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Bermuda's History from 1952 to 1999

Significant news events in the final half of the 20th century

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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 Artists who painted Bermuda Bermuda, Britain & Commonwealth
Bermuda & Canada Bermuda & France Bermuda & USA
Bermuda's postage stamps Historic Houses History 1500 to 1699
History 1700 to 1799 History 1800 to 1899 History 1900 to 1939 pre-war
History 1939 to 1951 History 1952 to 1999 History  2000 to 2005
History 2006 Part 1 History 2006 Part 2 History 2007 Jan and Feb
History 2007 March History 2007 April History 2007 May
History 2007 June 1-15th History 2007 June 16 to 30th History 2007 July 1-15
History 2007 July 16th to 31st History 2007 August 1 to 7 History 2007 August 8 to 14
History 2007 August 15 to 21 History 2007 August 22-31 History 2007 September 1 to 10
History 2007 September 11 to December 31 History 2008 to 2010 History 2011 through 2012
History 2013 History 2014 part 1 History 2014 part 2
History 2015 January History 2015 February History 2015 March
History 2015 April History 2015 May History 2015 June
History 2015 July History 2015 August History 2015 September
History 2015 October History 2015 November History 2015 December
History 2016 January History 2016 February History 2016 March
History 2016 April History 2016 May History 2016 June
History 2016 July    


1952. On the death of her father King George VI from cancer, Queen Elizabeth 2 was enthroned. She was destined to become one of the longest-serving monarchs in British history. Three of her children were divorced amid much controversy.

1952. Last visit to Bermuda of the Canadian Ladyboats "Lady Nelson" and "Lady Rodney." They were sold to an Egyptian shipping company.

1952. Then a young and not-yet-internationally famous Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer arrived in Bermuda. He had made his professional debut in 1948 with Ottawa’s Stage Society, performing over 100 roles with its successor, the Canadian Repertory Theatre. He then joined the Bermuda Repertory Theatre — a professional theatre company based out of the old Bermudiana Hotel in Hamilton — for its 1952 season. Performing for visitors and locals at a small theatre at the hotel, the Bermuda Repertory Theatre was for several years a magnet for young, up-and-coming American and Canadian actors. Mr. Plummer performed in half-a-dozen plays during his time in Bermuda, playing Old Mahon, “The Playboy of the Western World,” Anthony Cavendish in “The Royal Family, Bermuda Repertory Theatre”, Ben in “The Little Foxes”, Duke Manti in “The Petrified Forest”, Father in “George and Margaret”, Hector Benbow in “Thark” and Bernard Kersal in “The Constant Wife.” His success in Bermuda caught the attention of a US producer which led to Mr. Plummer being cast in a 1953 American tour of the play “Nina.” In the 1960s he achieved his permanent claim to fame as the lead character in the Austrian-made film The Sound of Music."

1952. Bumping over the old barge bridge became a thing of the past in late 1952 when Kindley AFB's new Long Bird Bridge, built entirely and solely by the US Military at US taxpayers' expense, was officially opened. (Technically, at that time, it was part of what had been since 1941 the leased Kindley Air Force Base of the US Army Air Corps, later the USAF). 

1952. Among the Bermudian members of the Kindley Air Force Base Flying Club was Sidney Stallard. He flew a Piper Cub and used his flying jaunts to take many photos of the Island.

1952. The Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) was established. The founding members were all Heads of Government Departments who included: Mr. Ralph Gauntlett, O.B.E., E.D. Collector of Customs; Mr. Martin Godet, Senior Magistrate: and Mr. Donald J. Williams, Inspector of Schools. A statement issued on behalf of the group said, "Recognizing the importance of its Civil Service establishments to the smooth and efficient operation of any country, and being gravely concerned over the fact that it was becoming increasingly difficult to induce qualified young men and women to enter the Civil Service of Bermuda, and what that portends, a number of civil servants met some months ago to consider the situation."

1952. The Committee of 25 was established by a group of non-Bermudian women. They were led by Canadian-born Edna Watson who in 1948 had become, with Hilda Aitkin, had become the first women in Bermuda's Parliament. Initially, they were appalled by conditions at the Packwood Old Folks Home. One of their major projects was the creation of a children's convalescent hospital at Ireland Island where Lefroy House is today.

1952. December 6. Cubana's "Estrella de Oriente" ("Star of the East") DC-4 registration CU-T397 from Madrid crashed in Bermuda on its way to Havana, shortly (3 miles) after leaving Bermuda. Many died, including Capt. René Ayala, who commanded the aircraft. A dramatic rescue operation was mounted from Kindley AFB Bermuda to save the passengers of the stricken Cubana Airlines  - Compañía Cubana de Aviación S.A -.aircraft which took off from the Civil Air Terminal but crashed into the waters of Castle Harbour at the end of the runway at about 4.30 pm. Bermuda had been well prepared for such a rescue operation, due to the previous establishment at Kindley Air Force Base of crash boats imported and operated especially for such an emergency. Two US servicemen on board the 35-foot crash boat that went out to rescue the aircraft's passengers heard faint screams coming from the dark, oil-slicked water. They leapt overboard without lifelines or preservers, in an attempt to rescue the passengers. But despite their heroic efforts, and those of others, in rescuing four people, the balance of the passengers and crew of the stricken aircraft - some thirty seven people in all - perished from wounds incurred in the crash.

Cubana's Estrella de Oriente

Cubana's Estrella de Oriente DC4 before her crash. Photo courtesy Compañía Cubana de Aviación S.A.1995.

1953. First of three visits, first and second secret, when John F. Kennedy came to Bermuda, at the age of 36 and about to become a Senator. He stayed at Eventide (now Kennedy House, after the late President) on Burnt House Hill. It was then owned by his friend, wealthy American Oliver Newbury. He fell off his moped on that hill. He was invited Mr. Brooks, a school friend of Mr. Kennedy who was also friendly with Mr. Newbury.

1953. April. A Bermuda Parliamentary Select Committee on Race Relations was appointed and met to consider the race question. The group consisted of  black and white Members of the Colonial Parliament. They met on an irregular basis  for eight months and reported to the House in late January 1954. Their remit included consideration of occupational opportunities for blacks in government service, institutions subsidized by the government and those in the private sector. They noted segregation in government and aided, non-governmental and unaided organizations, Trade Development Policy toward colored visitors and more. But nothing significant was done

1953. Lois Browne-Evans became Bermuda’s first female, black lawyer.

1953. Iridomvrmexhumilis (the Argentine ant) was accidentally introduced to Bermuda, in imported nursery plants.

1953. June 2. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey, London. Bermuda sent a delegation.

1953. July. Edwin McDavid, the black President of the State Council and Minister of State for British Guiana (later, Guyana), arrived in Bermuda with his wife by accident. The BOAC aircraft carrying him (and his wife) to London to be knighted by the Queen had to make an unscheduled atop in Bermuda, owing to engine trouble. As Bermuda's Inn Keepers Act of 1930 did not allow Jews or Negroes or Catholics to enter a white hotel or  guesthouse, only at the black Imperial Hotel, they were not allowed entry at the St. George Hotel, like other passengers. McDavid and his wife protested this by returning to the airport where they spent the night sleeping on benches in the airport lounge. The same thing had happened a little earlier to the black Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly, bound for London for the same reason, who also went from Barbados via Bermuda. The six black Members of Bermuda'a Colonial Parliament sent a letter of protest to the Governor, but it did not result in any remedial action.

1953. The Shell Co. of Bermuda purchased a site on East Broadway for the purpose of constructing a modern service station. Holmes, Williams and Purvey (HWP) immediately started negotiating with a view to being appointed as Managers, and with the completion of the station early in 1953 were informed they had been successful. It began HWP's partnership with Shell.

1953. Despite the limited property-based franchise, nine of the black candidates contesting seats in the general election were returned as members of the House of Assembly.

1953. Death in Bermuda at the age of 81 of John J. Bushell, whose Bermuda handbook tourist guide made him a unique local resource.

1953. Acclaimed American actor Charlton Heston (1923 to 2008) performed in Bermuda, in a production of  Shakespeare's Macbeth. The superstition surrounding this play may have affected him in more ways than one. Productions of “Macbeth” — which involves witchcraft, the unbridled political ambitions of a Scottish warlord and murder — are said to have been plagued with accidents, some ending in death. According to legend, this dates back to the premiere of the play in the early 17th century: an actor is said to have died because a real dagger was mistakenly used instead of the prop. Academy Award-winning actor Heston played the title role in “Macbeth” in this Bermuda production at Fort St. Catherine directed by Burgess Meredith. During the first performance, when he was riding a horse bareback around the East End fort’s ramparts, Mr. Heston (pictured below) suddenly rushed off stage, pointing at his tights, writhing in pain and yelling: “Get them off me!” According to the actor’s later autobiography, whoever had laundered his tights had dipped them in kerosene and the sweat of the horse and the heat caused serious burns to Mr. Heston’s legs and groin. Later, the wooden facade of Macbeth’s castle came down burning as planned, but the wind blew flames and smoke into the Bermuda audience. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Despite these mishaps, Mr. Heston — who went on to appear in such films as “The Ten Commandments” [1956], “Ben-Hur” [1959] and “Planet of The Apes” [1968] — returned to Bermuda the following year to appear in a production of “Born Yesterday” with original Broadway stars Jan Sterling and Paul Douglas. He said that the worst thing to happen to him on this second visit was getting sunburned at the Coral Beach Club when he was posing for publicity photographs with his co-stars [below].

Charlton Heston Charlton Heston and colleages in Bermuda

Charlton Heston and colleagues in Bermuda

1953. Bermuda was established as a separate Catholic Church entity, which eventually led to Bermuda becoming its own diocese and to have its own Bishop. Prior to 1953, from 1853, Bermuda was a mission of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Archdiocese. During those 100 years, the Archdiocese would regularly send down priests and bishops to minister to Catholics on the island.

1953. May. The Royal Navy's submarine HMS Andrew became the first submarine to cross the Atlantic entirely underwater, using the "snort" system. She sailed from the Royal Navy Dockyard in Bermuda

1953. Members of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps had their photograph taken (see below) while at Dockyard, with Seeward S. Toddings, Chairman of the Defence Board, present.

Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) with Seeward S. Toddings, Chairman of Defence Board

Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC), Bermuda's then segregated (white) unit of the local armed forces, at Dockyard with Defence Board Chairman Seward S. Toddings. Photo kindly loaned by his step-daughter Cindy Olden specifically for this Bermuda Online web file as a historical photo.

1953 visit of Queen and Duke1953. November 23-24. Only five months after her glittering Coronation in London, with the world-wide publicity it generated, Bermuda received its first visit - a 24-hour stay - from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of Britain's and Bermuda's last ever King-Emperor, George VI. Her father, King George VI. had died on February 6, 1952, while she and her husband were on a tour of Kenya, when she first became Queen. Bermuda was her first stop on her 173-day Commonwealth Coronation Tour. The new royal yacht Britannia was not quite ready, so the couple flew to Bermuda on a especially-furnished British Overseas Airways Corporation  (BOAC) Stratocruiser "Canopus." It was the first occasion that a reigning British monarch had ever visited Britain's oldest colony. With her was her Greek-born Consort, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  The royal couple were greeted by his Excellency the Governor, Lieutenant General Sir Alexander Hood. With him were local VIPs including Lady Hood, Miss Rosemary Hood, Wing-Commander John Fountain and Wing-Commander E. M. Ware. Later, the Queen and Duke, flanked by Archdeacon John Stow and the Governor, visited St. Peter's Church in St. George's, the oldest Anglican church in the western hemisphere. The steps of the church were lined by Girl Guides and Brownies. The Queen was greeted by Archdeacon John Stow, rector of St. Peter's, and with him climbed the steps and passed through the portals of the church which has been so closely linked with the history of the Colony. [In 1616 St. Peter's served as the first meeting place of the court of general assize, and within its walls the first General Assembly met in August 1620. The first Crown Governor sent to Bermuda, Sir Robert Robinson, had his first proclamation read in St. Peter's in 1687]. Also visited was the United States Air Force Bermuda-based Kindley Air Force Base. Later, the Queen and Duke went on board the Wilhelmina, which cruised among the islands of Great Sound while luncheon was served. When she left Bermuda, it was to the sound of a bagpipe played by Tommy Aitchison, official piper to the Caledonian Society. After their brief one day Bermuda visit they flew to Jamaica, their next stop, where they boarded the steamship Gothic to New Zealand. Britannia, built on Clydebank at a cost of £1.8million – and designed to be converted into a hospital ship in times of war – would take them home from Tobruk, Libya, after the tour. For months beforehand, UK newspaper snippets appeared about the schedule, weather and transport. The tone was solicitous, almost anxious, perhaps understandably. Elizabeth was the fourth monarch on the throne in less than 20 years and had two young children she would have to leave behind for six months. By departure day, November 23, the headlines in the London press had become a blizzard: “Queen off tonight at 8.45, Weather for first stage favorable”, “Final check up on Stratocruiser”, “4,770 miles in 42 hours with day in Bermuda.” A map of the route was printed. Royal Navy ships were stationed all the way across the Atlantic. Hartnell’s the Queen's dressmakers -  delivered the Queen’s dresses to the Palace: the only details released, for fear of copying, were the colors – candy pink, pale rose, blue, yellow and white – and that some dresses were cotton print and others contained up to 100 yards of tulle. At a state dinner held the next day in honor of the Queen, 30 persons were invited, but not one of them was black. This was duly noted by the UK's Daily Herald newspaper as a deliberate slur of the British Commonwealth's millions of blacks. The newspaper blamed Bermuda's Governor.

Royal Visit 1953

HM the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Bermuda 1953

Royal Visit November 1953. Bottom two photos kindly loaned this author by Cindy Olden (nee Farnsworth), step-daughter of S. A. Toddings, MCP, who is shown greeting the Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. They were accompanied by Bermuda's Governor and his aide-de-camp. To the far right are members of the Bermuda Government.

1953. December 4. Bermuda hosted her first Summit Conference when United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French Premier Joseph Laniel. Messrs. Eisenhower and Churchill had visited Bermuda during World War II, but Bermuda had not yet seen any elected leader of France. Churchill wanted the meeting because he felt French interest in the proposal hampered the cause of the post-war Western Alliance. He sought a united British, American and French accord against the idea. On the day of his arrival, Premier Laniel visited some leading tourist attractions including the Aquarium and Natural Zoo, Crystal Caves and St. Peter's Church. He incurred a slight mishap when he slipped on the coconut matting leading into the caves, but was caught and righted before he fell. But during the same excursion he contracted a chill which turned into a bad cold, as the result of which his Foreign Minister, M. Georges Bidault, substituted for him for the rest of the conference. For a formal dinner at Bermuda's Government house involving the three prominent participants, Churchill introduced a goat into the room, a military mascot; and smoked cigars. Several days later at least one prominent French newspaper, published in Paris, reported Monsieur Laniel as being frigidly not amused with Churchill's preoccupation with the goat, to the extent of inviting it to dinner with world leaders - and sick to his stomach from what he described as the "stench of the British Bulldog's cigars polluting the atmosphere in the after dinner conference." President Eisenhower, Churchill and Laniel spent four days in Bermuda. Their geopolitical discussions centered mostly on relations with the USSR as the post-war Cold War began to intensify. Within hours of the commencement of the conference came an official note from Moscow which requested, in somewhat brusque terms, a 4 Power meeting involving the Russian leader. Also on the agenda agreed by Churchill and Laniel was a speech President Eisenhower delivered to the full Assembly of the United Nations in New York a few days later.

Churchill greeting Eisenhower at USA's Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda

Prime Minister Winston Churchill greeting President Eisenhower at  the USA's Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda. Also shown are the Consul-General of the USA in Bermuda and the commander of Kindley Air Force Base. Photo kindly loaned the author by Cindy Olden (nee Farnsworth), step-daughter of S. A. Toddings, MCP, then chairman of the Bermuda Defence Forces.

Churchill inspecting Bermuda defence forces, BMA

Mr Churchill inspecting the Bermuda Militia Artillery with Governor Lieutenant General Sir Alexander Hood.

First Summit Meeting, Churchill inspecting the Bermuda Rifles

 Prime Minister Churchill and his party, including Anthony Eden (later, a Prime Minister himself) inspecting the Bermuda Militia Artillery (top photo) and Bermuda Rifles (BVRC - bottom photo) on Front Street. Photos kindly loaned this author by Cindy Olden (nee Farnsworth), step-daughter of S. A. Toddings, MCP, (shown in top photo between the corporal and Anthony Eden), then chairman of the Bermuda Defence Forces.

Eisenhowr and Churchill at Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda

1954. Bermuda Audubon Society formed in response to marsh dumping.

1954. A Coy Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) landed in Bermuda for their 1-year stay, from the troopship Empire Clyde.  It was reported in the Mid Ocean News, then owned by SS Toddings, Chairman of the Defence Board. It was the last permanent British Army unit in the Bermuda Garrison based at Prospect Camp. See British Army in Bermuda.

Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in Bermuda

1954. Ground was broken for the Cold War listening post at the U.S. Naval Facility (NAVRAC), Bermuda, atop Tudor Hill, Southampton Parish. Over a year of work by Navy Seabees and Western Electric Company was done before the Facility was commissioned June 1, 1955 as USN Tudor Hill, 1954–1995. The US Navy operated a listening post from Tudor Hill until the closure of US bases in 1995. This base remotely monitored sensors designed to listen for submarines moving through the Atlantic. There was some hope that the base would survive the end of the Cold War, and the base closures of 1995. It was thought that it might be adapted to scientific purposes, for the monitoring of whales, but it was closed, instead, along with NAS Bermuda, and the NAS Annex.

1954. Furness Bermuda issued this poster of its New York to Bermuda service.

Furness Bermuda Line 1954

1954. Wing Commander E. M. "Mo" Ware, Director of Civil Aviation, bought his 1946 Luscombe 8a Silvaire airplane, originally imported by Hugh Watlington in 1952. Ware, with Jim Babineau and Colin Plant, acquired it from Bermuda Air Tours. At one time the Luscombe had been fitted with a wheeled undercarriage from a Tiger Moth, for flights at Kindley Field.

Luscombe VR-BAK

Wing Commander Ware's Bermuda-based aircraft

1954. July 3. In what became known as the "Bermuda Radar Case" in official reports of the United States Air Force, this report involves official radarscope photos of UFOs off Bermuda, taken that day. Project Blue Book "identified" these as a battleship and six accompanying destroyers but the experienced radar operator stated that the radar returns were definitely unidentified and unlike any ship returns he had ever seen. This report is not listed in the Blue Book "Unknowns." There were radar scope photos of a geometric formation of 7 objects traveling SW [10-50 miles, of 6 disc-shaped objects circled larger disc in the center at low altitude. A B-36 flying over the Atlantic near Bermuda reported receiving peculiar radar returns on an APS-23 radar set. The returns consisted of a clear and well defined circular formation containing 7 and at times 8 objects. The returns were first observed by Capt. Charles C. Spahn, R.O. Spahn had 11 years Air Force service and 3,400 hours flying hours and 1,500 hours as a radar observer. Spahn did not think these returns were ships on the surface. He had tracked a couple of ships just hours before the returns showed up. Spahn said that the shape of the individual returns are not common to ships.

1954. A second British Royal Navy submarine (after HMS Andrew in 1953) sailed completely underwater from Bermuda, establishing a world record. She too used the "snort" system. In this case the vessel was the Royal Navy's HMS Tally Ho, named by Sir Winston Churchill.

HMS Tally Ho

HMS Tally Ho after arriving from Bermuda

1954. Ariel Sands Beach Club opened (but closed in 2008 and the land has been vacant ever since).

1954. Formation of a small society of avid Bermuda-based orchid lovers that in previous years after World War 2 had met informally at each other's slat houses. It later became Bermuda's Orchid Society.

1954. The Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954 Act was passed by the Bermuda legislature, making it is an offence to drive or ride an auxiliary cycle on a highway if either the rider or any passenger is not wearing protective headgear. Legislation requires protective headgear to comply with British, US or UN standard regulations.

1955. Lieutenant General Sir John (Dane) Woodall (1897 to 1985) became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda until 1960. In his service biography he was listed as having joined the Royal Artillery 1915 ; World War I 1915-1918; Gallipoli 1915 ; Staff Capt, Royal Artillery, Salonika and Black Sea 1918-1919; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Black Sea 1919 ; Staff Capt, Turkey 1919-1922; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Turkey 1922-1924; Instructor in Gunnery, Northern Command 1927-1929; Staff Officer, Royal Artillery, Western Command 1932-1934; Brigade Major, Royal Artillery, Malaya 1934-1936; Instructor, RAF Staff College, 1938 ; World War II 1939-1945; General Staff Officer Grade 1, General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1939-1940; Brig, General Staff 1940-1943; Regimental Commander, Royal Artillery 1943 ; Senior Air Staff Officer, Army Co-operation Command, RAF 1943-1944; Deputy Director of Staff Duties, War Office 1944-1946; Director of Manpower, War Office 1946-1949; Vice Adjutant General to the Forces 1949-1952; General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland 1952-1955; retired 1955.

1955. Princess Margaret visited Bermuda.

1955. March 8. New York newspapers carried a story of how the Furness Bermuda Line offered the olive branch a day earlier to the 300 seamen, who walked off the luxury liner Queen of Bermuda the previous Saturday, stranding 560 Bermuda-bound vacationers. It had just released the following poster.

Furness Bermuda 1955.

1955. A Coy Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI), who arrived in Bermuda in 1954, paraded for HRH Princess Margaret in Hamilton

Princess Margaret reviewing the DCLI in Bermuda

HRH Princess Margaret inspecting an Honour Guard at Prospect Garrison, Devonshire, during her 1955 visit to Bermuda. It was formed by "A" Company, 1 Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI). She was escorted by Commanding Officer, Major J. A. Marsh, DSO and Garrison Commander Brigadier J. A. M Rice-Evans.

DCLI on parade at Albouy's Point

Members of the DCLI  also paraded at Albouy's Point, in front of the moored cruise ship Queen of Bermuda

1955. June 1. The Cold War listening post at the U.S. Naval Facility, Bermuda, atop Tudor Hill, Southampton Parish was officially opened, after a year of work by Navy Seabees and Western Electric Company of USA. Circling USN aircraft dropped sonar buoys to locate Soviet submarines heading for Cuba or the east coast of the USA. The buoys were a communications hub in the readiness to launch a nuclear response. It was known as USN Tudor Hill, 1954–1995. The US Navy operated it until the closure of US bases in 1995. This base remotely monitored sensors designed to listen for and played a key role in the constantly successful but top-secret detection of Russian submarines moving through the Atlantic, especially those moving to and from Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. There was some hope that the base would survive the end of the Cold War, and the base closures of 1995. It was thought that it might be adapted to scientific purposes, for the monitoring of whales, but it was closed, instead, along with NAS Bermuda, and the NAS Annex.

1955. June. For several years from this one, the 59th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Hurricane Hunters) were based in Bermuda, at the USAF's Kindley Air Force Base.

1955. June 1. The US Navy's Naval Facility (NAVFAC) Bermuda was commissioned. It was located on the west end of Bermuda in Southampton Parish, adjacent to the island’s scenic south shore. 

1955. From June to June 1958, James Mathews, stationed in Bermuda for three years at the USA's Kindley Air Force Base, was one of the five technicians who set up and operated the Kindley AFB TV station, ZBK-TV, Bermuda's first. They loaded it at the factory in Michigan City, Indiana, trucked it and then flew it to Bermuda via Dover AFB.

1955. July 4, Independence Day in the USA. American servicemen and their families and friends in Bermuda had a special reason to celebrate. ZBK-TV from Kindley, Bermuda's first television station (no longer in existence) signaled a new era of communications. The audience was officially limited to television receivers in on-base quarters and barracks. But a number of Bermudian families who had equipped themselves with TV sets in hopes of 'catching' the programming were not disappointed in their investment. The signal could be picked up easily in St. George's, Tucker's Town and a few isolated spots even as far away as Harrington Sound, in the vicinity of Flatts. Locals acquired a TV set and could easily receive from their hill-top vantage point the TV signal from Kindley - and periodically invited their neighbors and friends around to watch the American shows, then only in black-and-white, of course. Originally, it had been intended to provide Island-wide TV service and the Bermuda Government had given its permission. But it was discovered that it would not be possible, because the TV footage was then provided by the American TV networks, agencies and unions for transmitting to military forces and their dependents only, not for civilian audiences. TV for the US Navy at Southampton and for all of civilian Bermuda took longer to materialize. American TV engineers who arrived at Kindley were faced with the highly technical problem of trying to restrict transmission to the base area. The USA military audience in Bermuda was exceedingly small, limited to television receivers in on-base quarters and barracks. One of the reasons behind the decision to allow TV to the American military was the fact that the 1,500-plus American service families felt they should not be 'deprived' of TV simply because they were residing in Bermuda, when US bases elsewhere in the world all had TV.  The station was one of the last arrivals in Armed Forces Radio and Television Service outlets installed at American military bases overseas.

1955. Death of Dr. Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon, the man who had organized the Bermuda Workers Association in the 1940's as the forerunner of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Many of Bermuda 's blacks wept at his graveside. That they had a better future was in very large part due to his tireless efforts on their behalf over more than two decades.  

Major Cuthbert Brooke-Smith1955. August 14. Death in Kenya of Lieutenant Colonel ("Tupper")  Brooke-Smith, King's Shropshire Light Infantry, when on active service against the Mau Mau in Kenya. 1955. A year of tragedy for a family with strong Bermuda connections. He served as GSO-2 (Adjutant) of the Prospect Garrison in Bermuda from 1949-1952. He was the son-in-law of the late Helen Arnell and brother-in-law of local naval and postal history historian and author Dr. Jack Arnell. He was accidentally shot and killed in 1955 by his own troops in a forest near Nairobi, Kenya, during the Mau Mau uprising. His unit had been posted to Kenya after serving in Bermuda. Brooke Smith’s researches in Bermuda led to the erection and inscriptions of the military monuments at the Prospect Garrison burial ground and the installation at the Prospect Officer’s Mess – later, the Police Club – of a plaque recording briefly what principal British Army units had been based in Bermuda. In 1949, according to an account posted by his brother-in-law Jack Arnell, see below, another account says 1950), then-Major  Brooke-Smith was posted to Bermuda as GSO II to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda. He previously served at Buckingham Palace, London. He was in Bermuda 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 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, Joyce Arnell, the daughter of Mrs. Helen Arnell. (His brother-in-law was the late author and historian Jack Arnell). He relinquished his appointment in Bermuda in 1952 and returned to 1 KSLI. He took over command of the Battalion in Kenya. In 1956 he walked into an ambush that had been set on a track to lure the Mau Mau. It was speculated in the British press in London that he had been made so deeply unhappy as the result of a domestic situation that he wanted to end his life and entered the ambush trap laid by his men that he was supposed to avoid. He was shot in error by a Bren gunner member of his own unit and died instantly. It was recorded as a tragic accident. He was buried in a civilian cemetery in Nairobi, Kenya, at the request of his wife and family instead of being brought back to the UK for burial. His name is shown, belatedly, on the War Memorial at Bishop Sutton, Shropshire and in 2007 was included on the National Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire. One son,  Bruce A. Brooke-Smith, lives in Threeburrows, Blackwater, Truro, Cornwall. There was also a daughter, Philippa, who died some years ago.

1955. Formation of the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band, so-called because it originated in 1955 as "A" Company of the Bermuda Cadet Corps when Captain Henry Hallett was the Company Commander. (Paddy Coyle of the Gordon Highlanders, whose idea it was to start the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band, was in the detachment of the  Highland Brigade stationed in Bermuda at the time. In his honor, the band wore the Gordon tartan).

1955. The American "Crunch and Des" TV Series - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047725/ was filmed in Bermuda.

1955. August. St. George’s Cricket Club narrowly beat the West Indies - by seven runs. The visiting West Indies XI was captained by cricket legend Everton Weekes. The St. George’s team were D. Steede, G. Dyer, W. Smith, L. James, S. Paynter, C. Simmons, A. Hall, St. C. Smith, L. Richardson, F. Trott and C. Welch. The West Indies team players were C. DePeiza, G. Sobers, C. Smith, E. Weekes, C. Sampath, S. Oliver, E. H. C. Griffith, B. Hardinge, C. Skeete, A. Hadeed and A. Maroj. 

1955. December 22/23. Hamilton Hotel was destroyed by fire. It was built in 1851, during the term of Mayor Henry James Tucker, the cornerstone of the original Hamilton Hotel was built. On completion in 1852 it had 36 rooms. It was the first hotel in Bermuda and pioneered Bermuda's fledgling tourist industry. It was extended hugely and modernized at the beginning of the 20th century. It stood where the City Hall Car Park is now located. It was a landmark in Hamilton for over a century, by then no longer a hotel but headquarters for many Government Departments and sundry agencies. In one of the most spectacular fires ever witnessed in Bermuda it was totally destroyed. It had been Bermuda 's first major hotel and had been funded by the Corporation of Hamilton, after pressure from the mercantile community of the mid-19th century to provide a decent hostelry for tourists. Its construction was marked with initial enthusiasm, then considerable diffidence until the original pioneer of steamship services to Bermuda, Samuel Cunard, had forced the issue by withdrawing his ships from the Bermuda run in protest against the lack of a suitable facility for the clients on board his ships. Over its century of establishment, the Hamilton Hotel was added to on a number of occasions. And it had welcomed many distinguished visitors, plus the crews of Bermuda 's famous cruise-ships of the Furness-Withy Line and the thousands of passengers who had disembarked from those ships. The shell of the hotel was too far gone from the fire to warrant reconstruction. Instead, it was decided by the Corporation of Hamilton that the site would be earmarked for a brand-new City Hall.

Hamilton Hotel 1

Hamilton Hotel burnt down 1955


Hamilton Hotel 2 Hamilton Hotel 3

Hamilton Hotel begin in 1851, finished in 1852, destroyed by fire 1955

1956. Bermuda College Weeks was described thus by USA's Sports Illustrated, see http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1069587/index.htm.

1956. The Technical Institute opened as a replacement for the Dockyard Apprentice Training Scheme. It was the first non-segregated school supported by Government. It was a forerunner of the Bermuda College.

1956. George Sousa was the first Bermudian of Portuguese descent to star in local FA  cup soccer. He captained Bermuda from 1956-1959.

1956. August. "Time Out For Teenagers”  was a weekly live television program that aired on ZBK-TV, Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda, until August 1957. Host of the program - a presenter in British BBC and Bermuda terminology - was Lee (Tedford) Grantham.  He was joined from time to time as assistant hosts by persons including Barbara Best, John Dudney, Judy Gaddy, Patricia "Trish" McLaughlin, Tucker McClane, Tommy Newkirk, Ellen Ray, Brian Stephenson,  John Stith and Jackie Tightman. Lee was the elder son of Major Dick F. Tedford USAF, from the USA, stationed at Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda from June 1955 to August 1958 with his family including much younger son Scott. The show was produced mostly by Mary Jane Tedford, wife of Major Tedford and mother of Lee and Scott. Lee also wrote to this author: "I began a radio program on ZBM-2 daily, playing top forty music and went on to have daily and weekly music programs on ZBM-1 as well. They were historic years in the history of Broadcasting in Bermuda and those of us fortunate to be a part of that page in Broadcast history." Lee wrote the late website "Bermuda and Beyond." 

1956. The movie "Bermuda Affair" was filmed in Bermuda. It starred Kim Hunter, Gary Merrill and Ron Randell and was filmed mostly at Darrell's Island during the latter's short-lived time as a movie studio after it closed as a base for flying boats aircraft. One highlight of the movie was a flight by Wing Commander E. M. "Mo" Ware, Director of Civil Aviation, of his Bermuda-based Luscombe aircraft bought in 1954.

1956. Spithead House in Warwick Parish was lived in by British actor, playwright and composer of popular music Sir Noël Peirce Coward (born 16 December 1899, died 26 March 1973) who later went to live in Jamaica.

1957. March 26. Big Two Conference in Bermuda between Prime Minister Harold McMillan and US President Dwight Eisenhower. 

Macmillan and the President in Bermuda March 1957

Eisenhower and MacMillan in Bermuda, arriving at Kindley Air Force Base

President Eisenhower being greeted by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on arrival at Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda

Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent reviewing troops in Hamilton

Also present were Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent for two days of talks and other British Commonwealth officials. The latter group , with Bermuda's Governor Lt. Gen Sir John Woodall, the Mayor of Hamilton the Wor. E. R. Williams, and Officer Commanding British Troops in Bermuda, Brigadier B. E. Luard. reviewed the island's militia in Hamilton. There were two ships moored prominently alongside Hamilton Harbour that day. One was the Royal Navy frigate HMS Bigbury Bay while the other was the cruise ship Queen of Bermuda.  Photo shows British and Canadian Prime Ministers and officials including Captain Ross Winter, MCP, Commandant of of the Bermuda Reserve Constabulary (BRC) reviewing the BRC in Hamilton. Behind them is the cruise ship Queen of Bermuda. Behind Louis St. Laurent is S. S. Toddings, MCP, Chairman of the Defence Board. Photo kindly loaned by his step-daughter Cindy Farnsworth Toddings. Ed Kelly photo.

1957-59, Cliff Morris was in the US Navy in Bermuda, based at the Annex in Southampton, pulling duty at the secret Tudor Hill submarine and surface ship detection facility. He also hosted a radio program on ZBM-2 that was sponsored by the Navy

1957.  May 16 to 28. The Bermuda Tattoo included the U.S. Marine Band from Washington D.C. It was Bermuda's second such event and held at the British Army's Prospect Garrison parade ground (which later became the National Stadium). The Bermuda Government budgeted £12.935 for it, on a motion passed by the House of Assembly at the request of Mr. S. S. Toddings, MCP, Chairman of the Defence Board. The object was to show the British flag in Bermuda and to provide valuable training and interest for the Local Forces. The Dominion of Canada agreed to assist, by supplying one Naval and four military units and to transport to and from Bermuda at no cost to the colony. Feeding and housing were Bermuda's responsibility.

1957. USAF Thunderbirds visited Bermuda for the first time. The team's pilots were: Maj. Robby Robinson - leader, Captains Bill Bartley and Doug Brenner on the wings, Lt. Bill Pogue - slot, Capt. Bob McIntosh - spare, and Capt. Sam Johnson - solo. 

1957. The old (and original) Watford Island Bridge that lasted for 54 years was rebuilt, with this replacement to last a mere 23 years.

1957. July 29. The Public Library (later, the Bermuda National Library) was transferred to a new extension to the original Par-la-Ville building, in premises owned by the Corporation of Hamilton, where it is today in part, except that the Archives and Youth Library are no longer there. Also as a tenant in the Building, the Bermuda Historical Society moved to this building from East Broadway.

1957. Juanita Furbert (Guishard) became the first black nurse at KEMH, Bermuda.

1957. Closure of the children's convalescent hospital at Ireland Island where Lefroy House is today, after only five years of operation.  It had begun in.1952 as the brainchild of the Committee of 25 established by a group of non-Bermudian women. They were led by Canadian-born Edna Watson who in 1948 had become, with Hilda Aitkin, had become the first women in Bermuda's Parliament. 

1957. The Jamestown Exposition celebrated the 350th anniversary of Jamestown.

1957. The movie "Bermuda Cockleshells" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050183/ was filmed in Bermuda. It was all about Bermuda Fitted Dinghies. 

1957. December. Prospect Secondary School for Girls was established at a former British Army barracks building.

1957. At Darrell's Island, Bermuda, the black and white and color 5-star film The Admirable Crichton - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Admirable_Crichton_(film) a comedy, was made. The story, from the well-known book, is of an aristocrat and his family who are shipwrecked. Directed by Lewis Gilbert and 94 minutes long, it was produced by Ian Dalrymple and  written by J.M. Barrie (play), Lewis Gilbert (adaptation), Vernon Harris (screenplay). It starred Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Cecil Parker, Sally Ann Howes, Martita Hunt, Jack Watling, Peter Graves, Gerald Harper, Mercy Haystead, Miranda Connell and Miles Malleson. Music was by Douglas Gamley and Richard Addinsell (waltzes).

1957. The unveiling of a plaque on the monument to Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Harvey KCB, Royal Navy, who died in Bermuda in 1841 and was buried in the Royal Naval Cemetery, Ireland Island South. Captain G E Hunt, DSO DSC RN is on the far right.

RN Cemetery Memorial

1958. New Year's Day. Harvey Conover, successful businessman and renowned yachtsman, sailed with his family into the Bermuda Triangle and was never heard from again.

1958. January 13. The first local television program went on the air in Bermuda. It was ZBM-TV. ZBM-TV was founded by Bermuda Broadcasting Company as the first local television station in Bermuda. Before then, residents living near Kindley Field at the East End of Bermuda could watch television via unauthorized reception of the also black and white (no color at that time) TV signal on base. Originally, ZBM-TV broadcast on channel 10, but in 1974, Capital Broadcasting Company merged with Bermuda Broadcasting Company and ZBM-TV was moved to channel 9. On that historic-for-Bermuda 1958 January 13 television day Lee L. Telford (see note in 1955) noted: "I worked with former members of the BBC (from London), CBC (Canadian Broadcasting), ABC and the Bermuda Broadcasting company's Radio Centre staff. Quinton Edness, now retired, was a leading local light (and later became a prominent Cabinet Minister). Non-Bermudian staff at the time (nowadays they must by law all be Bermudian or married to one) included Walt Staskow, Canadian, ZBM overall station manager.  Other Canadians, formerly of the CBC, were Jack Dodge, Dick Varney and Ken Ludwig. The chief engineer of the TV operation was on loan from the BBC. The prime-time director was Holmes from ABC in New York. Other Americans included Cliff Morris (also in the US military in Bermuda, who joined ZBM-2 after his US Navy tour of duty), Ed Hinson, Jay Lloyd and Jack Dodge (now living in Florida) from the US Bermuda bases but  I believe I was the only American doing any on-air announcing. I also wrote a column about TV for the Kindley "Skyliner" for a while.  I attended Whitney Institute, where I met Tim Olander. We played basketball together on the Kindley Hawks."

1958. Eagle Airways first arrived in Bermuda. (See more details in Bermuda Aviation).

Eagle Airways at Bermuda

Eagle Airways at Civil Air Terminal

1958. 6th April. HMS Bermuda - see http://www.hmsgangestoterror.org/HMSBermuda.htm - arrived, on its first visit. Built on the Clyde in Scotland in 1939, it saw distinguished service in World War 2. HMS Bermuda (No. 8) was built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, laid down in November 1938 and commissioned on August 21, 1942. Originally, the ship had 12 six-inch guns, anti-aircraft pieces and six torpedo tubes. During the war, she served in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic and Arctic and finally in the Pacific theatre. In later years, the vessel was a part of NATO, but was taken out of service in 1962. Some silver objects given to HMS Bermuda by the island are now at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. She visited Bermuda 3 times: 1958, Jul 1959, and Feb 1962.

HMS Bermuda

Kindly sent and copyrighted by http://www.hmsgangestoterror.org/HMSBermuda.htm

1958. Bermuda Properties Ltd. purchased the Castle Harbour Hotel from the Bermuda Development Company Ltd.

1958. Off Bermuda, the wreck of the 1609 ship "Sea Venture" was discovered by Edmund Downing from Virginia, a direct descendant of George Yeardley who had been the captain of soldiers on the original voyage and later went to Virginia.

1958. Colonial Insurance Company was founded, developed from The Gibbons Company car dealership, as they thought they might as well insure the cars they sold.

1958. July 7. W. L Tucker, MCP for Devonshire, proposed in Bermuda's House of Assembly that the voting system be changed,  to enfranchise more Bermudians in accordance with the 1945 Parliamentary Act that had not yet been implemented.

1958. Eight black legislators, Collingwood Burch, Russel Levi Pearman, W. L. Tucker, Hilton G. Hill, E. T. Richards, Walter Robinson, Arnold Francis and Dr. the Hon. Eustace Cann, formed a delegation to meet Alan Lennox-Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies, during his visit to Bermuda. 

1958. Watford Bridge was rebuilt to provide fishing and pleasure boats a shorter trip to and from the West End. 

1958. The movie "Adventures of the Sea Hawk" TV Series - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051250/ was made in Bermuda.

1958. September 4. The ill-fated Bermudiana Hotel, built in 1924 by Furness Withy with much pomp and ceremony and which then could accommodate about 450 guests, caught fire and smoldered for four days before firemen extinguished the blaze. One of the worst hotel fires in Bermuda’s history began with a small whiff of smoke coming from under the eaves of the top floor of the Bermudiana, on a Thursday afternoon when at that time most businesses in Bermuda were closed on Thursday afternoons.  One of the hotel managers first discovered a small blaze in a room on the sixth floor at 4.30pm. He tried to use a fire extinguisher but it didn’t work. He found another one but that didn’t work much better. Unable to put out the fire, he called the fire brigade around 5pm and hotel staff started knocking on guests’ doors to get them to evacuate. In those days there were no fire sprinklers in the hotel. The fire got into partitions between the walls and travelled from one room to another. At first it appeared to be moving very slowly from the East to the West side of the building. Guests came into the hotel to pack. Tea and sandwiches were served in the lobby and the bar remained open for some time. One guest even swam in the pool while the fire burned. When the bar finally closed to guests, bartenders calmly packed up large boxes of cigarettes. Everyone seemed resigned to the fact that the hotel would burn to the ground, but there was no sense of urgency to leave. Bermudiana General Manager at that time was Carroll Dooley. His daughter Patricia was swimming in the hotel pool.  The Dooley family were then living at the hotel. Bermuda’s fire department at the time was entirely volunteer. Some firemen arrived from the beach dressed in bathing suits. There was no breathing apparatus or protective fire gear or city fire hydrants in those days. Maids wet down towels for the firemen to wrap around their faces. Fire fighting equipment consisted mostly of two cranes, ladders and fire hoses for several hours they struggled to achieve the water pressure needed to put out the fire. The hotel was supposed to have been coated with a fire retardant paint. But it wasn’t. It was a strange fire and it burned very quickly. The fire left one of Hamilton's premiere resorts and a major Hamilton landmark in a shambles. It caused international concern and interest, especially from New York. All manner of things were thrown from the windows of guests’ personal belongings and furniture. A dentist had an office in the building; a dentist’s chair and boxes of false teeth flew out of that window. The lawn of the hotel was compared to a refugee camp, with items scattered and piled everywhere. Some hotel guests, dazed and uncomprehending, were packing into suitcases, carefully folding clothes and clearing drawers while around them hot yellow-stained water was steadily dripping and from a drip, trickling and running through the cracks which appeared in the ceiling. The ceiling would clearly collapse at any moment. The elevators would not work so the guests tried to hurry down the stairs while water erupted from above them. Meanwhile, crowds of people gathered outside. Some of them tried to help by bringing sandwiches and drinks to the firemen. Some men even joined the volunteer fire service in attempting extinguish the fire. Other onlookers were less than helpful. The curious crowd grew so unmanageable that the Bermuda Militia was called in to control it. The scene became Bermuda’s first experience with live, on-the-spot television reporting. The newly established ZBM studios were just across the street from the Bermudiana. One of the journalists stuck a camera out of the window and filmed the inferno. Those lucky enough to have television sets in 1958 were glued to their sets. All of Bermuda had come to a standstill while the hotel burned. One young policeman, Derek Fletcher, left his bride standing at the altar for over an hour while he helped. The hotel burned to the ground. An electrical fault in the air conditioning system was later named as the cause of the blaze. The fire spurned major changes to Bermuda’s firefighting system a professional service was formed for the first time. The hotel had been a haven for visiting college students on their spring breaks. Some of the rooms would have six girls to a room. The management were pretty strict about who stayed where. Guys and girls were housed on different floors. It was rebuilt within a year, some would say it was rebuilt too quickly and was then owned by Englishman Sir Harold Werhner, of Luton Hoo fame. From about 1964 and for a decade or so, it offered special pool memberships to personnel who worked at the American International Company building then situated below the hotel at the junction with Bermudiana and Pitt's Bay Roads. It also offered membership of the Bermudiana Beach Club in Warwick, where guests could swim on a gorgeous beach, change and eat in comfort and luxury. In later years,  the re-built hotel fell into a dilapidated state and was knocked down. In December 1993 the property was sold for $14.5 million and became the site of the Ace and XL insurance buildings.

Bermudiana Hotel, destroyed by fire September 4, 1958

Bermudiana Hotel luggage tag

Bermudiana Hotel destroyed by fire

1958. The Adult Education School began, in Hamilton.

1958. Soraya — given the title Princess of Iran after the Shah of Persha - divorced her because she was unable to produce an heir — visited Bermuda as a tourist. She was an international celebrity at the time, her every move tracked by the paparazzi.

Princess in Bermuda

1958. The Royal Navy Base in Bermuda closed almost completely (except for the small area known as HMS Malabar. After the Second World War, with the primary former threat in the region, the USA, having been an ally in both World Wars, and a continuing ally under NATO, the naval base in Bermuda had diminished rapidly in importance to the Admiralty. The US Coast Guard had operated anti-submarine vessels from a base on White's Island, in Hamilton Harbour, in the Great War. During the Second World War, it had built a US Naval Air Station and a US Army airfield in the Colony under 99-year leases. With little remaining interest in policing the World's waterways, and with the American bases to guard Bermuda in any potential war with the Warsaw Bloc, the Royal Navy sold the land to the local government.

1959. March. There was a potentially serious incident involving an aircraft. The pilot of a USAF F-100 fighter aircraft ejected from his plane after his engines flamed out. But he landed in the Atlantic, only 40 miles from Bermuda. A helicopter from Kindley scooped him out.

1959. Bermuda earned some free publicity with an event that occurred in London. The prestigious Odeon, in Leicester Square, long the flagship of the Rank Organization's chain of movie theaters nationwide in Britain, featured the world premiere of the film "The Admirable Crichton."  The famous British actor Kenneth More, who had portrayed so magnificently the war-time exploits of legless hero Group Captain Douglas Bader, RAF - and the lead in countless other movies - was the star of the hilarious comedy. He and Lewis Gilbert had been, respectively, the star and director of Reach for the Sky, before they journeyed to Bermuda to film The Admirable Crichton. Also playing parts in the movie were the well-known British character actor Cecil Parker and the actresses Diane Cilento (who later became the wife of the film-star Sean Connery) and Sally Ann Howes.

1959. April. The Bermudiana Hotel reopened its doors as a newly rebuilt hotel after earlier having been set on on fire by an arsonist and burnt to the ground. It was rebuilt by Sir Harold Werhner.

Bermudiana Hotel 1959

Bermudiana Hotel 1959 from the air

Bermudiana Hotel rebuilt 1959

1959. June. A black people's boycott resulted in abolition of segregation in Bermuda hotels and theaters and restaurants. It was organized by "A Progressive Group" to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the founding of Bermuda. Most Bermudians, black and white, recognized the 1959 Theatre Boycott for exactly what it was, a turning point in Bermudian affairs, a genuine watershed event, an exercise in selfless heroism. It ignited flares which erupted spectacularly and illuminated the whole shoddy scene that was segregated Bermuda. It stripped naked at last to the public  the everyday indignities, injustices and inequities upon which Bermudian society was then built. It exposed as both preposterous and pernicious the myth this was a racially harmonious little society, a myth perpetuated by those responsible for marketing the image of a cheery, genteel Bermuda to well-heeled vacationers. The boycott organized by the Progressive Group entirely discredited the advertising-driven lies believed by wealthy Americans and also a fair few Bermudians, not all of them white that this was an island where blacks not only knew their place but would do nothing to jeopardize it by engaging in any radical tomfoolery. It also demonstrated the foundations of the racial caste system in Bermuda. It was the beginning of the end of segregated theatres and restaurants and hotels. Not just blacks were victims, Catholics too in some case. Until then, segregation in public places had been a sop to visiting Easterners who, at the time, were only used to encountering blacks in restaurants if they happened to be serving in them. Other miscarriages of justice had occured in everything from housing to education to social mobility. Racial boundaries circumscribed the lives and opportunities of blacks from cradle to grave and caused considerably more distress than seating arrangements in cinemas. But in the 1950s, the cinema was still the primary source of public entertainment. Thousands of Bermudians and visitors went to the movies every week. The segregated seating, blacks downstairs, white upstairs, vividly literalized old social divisions. So the cinemas became not only the most highly visible target for the Progressive Group's action, a boycott also provided an opportunity for blacks to demonstrate their growing economic clout by disrupting the revenues of a largely white-owned concern. It was a rigidly hierarchical society and while whites may have been the dominant racial group, not all whites were in dominant positions. Far from it. Most were marginalized and filled low-status, low-skilled service positions, disadvantaged in their own way if not actually discriminated against. Interestingly, the USA had already seen major changes for the betterment of blacks. World War 2 and the major role played in the liberation of Europe by black soldiers from the modern slavery of the Nazis had forced black and white Americans alike to contemplate the proscriptions on freedom at home. The emergence of an educated, articulate and increasingly prosperous black middle class during the post-war boom made it increasingly difficult to avoid change. In 1948 President Harry Truman integrated the US armed forces. In 1957 President Eisenhower sent Federal troops into Arkansas to enforce the integration of public schools. The modern Civil Rights era was underway. Yet Bermuda had remained stubbornly resistant to change. The Theatre Boycott ended segregation in public places in a matter of days. More importantly for the island's long-term well-being, it also prompted a decade-long debate on the future direction and character of Bermuda. Members of a generation of forward-looking, liberal-minded whites emerged along with some older power brokers who, for pragmatic rather than idealistic reasons, recognized the old order had to be dismantled. Partnering with the Progressive Group and its supporters, they went on to introduce in trial-and-error but largely peaceful fashion a social system that more broadly conformed to the hopes and expectations of the majority of Bermudians. The Theatre Boycott was the catalyst for profound and irreversible change in the racial power dynamics in this community. It also prompted a radical reorganization of Bermuda's political system and economic pecking order.

1959. During the Newport-to-Bermuda ocean yacht race the yacht Elda was wrecked on the same Bermuda reef that sank the Virginia Company ship the Eagle 300 years earlier. When trying to salvage the Elda a diver noticed the cannons from the Eagle on the ocean floor.

1959. Formation of the Bermuda Police Pipe Band. It proudly wore the Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") tartan. Composed at first largely of members of the Bermuda Police and Prison Services, and other local enthusiasts, including some formerly in the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band, they were soon performing at the Police Passing Out and ceremonial parades.

1959. In Portsmouth, England and throughout the Island Bermuda celebrated the 350th anniversary of its founding in 1609.

1959 Bermuda Crown coin

1959. March. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived by himself for a 2-day visit relating to the 350th anniversary of the founding of Bermuda by Admiral Sir George Somers in 1609. 

1959. Iran’s former empress, New York’s mayor and the Duke of Edinburgh were among the celebrities filmed against Bermuda backdrops in a 1959 promotional film - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q21agtxkG1I&feature=player_embedded - extolling the island as a dream location for vacationing photographers. “Portrait of Bermuda” was released by the Bermuda Trade Development Board, aimed at the mushrooming market of well-heeled amateur shutterbugs which developed during the post-World War Two consumer boom in the US. The short film featured eye-catching Bermuda scenery ranging from the South Shore beaches to St. Peter’s Church. It also included shots of flower-bedecked floats participating in the island’s old Easter Floral Parade, Prince Philip’s two-day visit to Bermuda in 1959 to take part in events commemorating the 350th anniversary of the “Sea Venture” wreck and diver Teddy Tucker’s fabled emerald cross and other treasures retrieved from shipwrecks. Photographers were even encouraged to frame their shots using Bermuda moon gates in the film, widely distributed to US cinemas and TV stations. Some of the most intriguing footage featured a scrum of international press photographers surrounding Iran’s former empress during a 1958 Bermuda vacation. Soraya — given the title Princess of Iran after the Shah divorced her because she was unable to produce an heir — was an international celebrity at the time, her every move tracked by the paparazzi.

Princess Soraya in Bermuda Life story and photo

1959. American billionaire Daniel Ludwig purchased the Hamilton Princess hotel with plans to make it a luxury hotel. It had come out of World War 2 in a slightly dilapidated condition, having been used from 1940 to 1944 by British censors. 

1959. Members of the St. Mary's Church Guild with a passion for flowers and gardening sought to further their interest by applying for membership in the Garden Club of Bermuda. Their applications were not accepted, presumably because they were all 'coloured' women. The Warwick ladies decided they would form their own club. The name 'Hibiscus' was chosen because of the popular flower that adds its beauty to hedges and roadside foliage especially in the spring and summer. The first meeting was at the residence of Mrs. Ruth Simons at Cedar Hill. The 11 people present were Mrs. Simons, who was elected president, Miss Julia Lightbourn and Mesdames Ruth Wainwright, Edna Conyers, Laura Bean, Mildred Smith, Faith Steed, Victor Scott, Horace Davis and Louise Wilson. Also at that meeting was Reginald Ming, Government's first Heritage officer, who according to an excerpt from the minutes of the meeting gave the ladies helpful suggestions and promised to use his office to get them affiliated with an outstanding club in England. At that inaugural meeting Mrs. Simons served her guests cake and champagne. Tea and cake was served at their regular monthly meetings. The Hibiscus Club is not restricted to growing hibiscus, but is interested in all types of plants and vegetation and all forms of floricultures, gardening and landscaping.

1959. A longshoreman's strike in Bermuda crippled imports.

1960. The Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage (CUAS), spearheaded by Roosevelt Brown and others, was organized with the dual objective of extending the franchise for all adults twenty-one years and over and of abolishing the property requirement for voting. The group was so successful in raising public sensitivity to these contentious issues that Government accepted in principle the concept that universal suffrage should be implemented.

1960. At Bermuda's US Kindley Air Force Base, there was a shooting at Air Police headquarters, then manned by the 1604th Air Police Squadron. One of the USAF Air Police members shot several people and killed a couple. The case was handled by the USAF. He was brought back to Bermuda and had trail, was sentenced to 33 years at Leavenworth, Ks.

1960. February 11. City Hall, in the heart of Hamilton, opened on this day, was designed by Bermudian architect Will Onions, best remembered for domestic residences. In addition to housing the Corporation of Hamilton, it became the home of the City Hall Theatre, the Bermuda Society of Arts and Bermuda National Gallery. 

1960. Prince Andrew was born, the third youngest of four children of the Queen and Prince Philip.

1960. August. Non-Mariners Race began by Society of Non-Mariners in Hamilton, Bermuda by amateur non-sailors deliberately launching non-seaworthy and distinctly non-nautical home-made floating in often hilarious un-seaworthy crafts of any type and design as a joke against the well-established and prim sailing clubs of Bermuda and their 1960s sailing correctness. They were not solely men, single women were instigators too, driven by the maleness-only of the more established sailors. Nor were the majority drunk, they were sober, just mischievous, boat-less themselves. Their unorthodox "vessels" were cranked by hand or by pedals or by the wind and were often accompanied by raucous noises, providing much amusement to many residents and visitors at the annual event which became hugely popular. (After one such event had a zany entry almost collide with a cruise ship entering Hamilton Harbor, the Society of Non-Mariners, as the organizers subsequently became, the event was switched to the less-busy but picturesque Mangrove May in Somerset, Sandys Parish, hosted by the Sandys Boat Club. The event now includes family frolics, youngsters jumping off "boats", mock boat battles, some ingenious unorganized surprises. A fun day for residents and visitors.)

1960. Construction of the NASA tracking station in Bermuda was completed, after work began on it in 1959. The NASA station was at the end of Mercury Road on Cooper's  Island, on the southeast tip of the former base, (adjacent to what is now Clearwater Park). Many airmen and locals were employed to help complete the construction on time. Bermuda became an important part of the NASA worldwide tracking network and initially its primary responsibility was computer monitoring and along with Cape Canaveral could abort a mission on the downrange before going into orbit. The Atlantic Ocean abort landing area was between Bermuda and the Canary Islands. The seven Mercury astronauts, Shepherd, Grisssom, Glenn, Carpenter, Cooper, Slayton and Schirra were frequent visitors to NASA Bermuda in 1960 & 1961.

1960. May. A dramatic shark attack occurred just off Elbow Beach, with Mickey Caines, then employed at the Elbow Beach Surf Club, credited with killing the nine-foot shark after it had injured a fellow hotel employee. (Later, a hotel restaurant there was named Mickey's, in his honour). The nine-foot long shark attacked fellow Elbow Beach employee, waiter Louis Goiran, aged 24. He was seriously bitten while swimming only about 15 feet from shore. While two men rushed to Mr Goiran's aid, Mr Caines ordered everyone out of the water. The shark was subsequently gaffed with a hand spear and brought by boat to shore alive, where it was killed by forcing an oar down its throat. The shark's victim, Mr Goiran, needed 50 stitches to his hands and feet. Ross Doe was one of those in the boat and leant on the boat's gunwale to keeps his spear implanted in the shark. In the stern was Lucius Stone holding the shark's tail. Bruce Hartnell rowed the boat back to shore with Hans Behringer assisting.

1960. September to September 1961. HMS Rothesay was based Royal Navy Dockyard at Island Island. Crew enjoyed periodic station leave at the-then un-used former British Army camp near Horseshoe Beach, in between patrols covering the whole of North and South America. They enjoyed the hospitality of the local people. One crew member spent a few days with a local family over Christmas 1960 (when then was a brief appearance of snow, usually unheard of in Bermuda) and attended Mass with them on Christmas Eve.

1961. January. Cubana's landing rights in Bermuda and Azores were cancelled, at the request of the US Government. This occurred after the severing of relations between the USA and Cuba after the Fidel Castro-led Cuban Revolution. Cubana had first started to fly to Bermuda in 1948 and in 1952 had suffered a major incident in Bermuda. But the service had continued. Now, they stopped. As a result of the stoppage, Cabana had no option but to switch from Bermuda to Gander, Newfoundland and Shannon, Ireland stops on Cubana's Prague route (Gander only on the Madrid route). The Bermuda stop on the outbound and Azores on inbound flights had been essential because Cubana's British-made Britannia aircraft did not have the necessary range to fly nonstop to and from Europe. Fortunately for Cubana, the Canadian and Irish governments provided landing rights and refused to bend to U.S. pressure, especially when Czechoslovak Airlines (CSA) started to operate its own services on the same route (coordinated with Cubana's). The denial of those rights by Canada and Ireland would have forced Cubana to discontinue its transatlantic routes.

1961. Because of the vision of Sir Gilbert Cooper, a former Mayor of Hamilton, the Bermuda Society of Arts found a permanent home in City Hall, Hamilton.

1961-62. HMS Londonderry was based at the Royal Navy Dockyard at Island Island during her first commission and the ships company have very many happy memories of Bermuda and the hospitality that was afforded them whilst there.

1961. January. In Ottawa, the Cabinet Defence Committee approved the establishment of a High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) installation in Bermuda. This was as a direct result of the continued Canadian presence in Bermuda. This decision was noted by the Canadian Cabinet at a meeting in February 1961. 

1961. Elliott Extension School opened at Prospect as a special needs school for the physically handicapped, initially with 100 children and four lady teachers.

1961. US President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold McMillan conferred in Bermuda.

1961. The American Society of Bermuda was formed by a small group headed by author and writer Col F Van Wyck Mason. It had the encouragement of the American Consulate, which believed that it would be beneficial for United States citizens in Bermuda to get together from time to time. It's objectives were to celebrate certain American national holidays in keeping with the traditions and spirit of the occasion; foster a spirit of friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding and interest among citizens of the United States and Bermudians; promote and foster harmonious relations between United States citizens living in Bermuda and Bermudians; provide aid and comfort to visiting citizens of the United States when aid is requested or necessary;  cooperate with the American Consulate in the dissemination of information on legislation or other matters of concern or interest to the membership; and sponsor charitable activities to raise funds to be donated to organisations both within and outside Bermuda. Activities included celebrating the following national holidays with social gatherings: President’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day.

1961. March. After The USA and United Kingdom formally agreed to open a US Space Tracking station in Bermuda, NASA opened its Cooper's Island base. It cost the USA $5 million to build. For fiscal and diplomatic reasons, local workers were used as much as possible to build the station, and NASA employed 60 contractors and 20 Bermudians to operate it. Located on a 77-acre rock-coral shelf just off of Saint David's Island on the northern shores, the main station was an eastward extension of Kindley Air Force Base and managed by the US Air Force. Its use dated back to a World War II agreement between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. A smaller site was in Town Hill on the main island. I It was part of the NASA Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network at more than 24 locations across five continents. It was used for 37 years as a tracking and communications facility for various space programmes, including the Mercury and Apollo missions and space shuttle flights because of its key geographical position in relation to launch trajectories for space vehicles blasting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Alan Shepard was one of the NASA astronauts assigned to Bermuda. The NASA Bermuda station manager was Bill Way, who helped set it up and played a key role in space exploration by tracking shuttle missions. His team's job included monitoring shuttles every 90 minutes as they came around the earth, and receiving scientific data transmitted by units left on the moon following lunar missions. Arriving in Bermuda from California with childhood sweetheart Margie and deciding never to leave, Mr. Way had seven children, two of whom died in tragic circumstances. He had a lifelong interest in science and engineering. He was involved in Apollo programmes. When they were little he would tell his children the stories about them and the children would get to meet the astronauts. He was also well-known on the local tennis circuit for his dedication to the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association. Bermuda was one of NASA's first stations built on foreign soil and was also one of the most critical. With the exception of Cape Canaveral, it was the most complex and important of the 15 Mercury Space Flight Network (MSFN) ground stations. The Mercury Atlas flight path was almost directly over the island, which enabled a brief but essential 25-second window to track and make decisions about its status as it ascended into orbit. The vital determination to abort or continue a flight was known as "Go/No Go". During the launch of an Atlas rocket- an Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile used to launch the Mercury astronauts and the NASA's early large satellites, a decision to continue or abort had to be made in only a 30- to 120-second window after the rocket's main engine had cut off. The failure rate of the Atlas booster in those early days was very high - about 50 percent - so aborted missions were common. The Bermuda station was established to keep an eye on every Cape Canaveral launch and the first critical phases of the flight downrange, making it a key station during the launch phase of any mission. The control centre at Bermuda provided reliable communications and controls in the event that it became necessary to make abort decisions. Many mathematical and trajectory experts believed such a "short arc" solution would be impossible, but data analysis, some of it generated by the Bermuda tracking station, determined that, even with such a small timeframe, a spacecraft could be turned around and its retrorockets fired so that it could reenter in the Atlantic recovery area before reaching its point of impact on the African coast. During Project Mercury, NASA's first man-in-space programme, the network was not well-centralized and communication was done by sometimes-unreliable teletype, so flight controllers were dispatched to most of the primary tracking stations in order to maintain immediate contact with the spacecraft from the ground. Astronauts also acted as capsule communicators (known as Capcoms) at various sites. Donald K. (Deke) Slayton, head of Flight Crew Operations at Houston's Manned Spacecraft Center, was said to have assigned astronauts to Bermuda (as well as sites in Hawaii, California, and Australia) as Capcoms to give them some much-needed rest and relaxation in beautiful places. Later, in 1963, to prepare for sending astronauts into space, an ocean floor cable capable of carrying 2,000 bits-per-second of digital information was laid to connect the new station on Bermuda with Cape Canaveral. This link continued to serve the Bermuda Station well into the Space Shuttle era. The Bermuda station was overhauled in preparation for the lunar landing programme. As it had been on Mercury and Gemini, Bermuda would be an essential station immediately after launch. As the first station to electronically see the rocket, operators could observe most of the second and third stage burns at high elevation angles. Bermuda monitored the ascent of the Saturn V into orbit and provided the critical "Go/No Go" data to Mission Control for flight continuation or a decision to abort the mission. In March 1965, a request was submitted for a $1.6 million consolidation and upgrade to the MSFN facility on Bermuda so it could meet the combined requirements for projects Gemini and Apollo. All of the various telemetry facilities scattered around in pre-fabricated metal structures and trailers on Town Hill and Cooper's Island were to be consolidated. The original facilities also were corroded by years of sea salt and moisture. An air conditioned, 1,100-square meter Operations Building was built and a 300-square meter Generator Building housed the diesel generator. Next to the USB antenna, a small building contained the hydro-mechanical equipment that pointed the massive antenna. Concrete foundations were dug for the dish and the collimation tower. Extensive cabling was installed, and a microwave terminal was relocated. 30 percent more maintenance and administration staff was added as well as 26 additional technicians as the site was ramped up to support Gemini and Apollo missions. When the Cooper's Island upgrade was completed, NASA dismantled the Town Hill telemetry site. Shuttle flights on easterly trajectories went all the way into orbit on their backs. In November 1997, Columbia, the Shuttle program's 88th flight, was the first to roll the entire stack from its usual belly-up to a belly-down position in a 40-second maneuver six minutes after liftoff. Known as a Roll-to-Heads-Up (RTHU) maneuver, it's performed prior to main engine cutoff so that communication with the contemporary space-based Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) can be established some two and a half minutes sooner. Such a maneuver previously had been used only if Mission Control declared an emergency landing due to a failed main engine or the loss of cabin pressure during the crew's ascent into orbit. This innovation meant that the Bermuda station was no longer necessary for the success of NASA launches. The decision to close the site was ultimately a financial one, as it saved NASA $5 million a year; coincidently the same amount required to build the station in 1961. With Bermuda closed, Merritt Island/Ponce de Leon became the only source of tracking data for the first seven minutes of each Space Shuttle launch. The phase-out of the Bermuda station in 1997 signaled the end of the era of the worldwide network of spaceflight tracking stations. Bermuda had supported every human spaceflight that NASA had flown, making the critical "Go/No-Go" call on 118 missions.

1961. Universal, but not equal, suffrage was achieved. It was not equal because landowners receive a plus vote.

1961. The enactment of the Restaurant Act in Bermuda created parity between black and white diners.

1961. November 29. Enos the NASA chimp splashed down in the North Atlantic not far from Bermuda, after having been partly trained here. He pioneered the space launches from the USA. Enos was considered the most intelligent of all of the trained chimps, which is why he was chosen for the mission. Unlike Ham,  his elder "brother." Enos was not cuddly and friendly. He fought mightily against the veterinarians and operant conditioning, and was quick to bite so he was kept on tethers when not in training. While he was highly skilled at his tasks when he did them, early on he might complete his tasks only to turn on his trainers as soon as he was done. Enos was once locked in a metal box for a week, living in his own waste, in an effort to break him. It worked. Enos' mission was to attempt three orbits of the Earth for the Mercury-Atlas 2 mission. About five hours before the November 29, 1961 launch, the specially constructed primate couch in which Enos was secured was inserted in the spacecraft. He was relaxed during countdown, and all of his bodily functions were normal. Then, a series of delays began, leading some in the control center to joke that Enos was sabotaging the mission because he had talked to Ham and did not want to go into space. When the rocket was finally launched, Enos fared well, withstanding a peak of 6.8 g's during booster-engine acceleration and 7.6 g's with the rush of the sustainer engine. The Atlas rocket delivered 367,000 pounds of thrust, nearly five times what human astronauts Shepard and Grissom had experienced; Enos was unfazed. At his press conference in Washington, President Kennedy got a round of laughter when he said, "This chimpanzee who is flying in space took off at 10:08. He reports that everything is perfect and working well." During the second orbit, the lever for the motor skills test malfunctioned and Enos was shocked rather than rewarded for each correct answer. Nevertheless, he kept pulling the levers, continuing to perform his required operations as he was trained to do, despite the repeated shocks. His suit overheated and the automatic attitude controls malfunctioned, so the capsule repeatedly rolled forty-five degrees before the thrusters would correct it. Luckily for Enos, given his shocking predicament, mission control decided to end his flight. Three hours and 21 minutes after liftoff - 181 minutes of which he was weightless - Enos re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and landed in the Atlantic, south of Bermuda. Enos and his spacecraft were hauled aboard the Stormes an hour and 15 minutes after landing. Engineers scrutinizing the capsule found that it had held up well. So had Enos, though he'd ripped through the belly panel of his restraint suit, removing or damaging most of the biomedical sensors from his body, including those that were inserted under his skin. He also ripped out a urinary catheter while he waited in the capsule for pick-up. But once aboard the Stormes, he ate two oranges and two apples, his first fresh food since he'd been placed on a low-residue pellet diet. The destroyer dropped the chimpanzee astronaut at the Kindley Air Force Base hospital in Bermuda. The chimp was walked in the corridors and appeared to be in good shape apart from mysteriously high blood pressure, which Woolf speculates arose from Enos stuffing down his rage at his two years of mistreatment at the hands of humans. But, at least for a brief time, Enos was hailed as a hero by NASA and the press. His composure at a press conference surprised reporters. Unlike Ham, Enos was unperturbed by the noise and flashing bulbs, perhaps because of all he'd already endured. On December 1, Enos was sent from Bermuda to Cape Canaveral for another round of physicals, and a week later he departed for his home station at Holloman, set for retirement. Thanks to Enos, mission managers concluded that a human could withstand space travel. An astronaut riding in the MA-5 spacecraft could have made the necessary corrections in flight to complete the three-orbit mission normally. On the date of Enos' flight, it was announced that Lt. Col. John Glenn would make the first manned orbital mission on February 20, 1962. Glenn orbited the earth in the Friendship 7 and became a huge celebrity. In his speech to Congress, he said he was humbled when the president's daughter, Caroline Kennedy, met him and her first question was "Where's the monkey?"

1961 Enos launch

1961 NASA Enos launch 2

1961. A silver charm of Somerset Bridge, Bermuda, was issued, in time for the annual Christmas gift-giving season.

Somerset Bridge, Bermuda charm

1961. December 21-22.  The beginning of another Summit Conference in Bermuda, at a time of heightened world tension further soured by the erection of the infamous Berlin Wall. It was a two-day event between British Prime Minister Mr. Harold Macmillan and new President of the United States John F. Kennedy (who had been inaugurated only 11 months earlier).  It had been arranged to discuss geo-political and nuclear policy. The meeting had nearly been cancelled, owing to a massive stroke suffered by President Kennedy's father, Joseph Kennedy, the pre-war pro-German US Ambassador to Britain. From Bermuda, President Kennedy telephoned his father at the family estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, several times to inquire about his condition - and was ready to fly off at a moment's notice had his father's health deteriorated. President Kennedy arrived in Bermuda on a silver and orange Boeing Jet from Palm Beach Florida at 12.55pm. He was greeted by Governor Sir Julian Gascoigne and a host of local dignitaries. He was accompanied by US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security advisor McGeorge Bundy, US ambassador to London David Bruce and other high-ranking officials. Also Included in President Kennedy's entourage were his Press Secretary, Pierre Salinger, later a well-known private-sector broadcaster and author; the President's personal private secretary, Evelyn Lincoln; and Mr. Salinger's assistant Sue Vogelsinger, who wrote for United Press International. Mr Macmillan’s party included Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home, British ambassador to Washington David Ormsby-Gore and nuclear weapons advisor Sir William Penney. The day was windy, and the president repeatedly brushed the hair out of his face as the combined bands of the Bermuda Rifles, and Bermuda Militia, burst into the national anthems while an honour guard resplendent in scarlet uniforms, snapped to attention. A small, but enthusiastic, crowd burst into applause, and most of them pointed cameras at the president. He made a brief speech at the airport, telling the people of Bermuda, he was “delighted to be here”. In some remarks at the airport addressed to Macmillan — and the people of Bermuda — President Kennedy said: “I want to express my great pleasure at having an opportunity to talk to you again and to visit you on your territory which has been the scene of most important meetings beneficial to both our countries. Still remembered today is the motorcade the two men, the Governor and their delegations took from the Civil Air Terminal to Government House, along the North Shore Road. At every junction, parked cars were spilling out their occupants to wave and take photographs. Near Flatts, children held up signs and offered broad smiles of welcome, including one group whose sign welcomed the President on behalf of Bermuda's American residents. At Government Gate leading up to the Governor's residence, a number of children were also assembled.  Kennedy and MacMillan held their first solo meeting in a small drawing room at Government House called the West Hall. Apparently they spoke before a roaring fire, which must have made things very hot as apparently it was unseasonably warm in Bermuda for December. Although they sipped gin and tonics and joked with each other, a bit, the topic was very serious ­­­— the escalating nuclear arms race which could have resulted in Armageddon. The Soviets had just resumed atmospheric hydrogen bomb tests in the wake of the June Berlin Wall crisis. At the end of October they had detonated the Tsar Bomba (Emperor Bomb), which remains, to this day, the largest thermonuclear weapon ever exploded — carrying a yield equivalent to 50,000 tons of TNT. Both the president and the Prime Minister were accompanied by their own teams of nuclear experts. The meeting in Bermuda wasn’t all doom and gloom. While on the Island the president was presented with a Royal Worcester figurine of a hog fish and sergeant major. At the base was a piece of Bermuda Coral. All major dignitaries that visited Bermuda were required to plant a tree at Government House, and Kennedy was no exception.  In a lighter moment during the Summit Conference, President Kennedy initiated some variety into what had by them become an established custom for all world leaders and other very important people who had visited Government House. Because of his well-known and much-publicized bad back, the lingering after-effect of an injury incurred while on his much written about PT-109 boat war-time duty in the Pacific, and the less well-known fact that he was suffering from Addison's Disease, a thyroid condition, he elected to plant his tree - a canary date palm - less painfully than the customary use of a spade dug into earth. He used merely a pair of scissors to snip a ribbon on the tree that Government House gardeners planted for him. With his unfailing good manners employed so as not to put his distinguished American guest in a bad light, Mr. Macmillan elected to do the same thing with his tree. President Kennedy was later transported by helicopter from Government House to the airport at the then Kindley Air Force Base following his three days in Bermuda. The conference was heralded as highly successful. The Canary Island date palm planted by the president is still growing at Government House and is now a fully grown tree. Over a crackling cedar log fire at Government House, the two world leaders discussed at Government House, among other things, the war which was then raging in the newly-liberated territory of the Belgian Congo, which brought forth the ill-fated African patriot Patrice Lumumba who had sought Western help in the civil war tearing his country apart; the crisis of the world escalated further by the erection of the Berlin Wall, completed just days before the conference; and testing of nuclear weaponry, with its acceptable and unacceptable sites and timings. The two leaders made the decision to renew atmospheric nuclear tests, with a joint statement issued from Bermuda that read: " It is now necessary as a matter of prudent planning for the future, that pending the final decision preparations should be made for atmospheric testing to maintain the effectiveness of the deterrent." 

President Kennedy and Prime Minister Macmillan, Bermuda December 1961

President Kennedy and Macmillan in Bermuda December 1961

President Kennedy and Macmillan Bermuda December 1961

Kennedy Macmillan joint statement, Kennedy Library

President John F. Kennedy meeting with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Bermuda, December  21-22, 1961. Top and bottom photos also show Governor Sir Julian Gascoigne. Photos kindly permitted for Bermuda Online (BOL) publication by J F. Kennedy Library 1995.

1962. January. From the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) Space Tracking station on Cooper's Island in Bermuda, part of Kindley US Air Force Base, began the first of a multi-year series of firing weather reconnaissance rockets into the air over the island and beyond. See http://www.astronautix.com/sites/kindley.htm

1962. In January and again in August, Princess Margaret visited Bermuda.

1962. February 20. US astronaut John Glenn began his historic orbital flight around the earth in the NASA Mercury capsule.Friendship 7 at 9:47 am Eastern Standard Time. His Atlas booster, carried aloft on a column of flame, passed directly over Bermuda within minutes of the Florida launch. He became the third American in space but the first to orbit the earth. In 4 hours and 56 minutes Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 1700 miles an hour. It was due in part to the NASA Bermuda Tracking Station that tracked his movements, despite an earlier brief computer malfunction that if not fixed promptly could have scrubbed the flight. Fellow Mercury astronaut Virgil (Gus) Grissom served as Glenn's capsule communicator in Bermuda throughout the flight. Astronauts had been assigned to various NASA tracking stations around the world because they were best able to understand situations in the spacecraft and relay information or findings. The recovery area south of Bermuda was known as Area Hotel and Grissom guided Glenn to it, to a splash-down 800 miles way from Bermuda, near Grand Turk.  Photo below shows Grissom on his Bermuda moped the day before the flight. 

1962. Unrestricted access to Britain by Bermudians came to an end with the passage through the British House of Parliament at Westminster of the Commonwealth Immigration Act. It aroused quite a lot of anti-British feeling among some locals - as it does even today. But it is not always known and appreciated that long before that legislation came into effect, Bermuda had been controlling, quite rigidly, with legislation of its own, the importation of British and other citizens.

1962. A second local commercial radio station organization, Capital Broadcasting Company Limited, using the call letters ZFB, began operating at 910 kHz AM. 

1962. FM broadcasting was introduced in Bermuda, with commercial radio stations ZBM-FM on 89.1 MHz and in 1971, ZFB-FM at 94.9 MHz.

1962. Some years after the British Army left Bermuda, the lands at Montpelier, Devonshire, north of the gracious home by that name where the then-named Colonial Secretary lived but part of the same estate, were planted as an arboretum.

1962. April. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived by himself for a brief Bermuda visit.

1962. First forward planning measures for Bermuda, with the Dwyer Report and its "The Next 20 years." 

1962. George Sousa was the first Bermudian of Portuguese descent to become present of a local golf club, the Belmont.

1962. HMS Bermuda was taken out of service as a Royal Navy warship. See http://www.hmsgangestoterror.org/HMSBermuda.htm. She was the Royal Navy warship named after Bermuda This last HMS Bermuda was a light cruiser of the Colony Class, launched in 1941, decommissioned in 1962. HMS Bermuda (No. 8) was built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, laid down in November 1938 and commissioned on August 21, 1942. Originally, the ship had 12 six-inch guns, anti-aircraft pieces and six torpedo tubes. During the war, she served in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic and Arctic and finally in the Pacific theatre. In later years, the vessel was a part of NATO until taken out of service. Some silver objects given to HMS Bermuda by the island are now at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. She visited Bermuda 3 times: 1958, Jul 1959, and Feb 1962. 

HMS Bermuda Royal Navy warship

HMS Bermuda, taken out of service 1962

1962. Bermuda's first successful professional black artist, Charles Lloyd Tucker, painted the cruise ship "Queen of Bermuda" in watercolor, sepia and ink.

1962. Fred Reiss, who is credited with coining the term "captive," formed a management company in Bermuda, International Risk Management Limited ("IRM"). With the help and support of individuals in the local banking, accounting and legal professions, he persuaded many of his corporate clients to form captives, to free themselves from an insurance market which was perceived to be unresponsive to their needs. Reiss showed his clients how to use the captive mechanism to capture some of the profits from their insurance expenditures. By domiciling the captive in Bermuda, those profits could accumulate free of income tax and, therefore, accelerate the growth of capital in the company. Over time, the captive would be able to retain a larger share of its parent’s risk and, through prudent use of reinsurance, create flexibility and stability in the insurance-buying process in what was a cyclical business. Understandably, this concept was not popular with either traditional insurers or brokers, who viewed it as a movement which would cut them out of a significant portion of business. Consequently, Reiss found it difficult to get broad acceptance of his ideas. The slow rate of captive development continued throughout much of the decade until, disturbed by instability in the Bahamas, several oil companies decided to move their captives to Bermuda. These large multinational corporations were clients of America’s multinational insurance organizations, the most prominent of which were AIG, INA and AFIA. The latter two were later merged into CIGNA, whose general business was, itself, recently merged into ACE. Through their networks of agencies around the world, they provided facilities to allow the captives to reinsure their parent-related business and even provided management services to some of the captives.

1962. The movie "That Touch of Mink" that starred Cary Grant and Doris Day was filmed partly in Bermuda. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056575/. But they were wrong when they said that only Bermuda has pink peaches (Scotland and the Bahamas have them also).

movie That Touch of Mink

1962. ZFB began broadcasting in Bermuda.

1962. The Bermuda Ballet Association was formed by Madame Patricia Gray, MBE with the support of Madame Ana Roje.

1962. Fame Magazine began publication in Bermuda.

1962. John W Swan Ltd began operating in Hamilton, owned and operated by John W. Swan, later a Premier of Bermuda. He was also one of a small group of forward-thinking individuals, visionaries, who joined the Bermuda Junior Chamber of Commerce and charted their own unique paths and exploits in Bermuda history. John W. Swan Limited went on to become immensely successful in building homes for Bermudians and the company's other members, including Alex Swan, Altimont Roberts, Leon Simmons and Maxwell Furbert, all established their unique claims to fame. 

1963. January 1. the Royal Canadian Navy signed a lease to obtain 11 acres of land at Daniel's Head, Sandy's Parish to build a Canadian Naval Radio Station for communications and anti-submarine purposes. It lasted until 1993. It was the only Canadian military base established on non-Canadian soil in the Western Hemisphere. The original lease was for 21 years at a cost of £6000 per annum. It was the beginning of the Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Bermuda. Negotiations had been ongoing for a considerable length of time for a Memo of Understanding on the formal Visiting Forces Agreement between the Bermudian and Canadian governments to finalize the Resolution of Property Acquisition. and Provision of Services and Utilities to support the proposed station. It too was finally signed in January 1963. Delays had been encountered because of Bermudian demands of right of way and defining the status of the Canadian Forces residing on the Island. Canadian demands for Duty Free privileges were reinforced by the US and British Forces status but still had to be ratified by the Home Government in London. On April 24, 1963, the advance party, sans dependants, arrived on site, commanded by Lt (N) Michael A. Ruymer, comprising CPO W.R. Harkness, LS C.A. MacDonald and Leading Storesman Tom Key. They began the task of finding, accounting for and storing the first-fitting material which was pre-shipped and stored in the Bermuda Crown Lands warehouse at Ireland Island. A Communications Technician was later sent to augment the station for the duration of the cryptographic installation phase. All station personnel were rationed and quartered at the US Naval Operations Base, by then known as the US Naval Annex, approximately 3 miles away. Canadian personnel were still not receiving Foreign Service Pay nor duty-free privileges because the Memo of Understanding still had not been approved by the Government in London. The personnel were also not allowed to have their dependants with them. (The ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement in March 1964 made living in Bermuda a whole lot easier).

1963. Lois Browne-Evans, Bermuda’s first female, black lawyer, who qualified as such in 1953, having previously joined it, announced her intention to seek political office as a candidate for the Progressive Labour Party.

1963. 10th February. The Progressive Labour Party was formed by Wilfred Allen, Edward DeJean, Hugh Richardson,  Walter Robinson, Dilton Cann, Austin Wilson and Peter Smith. Its purpose was to form a political party to either take over the government of Bermuda or directly address inequities in Bermuda which included its colonial relationship with Britain. In May, it contested its first General Election, with six of its nine candidates elected. They were Arnold Francis; Dorothy Thompson; Russell Dismont; Walter Robinson; Lois Browne-Evans (first elected black woman member of the Bermuda Parliament and a first-generation Bermudian with West Indian roots) and Cecil Clarke. 

1963. March 10. Bermuda Airlines was established by Rupert Leatham. He and Martin Smith were directors. The company had one seaplane – a six seater Cessna 185 Skywagon (similar to the one shown in the photograph below). Leatham bought the Cessna new, had floats fitted and flew it from New York to Bermuda on that day. The airline lasted until 1965. 

Cessna Skywagon with floats

1963. The sites of Forts Victoria and Albert in St. George's were given over to a hotel concession and the adjacent military lands to the west became a golf course.

1963. The Parliamentary Election Act was passed, giving every adult twenty-five years of age and above the right to vote. Universal adult suffrage was declared. This piece of legislation also incorporated the Watlington Amendment, extending the landowners which possessed ratable property anywhere in Bermuda a send or "plus" vote in the constituencies in which they lived. Parishes were retained as electoral districts, but were now divided into two constituencies - i.e. there were 18 in total, each of which returned two Members to the House of Assembly.

1963. Emperor Haillie Selassie of Ethiopia visited Bermuda, with his granddaughter, Princess Ruth Desta. Greeting him at the Civil Air Terminal were Sir Edward Richards, Colonel J. C. Astwood, Sir James Pearman, W. W. Davidson, Sir John Summerfield, American Consul General George Renchard, Sir John Cox, Acting Colonial Secretary Edward Smith, Chief Justice Sir Myles Abbott, Bishop Armstrong, Governor General Sir Julian Gascoigne and Lady Gascoigne.

1963. Modern, high-speed, land-based P-3 Orion aircraft replaced the seaplanes at the US Naval Operating Station, Bermuda.

1963. Casemates Prison was established at the former Royal Navy Casemates Barracks in Bermuda. 

1963. At the Hamilton Princess Hotel, the Adam Lounge (later, the Fairmont Gold Lounge) was named after the Johnson Brothers who had an 18th century architectural style called ‘Adam.’ They were renowned for their ceilings. There were no more than ten rooms in the world that have a ceiling in this design. Everything was hand made and hand placed. It was very elegantly set with a nice long carpet throughout. The carpet was made by the same company that made the carpet for the Queen’s Coronation at Westminster Abbey.

1963. August 9. Hurricane Arlene scored a direct-hit, winds to 90 mph, much damage to vegetation. She had been threatening the Island for almost a week before she came ashore. In her wake she left hundreds of boats, homes and vast areas of vegetation destroyed or damaged. It was the first time in a decade that a hurricane had not veered its course away from the Island.

1963. November. The US Coast Guard detachment in Bermuda transferred from the U.S. Naval Station to Kindley Air Force Base, Bermuda, because greater range could be gotten from its HU-16 Albatross aircraft by land takeoffs rather than water takeoffs.

1963. December 19. One of the last of the US Navy's VP-45 P-5M operational seaplane flights was flown from Bermuda. The PPC was Bob Palumbo, Jake was the co-pilot, Mike Levine manned the Nav table, and the Plane Captain was probably Petty Officer Cox, ADR-1.

VP45 Bermuda

1963. December 24. The very last US Navy operational flight by a VP-45 P-5M seaplane was also the very last operational seaplane flight by any Atlantic Fleet squadron, according to Don Hill, the PPC. It was a 7.2 hour patrol from Bermuda.

VP45 Bermuda

1964. January 6. The very last seaplane flight of a US Navy Atlantic Fleet squadron. It was a VP-45 4.1 hour ferry flight from Bermuda to Weeksville, North Carolina. The aircraft was a P5M-2, LN-5, BuNo 135489. 

VP45 Bermuda

1964. January 10. The US Navy's VP-45 officially closed down Bermuda operations, four days after the last flight. Since there were so few P-5 plane commanders left during the last six weeks, they all got a lot of BDA/JAX/BDA flights transferring squadron material.

VP45 Bermuda

1964. April 7.14-acre Chelston, one of the most magnificent beachfront estates in the world, built at Grape Bay, Bermuda from 1939 for California oil baron Dobbs, was formally conveyed to the US Government and became the official residence of the US Consul General in Bermuda and his principal staff. In addition to the 10,000 square foot main house, accommodation included three, three-bedroom guest cottages; a two-bedroom staff cottage, as well as a pool house, and a charming beach pavilion, gated entry, a near Olympic-size zero-edge pool, a croquet lawn, acres of rolling lawns for myriad recreational pursuits, and the pink sands of Grape Bay Beach among the many amenities. Guests of the US Consul General later included, over a 30 year period, US President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle, Senator John Kerry, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, General Colin Powell, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, actor Michael Douglas, and model/actress Brooke Shields. 

1964. April. Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother visited Bermuda.

1964. May. University of Virginia Press released the first edition of the book "A Voyage to Virginia 1609, Two Narratives." It contained first-hand reports of authors William Strachey and Sylvester Jourdain who were traveling from England to Jamestown as secretaries to Admiral Sir George Somers and Virginia Governor-elect Sir Thomas Gates when they were shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda in 1609. It is believed the narrative fell into the hands of William Shakespeare and he used it as his inspiration for The Tempest. The “Sea Venture” wreck led to the permanent settlement of Bermuda in 1612. No humans, European or aboriginal, inhabited the Bermuda archipelago when the ‘Sea Venture’ fortuitously arrived.  

1964. June 29. Two United States Air Force aircraft  stationed at Kindley Air Force Base (KAFB), Bermuda, collided at sea of Bermuda during a NASA mission from Kindley AFB. 17 US  servicemen died. They took off between 11:05 and 11:10 am local time. The first aircraft in the air was a HC-97G (serial number 522773), assigned to the 55th Air Rescue Squadron (55 ARS) at Kindley with 12 crewmen. The other aircraft was a HC-54D (serial number 4272590) assigned to the 57th Air Rescue Squadron (57 ARS) at Lajes Air Force Base in the Azores with 12 crewmen. The mission was for the aircraft to conduct an aerial photography mission to support the NASA Gemini program. It was necessary for the specially-trained para-rescue personnel (jumpers) to exit the aircraft, jump into the waters and install a flotation collar on the Gemini capsule. The planned mission was to have one aircraft with jumpers, while the other photographed the activities. The designated drop zone was about two to four miles south of Bermuda and about four to six miles from Kindley. Both aircraft arrived at the drop zone and because of the clouds, decided to fly the mission at 1,700 feet (below the clouds). Aboard each aircraft were photographers and para-rescue men. On the sea below, there were about three boats, one of which included a photographer, who filmed the aircraft’s operations. During the first run, the HC-97G took photos and the HC-54D was slightly forward and above, began deploying para-rescue men. Right-hand patterns were flown, and photos were shot with the sun behind the cameras and at an angle that would not reveal any land surfaces. After a few passes over the drop area with all four para-rescuemen being deployed from the HC-54D, the aircraft changed positions. This placed the HC-54D slightly ahead and above and to the left of the HC-97G. After flying one dry run, and again in a right-hand pattern, two para-rescue men deployed (jumped) from the HC-97G. Seconds later, the two aircraft collided. The HC-54D suddenly banked to the right, colliding with the HC-97G, hitting the wing or midsection of the HC-97G and sheering both its wing and the tail section, and both aircraft immediately plunged towards the water. A total of 17 Air Force personnel were killed, including Major Martin Nisker, USAF, who was the navigator on the HC-97G that morning. There were 7 survivors, all who jumped prior to the collision. Only five of the 17 killed had remains recovered.

A more personal account and consequence is as follows: Two USAF aircraft, an HC-97 and a C-54 were flying near Bermuda. The HC-97 was assigned to Kindley Air Force Base in Bermuda and the crew included Technical Sergeant (E-6) Lowell (Micky) W. Belter, who was assigned around January 1964, with his family, to the 55th Air Rescue Squadron based at KAFB. He was a radio operator. His aircraft was assigned to NASA to train for the recovery of Gemini spacecraft as the last few Mercury flights had overshot the aircraft carriers by about 90 miles, and NASA was considering reassigning that mission to the US Air Force from the US Navy. The aircraft flew in formation over Castle Harbour and then moved about two miles south of Castle Island.  One plane had parachutists to practice jumping into the sea, while the other aircraft was taking pictures.  They were flying about 1,000 feet above sea level. The first jumpers left the plane, and the C-54 banked to offset the lost weight.  The HC-97, with more powerful engines, did not bank, and the two aircraft collided.  This created such a huge fireball that it was seen by many people on the beaches along Tucker's Town and John Smith's Bay. There were 12 men aboard each plane, for a total of 24.  19 of those personnel were killed, and the five who survived where parachutists who had either just jumped or were about to.  Rescue craft were only able to recover nine bodies (not including Mickey Belter). Astronaut Scott Carpenter, who was over at the Navy base working on SeaLab, attempted to recover remains, but the two mile depth prevented these efforts. About two weeks later, the family of the late Mickey Belter left Bermuda on a USAF transport, to return to the USA. The next year, the Gemini program began, and was able to accurately land almost next to the aircraft carriers. Thereafter, the USAF never implemented the mission of recovering Gemini spacecraft.

1964. The Bermuda Cement Company was given a lease by the Bermuda Government to build a cement silo at the Dockyard. (The lease lasted for 43 years). 

1964. The term "Bermuda Triangle" was first popularized, thanks to an article that appeared in Argosy Magazine by Vincent Gaddis.

1964. Prince Edward was born, the youngest child of the Queen and Prince Philip. They were congratulated by the Bermuda Government.

1964. August. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived by himself for a brief visit.

1964. September 10. Death in Bermuda of artist Emil Antoine Verpilleux, whose large panoramic landscapes of Bermuda painted in the 1930s, for many years housed in an upper part of the St. George's Town Hall, made him well-known locally. He was born in London on March 3, 1888. His parents were Belgian and probably for that reason, his artistic studies took place in France and at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. He is believed to have been the first artist to have a woodcut hung in the Royal Academy, London. Today, he is considered one of the finest colored woodcut printmakers in Britain in the first half of the 20th century. Verpilleux served in the First World War  and until 1922 as an army officer, attaining the rank of captain. During his war experience he also managed to paint numerous war subjects, especially those of the Royal Flying Corps. Today, many of these paintings are in the collection of the Royal Air Force Museum. Verpilleux moved to Bermuda either in 1927 or early 1930s, mostly as a portrait painter but also did landscapes and was a woodcut printmaker. In 1949/50 he collaborated with ceramicist Andre Bohemelec to produce a series of dioramas, depicting scenes of early Bermuda history. These were, for many years, on exhibit in a special gallery in Fort St Catherine. During the early 1950s Verpilleux was active in establishing the Bermuda Society of Arts and served as president of the society from 1952 to 1956. 

1964. November. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived by himself for another brief visit.

1964. November 26. Qantas, the Australian round-the-world airline, inaugurated a route from London to Sidney via Mexico, with one of the stops being at Bermuda. 

1964 Quantas to Bermuda first day cover

1964. The United Bermuda Party (UBP), composed of twenty six former independent parliamentarians, was established under the leadership of Mr. Henry "Jack" Tucker (later Sir Henry Tucker) and assumed control of legislative affairs in the House of Assembly.

1964. Central Planning Authority was formed.

1964. Keep Bermuda Beautiful was founded.

1964. Bermuda Sun weekly newspaper was founded.

1964. The Hamilton Princess Hotel re-opened, after being bought in 1959 by American billionaire Daniel Ludwig with plans to make it a luxury hotel. It reopened with new rooms and facilities after a $9.5 million investment. Little of the original building from the 1880s remained although some parts dated back to the 1930s and 1940s.

1964. World premiere debut of this classic movie (see below) by Bermudian Arthur Rankin. It became the longest-running Christmas holiday special in world television history. The classic has entertained millions of families since then, with the world-renowned musical score from Johnny Marks and the voice talent of legendary performer Burl Ives (Sam the Snowman). It recounts the tale of a shy, young reindeer whose Christmas spirit is dampened because his shiny red nose made him the laughing stock of all Christmas town. Frustrated by their inability to fit in, Rudolph and his friend Hermey, the Elf who wants to be a dentist, set out on their own. However, they soon find themselves pursued by the Abominable Snowmonster. They flee to the island of Misfit Toys in the Arctic wilderness where Yukon Cornelius, a prospector they meet along the way, comes to their rescue. Returning to Christmastown, they learn that bad weather may cause Christmas to be canceled. But Rudolph's headlight--his illuminated nose--saves Christmas by serving as a beacon to guide Santa's sleigh.

1964. Discovery at the Western Ledge Reef, Bermuda of the wreck of the Spanish ship Santa Lucia, wrecked off Bermuda on 11 January 1584. Captained by Juan Lopez, she had been part of a fleet of ships that had left Spain for the Indies in 1583. She was not carrying any merchandise or treasure and her function was that of a courier ship, carrying government, financial and private documents, as well as gathering information on the progress and condition of the fleet, and of the various port cities visited. Once the fleet reached Vera Cruz in Mexico, she was to return home as soon as possible. However, en route from Vera Cruz, via Havana, to Spain, she ran into a storm and was unable to negotiate Bermuda’s reef-strewn waters. 

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer classic

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer TV classic 1964

1965. February 2.  The BELCO strike occured, with many repercussions. The local military and Bermuda Reserve Constabulary were embodied. The Bermuda Industrial Union was the main cause. It claimed management would go to any lengths not to recognize the rights of workers. Four persons were jailed, one found not guilty, several were made redundant, 14 were fined.

1965. April 2. British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC, later British Airways) first flew its new VC-10 aircraft from Bermuda to New York. At that time, BOAC was offering a Bermuda to New York and back service.

BOACVC10 in Bermuda

1965. The Bermuda Regiment was formed by the amalgamation of the white Bermuda Rifles and the black Bermuda Militia.

1965. The Canima. formerly an Irish ship's tender, sailed to Bermuda to replace the Chauncey M Depew. She was the last vessel to carry the on-board telegraph system and, along with her Irish-built sister ship the Cill Airne, she was said to be Europe’s last rivet-built ship.

1965. HMS Bermuda, see http://www.hmsgangestoterror.org/HMSBermuda.htm, the Royal Navy warship named after Bermuda, was scrapped. This last HMS Bermuda was a light cruiser of the Colony Class, launched in 1941, decommissioned in 1962. HMS Bermuda (No. 8) was built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, laid down in November 1938 and commissioned on August 21, 1942. Originally, the ship had 12 six-inch guns, anti-aircraft pieces and six torpedo tubes. During the war, she served in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic and Arctic and finally in the Pacific theatre. In later years, the vessel was a part of NATO, but was taken out of service in 1962. Some silver objects given to HMS Bermuda by the island are now at the Bermuda Maritime Museum. She visited Bermuda 3 times: 1958, Jul 1959, and Feb 1962. 

HMS Bermuda Royal Navy warship

HMS Bermuda, scrapped 1965

1965. November 23. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon arrived in Bermuda on a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) VC-10 jet, for a 6-hour whirlwind visit. They came after a vacation in the USA, while en route back to London. It was the Princess's second visit in 10 years, this time mostly to present the Colours of the newly-formed and de-segregated Bermuda Regiment at the National Stadium, Devonshire. 8,000 Bermudians and residents watched. She was given a diamond and platinum brooch, in the colours of the regiment. She and Lord Snowdon also toured the city of Hamilton where they were greeted by mayor Gilbert Cooper and met artist Bill Harrington who created the oil painting of the city given to them in honour of their visit. At Dellwood School, prefects observed Mr. A. E. Nicholl, chairman of the school's board, planting a prize hibiscus to commemorate the visit to Bermuda of the princess. Also present were head boy John Adams and head girl Mary Young.

Princess Margaret presented the Colours to the Bermuda Regiment

Princess Margaret presented the Colours to the newly-formed Bermuda Regiment. Photo kindly loaned the author by Cindy Farnsworth Toddings, step-daughter of S. A. Toddings, MCP, then chairman of the Bermuda Defence Forces, shown front left. From center, going right, are Governor Lord Martonmere, Princess Margaret, Lady Martonmere, the Earl of Snowdon, Ruth Tucker, Cynthia Toddings.

1965. Mrs. Ruth Seaton James became the Registrar General. This made her the first black and woman to head a government department.

1965. Howard Academy had government funding withdrawn and was closed. Government also withdrew funding for racially segregated schools.

1965. First Development and Planning Act for "orderly and progressive development of land and to preserve and improve the amenities thereof..." 

1965. October 3. Pope Paul VI stopped off briefly in Bermuda on his way to address the UN General Assembly in New York.

Pope in Bermuda

Pope Paul VI in Bermuda, with Lord Martonmere and Catholic Bishop

1966. April 16. Promoter Eddie DeMello of Bermuda first discovered The Merrymen of Barbados and brought them to Bermuda for an open-air concert at the Tennis Stadium, as well as gigs at the US military base and the Coral Island Club in Flatts. "I was travelling through Antigua, and they were playing at a big nightclub. They weren't really well known then, but I said, 'This is the type of act that would really, really go well in Bermuda', so I sat and talked with them, we worked things out, and I brought them up here in 1966," Mr. DeMello remembered. They became hugely popular in Bermuda from then on.

1966. Strike action was taken by the BIU against Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited over union representation. It resulted in unprecedented civil disorder. A State of Emergency was called. There were riots, strikes, malicious damage and Molotov Cocktails thrown. Some policeman were badly injured.

1966. The "plus" vote was abolished and the voting age for every Bermudian (by birth or grant) was lowered to twenty-one (later changed to 18 in 1989). All British subjects satisfying the age requirement and having lived on the island for at least three years were also given the vote, a concession which was later rescinded. In addition, Pembroke Parish because of its large population, was split into four districts with each returning two elected representatives, a change which effectively increased the House of Assembly sears from thirty-six to forty, by 1966 legislation. It had been 36 since 1691.

1966. Representatives of the United Bermuda Party and the Progressive Labour Party, the Legislative Council and independent House of Assembly members, attended a Constitutional Conference in London, as a result of which Bermuda's first written Constitution was drawn up and approved.

1966. Qantas, the Australian airline, opened another around-the-world route. This was named the Fiesta route and was from Sydney to London via Tahiti, Mexico City, and Bermuda.

1966. The movie "Let's Kill Uncle" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060626/ was filmed in Bermuda.

1966. Pompano Beach Club opened as the Island's first fishing club that allowed visitors using the fishing lodge to go out for a spot of deep sea fishing and return to enjoy their freshly caught fish in the club's small dining room. Over the years the club grew with additional buildings and by the early 1960s it had developed into a small hotel. Tom Lamb Jr. and his wife Jean were co-founders, bought it outright in 1957 and ran the business until the early 1980s when Mr. Lamb passed away. The couple's daughter Aimee and her soon-to-be husband David Southworth took over in 1982 and were joined four years later by the youngest of the Lamb sons, Larry. Since 1989 Larry and his older brother Tom Lamb III have been the joint management team. The continuity maintained by having one family run the resort and the loyalty of long-serving staff and repeat-visit guests have been the greatest strengths of the hotel, which has since expanded. 

1966. The United States Air Force Base in Bermuda, Kindley Air Force Base, ended being a Military Air Transport Service (MATS) base - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Air_Transport_Service when that entity was discontinued. Instead, it became a Military Airlift Command base - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Airlift_Command

Photo kindly sent by John Cook, who was based at KAFB from 1956-1960.

1966. When Ruth James was appointed Registrar General, she became the first black woman to head a Bermuda Government Department.

1966. The Queen of Bermuda cruise ship made her final weekly call at Bermuda. She had more luxury about her than many transatlantic liners. The service was impeccable and the food top-notch. She was also an immaculate ship. She was first class in every way. She was very, very popular on the 6-day cruise run between New York and Bermuda. In fact, the Bermuda run was a 'gold mine' for her British owners. The 22,500-ton Queen of Bermuda was one of the great liners of the 1930's. She was completed in 1933 at the Vickers-Armstrong Yard at Barrow-in-Furness and, together with her near-sister, Monarch of Bermuda of 1931, added great luxury to the Bermuda cruise trade. Along with splendid public rooms, a large main restaurant, an indoor pool and spa-cious sports and sunning decks, she boasted a great novelty for that era: every cabin had a private bathroom. The fares in the 1930's began at $50, the ideal honeymoon cruise or, as their owners, Furness Bermuda Line dubbed them, the honeymoon ships.. They sailed in regular tandem up to that fateful summer of 1939 when war started in Europe and they were called to more urgent, far less glamorous duties. In August 1939 she went to war. The 19-knot vessel survived the war, returned to the Bermuda run in February 1949 and sailed on it until, when deep into maritime old age, she was sold for scrap in Scotland in late 1966

1967. April 27. Bermuda Floral Pageant. The 17th annual, since the first postwar Pageant was staged in 1950.

1967 Bermuda Floral Pageant

1967 Bermuda Floral Pageant

1967. The Ocean Monarch, sister ship to the Queen of Bermuda but built much later, in 1951, left the Bermuda-New York route. She was sold to Bulgaria and renamed Varna.

1967. After the departures of the Queen of Bermuda and Ocean Monarch, the Cunard Line took over the Bermuda Government New York-Bermuda contract for a few years with its Franconia, and the Greek Line joined in with its similarly-sized Olympia.

1967. In London, the UK Parliament approved Bermuda's new Constitution.

1967. The Hotel Keepers’ Protection Act became law.

1967. The Bermuda Post Office issued these stamps:

Bermuda stamp 1967i

Bermuda stamp 1967ii

1967. Renovation of Fort Hamilton was completed, after 3 years work. It had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair in the 1960s. It was in dreadful condition. It was used as a local dump. The moat was blocked with vegetation and trash. Inside the Corporation of Hamilton used it as a storage area for building materials. There was an old fire truck up there. It was quite a job. Corporation staff moved the guns from what had been Fort Langton, later the bus depot on the North Shore. They had to locate the canons in the moat. They were partially buried and overgrown. It was a tremendous job getting them out. They weighed many tons. They had to get a big crane. 

1967. Land Tax became a property tax charged on all developed land throughout Bermuda with some exceptions. The tax is charged under the authority of the Land Tax Act 1967 and the Land Valuation and Tax Act 1967.

1967. The James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062512/ was filmed, a part of it in Bermuda. 

movie You Only Live Twice

1967. December 2. Five crewmembers died and others survived a terrible ordeal with the yacht Ramona ran aground at North Rock. Four of the dead were St. Lucians.

1968. Lois Browne-Evans was Bermuda's first female barrister, Bermuda's first female Attorney General, and the first woman to become Opposition Leader in a British Commonwealth country when she became leader of the PLP. She served as leader until 1972 and again from 1976 to 1985.

1968. March. Princess Margaret visited Bermuda for the second time.

1968. The Clayhouse Inn became a prime nightspot on the Island, attracting visitors from overseas and revellers from across Bermuda. It hosted an array of international and local talent under the management of concert promoter Choy Aming. Jazz musicians, drag queens, dancers, singers, DJs and other entertainers played to the crowds, while the venue also proved a launching pad for many local bands. It also played for laughs, hosting 'Not the Um Um' shows, and was an assembly point for Mr. Aming's colorful carnival dancers in the Bermuda Day parades. In January 2002 however, fire broke out in the apartments above, signaling the demise of the popular nightspot. Seven people including a two-year-old baby girl had to be rescued by firefighters from their balconies.

1968. April 25 and 26. Floral Pageant Riot. A State of Emergency was called. Black Beret Cadre-led waves on insurrection and rioting followed, that lasted until 1972. They led to an investigation of the underlying causes by a Commission chaired by the Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Wooding. 1968 Wooding Commission Report. Appointed by the UK. The Governor declared a state of emergency and a Royal Navy frigate was sent to the Island to maintain the peace. A British Amy unit was also summoned and the Inniskilling Fusiliers, about to undergo a name-change, answered the call. See http://www.royal-irish.com/stories/bermuda-island-sun. The Commission highlighted that many of the black youths involved were resentful of the predominantly white and expatriate Police force which, many felt, picked on young black men. The underlying causes of the violence were deemed to be racial conflict; limited scope for employment of black Bermudians in a ‘white economy’; the artificiality of the Bermudian society with its emphasis on holiday living and easy money; the heavy dependency upon alcohol and the increasing prevalence of drug use. Although in the years prior to 1968, a series of progressive laws were swiftly introduced, undoing centuries of enforced racism, with racial segregation dismantled, universal suffrage finally gained and a move made to integrate all of Bermuda’s schools,  the commission concluded that for many young blacks the changes were too few and were taking too long to really make a difference in Bermuda’s divided society. A frustrated population of young blacks were set to blaze in anger with even the smallest spark of racial injustice, the commission concluded. Those behind the 1968 riots were almost exclusively teenagers, the commissioners wrote. Racial tensions emanated from the deep historical divides between the races. The Wooding Commission “found that virtually everything in Bermudian society was viewed in racial terms”. Race defined all facets of society: relationships between the Police and blacks, the banning of “black” publications, the disputes between political parties and the attitudes of all Bermudians. The Wooding Commission saw a need for a “a new and true understanding, a deep conviction of the essentiality of building a single community, providing common opportunities for all and an unyielding commitment to promoting the democratic values of equality and fraternity in a society that is free in every respect”. The commission put forward a long list of suggestions for the UBP Government of the day to achieve this objective, including: Bermudianisation of local schools, by reducing the proportion of expatriate teachers (which, at that time, had reached 40 percent ). “Government,” the commissioners wrote, “should give urgent attention to the long neglected need for low-cost housing.” The Police Service, which formed a major concern for the commissioners, needed an extensive overhaul to make it more useful in meeting the needs of the society. Court Street, the commissioners wrote, needed a recreational centre for the area youth. “Effective control of the premises should remain with youths of the area,” the commissioners wrote, though Government should advise on its management and fund it.

1968. May 21. USS Scorpion, a Skipjack-class nuclear submarine, sank in the Bermuda region, 500 miles southwest of the Azores.

1968. June 7. Bermuda took its historic step into responsible government at midnight when the nearly 300 -year-old unwritten constitution came to an end, and Bermuda's new written Constitution went into force the next day. The implementation of a written Constitution shifted most of the responsibility for the internal governance of Bermuda from the Governor to the elected representatives of the people and appointed members of the Legislature - i.e. the members of Parliament, a bicameral institution consisting of an elected House of Assembly (the Lower House) and an appointed Legislative Council (the Upper House). The constitution, the result of a lengthy debate in London, meant a Bermuda more controlled by Bermudians. The functions of Government once the responsibility of a series of Boards, were taken over by an Executive Council of 12 ministers (now known as the Cabinet) who were responsible directly to the local House of Assembly and not to the Governor. 

1968. June 8. Bermuda's new written Constitution came into effect, as a document 96 pages long. It is not like other constitutions which cover all nationals and non-nationals. The Bermuda one covers Bermudians and their spouses only, not the 25 percent who are not and probably will never be unless they marry a Bermudian, or are born to parents one of whom must be a Bermudian. Non-Bermudians married to Bermudians should be aware they are not protected by the Constitution against work permit cessation or conviction of a serious crime and also under the latter have no human right to a family life in Bermuda, unlike under European law where the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) may offer protection.

1968. June 14.  An historic first General Election to be held with the new constitutional framework took place, the first under full universal adult suffrage and the first under a party system. A total of 107 candidates contested 40 seats in the House of Assembly. The United Bermuda Party (UBP) had 39 candidates, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) 38, the Bermuda Democratic Party (BDP) fielded 21, and there were nine Independents. The UBP won thirty seats and the PLP won ten. Sir Henry Tucker, leader of the UBP, was appointed Bermuda's first Government Leader. The General Election effectively took Bermuda from a representative to responsible form of Government and transferred most of the Governor's former executive function to the Executive Council, which was now headed by the person commanding the support of the majority of the elected Members of the House of Assembly. That individual, referred to as the Government Leader (a designation which in later years was changed to Premier) chose the other Members of the Executive Council (subsequently called Ministers) from party representatives within the Legislature. Thus, the Council (known today as the Cabinet) assumed responsibility for the administration of the internal affairs of Bermuda, while the Governor, in a truncated role, retained, interalia, control of external affairs, defence, internal security and the Police, matters on which he was and still is, constitutionally obliged to consult with the Government of the day.

1968. The Bermuda Government and United Kingdom Government negotiated an entrustment deal that allowed Bermuda's leaders to negotiate with other countries on certain matters without asking for permission from Britain on every occasion. It became a working symbol of Bermuda's senior status with the government of the United Kingdom and a mechanism that helped Bermuda take its place as a responsible member of the international community. It was an essential tool of modern Bermuda. Intrinsic to the exercise of the general entrustment is the trust the United Kingdom has in Bermuda to negotiate arrangements that ultimately require its signature. The papers show that Bermuda was given power to: Negotiate and conclude trade agreements with other countries; Arrange or allow visits of up to 30 days for trade or commercial purposes by representatives or residents of Bermuda to any other country; Negotiate and conclude agreements of purely local concern with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the US or such other authorities that the Bermuda Government may request and the UK Government approve; Negotiate and conclude agreements for technical assistance or of a cultural or scientific nature with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the US or such other authorities that the Bermuda Government may request and the UK Government approve; and Negotiate and conclude agreements with other countries, whether bilateral or multilateral, relating to emigration from Bermuda to those countries and to emigrant labour schemes. The agreement says it is necessary for the Bermuda Government to inform the UK of any such negotiations and keep it informed of progress.

1968. Bermuda had a papal visit by Pope Paul VI. He stopped on these shores briefly following a trip to Bogota, Columbia.

1968. Department of Planning, DAB, established.

1968. October. Bermuda Regiment soldiers went on their first overseas exercise. A 28-man group spent four weeks in Jamaica with 'A' Company of the York and Lancaster Regiment, part of the British regular army, who were there for an introduction to jungle training. The training time was spent working in the rough terrain presented by the thickly forested hills around Berriedale, in Portland. The soldiers lived in a tented camp at Folly Point, just outside Port Antonio, where, during the rainy season in an area that receives more than 100 inches of rain a year, the tented camp soon became a muddy swamp where it was said that only strong discipline and a stronger sense of humor kept the soldiers going. Of this pioneering group of men on the exercise, known by the British Army as Exercise Sane, three went on to make Bermuda Regimental and Bermuda national history; and one went on to high rank in the Church. Lieutenant Eugene Raynor became the first black Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment from 1980 to 1984; Private Alvin Daniels became Captain Alvin Daniels and later the first Bermudian Aide-de-Camp to a Governor from 1973 to 1975, and Sergeant Larry Burchall became the first Bermudian Regimental Sergeant Major from 1978 to 1980. Going on to high rank in the Church was Corporal Calvin 'Skippy' Ball now Bishop Calvin J P Ball, Church of God (Washington State). Coming from Bermuda and working with the platoon was Company Sergeant Major Alan 'Boopsie' Burrows, a Bermuda Regiment pacesetter and trail-breaker in his own right and British Warrant Officer John Selby who later became a red-jacketed pensioner at Royal Chelsea Hospital, but who in October 1968 was on attachment to the Bermuda Regiment as the its Regimental Sergeant Major. Other Bermuda Regiment members in Jamaica were Gerald Bean, Edward Burchall, Allan Caines, Oliver K Darrell, John Deshields, Harold Dowling, Dennis Hassell, Glenn Ingham, J Looby, David Patterson, David Rowntree, Russell Seymour, Averylon Simons, William Todd, Peter Wilson, Creswell Williams.

1968. December. Guards were appointed to protect the Bermuda Cenotaph on Front Street following a series of desecrations and thefts of the memorial flags. The incident resulted in a dramatic move by the Canadian Navy to post a guard

1969. When man walked on the moon for the first time, the NASA station on Cooper's Island, Bermuda, played a key role.

1969. A group of scientists released a colony of gibbons on Hall's Island in Harrington Sound (and followed up on their progress in 1973). The scientists were studying the way the apes swing through trees and also monitored whether they were at play or rest via radios strapped to their backs.

1969. The Canadian Naval Radio Station Bermuda was officially changed in name to Canadian Forces Station Bermuda. It was one of the first Canadian stations to be manned by the "new-look" unified Canadian Forces Personnel.
1969. Bermuda National Trust founded.

1969. Bermuda's first Black Power conference was held. It brought activists from across the world to Bermuda's shores. The event was organized by the late civil rights campaigner Roosevelt Brown.

1969. Race Relations Act was enacted.

1969 October.  For a United Press International Conference in Bermuda, delegates included US Attorney General John Mitchell, Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Cronkite. They arrived at Kindley and were met by USAF personnel. Britain sent British Ambassador to the USA, Mr. John Freeman.

1970. The Health Insurance Act 1970 was enacted, to come into effect a year later (see April 1, 1971). 

1970. March. Princess Margaret visited Bermuda.

1970. July. Bermuda's bowlers including HattieAnn Morrisette became household names in Bermuda when against all odds they defeated bowlers from 20 Western Hemisphere nations in the 8th Annual Invitational Tournament of the Americas in Miami.

1970. August 8. The Chesley White department store was burnt to the ground. That business, which stood where Washington Mall runs today, threatened to take out a block of Reid Street before being contained.

1970. The Bermuda National Trust was established to preserve natural, architectural and historic treasures and to encourage public appreciation of them. Its forerunner was the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust, working in conservation from 1937 to 1970. The Trust’s programmes and activities are focused in the key areas of Preservation, Education and Advocacy. Its purpose is to ensure that Bermuda’s unique heritage remains protected for future generations.

1970. Prince Charles visited Bermuda, to open the 350th session of Parliament.

1970. Easter Sunday night. There was extensive restoration done after a mysterious fire, by an arsonist.

1970. Race Relations Council was appointed.

1970. The Heydon Trust chapel in Sandys Parish was converted to its present prayerful status, from a modest but picturesque 19th century farm laborer's cottage that appears to have been built much earlier.

1970. October. Racial riots resulted in countless acts of arson, strikes and malicious damage. A State of Emergency was called.

1970. Bermuda's first decimal currency, in dollars and cents, replaced the old British-style currency and the Bermuda dollar was pegged to the US dollar, at par.

1970. The United States Air Force handed over its base at Kindley Air Force Base to the US Navy. It became the US Naval Air Station, Bermuda

1970. Captain Horace Gibbons was the first Bermudian to become director of the Bermuda Regiment Band.

1971. January. The year began with a major social development - integration in all Bermuda's public schools. From that moment on, there were no longer officially any black or white schools, but premises infused with the Technicolor of real people. 

1971. January. Bermudian artist Charles Lloyd Tucker died suddenly, after suffering a massive heart attack. Bermudians black and white expressed their sorrow to his widow, Theresa.

1971. January. Brenton Roberts was appointed the island's first Organizer of Community Development (OCD). For many years thereafter, Roberts and his staff directed and coordinated the islands sports from east – west providing facilities, sporting events, summer day camps and after school program’s and much more. The first of three locations was above the Spot Restaurant on Burnaby Street for approximately the first 10 years. His staff consisted of Tom Smith, Sports Advisor, Reggie Ming, Youth Advisor and Roselyn Smith, secretary to Mr. Roberts and the Minister of Sport, Mr. Lancelot Swan. During the early 1970′s they broke ground on Bernard Park Softball Diamond, which attracted all walk’s of life, the Rubber Tree, in Warwick which provided a multi – surface complex for netball including various other sports and the former Coney Island race track which provided some the islands best motocross riders. 

1971. Senator Edward  Kennedy began one of his most significant connection to Bermuda with his relationship with former United Bermuda Party MP John Stubbs. Sen. Kennedy recruited Dr. Stubbs, a surgeon who was familiar with both the UK and US health systems, to spearhead a fact-finding tour of Britain on behalf of the Senate Health subcommittee, which was looking to drastically improve healthcare in the States. The pair struck up a friendship which lasted many years.

Senator Edward Kennedy in Bermuda with Stubbs

Senator Edward Kennedy with Dr. John and Mrs. Stubbs

1971. Sir Edward (ET) Trenton Richards became the first Black leader of the UBP and Bermuda's first Premier.

1971. April 1. The Health Insurance Act of 1970 came into affect, making health insurance plans compulsory for all Bermuda businesses. It mandated how health insurance became governed in Bermuda. Before this date, all Bermuda-based employers, whether local or exempted companies, were not required by law to provide any kind of medical healthcare to their employees, although many did so, either via their own self-funded arrangements or via a Bermudian company offering medical and/or health insurance. The Act required every employer to make health insurance available to all employees (full-time and some part-time employees) and their non-employed spouses through a licensed insurer. Self-employed persons were also required to have health insurance. Further, health insurance coverage had to include a minimum of the Standard Hospital Benefit, for the employee, non-working spouse and all their children. However, if a spouse later became employed, the employer was no longer required to provide insurance for that spouse. It was the responsibility of the employee to inform his/her employer when a spouse became employed. An employer was required to pay the insurer the entire cost of the health insurance premium for each employee and their non-employed spouse, but could deduct from an employee’s salary (or wages) up to half the cost of the standard premium. Promptly after an employee is hired, the employer had to provide the employee with the name of the health insurer who is offering the health insurance contract and the insurance number of the health insurance contract.

1971. May 10. Bermuda issued the following stamps commemorating the voyages of the Deliverance:

Bermuda 1971 stamp 1 Bermuda 1971 stamp 2Bermuda 1971 stamp 3Bermuda 1971 stamp 4

1971. Flagship Cruises took over the Bermuda Government New York-Bermuda contract from the Cunard Line  with its Franconia, and the Greek Line with its similarly-sized Olympia and replaced them with the purpose-built specifically for Bermuda Sea Venture and Island Venture for the route. When these two ships were sold to Princess Cruises in 1974, the Sea Venture became the Pacific Princess, better known as the "Love Boat."

1971. Initial formation of the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

1971 to 1984. Champion racehorse breeder John Silvertand (who died in 2007) began to live in Bermuda and married a Bermudian with whom he had two daughters. He was the breeder of Afleet Alex who almost managed to win the fabled Triple Crown in 2005. The horse was third in the first leg – the Kentucky Derby – but won both the second and third legs, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

1971. Bermuda Building Code began, with application and planning regulations.

1971. A study on the Bermuda environment by Dr. Idwell Hughes showed significant loss of arable land.

1971. Judge John Keogh of Norwalk, CT, of the New England District of Kiwanis International, visited Bermuda and persuaded locals to become Kiwanis, with the first of what became three local clubs formed.

1971. Freeman Fox study on highway and public transportation.

1972. Fisheries Act extended Bermuda's jurisdiction to 12 miles and required statistics on each species of fish caught commercially. It required commercial fishermen to be licensed.

1972. Bermuda visit of David Frost, a luminary of British broadcast journalism who once chose Bermuda to fete some of the most eminent celebrities of the day. His impromptu January 1972 Bermuda bash garnered widespread coverage for the Island, from The New York Times to ‘Life’ magazine. The television star was simultaneously hosting talk shows in the UK and US when he chartered a 747 to bring 60 of his closest friends to Bermuda. Guests flown in from New York ranged in celebrity from US Senator Jacob Javits to world-famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith — and actor Richard Roundtree, star of the just-released film “Shaft.” Others included US author James Michener, chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, journalist Barbara Walters, and film producer Joseph Levine. After treating his guests to a meal at the old Castle Harbour Hotel, followed by a chartered cruise of local waters, Sir David quipped to the British press that he thought “it would be jolly to start the New Year by taking some friends to lunch in Bermuda”. The veteran TV journalist specialised in interviews with leading figures, including eight UK prime ministers and seven US presidents. His most widely known claim to fame was his 1977 series of interviews with disgraced US president Richard Nixon. He died in 2013 of a suspected heart attack aboard the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth, where he had been booked as a speaker.

1972. The Bermuda College was established by the amalgamation of the Sixth Form Centre, Technical Institute and Hotel College. 

1972. March. The Bermuda Track and Field Association Half-Marathon was first held on this rainy day, making it a number of years older than any other Island road race except the 102-year-old May 24 Bermuda Day Half-Marathon. German holidaymaker Gerd Mielke was the winner of the inaugural race, beating a field of less than 20 runners in a time of one hour 26 minutes and 23 seconds.

1972. Cavendish Hall School, in Devonshire Parish, was acquired by Saltus Grammar School as its Preparatory department. 

1972. Bacardi International, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, established its worldwide headquarters in Bermuda. With operations and offices around the globe, with more than 200 brands and labels operating in more than 100 countries. It went on to build a magnificent office off Pitt's Bay Road, Pembroke. 

1972. September 9. Assassination in Bermuda at his home, Bleak House, Devonshire, of Police Commissioner George Duckett, 45 years old, from England - in a planned and premeditated cold blooded murder, after disabling a security light outside the Commissioner's kitchen door – luring him outside and directly into the line of fire. His wife and daughter were intended to be victims too, but his wife escaped by car to call the police. His daughter Marcia was shot at five times, with one shot hitting her, but not seriously. A State of Emergency was called and Scotland Yard detectives were summoned. Confessed murderer Erskine Durrant (Buck) Burrows also attempted to slaughter Duckett's family when he began to spray bullets through the kitchen window, as the declassified Scotland Yard murder log of the investigation has revealed. Burrows fired one shot into the Commissioner's back with his small caliber .22 revolver – a shot that tore through both of Duckett's lungs, his heart and aorta. Duckett managed to stumble back into his house and close the door behind him before collapsing and dying, hemorrhaging blood from his mouth and his nose. Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent William Wright noted the above in his first full report on the Duckett killing, submitted to then Bermuda Police Commissioner L.M. (Nobby) Clark on February 11, 1973. "From the direction of two of the bullets, which struck a metal tray during flight, it would appear as though the assassin was either trying to hit Mr. Duckett again as he lay on the floor or else was firing at Mrs. Duckett, who was at her husband's side. "The remaining three bullets, however, were deliberately fired in the direction of Mrs. Duckett and her daughter Marcia as they stood in the archway of the kitchen whilst she was attempting to telephone for assistance. Two of the bullets struck the wood paneling whilst the third one struck Marcia in the chest." It was later discovered the killer had cut the telephone wires leading to the house as well as disabling the Police radio in the Commissioner's official car parked outside Bleak House. Detective Chief Superintendent Wright and fellow Scotland Yard murder investigator Detective Sergeant Basil Haddrell arrived in Bermuda on September 11 and worked with the Bermuda Police on the Duckett killing and a series of subsequent violent crimes that rocked Bermuda's placidity in the early 1970s. In the shocking and bizarre resolution to the Commissioner's murder, Police Headquarters' trusty and one-time Duckett confidante Erskine (Buck) Burrows was arrested and charged with killing the Commissioner in 1973 following a politically-motivated murder and robbery spree that left five people dead including then Governor Sir Richard Sharples. Burrows had frequently worked as a handyman for the Commissioner at Bleak House, knew his habits and the lay-out of the house and property. Following the murder, Burrows had actually been detailed by newly-appointed Commissioner Clark to clean up the blood-stained Bleak House kitchen where Duckett died. Burrrows also attended the Commissioner's September 14 burial at the Military Cemetery in Prospect which overlooks Bleak House. Veteran officers remember him standing by the Police Vault for some 20 minutes, head bowed, paying his respects to the man he murdered. Members of the small militant wing of the Black Beret Cadre (BBC), revolutionaries inspired by the Black Power movement in the US, had met and recruited Burrows when he spent a short stint at the old Casemates prison in the early 1970s for a series of break-ins he almost certainly did not commit. It is believed Burrows' hatred for the rogue police officers who had beaten a false confession out of him for the break-ins resulted in him drifting into the Cadre's orbit. The Cadre's extremists recognized Burrows' value to them as a spy and agent provocateur at Police Headquarters once he was released from prison – Duckett, aware Burrows had likely been framed, had offered him his position back. Later, the Cadre focused his anti-authoritarian rage and moulded him into a once-removed assassin using indoctrination techniques that were standard in counter-culture para-military cells at the time (for instance, playing on Burrows' ego by always referring to him as "Commander-in-Chief of all Anti-Colonial Forces in Bermuda"). Burrows' grief over the Duckett killing (he considered the Commissioner a friend and something of a father figure) is believed to have led to his conversion to Christianity following his arrest. He provided a written confession to prosecutors during his Supreme Court trial for killing the Police Commissioner in 1975. "I, Erskine Durrant Burrows, being of sound mind and body, wish to reveal and make known the following truths," he wrote. "First of all, I wish to reveal the truth that I, Erskine Durrant Burrows, was the person who shot and killed Mr. George Duckett at his home Bleak House on the night as stated by the prosecution. I shot him in the back. I am also the person who fired other bullets through the kitchen window, one of which wounded his daughter, Marcia Duckett. I wish to state again that what I have written and revealed is all true: it is the truth. I wish to reveal also that I cut the telephone wires beforehand. I also cut the wires to Mr. Duckett's car radio beforehand. I came on foot and left on foot. I was alone. No one else was with me. Finally I wish to reveal that I have made all the revelations of my own free will. No one has forced or pressured me into doing so. I also add my signature willingly and of my own free will. Signed: Erskine Durrant Burrows." He also admitted his role in the March 1973 murders of Governor Sir Richard Sharples and his Aide-De-Camp Captain Hugh Sayers and was convicted of murdering supermarket executives Victor Rego and Mark Doe during the armed robbery of the Shopping Centre on Victoria Street in April, 1973. At the time of his arrest Burrows was described by then-Governor Sir Edwin Leather as "this tragic young man", saying he and, to a lesser degree, career criminal Larry Tacklyn (tried for collaborating with Burrows in the Government House and Supermarket killings) were puppets manipulated by hard-core elements within the militant Black Beret Cadre. "What I am convinced happened is that, at that moment of time, and probably quite accidentally, the small ring of BBC leaders still meeting together . . . suddenly realized that fate had put a new weapon in their hands in the form of these easily impressed and not very bright young criminals," said Sir Edwin. "They played on them, influenced them, almost certainly inspired some of the violent acts that followed and very probably planned them." 

1972. A Bermuda Regiment Volunteer Reserves team erected a Bailey Bridge on the Causeway in double quick time to ease traffic snarl-ups while essential maintenance work took place on Longbird Bridge. 30 members of the Volunteer Reserve unit took just two days to complete the bridge-building task which had been expected to take much longer. In October, 1972, Major Brendan Hollis was reported as saying: "The Royal Engineers judged it would take 60 men five days to complete the bridge; we have done it with 30 men in two days." Lt. Col. Michael Darling, commanding officer of the Bermuda Regiment at the time, said: "The enthusiasm of these men was really terrific. They were none of them youngsters, but they proved their worth today." 

1972-74, when the Southampton Princess was built as Bermuda's biggest hotel, almost 100% of the construction materials came from Canada.

1973. February 15. Opening date of large new hotel in St. George's, the Holiday Inn (later, Loews's Inn, later Club Med). It had a sad history and was finally demolished in 2008 in hope of having a new hotel. Present in 1973 were personalities including the Premier, Minister of Tourism and MCPs including Sir Dudley Spurling.

Holiday Inn, Bermuda

Holiday Inn, Bermuda, opened February 15, 1973

1973. The Bermuda Government's Hotel Occupancy Tax was introduced after being enacted by the House of Assembly.  It was charged under the authority of the Miscellaneous Taxes Act l976 and the Miscellaneous Taxes (Rates) Act l980 and their respective Amendments. It was levied on the proprietors of hotels licensed under the Hotels (Licensing and Control) Act l969. It is calculated as a percentage of the rack rate charged to hotel guests. The term ‘rack rate charge’ means the total charge made by an hotel to its guests for accommodation and includes meals where a separate charge has not been made.

1973. Prince Charles arrived without pomp and ceremony as a Sub Lieutenant aboard HMS Minerva. He stayed for 4 days and attended a number of social functions but is main duties were on the warship.

1973. The Executive Council was renamed Cabinet.

1973. When the United Kingdom formally entered the European Union this year, Bermuda, as a British colony, was not included in EU citizenship and other laws and provisions.

1973. City of Hamilton Plan.

1973. Double assassination in Bermuda, on March 10, of Bermuda Governor Sir Richard Sharples and his aide Captain Hugh Sayers, at Government House while walking a dog. They were buried in the graveyard at St. Peter's Church in St. George's. A State of Emergency was called and Scotland Yard detectives were summoned. Later, the killer was tried and executed. The execution caused mass riots, strikes, malicious damage and injuries to policemen. (Much later, the family came to live in Bermuda, for UK tax avoidance purposes).

1973. Old Devonshire Church was damaged by an explosion on Easter Sunday.

1973. November. Hamilton's container dock # 8, and an extension of container dock # 7, were officially opened

1973. November. The Bermuda Government gave a tentative go-ahead for plans to create a national lottery and asked the Lottery Committee to draw up details. The Committee's report indicated strong support from residents and visitors. The Committee planned to use the money raised by the Lottery to finance a major sports complex, possibly at Shelly Bay, and other recreational facilities. But this never came to anything. 

1974. Princess Cruises bought Flagship Cruises Bermuda Government New York-Bermuda contract and the latter's purpose-built specifically for Bermuda Sea Venture and Island Venture. The Sea Venture became the Pacific Princess, better known as the "Love Boat."

1974. February. A US Navy tug freed the grain ship "Mount Julie" from a reef in Bermuda's main shipping channel.

1974. Sir Henry Vesey voiced his views on international insurance expansion in Bermuda. For the first 35 years of its existence, the Bermuda insurance market pinned its colors to the property and catastrophe sector. But when Bermuda began to move beyond the captive market it had pioneered in the 1960s, one of the early questions it faced was whether to admit life, and annuity business. A hard decision, rather than a vague policy ruling, was required from the Bermuda government when the Harvard University medical malpractice program applied to operate its captive business from Bermuda. Sir Henry Vesey, who had been chairman of the Bermuda Trade Development Board in 1969, famously said: "What we want to avoid is overexpansion," and Harvard was duly turned down. The program went to the Cayman Islands and led to that jurisdiction becoming, over the years, Bermuda's only meaningful offshore competitor in the insurance industry.

1974. The Bermuda Bar Act 1974 - see http://www.bermudabar.org/images/Bermuda%20Bar%20Act%201974.pdf  was legislated.

1974. "The Bermuda Triangle" first became a household term, through the publication of The Bermuda Triangle book by Charles Berlitz. Bermuda gave its name to this mysterious stretch of water largely as a result of the still unexplained disappearances of ships and planes both military and civilian including the airliners Star Tiger and Star Ariel in 1948 and 1949. It is said that when Miami, one of its other points, was asked if it wanted the Miami Triangle, it promptly and pointedly said no. When Puerto Rico, another point, was asked, it too immediately declined . When Bermuda was approached it did not reply, so got the name by default.

1974. The Legislative Council approved regulations allowing American civilians employed at the US bases in Bermuda to have the same on-base customs privileges as members of US Armed Forces.

1974. The dilapidated former Royal Navy Hospital complex mostly burnt down but a surviving building, known earlier as the Isolation Ward, was saved for conversion and change of use, as a senior citizen's retirement home, named Lefroy House. In 1818, the Royal Navy had built a quarantine facility on a small adjacent island later called Hospital Island. It was later extended and served as the Royal Navy hospital until it closed in the 1950s. 

1974. The USA and Bermuda established the first commercial pre-clearance agreement whereby passengers leaving Bermuda by air for the USA could be pre-cleared in Bermuda by US Immigration and Customs authorities, instead of having to line up for a long time on arrival in the USA, as do Europeans and others.

1974. The Bermuda College began, created by the Parliament of Bermuda through the passage of the Bermuda College Act in 1974. Under this Act, a Board of twelve Governors had the responsibility for the direction and management of the College. The members of the Board are appointed annually by the Minister of Education. The Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education and the Chairman of the National Training Board are ex officio members of the Board. This provision for the governance of Bermuda's only post-secondary educational institution was patterned after similar governing Acts of state-funded universities in the USA and Canada. The College began with the amalgamation of three flourishing institutions: the Bermuda Hotel and Catering College established in 1965, the Bermuda Technical Institute (1956) and the Academic Sixth Form Centre (1967) Some of these institutions had even earlier antecedents. They had provided opportunities for education and training in the main areas needed by Bermuda in its developing economy.

1974. Development and Planning Act had far wider visions than the 1965 Act.

1974. Which Way Bermuda? Exhibition at City Hall. 

1974. Second Bermuda Development Plan, with 53% zoned as an Environmental Conservation area with reserves for future development.

1974. With the enactment of the Bermuda Archives Act 1974 the Bermuda Archives department of the Bermuda Government was officially established.

1975. The Bermuda Government issued these postage stamps:

Bermuda 1975 stamp 1  Bermuda 1975 stamp 2

Bermuda 1975 stamp 3 Bermuda 1975 stamp 4

1975 Bermuda World Bridge Championship postage stamps

1975: March. Margery Wade, 34, was sexually assaulted inside her Hamilton apartment and killed with a blow to the head from a wooden plank. Her body was found on March 5, still inside the apartment on Laffan Street. Miss Wade was a schoolteacher from England who taught at the Berkeley Institute.

1975. Decline in grouper and snapper catch noted.

1975. February 16. Second official visit to Bermuda, 22 years after her first, of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh. She was greeted by Governor Sir Edwin Leather. One of the events she attended was the Speaker's Dinner (which this author also attended), hosted by the Hon. Sir Dudley Spurling. Bermuda was experiencing a massive General Strike at the time with workers from the docks, hotels, transportation and sanitation protesting over poor pay. While here, the Queen visited Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. On this visit, the wife of an air force base commander apparently disgraced herself by getting protocol mixed up, despite having practised it endlessly. Instead of shaking hands then taking three steps back and walking away, she shook hands but became flustered, walked away, then turned around, confused. Prince Phillip laughed at this.

1975v visit of Queen and Duke 1975 visit of Queen and Duke 2

1975. March 1. The Queen stopped briefly on the Island that same year, when her plane arrived for refuelling. While here, she drove around in a $150,000 Rolls-Royce borrowed from a Philadelphia businessman. The car was reputed to have once been owned by Czech communist party leader Alexander Dubcek.

1975. In Bermuda rugby, the Bermuda Athletic Association (BAA) split into two clubs, the Mariners and Renegade Mariners. 

1975. W. David Kingery was a member of the Beverly Yacht Club, on the Board of Governors of the Blue Water Sailing Club, and interested in doing a single-handed race from England to Newport. To qualify for the race, David chose to do a single-handed voyage to Bermuda and on this trip was struck with the concept of organizing a race to Bermuda for cruising yachts and family sailors. Having successfully completed the Bermuda trip, he discussed his idea with Dickie Bird of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and then with Leo Fallon, Commodore of the Blue Water Sailing Club, and with various members of the Beverly Yacht Club. Support was promised from all three clubs; two years later, the 1977 and subsequent every-other-year Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race began with supporting clubs at each end and an additional staff of enthusiastic volunteers from the Blue Water Sailing Club.

1975. Meals on Wheels began in Bermuda and has been delivering healthy meals to the elderly and the infirm since then.

1975. American foulbrood Paenibacillus larvae was first detected in Bermuda, to the consternation of local beekeepers. As a direct result, an annual inspection programme was initiated by the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF).

1975. Fred McMurray starred in the movie Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, a made-for-television drama. A retired businessman's obsession with the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle increased when his lover and her friends become its next victims.

1975. August 14. Bermuda issued s set of stamps to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the 14 August 1775 Bermuda Gunpowder Plot.

200th anniversary stamp of Bermuda Gunpowder Plot

1975. October. Princess Margaret visited Bermuda twice, once on a private visit a week earlier.. One of her functions was to attend the 10th anniversary dinner at the Elbow Beach Surf Club of the Bermuda Regiment.

1975. The United Bermuda Party Black Caucus was formed.

1976. January 13. Death in Toronto, Canada, of Bermudian Joseph Robert Gibbons, born 19 May 1929, who survived his service in the Royal Air Force (1940-45) and returned to Bermuda after the war before traveling about the Caribbean islands as an employee of Esso Carribe. In 1956, he was transferred to Canada and settled down in Toronto where he passed away, leaving his wife, Joan Mary (Hawes) and his children, Sharon Joan, Meredith Anne and Bruce William Watson.

1976. July 3. Third visit to Bermuda (first was in 1953, second in 1975) of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh. This time, it was purely a 4.5 hour stopover.

1976. Tall Ships in Bermuda. In a spectacular showing never before seen in Bermuda in such numbers, 18 Tall Ships from the 14 principal nations of the maritime world congregated in Bermuda as a prelude to their USA Bicentennial celebration in Newport, Rhode Island and New York. Square-rigs filled the sky as the Tall Ships vied for position at the starting line of St. David's Head for their race to New York. Suddenly, what had been a serene 19th century parlor painting turned to glorious chaos. More than half the fleet bunched up at the windward end of the starting line, as this picture to the right shows. There, amid a washday mass of windblown sails and a seemingly impenetrable thicket of masts, the ships both great and small crossed bowsprits, tacked slow-motion through each other's courses, underwent innumerable harrowing near-collisions. Crewmen cursed, spectators shrieked, Bermudian onlookers in the police boat and other small vessels gaped in wide-eyed surprise and shock. The grand green-sailed Libertad of Argentina, all 345 feet of her, glided inexorably through the thickest of the fray, just missing several competitors. Then she and the Spanish Juan Sebastian de Elcano (see below) came together in a bizarre, very gradual crash. Elcano lost 60 feet off the top of her 180-foot foremast and was forced to quit the race, sails tattered and rigging tangled and her skipper furious. Libertad had her mainsail ripped, her mizzen torn, but she went on. In the next exuberant minutes at least five other boats were also in collisions—three tall ships and two of the 70-plus smaller vessels also in the race.By nightfall the melee was far behind and the fleet was stretched over miles of ocean. A day out, the wind died, the sea turned to a glassy calm, the race came to a dead stop. After four windless days, the race was declared over, the Gorch Fock of West Germany was named the winner (though a protest was filed) and the fleet headed for Newport under power. After a week there the tall ships would head toward another memorable scene: New York on the Fourth of July. They were to parade through the Harbor and up the Hudson River, with five million people expected to watch.

Juan Sebastian De Elcano

Collision between this vessel and Libertad off Bermuda, 1976

1976. In London,  an internal Scotland Yard memorandum was prepared for the Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police summarizing his Murder Squad's involvement in the politically-motivated assassinations and associated crimes of violence that shook Bermuda in 1972/73. It read as follows: Following the murder of (Police Commissioner George) Duckett on September 9, 1972, the (acting) Governor and Commander-In-Chief of Bermuda (Ian Kinnear) requested the assistance of officers from the Murder Squad, New Scotland Yard. In consequence Detective Chief Superintendent William Wright and Detective Chief Inspector Basil Haddrell (then Detective Sergeant First Class) travelled to Bermuda to lead the investigations. These officers were still engaged in their investigations when on March 10, 1973 the (recently arrived) Governor and Commander-in-Chief Sir Richard Sharples and his Aide-de-Camp Captain Hugh Sayers were murdered in Government House, Bermuda. As there was a definite link between these murders and that of Commissioner of Police Mr. Duckett, Mr. Wright and Detective Chief Inspector Haddrell were deputed to lead the investigations into all three murders. To assist them a further 11 officers were sent from New Scotland Yard (at various times). During the course of the ensuing investigations, two further murders were perpetrated on April 6, 1973 when Mr. Victor Rego and Mr. Mark Doe were found shot at their supermarket in Victoria Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. The hands and feet of both victims had been tied by rope prior to their murders and a total of $21,000 stolen from the premises. At this stage it was clear all five murders were closely linked and, in some cases, the same weapon had been used. Investigations clearly indicated the murders were perpetrated by members of an illegal and militant black organisation known as the "Black Beret Cadre". This group was affiliated to the "Black Panther Organisation" of the USA and their aims were to end British colonialism in Bermuda and to seize control and power from the white population by removing High Officials from office by any means possible. The earlier activities of the organisation proving futile, they resorted to murder. A "Death List" was published within the organisation bearing the names of nine Senior Officials to be removed, including the Commissioner of Police and the Governor and Commander-in-Chief. Whilst Mr. Rego and Mr. Doe were not included on the "Death List", enquiries revealed they were murdered in the course of a "Fund Raising Mission" conducted by members of the Black Beret Cadre. The object of the mission was to take money from members of the white population for use in the purchase of arms and ammunition by which they might further their cause. Following the series of murders, members of the Black Beret Cadre organisation perpetrated further serious offences, including one attempted murder (of a black Bermudian taxi driver), two armed robberies, one attempted armed robbery and five incidents where revolvers and shotguns were fired at the windows of occupied buildings. Three of these shooting incidents were directed at residences occupied by members of the white community and two at the headquarters complex of the Bermuda Police, the first at the office occupied by the Murder Squad Investigation Team when five rounds from a .38 revolver were fired at the office windows and one other when a shotgun and revolver were fired at the windows of the Single Men's Quarters. Fortunately no person was injured by these acts of terrorism but the possibility of further attacks occurring and proving fatal could not be ignored. It became clear that the Black Beret Cadre had infiltrated members into Police Headquarters, and so were aware of the offices and accommodation used by the Murder Squad team. In consequence, firearms were made available to Metropolitan Police Officers (serving in Bermuda) to carry at their discretion. The mental and physical stresses experienced in dealing with acts of terrorism in a foreign land added to the strain of investigating five murders at one time were enormous, and the eventual success of these enquiries must present a true reflection of the courage, character and ability of the officers concerned. As a result of extensive enquiries, evidence was adduced to prove Erskine Durrant Burrows was one of the persons responsible for the two armed robberies and the five shooting incidents previously mentioned. At the time of his arrest, Burrows was employed as a janitor at Police Headquarters, Bermuda and was so able to communicate valuable information of police activities to his co-conspirators in the Black Beret Cadre. He was arrested on October 19, 1973 and was eventually convicted of all charges, receiving a total sentence of 25 years imprisonment. Whilst at this stage it was also apparent Erskine Durrant Burrows and another Cadre member, Larry Winfield Tacklyn, were responsible for the five murders under investigation, insufficient evidence was available to justify their prosecution for same. The murder enquiries continued and gradually more evidence was adduced. Following the results of the Coroners Inquests held in 1975, a Voluntary Bill of Indictment was granted indicting Burrows on five counts of murder and Tacklyn on four counts of murder (he was not charged in connection with the Police Commissioner's assassination). Both defendants were arraigned at the Supreme Court of Bermuda and three trials ensued. At the conclusion of the trials, Burrows was found "Guilty" on all five counts of murder and Tacklyn "Guilty" on two counts of murder (he was acquitted of participating in the Government House killings). Much of the success resulting from these difficult, dangerous, arduous and protracted investigations directly emanated from the thorough and exhaustive efforts of the Metropolitan Police personnel during the initial stages. The importance of correct documentation and thorough investigating was highlighted during the trials some four years (after the various crimes were committed), and their expertise and training of the local members of the Murder Team proved invaluable throughout the duration of the investigation. In fear of reprisals, virtually no public support was afforded the investigators but, despite this, the officers refused to be intimidated or diverted from their duty, and continued to work in a most professional and admirable manner. Bermuda's current transformation from political terrorism to peace and tranquility must be a reflection of the efficiency and ability of these officers.

1976. Two men, Borrows and Tacklyn, after being found guilty of the assassinations of the Police Commissioner, Governor and his ADC, were sentenced to death.

1976. Fame Magazine ceased publication in Bermuda

1976. Boxer Clarence Hill won a bronze Olympic medal for Bermuda, the first of any Olympic medal.

1976. Lord Yehudi Menuhin was in Bermuda to perform in the Bermuda Festival. While here, his visit to the string group at Warwick Academy sparked his interest and out of it grew his idea to establish a string quartet in Bermuda that would provide instruction in stringed instruments to all of Bermuda's school children. To take his dream to fruition, the Menuhin Foundation was created.

1976. August. Sean O'Connell swam solo round-the-island for the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association (BPHA) and raised thousands of dollars for it.

1976. October. The British Labour Government in London, pressured by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, unilaterally terminated the Bermuda I agreement dating back to 1946 and announced that a revised one should be put in place by June 1977. This was widely criticized in the United States, where it was seen as an attempt to return to the more restrictive ideas which the British had favoured thirty years earlier and in Britain, where it was felt that it would upset the American Government and damage the attempts to obtain landing rights for the Concorde which British Airways was proposing to fly into New York and Washington. The timing was certainly poor as it preceded an US Presidential election and US negotiators might not be in a position to reach any agreements for several months. The British move was prompted by the relatively low share of British airlines on the transatlantic route, which in most years since 1947 had varied between one third and two fifths. However most of the passengers on the British aircraft were American nationals. By this time Pan American had absorbed American Overseas Airlines and been joined by Trans World Airlines on the routes into London Heathrow, which was then by far the most important European hub for American flights. TWA, in particular was able to exploit its network of US domestic routes to feed passengers through its New York gateway on to the transatlantic route to London. Pan American had also developed arrangements with other US carriers which developed further when it bought the domestic carrier National Airlines, the following year. All three airlines operated routes between London Heathrow and the Bermuda I gateway airports with Boeing 747 jumbo jets. Whilst many Americans enjoyed "English service" British Airways was unable to win a major share of the traffic on routes, where it competed with both US carriers.

1977. February. Sir John (Jack) Sharpe, who had earlier replaced Sir Edward Richards as leader of the United Bermuda Party, was popular with the electorate but was eventually forced to quit after pressure from his own party members. Seven members of his Government, including members of the Black Caucus, resigned and accused him of bringing the party to a state of "political bankruptcy."

1977. First Bermuda chapter of  Ikebana International, the Japanese art of flower arranging, was formed by Kitten Ellison.

1977. The Shelly Bay Plaza at Shelly Bay in Hamilton Parish fell victim to an arsonist and was burned to the ground but within a year was rebuilt and back in operation. 

1977. June 17. The mystery thriller action adventure movie "The Deep" see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075925/ by Peter Benchley (who also wrote "Jaws") was released. Robert Shaw sang the praises of Bermuda-bottled and blended rum. Set in Bermuda, it also starred Jacqueline Bissett; Nick Nolte; Louis Gossett Jr; Eli Wallach; Dick Anthony Williams; Earl Maynard; Bob Minor; Bermudian Teddy Tucker; Robert Tessier and Lee McClain. A pair of young vacationers on a romantic stay in Bermuda are involved in a dangerous conflict with treasure hunters when they discover a way into a deadly wreck, a WW2 freighter, in Bermuda waters. Near it, they find an ampule of morphine, one of tens of thousands still aboard the wrecked ship. Their discovery leads them to a Haitian drug dealer, Cloche (Louis Gossett), and an old treasure hunter, Romer Treece (Robert Shaw). With Cloche in pursuit, Gail, David and Treece try to recover the sunken treasure. While The Deep was set in Bermuda and the Island featured extensively both above and below the surface, much of the wreck-diving footage was shot on the shipwreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands, while the shark feeding frenzy was actually filmed off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia!

movie The Deep

1977. Possible political independence for Bermuda from the UK was first reviewed comprehensively in a Green Paper, followed by a White Paper stating Government's view Bermuda was not yet ready.

1977. A new 645 mile yacht race, every other year in uneven years, was devised between members of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda and the Beverly Yacht Club on the coast of Massachusetts at the town of Marion. It became the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and attracts upwards of 80 boats, yachts of a certain type, for its biennial sail from Buzzards Bay to St. David’s Head. It was intended as a contest of non-professionals by founders, Bermudian the late Geoffrey Bird and American the late David Kingery. Sailors may if they wish use celestial navigation methods instead of modern technology. The yachts must be cruising yachts, not racers, require an enclosed cabin and be fitted out for comfortable cruising, including permanent bunks, a permanently installed and enclosed toilet, and permanently installed cooking facilities suitable for use at sea. One of the three sponsors of the Marion to Bermuda Race is the Blue Water Sailing Club, founded in 1959 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to provide general yacht cruising in areas not exclusive to Bermuda. The other hosts are the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda and Beverly Yacht Club, of Marion, Massachusetts.  The town of Marion is understood to have been founded on Native American settlements possibly five thousand years old. Located on Sippican Harbor, it was once one of the richest whaling centers in the United States in the nineteenth century.  In the first race in 1977, one of the winners was Allan Doughty’s Asteroid.

1977. Arrival of new Governor Sir Peter Ramsbotham, said to be an architect of modern Bermuda. He not only helped to reduce the racial inequalities of the island but built its foundations as an international business jurisdiction. Faced with some of the most turbulent times in Bermuda's history, he quelled the riots of December 1977 and went on to pioneer lasting social change through the Pitt Commission and its findings. As Governor from 1977 to his retirement in 1980, Sir Peter's is said to have viewed Bermuda's people as his favorite quality of the Island. He worked diligently to bring together people of all backgrounds and outlooks on life towards healing the divisions between the races. Sir Peter governed during a very turbulent and difficult period in Bermuda's history. He worked assiduously with his wife Lady (Frances) Ramsbotham, touching all aspects of the community. Sir Peter made his wife's dream of opening a home for the physically-handicapped a reality when he helped to attract funding for 'Summerhaven' in Smith's. The couple's own daughter was disabled after a riding accident in the 1970s. Educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford, he joined the Foreign Service in 1950 after serving in the Intelligence Corps of MI5 during the Second World War. In 1945 he was Mentioned in Dispatches. Sir Peter was appointed British Ambassador to Iran in 1971 and then British Ambassador to the US in 1974. In Washington he enjoyed a close relationship with President Jimmy Carter. His appointment to Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda was not an easy posting. Shortly after his arrival riots erupted in an outburst of anger at racial injustices and the hanging of Erskine Durrant (Buck) Burrows and Larry Tacklyn. Burrows, 33, was executed for the murders of Police Commissioner George Duckett on September 9, 1972, Governor Sir Richard Sharples and his Aide-de-Camp (ADC) Captain Hugh Sayers on March 10, 1973, and supermarket owner Victor Rego and his bookkeeper Mark Doe a month later. Tacklyn, 26, was executed for the supermarket double-murder, which took place during an armed robbery. Despite a petition for clemency by 6,000 people, they were sentenced to death and hanged on December 2, 1977. The verdict sparked three days of rioting and Sir Peter took the decision to call in British troops, the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The Army restored peace to the streets but not the underlying roots of discontent. In a bid to ascertain the causes, Sir Peter called for an inquiry and the Pitt Commission was established. He died in 2010 at the age of 90.

Governor Sir Peter Ramsbotham

Governor Sir Peter Ramsbotham

1977. July 23. Bermuda II was signed as a Bilateral Air Transport Agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as a renegotiation of the original 1946 Bermuda agreement, following events in October 1976. (See above). The Bermuda II agreement was much less liberal than Bermuda 1. Unlike Bermuda I, which was a rigid agreement set for all time, Bermuda II was a framework agreement which would permit changes whenever circumstances changed. Its most significant change was that it replaced the airlines right to set their own fares, subject only to a complex protest procedure by either government with a new system in which fares were agreed by the two governments directly. It restricted the number of airport gateways in the United States to be served directly from London Heathrow. At the same time, it permitted non-scheduled airlines to operate between the two countries, using other airports, particularly the relatively new airport at Gatwick. There was a complicated system of controlling capacity on routes between the UK and the US. The British aim was to provide a system under which airlines from each country could compete on more equal terms.

1977. Sargasso Seafoods projects began.

1977. Death of Mr Len McDonald, chief archivist of the Bermuda (Government) Archives. He left a wife, Anne, and 2 daughters, Rachel and Karen.

1977. The concept of visiting not one but two Bermuda ports first started with the Cunard Princess cruise ship.

1977. November 30. Death in Bermuda, at his home on Knapton Hill, Smith's Parish at the age of 66, of British playwright Sir Terence Rattigan.  He was a cultural exile in Bermuda as well as a tax exile.  His fall from grace in the 1960s was as much a deciding factor in making the island his home in 1967 as tax savings he could make on fees for the screenplays he turned his hand to once his plays became unfashionable in London’s West End and on Broadway. He lived in Bermuda for the final decade of his life. Once Britain’s most acclaimed and popular playwright with such successes as “French Without Tears”, “The Winslow Boy” and “Separate Tables” Rattigan’s star had started to go into decline with the rise of “Angry Young Men” like John Osborne, Edward Bond and Harold Pinter. Their incendiary plays — labeled “kitchen sink dramas” because they often dealt with the banalities of domestic life — weren’t just attacks on the hypocrisy and cant of the establishment but also damning indictments of traditional British theatre as epitomized by Sir Terence’s elegantly written and constructed body of work. Rattigan told his confidantes he felt so unloved in his own country that he left it to live in Bermuda. Few playwrights in the 20th century were dismissed as cruelly from the warm hearthside of critical approval as Rattigan was in the wake of John Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger.’ Sir Terence, who had traveled through here on active service during World War Two and immediately felt an affinity for the island, used to joke he decided to make Bermuda his home because his theatrical and personal nemesis Sir Noel Coward would never set foot here: Coward had lived in Bermuda in the 1950s and dismissed the island as a slice of mid-Atlantic suburbia before decamping for Jamaica. Arriving here in February, 1967, Sir Terence initially rented a house called “Sitting Pretty” located close to the third green of the Mid Ocean golf course in Tucker’s Town. Later he bought “Spanish Grange” on Knapton Hill, filling the house with photographs and mementoes of his parents whose strained gentility, outward respectability and social aspirations cloaked the loneliness, futility and pretense of English upper-middle-class life — a theme running through most of his plays. Battling cancer towards the end of his life, Sir Terence enjoyed a last theatrical success in the West End with “Cause Célèbre” in 1977. Based on the true story of Alma Rattenbury, who went on trial with her 18-year-old lover for the murder of her husband in the 1930s, the play was a valedictory of sorts — a final declaration of ”Rattigan’s passionate hatred of English Puritanism and noble, unwavering affirmation of life” according to critic Bernard Levin. Condemned by the public more for her seduction of a young boy than for any involvement she may have had in her husband’s death, Alma’s fate is left in the hands of the socially and sexually repressed jury forewoman. By then in failing health Sir Terence made the painful journey from Bermuda to London for ”Cause Célèbre’s” opening night. The play enjoyed a successful run in London, was later turned into a popular television production with Helen Mirren and was successfully revived in the West End. During the last months of his life, Sir Terence’s old friend and collaborator Harold French — who had directed his first major hit in 1930s — moved into “Spanish Grange” along with his wife, Peg, to care for the dying man. While in Bermuda, Mr. French was approached by the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society to direct a local production of one of  Sir Terence’s most acclaimed play, ”The Winslow Boy” – a task the playwright encouraged him to pursue. The playwright died just a short time after his adopted home saluted him with a local production of one of his most enduring dramas.

Sir Terence Rattigan

Sir Terence Rattigan

1977. December 1-4. Riots, strikes, malicious damage galore and mass demonstrations protested the sentences of death imposed and thousands of Bermudians petitioned to stop them. The Government, in a last-minute session of the Court of Appeals dismissed the final appeal on behalf of the two men on the night of December and refused to have a last-minute debate on capital punishment. As the two condemned men walked from their cell at Casemates to a holding cell beside the newly constructed gallows the prison went wild. Waiting in a tiny execution chamber was the visiting British hangman and his assistant from Trinidad, since Bermuda had no executioners. The two were old friends: they had performed the same task often enough in the Caribbean. At 4 a.m. on the morning of Friday, December 2, 1977 Burrows, self-styled 'former Commander in Chief of all anti-colonialist forces in the Islands of Bermuda' was hanged. Tacklyn went to meet the hangmen at 4.40 a.m. Some miles away a rumor was rumbling, the hangman was a guest on the top floor of the Southampton Princess. This prompted a hotel worker to jump on an elevator and douse the top floor's carpets with gasoline. Fire swept through the Southampton Princess and three tourists staying there were trapped and killed by the flames.  Revenge race riots erupted from the hanging of Buck Burrows and Larry Tacklyn at Casemates Prison. Burrows was convicted of the murders of the former Governor and his ADC in 1973, Police Commissioner Duckett in 1972 and of the Shopping Centre robbery and murder. Tacklyn was hung for the deaths of two Shopping Centre persons. A prolonged State of Emergency was declared, police stations were attacked, many police injuries occurred and publicity overseas for Bermuda was frightful. Five hundred youths took over the Court Street Area, setting fire to the Gosling’s Warehouse and attacking shops in the area. Petrol bombs were thrown throughout the Island and Police responded with tear gas. Millions of dollars in malicious damage was caused by the rioters. The Bermuda Regiment was called up. For the second time, the Governor was forced to declare a state of emergency and request British military assistance. The frustrations of hundreds and anger with Bermuda's perceived racial inequalities were vented. Hundreds of black men aged 16-60 took to the streets within minutes. White people walking on Court Street were attacked and badly injured by the angry mobs. The crowd smashed windows at the Supreme Court and House of Assembly, overturned cars and set fires. Parliament and Victoria streets were a sea of glass after the crowd marched through smashing everything in its way. Molotov cocktails were flying. There was a glow from all the buildings and people running around in masks. Some of the businesses targeted and set alight were Bristol Cellars and Bermuda Air Conditioning. n the course of the day, Gosling Brothers warehouse, Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Shelly Bay and Sunshine Company were gutted. At the Transport Control Department a bus was rammed into the building. On Sunday, December 4 a squad of 250 British troops arrived, the first Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, some from the jungles of Belize, with orders to shoot to kill, and the streets of Hamilton were finally quiet. British Governors of Bermuda were advised to stop having aides from overseas and instead to have local ones. It is how the tradition started in the Bermuda Regiment. Burrows and Tacklyn were the last to receive the death penalty in Bermuda. 

1977 riots

In this excerpt from an official report to London then-Governor Sir Peter Ramsbotham said actions by a handful of “PLP militants” helped to provoke the riots which left three people dead and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Sir Peter wrote a now-declassified report  to London’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the immediate aftermath of the worst civil disturbances in Bermuda’s history and stated agitators had “set the stage” for rioting which broke out when convicted murderers Erskine (Buck) Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were executed. The former British ambassador to Washington who had taken up his Bermuda post just a few months earlier said the “militants” deliberately undermined the PLP leadership’s call for peaceful and lawful opposition to the hangings. “It was announced on Friday, 25 November, that both men would, in consequence, be executed a week later,” said Sir Peter. “For a time, the PLP remained silent: although the House of Assembly met on the day of the announcement, the subject was never mentioned during its meeting. But the group of PLP militants took swift and energetic action.  Over the weekend, they pressured the party’s leaders and some members of the Ministerial Association of the Churches here into sponsoring a protest campaign; they arranged to feed slanted information to left-wing Members of Parliament in the UK and to the press there; they lobbied international bodies opposed to capital punishment, and they formed a local body to oppose it. They thus set the stage for a week of inflammatory activity, throughout which they were themselves never averse to inciting racial hatred – and, I suspect, always hopeful of provoking the riots which eventually erupted. There is no evidence that either the Leader of the Opposition (Dame Lois Browne Evans) or any of her Parliamentary colleagues shared such a hope. Quite the contrary: they blocked several of the , more extreme proposals of the militants, insisting, privately as well as publicly, that all demonstrations must remain peaceful and that nothing unlawful was to be attempted.” Submitted to London in February, 1978, Sir Peter later substantially revised some of the initial opinions he expressed in this report about Bermuda’s socio-economic and political conditions in the wake of the Pitt Commission hearings held that summer into the circumstances which gave rise to the rioting. “We followed that (the Pitt Report) up by having a constitutional conference with a body from the Foreign Office and ourselves, and both parties were there, and we changed … what had been the vexatious point, constitutionally, which was called the Commonwealth vote,” said Sir Peter in a 2001 interview. “Young white people, who’d been in Bermuda for more than three years, had the vote at the elections just because they were Commonwealth and white. This had virtually deprived the black Opposition party of ever really getting enough votes to get power. For 30 years, you’d had a one-party dictatorship there. So we eliminated the Commonwealth vote over a period of time. By doing so we reduced racial tension. Now the black Opposition have become the Government. Whether they will control the racial problems, I cannot tell. But that was the peace.”

1978. January 27. The made-for-'TV movie "The Bermuda Depths" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077223/ was first telecast. It was smash hit in the USA. It starred Burl Ives, Leigh McCloskey, Carl Weathers and Connie Selleca. The plot gets under way when scientists arrive in the Bermuda Triangle to investigate underwater disturbances. This activity seems to be tied in with reported sightings of the ghost of a drowned girl. Pursuing their investigation, the scientists run afoul of a giant sea turtle. The film was a rare live-action effort from the Canadian cartoon firm of Rankin-Bass. 

Movie The Bermuda Depths

1978. February.  The first traffic lights in Hamilton, Bermuda were switched on.

1978. The movie "The Bermuda Triangle" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078417/?ref_=sr_1 was released to a world audience.

1978. Chuck Feeney came to Bermuda, as the founder of the Bermuda-based General Atlantic Group and Atlantic Philanthropies charitable institute, reported to be one of the wealthiest people in the world. A New Jersey native, he needed to be a resident on the island for a year. With the help of local banker Cummings Zuill he bought a large villa and that summer moved his entire family here.

1978. A commission headed by Lord Pitt of Hampstead, known as the Pitt Commission Report, was ordered by the UK and convened to look into the December 1977 civil disturbance. It was released after the five-person bipartisan team interviewed scores of people over a six-week period before going abroad for two weeks to write the report. Members included Alex Scott and the late Irving Pearman. It recommended a raft of policies aimed at improving opportunities. It wrote that while the hangings of Tacklyn and Burrows were the immediate cause of the riots, there were many underlying issues which were "tangled together and derive much of their influence from the way they interact." It outlined issues within Bermuda and made recommendations on how to improve society and the economy for the benefit of all Bermudians. The Progressive Labour Party took on a dynamic role as the Opposition in giving many young people a political voice. Many involved in the riots, said “we needed to shake up the Government”. With many black Bermudians perceiving unequal opportunities, they felt that “rioting, though regrettable, can be a legitimate mode of protest”. The commissioners wrote: “Civil disorder in Bermuda during the last 13 years has functioned as a kind of extra-parliamentary political action.” A crisis in national identity was hitting the core of Bermuda’s black male, the commissioners wrote. Whereas his father viewed growing up in a small society and viewed himself as a subject of King George V, “a young black man today grows up in an international society oriented towards North America; his political conceptions are influenced by racial identifications in the United States, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and elsewhere.” Bermuda’s economic advances, the commissioners wrote, contributed to weaknesses in a young black man’s sense of identity. Expectations of educational performance were nourished that many young people could not meet. This was more “acute for black males than for white males or for females”, they wrote. “It can easily cause young men to feel that in others’ eyes they are failures, with the result that they seek other ways of shaping a sense of identity that will salvage their self-respect.” In 1977, the commissioners quoted the Bermuda Association of Social Workers on so-called disadvantaged youth: "their experience needs to be legitimated. They don’t see themselves as a problem. They say ‘We want you to recognize us for what we are, as as Bermudians.” Young black males, the commissioners said, were struggling with an identity “partially from the absence of a feeling of belonging to a distinctive national unit and partly a relative lack of success in what is now a very competitive society”. In their report on the disturbances of 1977, the Pitt Commission recommended that Bermuda seek Independence. National, or more specifically racial, unity would be attained only with a sovereign Bermuda, they said. Additionally, the Pitt Commission suggested that Bermuda introduce a more equitable tax system, which, if necessary, may include an income tax. “There is also an urgent need for programmes aimed at increasing the spread of Bermuda’s wealth,” the commission said. In the family, the commission said that several Bermudians that “discipline in the family and society has declined drastically dramatically in recent years.” They called for more fathers and male role models to become involved in the lives of young men. “Boys have no image or sense of direction when going to school. It is really a complete moral decay for young men in Bermuda unless the parents and few dedicated teachers are able to give them a sense of perspective,” a witness told the commission. “Lacking job motivation and experiencing job-related frustration, some male Bermudians, particularly young black males,” they wrote, may vent their frustrations through “anti-social behavior”. It concluded that the Island's parliamentary process did not properly represent Bermuda's citizens. It added that Bermuda needed to ensure that economic prosperity did not hinder society and cause sectors to loose a sense of identity. It found found that the underlying causes lay in the inequality of opportunity between the races. There is a strong belief that there is inequality of economic opportunities, concentration of economic power in Front Street, lack of support for small black businesses and lack of job training, lack of low income accommodation, decline in discipline, the single parent households, deficiencies in social welfare programmes and education and criminal justice systems. We devote more attention to the contributory causes than to the immediate causes because the latter are relatively simple, and so long as the sense of frustration was acute, a variety of factors could have served to precipitate disorder. We are led to emphasise with underlying popular impatience with what is seen as insufficiently equal opportunity. The identification of race with privilege sharpens this feeling but does not create it. The disturbances happened to be directed against the present Government but in the future disappointment with a different government could be expressed in a similar fashion." The importance of plans relating to child development and of their being supplemented by a programme of compulsory education for children of primary school age. The provision of a second chance to obtain a qualification. The importance of sharing the wealth and opportunities provided by Bermudas two main businesses: tourism and international business; we hope that the propose investigation of monopolies will extend to all forms of economic activity and will not be limited to the retail trade. The importance of substantially reducing immigration and assisting the promotion of Bermudians. We repeat our belief that in the long run it will prove essential to regulate the transmission of inherited wealth. Economic progress has also contributed to these weaknesses in the sense of identity, for it has nourished expectations of educational performance that many young people cannot meet. Bermudians should not set standards for themselves that are so high that they produce a class of casualties.

1978. British UK nationals resident in Bermuda but not Bermudians who had previously been allowed to vote were told this would be the last time that non-Bermudians would automatically be allowed to vote. After this year, to be allowed to vote they had to be Bermudians by birth or status.

1978. All employees and management of Bermuda's Bank of N. T. Butterfield and Son Ltd were allocated common shares in the bank at no cost to them. with the number in direct proportion to their salaries. The shares were then worth $15 each.

1978. As the insurance industry started to grow, Bermudians realized that it needed to be regulated properly and in 1978 the Insurance Act was passed by Parliament. Following this, the Insurance Advisory Committee (IAC) was established, made up of people representing insurance companies, legal firms and Government regulatory agencies such as the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

1978. August 28. The death, via accidental drowning in Bermuda of prolific American author F. Van Wick Mason - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._van_Wyck. He had been a resident since the 1950s on a permanent basis, but had first visited Bermuda in the late 1930s. A number of his books featured Bermuda.

1978. On Boxing Day, the 528 foot ship Mari Boeing ran aground on Bermuda's reefs. Damage caused to the reef was huge, over 100 acres, and can still be seen.

1979. A Constitutional Conference was held at Warwick Camp attended by the UBP, PLP and Foreign & Commonwealth Office officials. Among other significant events, the Legislative Council or Upper House ended, having been in place since 1888 and in its place came the Senate or Upper House. 

1979. Miss Bermuda, Gina Swainson, 21 years old, from Wellington Hill, St. George's, won the Miss World contest at London's Royal Albert Hall. She put Bermuda on the world beauty queen map. Later, she moved to England.

Gina Swainson, Miss World 1979

Gina Swainson, Miss World 1979

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

1981 general strike

Lieut Col Tony Marsh

Lt. Colonel Marsh, British Army hero who commanded the British Army and Bermuda Regiment in Bermuda and was also a Bermuda tourism pioneer.

City of Hamilton stamp Devonshire Parish Hamilton Parish stamp Paget Parish stamp 

Pembroke Parish stampSandys Parish stamp Smith's Parish stamp Somers stamp 

Southampton Parish stampSt, George's Parish stampWarwick Parish stamp

Bermuda stamps 1987

Hogge money 1989 gold commemorative Hogge money 1989 commemoratives

1989 Bermuda Hogge Money of 1615 commemoratives

Bush and Thatcher visit 1990Mrs Thatcher in Bermuda 1990

Bush-Thatcher visit 1990 and Mrs Thatcher with Premier Sir John Swan

Bermuda stamp 1991

Oona and Charlie Chaplin and two of their children

Oona and Charlie Chaplin with two of their children

Michael Jackson leaving Bermuda 1991

June 1991 - Michael Jackson leaving Bermuda

1994 visit of Queen

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Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

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