avro aircraft: Yorks, Lancastrians and Tudors, and flew to Bermuda, the West Indies and the western coast of South America.
British Ministry of Transport decided to purchase her and rebuild her as an emigrant liner. She was moved under her own power to Southampton where she was rebuilt by Vosper Thornycroft. Her distinctive three funnels were removed and replaced with a single funnel. She was then 20,256 gross tons, 553.2 ft long and 76.7 ft wide. She was refitted to accommodate 1,600 passengers in one class. In 1949 she was renamed New Australia and Shaw Savill were contracted by the Ministry of Transport to manage and operate her on behalf of the British Government. Later, she was sold and became the Arkadia.
End of Monarch of Bermuda on May 24, 1947
53rd WRS hurricane-hunting over Bermuda October 19, 1947. USAF photo
1948. January 30/31. The British South American Airways civilian aircraft Star Tiger (registration G-AHNP was lost. It had 29 passengers and a crew of 6. It had logged just over 500 flight hours. The plane was flown and commanded by Capt. B. W. McMillan, and copiloted by both Capt. David Colby and C. Ellison, all experienced pilots.The Star Tiger was en route from England to Bermuda, but had a fuel layover in the Azores. At 03:15 hours, Capt. McMillan requested a bearing on Bermuda. The request was routine, and there was no panic or cause for alarm. After receiving the bearings, Capt. McMillan gave an estimated arrival time at 05:00. That was the last contact with the Star Tiger. Bermuda went on the alert after 05:00. The British Civil Air Ministry launched a search and full scale investigation, but no signs of the Star Tiger, or her 29 passengers and crew were ever found. A merchant ship, SS Troubadour, had reported seeing a low flying aircraft with lights blinking about halfway between Bermuda and the entrance to Delaware Bay, which meant that if the aircraft was Star Tiger, then it had gone well off-course from Bermuda. Star Tiger had reported in one of its messages that it was flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet, ostensibly to control a mishap should the cabin lose pressure, but at that altitude there would have been no time to issue a distress call should the aircraft have been forced to ditch at sea. The UK Civil Air Ministry later issued this press release into the incident: "In closing this report it may truly be said that no more baffling problem has ever been presented for investigation. In the complete absence of any reliable evidence as to either the nature or the cause of the accident of Star Tiger the Court has not been able to do more than suggest possibilities, none of which reaches the level even of probability. Into all activities which involve the co-operation of man and machine two elements enter of a very diverse character (sic). There is an incalculable element of the human equation dependent upon imperfectly known factors; and there is the mechanical element subject to quite different laws. A breakdown may occur in either separately or in both in conjunction. Or some external cause may overwhelm both man and machine. What happened in this case will never be known and the fate of Star Tiger must remain an unsolved mystery." But there are a number of clues in the official accident report that reveal the Star Tiger had encountered problems before it reached the Azores. The aircraft's heater was notoriously unreliable and had failed en route, and one of the compasses was found to be faulty. Probably to keep the plane warmer, the pilot had decided to fly the whole transatlantic route very low, at 2,000 feet, burning fuel at a faster rate. On approaching Bermuda, Star Tiger was a little off course and had been flying an hour later than planned. In addition, the official Ministry of Civil Aviation report considered that the headwinds faced by Star Tiger may have been much stronger than those forecast. This would have caused the fuel to burn more quickly. Flying at 2,000 feet they would have used up much more fuel. At 2,000 feet they would be leaving very little altitude for manoeuvre. In any serious in-flight emergency they could have lost their height in seconds and gone into the sea. Whatever happened to the plane, it was sudden and catastrophic - there was no time to send an emergency signal. The Avro Tudor IV was a converted warplane that was eventually taken out of passenger service because of its poor safety record. Only BSAA continued to fly the aircraft. Gordon Store was chief pilot and manager of operations at BSAA. Much later, he said he had no confidence in the Tudor's engines. "Its systems were hopeless… all the hydraulics, the air-conditioning equipment and the recycling fans were crammed together underneath the floor without any thought. There were fuel-burning heaters that would never work."
1948. At Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda, Sir Richard Fairey, who had founded the UK's strategically important Fairey Aviation company and had maintained both a house and yacht in Bermuda, was awarded the US Medal of Freedom (with Silver Palm). It was for his assistance with the development of American aircraft when he was Director General of the British Air Commission at Washington, DC during World War 2. The award was made to Sir Richard by the then-Commanding Officer, Colonel Thomas D. Ferguson, on behalf of the President of the USA.
Empire Windrush in Bermuda, June 1948
SS Leicester being towed off Bermuda
USS Rochester in Bermuda, 1948
1948 Bermuda pillow cushion
1949. January 17. Almost a year to the day after the loss of Star Tiger, the airliner Star Ariel of British South American Airways was lost. She departed Bermuda for Kingston, Jamaica on this date carrying seven crewmembers and 13 passengers. Shortly after take-off, her pilot, Capt. J. C. McPhee, radioed in the following report: "I DEPARTED FROM KINDLEY FIELD AT 8:41 A.M. HOURS. MY ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL AT KINGSTON 2:10 P.M. HOURS. I AM FLYING IN GOOD VISIBILITY AT 18,000 FT. I FLEW OVER 150 MILES SOUTH OF KINDLEY FIELD AT 9:32 HRS. MY ETA AT 30° N IS 9:37 HRS. WILL YOU ACCEPT CONTROL?"And then later Capt. McPhee reported: "I WAS OVER 30° N AT 9:37 I AM CHANGING FREQUENCY TO MRX." Those were the last transmissions from the Star Ariel, and she was never heard from again. The plane vanished without trace at 18,000 feet. According to experts, this would have required a sudden catastrophe. Again, no wreckage, debris or bodies were ever found. Fuel starvation at that height was not plausible, the weather report had been good, and pilot error was ruled out. The plane's poor design may well have been to blame. The official accident investigation discovered that because of a communications error, search and rescue teams were not despatched until seven and a half hours later. By then what was left of the plane and the bodies would have sunk. More than 70 aircraft and many ships were involved in a search between 100 and 500 miles south of Bermuda, search vessels including the aircraft carriers USS Kearsage and USS Leyte, and the battleship USS Missouri, involving upwards of 13,000 men. No sign of debris, oil slicks, or wreckage were ever found. Both this incident and the one a year earlier later prompted the use of the Tudor IV aircraft to be discontinued.
Governor Sir Alexander Hood
1950. Argus Insurance was established through a need for medical insurance and it also formed the Somers Isles Insurance Company.
1950. Major Cuthbert Brook-Smith (he appears in the Army Lists as C B Smith but used the surname Brook-Smith) - pictured below - was posted to Bermuda as GSO II to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda. He was there as a staff officer (not in any way attached to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry posted there later). He had been commissioned into the King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) on 30th January 1936. He was appointed temporary Lt Col on 28th June 1945 but reverted to his substantive rank of Major shortly afterwards. In Bermuda, he married a Bermudian, the daughter of Mrs. Helen Arnell. (His brother-in-law was Jack Arnell). He relinquished his appointment in Bermuda in 1952 and returned to 1 KSLI. He took over command of the Battalion in Kenya. It is believed that he accidentally walked into an ambush that had been set on a track to lure the Mau Mau, but instead he was shot by members of his own unit and died instantly. He was buried in Kenya.
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