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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda's Island Traditions

Local cultures and customs, some derived from other countries with local adaptation

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Agricultural Exhibition annually (until 2002 the Agricultural Show)

Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Paget. April. See http://www.bdaexhibition.bm. Exhibition Secretary, P. O. Box HM 834, Hamilton HM CX.  In 2016, on December 21, The AG Show Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bermuda Government to run the Annual Exhibition for the next three years. And the group has further agreed to help finance the revitalization of buildings at the Botanical Gardens over the coming years using proceeds from the event. 

The cultural “institution” has traditionally been hosted by the Government of Bermuda, but was cancelled in 2015 due to financial issues. The Ag Show has been an institution in Bermuda for generations and almost all Bermudians have fond memories of it. It offers an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to get together, share stories and experiences, and participate in friendly competition. Bermuda would not be the same without the Ag Show, and the Green family of Bermuda, owners of the Hamilton Princess and other properties sponsor this 2016 event.  The AG Show Ltd is now a registered charity, established in February 2015  for the purposes of holding the annual agricultural exhibition. The annual Ag Show, sponsored by all British counties in the UK where farming is still a major part of the local economies but is no longer the case in Bermuda, nevertheless welcomes as many as 25,000 attendees in Bermuda over three days and features up to 4,000 exhibitors. Participation in the event includes a large portion of the Island’s population, from seniors who have been attending it since the show’s early days, to schoolchildren and toddlers who get an introduction to things they might not see in their everyday lives. For information on donations and sponsorships for the show, e-mail secretary@theagshowbda.com. The show has a rich history. Its roots extend back as far as 1843, when then-Governor Major General Sir William Reid encouraged the adoption of agriculture on the island, where principal occupations included shipbuilding and seafaring. Entrants  compete in a broad range of categories including horses, pigs, rabbits, fruit, vegetables, roses, orchids and woodcraft. About 2,000 pictures have been entered for the junior art competition. The Ag Show is probably the biggest cultural event in Bermuda and welcomes people of all ages and from all walks of life.  There is an entry cost.

For almost a century it has been as much a herald of the Bermudian spring as returning Longtails kiting across clearing skies or the freesias which shyly begin poking their multicolored heads through the long, rain-saturated winter grass. A combination of county fair, cultural celebration and community jamboree, the exhibit has long-since evolved and transcended its original purpose — to serve as an annual showcase for a once-agrarian Bermuda’s livestock and farm produce. Blue rosettes are awarded for first place in categories encompassing everything from farm animals to floral arrangements to fish sandwiches. Tug-of-war contests, gravity-defying acrobatic performances and more add a carnival-type flavor to the proceedings.

Source British

Architecture, cesspits, sewage & water supply

Johnny Barnes

Johnny Barnes From the roundabout (rotary in the USA) near Crow Lane Park in Paget Parish, Johnny Barnes, now retired, a remarkable Bermudian senior citizen, made a unique tradition for decades of waving a cheery "Good morning" - in all weather - to commuters exiting the parish to enter Pembroke Parish - where there is a statue to him just off the busy East Broadway main road - to work in or near the City of Hamilton

Photograph by Government Information Services

Beating Retreat

Derived from an evening British Army tradition. It is not a sound to retreat but a musical call, under spotlights in the winter months, to troops to reduce operations for the night, a military tattoo. It became a local custom when the British Army was first here in the 1700s. It left Bermuda in 1953. It is performed frequently - usually, monthly - by the Band of the Bermuda Regiment, under the direction of Major Barrett Dill, EM, AVCM. The Band has dress blue and red uniforms and white pith helmets. The Band is usually accompanied by the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, under the direction of it's Pipe Major and Drum Major.  Bermuda Regiment
Source British

Bermuda Bridge Blessing

Last performed in December 2014 by Margaret Fergusson, wife of then-Governor George Fergusson, when she carried out a traditional blessing of the new Bailey's Bay Bridge by smashing a coconut on it.

Bermuda College Weeks

No longer celebrated en masse in Bermuda, after years of decline, despite a recent resurrection attempt. Because of the one-time annual Bermuda Floral Pageant, Bermuda's College Weeks were also annual events, occurring at the same time, attracting as tourists thousands of students from colleges and universities throughout the USA and Canada. A 1956 description in the USA's Sports Illustrated describes it thus, see http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1069587/index.htm. They were the most numerous by far of Easter-period guests at Bermuda's larger and smaller hotels, cottage colonies and guest houses, most of which offered special prices. Especially noteworthy and quote-worthy were the beach parties at the Elbow Beach Surf Club and the parties at the Bermudiana, Inverurie, and other hotels. Free-spirited and mischievous, the college students often became notorious for their boisterous or unruly behavior, with policeman's helmets, speeding on Bermuda's roads without helmets, swimming en masse across Hamilton Harbour, impromptu beach barbeques, party boats and much more. Many college students were able by special arrangement with the then-USA military bases in Bermuda, to shop there at PX stores and go to the movies. 

In those heady days of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the Bermuda government's Bermuda News Bureau, or Trade Development Board, later the Department of Tourism, organized and paid for all of the activities scheduled during the College Weeks 28-day period, with courtesy cards that entitled college students free admission to everything from "Get Acquainted" dances at major hotels to beach parties, boat cruises, and steel band concerts. Scores of moped-riding college students took advantage of the island's hospitality. Those mopeds, Mobylettes and Zundapps, mostly, were often photographed in their hundreds, seen at indoor or outdoor events. 

Bermuda College Weeks mopeds 1970s

Mobylettes galore, parked at a 1970s Bermuda College Weeks event

As a result, Bermuda became one of the most popular Spring Break destinations, long before places in Florida took over. Major universities such as Harvard and Cornell sent musical and dramatic shows. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals and Harvard Krokodilloes were prominent among them. Female college students were more than welcome, especially for Bermuda's hungry males. Including some famous names, the young college ladies became Bermuda Beauty Queens and were crowned as part of the College Week  ceremonies and events. Their Bermuda escorts for those events, always attired in tuxedos in the evening, were, by tradition, drawn from the most handsome or otherwise most eligible Bermuda membership of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Bermuda wives and girlfriends were left at home when the college girls arrived.

Bermuda College Weeks 2012

Bermuda College weeks 2012

College Weeks 2012 exceeded expectations, according to the Tourism Department. About 250 visitors were drawn by the event’s re-launch. Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert had earlier expressed hope that as many as 200 students from universities and colleges in North America would attend. In the 1950s and 1960s, Bermuda attracted more than 10,000. College Weeks 2012 ran from February 18 to March 16.


Source American

Bermuda Easter lilies

Bermuda Easter lillies

 May 2002 photo by this author

They were introduced to Bermuda from Japan in 1863. They flourished so much that Bermuda once exported blooms to North America and beyond. This was when Bermuda was largely agricultural, before tourism became more important.  The export trade is no longer what it was but growing is still a tradition. Bermudians still send Her Majesty the Queen every year at least one choice bouquet of these magnificent flowers. Bermuda is said to have been responsible for America adopting its trumpet-like white lily as the official Easter lily in the 1880s, when an enthusiastic gardener from Philadelphia brought bulbs home with her. Shortly thereafter, they were introduced to spring shows throughout America. Ten years later, sizeable shipments of bulbs were being made from Bermuda to the US and England, and a lively trade soon developed. While the Easter Lily is no longer a major crop in Bermuda, the island still sends some of the flowers to the Queen every year. There is also a perfume made from the essence

2016. March 24. Governor George Fergusson and his wife sent Bermuda Easter Lilies to the Queen, continuing a long tradition. This year’s lilies were grown in the Government House gardens. Government House said that Her Majesty’s Easter Lilies traveled on Tuesday evening’s British Airways flight to London and should reach Windsor Castle today. Her Majesty always writes to the Governor to thank Bermuda.

Original Source of Bermuda-grown flowers Japan

Bermuda Festival

See Beautiful Bermuda in Music

Source British

Bermuda Fitted Dinghies

Bermuda Fitted Dinghy

Bermuda Fitted DinghiesBermuda Fitted Dinghy 2

These are a development of the British rowing dinghy or skiff, common in British coastal waters. For many years, skiffs were used as a means of transportation from one part or island of Bermuda to another. British Army and Royal Navy Officers stationed in Bermuda in the late 1800s first designed the boat as seen now. Under their patronage, the first fitted dinghy race was held in the St. George's Regatta in July 1853. The next was at the 1854 Victoria Day Regatta. The third was a St. George's Regatta in 1855 with a 10 shilling entrance fee. Four pounds sterling were added to make up purses for the first two boats to cross the finish line in the handicap event.  After several years of informal racing, the sport was organized and measurement rules adopted. It was decided that 14 feet 1 inch long would be the maximum permitted length. No decking is allowed and the keel is limited to 12 feet. All fitted dinghies have a 14-foot bowsprit, 40 foot masts and over 1000 feet of sail - more sail than any other vessel of similar length.  Race rules allow the skipper to order as many people as he wishes off the boat, to gain speed. They usually depart from the stern, to give the boat a bonus in speed. There are only eight fitted dinghies. Five race on alternate Sundays from May 24 until September, in various parts of Bermuda.  They are Elizabeth, Challenger, Contest, Port Royal and Victory. World-renowned sailor and sail designer Uffa Fox did not believe the vessel would float. But it did. The  six people in a crew must improvise for survival and seamanship. They jibe from port to starboard for prevailing winds, try to keep upright, and can take on much water. To keep afloat, they jump or get pushed off. They have high speeds but are often sunk or are dismasted. Luck and talent win. They are always entertaining and often hilarious.  

Source Bermuda

Bermuda Floral Pageant/Easter Parade

Sadly, no longer offered, last one was in the 1960s, a victim of the hugely-changed social and racial scene. Until then it was by far and away Bermuda's most popular annual event, drawing thousands of visitors mostly from the USA. Because of it, Bermuda's "College Weeks" were a further event by themselves, occurring at the same time, attracting as tourists thousands of students from colleges and universities throughout the USA and Canada. 

Bermuda Floral Pageant 1967

Bermuda Easter Lilies

Bermuda Easter Lilies

Source Bermudian


Bermuda Gombey dancers

Bermuda Gombey 01Bermuda Gombey dancersBermuda Gombeys 02

A tradition that began when black slaves were first brought from Africa and the Caribbean. "Gombey" is derived from an African word meaning rhythm. It was originally intended  to be performed only on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year's Day - the two days of the year when slaves were given a rest from their labors. Today, Gombey dance and prance on Boxing Day, New Year's Day, other important events such as football (soccer )matches, at festivals or parades and holidays, also at hotels and guest houses. There is a method of collecting contributions from spectators. The musical accompaniment is usually a kettle drum with two snare drums, covered with goat skin, and a beer bottle fife which produces the sound of a flute crossed with a whistle. Their  acrobatic Bermudian members whose routines are based on African, American Indian, Biblical, British "mummers" and West Indian lore and traditions. Each group is a "crowd." The Captain wears the most elaborate costume and is the crowd leader. The Wild Indian and Trapper have a perpetual chase. The Chiefs also carry large tomahawks and shields. Warriors or Choppers include children of families. Under the Captain, the dancers have duets and solos simulating combat. Once, they also re-enacted biblical stories like David's fight with Goliath. Gombey troupes include Warner's Gombeys, Norford's, the Shakey Smith Troupe, Richardson's, and Wilson's Troupe. Books include Gombey Boy and Bermuda Gombey by American born Bermuda author Mrs. Louise Jackson.

1970. The Bermuda Gombeys were recognized as a uniquely local art form at a Unesco Cultural and Conservation Conference. Gombeys have a rich heritage across the Caribbean, where similar traditions emerged on several islands,

Source African, West Indian & American Indian, Bermudian

Bermuda Heritage Day Parade

A fun day, held on Bermuda Day, May 24. With floats, dance groups and majorettes.

Source Bermudian

Bermuda Islands Pipe Band

Bermuda Islands Pipe Band

Partly in honor of The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band and also because of the many Scots and Irish who are resident in Bermuda and Bermudians with Scots and Irish forebears, there are many recordings available in Bermuda of Scots and Irish bagpipe bands and bagpipers, both civilian and military. In the 18th and 19th centuries, an Irish unit of the British Army was here. Scottish regiments were several times in the British Army garrison here until 1953. A Canadian Scottish regiment was based in Bermuda for a while during World War 2. Their bagpipes and drums accompanied the soldiers on Church Parades from Prospect Garrison in Devonshire to the city of Hamilton, waterfront on Pitts Bay Road and back. The idea became a Bermuda civilian tradition.  

Once there were two bagpipe bands here. One was the Bermuda Police Pipe Band which began in 1959. 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, a tradition maintained by the BIPB to this day. 

There was also the older 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). Bagpipe celebrities or those who contributed mightily since then include Denis Stuart; Captain Arthur G. Card, Commandant of the Bermuda Cadet Corps; Lillian Hallett; Mary Card Gibbons and Joan Tite. On the disbanding of the Corps in the early 1960's, the Band continued as a body of civilian volunteers under the name of the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band. Wearing the Regimental Gordon tartan, the Band's first public performance was in the Remembrance Day Parade in 1956 when they began a tradition of leading the war veterans on and off parade.

Both were disbanded in 1992 when the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band was established. The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band is a spectacular sight on ceremonial occasions, often included in Beating Retreat, musical displays and other events. Individual bagpipers go to hotels and weddings. The 17-member contingent still wear the Gordon Highlanders tartan kilt with a white jacket. Experiences include playing at local and international tattoos

Another still active tradition of the BIPB began in 1963 with the weekly performance by the Cadets Pipe Band of the "Skirling Ceremony" at Fort Hamilton. Yet another long-established relationship began in 1965 with both predecessor Bands and now the BIPB appearing with the Band and Corp of Drums of the Bermuda Regiment in the Beating Retreat in Hamilton, St. George's and the Royal Naval Dockyard.

The BIPB has an equally strong tradition of representing and promoting Bermuda internationally having performed overseas on 18 occasions in the United States, Canada, Scotland and Germany. In 2003, the Band proudly promoted Bermuda at the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. The Band, bearing the Bermuda standard before it, has twice appeared in New York City leading other pipe bands. The Band's more recent international performance came in January, 2005, at the Musikschau der Nationen in Bremen, Germany, Norfolk VA, Birmingham UK and Hamburg, Germany.

Source British

Bermuda kite flying on Good Friday

 See Bermuda's Public Holidays

Big Bermuda Kite

Kite flying at Horseshoe Bay

Bermuda kite flyingFor most Bermudians, Good Friday traditions mean church, flying Bermuda made kites, made from thin wood strips and tissue paper, nothing like the cheap plastic kites used by mostly children beyond Bermuda, and eating codfish cakes - see below - and English style hot cross buns - also shown below. Flying kites - although not on Good Friday - originated in Indonesia 3,000 years ago. There, fishermen used leaf kites to suspend fishing lines out to sea. Indonesian children still skillfully fly bits of waste paper on strings. Kite-flying drifted up through Asia and arrived in Europe early in the 16th century. Much later, it reached Bermuda. British Army troops used them to plan telegraph poles in Bermuda, the Caribbean and other colonial outposts and they were later used to good effect by the British Army to plan telegraph poles in South Africa for the Boer Wars. In Britain, the years 1880 to 1930 were considered the golden age of British kiting. In the 1880's they became even more useful for UK-wide military reconnaissance and meteorology. Huge flying frames carrying weighty cameras were a common sight over trenches in Europe in the First World War. In California, camera kites were used to photograph the devastation caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Right: A uniquely made Bermuda kite. Elsewhere overseas, in India, the kite fighting season can be dangerous. Hundreds of thousands of people fly their fighting kites from roof tops. They coat their kite strings with glass and try to cut their opponents' kite strings. In Britain today, the High Force Kite Festival occurs in August. Kites there require Civil Aviation Authority to fly at 1,500 feet or higher. Clearly then, they are not just toys for children. Some are massive, three-dimensional things.

There is uniquely Bermudian both cultural icon and civilian religious significance to kite flying. It started on Good Friday when a local teacher with a British Army connection had difficulty explaining Christ's Ascension to Heaven to his Sunday School class. So he launched a kite with a likeness of Christ. A traditional Bermuda made kite, from different colors of tissue paper, is still in the shape of a cross. A traditional Bermuda kite is a narrow hexagon formed by joining three pine sticks at the center (although there is version where they are joined just below centre). In a slight variation, a round kite, known locally as a  Roundy is created with either four or five sticks to produce an octagon or decagon. Roundies tend to be more temperamental and pull exponentially harder than their additional surface area would suggest. Size does not matter, with minuscule toothpick kites admired as much as thirty-foot monsters, the only question being will it fly? Originally, kites were not flown until after 3 pm. Now, they stay up all day. Only if it rains do they come down. Bermuda kites have long cloth tails and are in different colors of paper tissue, wood, metal and string. Some are huge, in exquisite patterns, requiring several men to get aloft. Some are deliberately made to emit a humming or buzzing sound, with a hummer made from glued paper, which spoils their spiritual serenity. The hummer is always made with purple tissue paper because it is said to be louder. Another variation of the Bermuda kite is the traditional Somerset brown paper kite. It is made of cross sticks with a hummer behind the head stick.  What makes a Bermuda kite stand out is when the pattern or design, admired from the ground, is even more lustrous in the air. The way it flies can be revealing, especially when the string is positioned, angled, correctly for prevailing conditions. When the kite has enough tail it can be practically motionless in the air. And is the hummer loud enough to be distinctive? 

Good Friday Kite flying at Horseshoe Bay often includes a non denominational religious service; live musical entertainment; children's games; kite competition and judging; locals versus tourists tug of war; live entertainment; Warwick Gombey Dancers. Hundreds of people take advantage of the warm but windy weather to head to the beach for Good Friday. Horseshoe Bay was packed with kite flyers as early as 10.30am, and many more beaches, parks across the island are gear up for a busy weekend of Easter celebrations.

Other events include:

Source of Kites Indonesian, local tradition, Bermudian

Passion Flower

Another legend associated with the Easter holiday - although Easter Sunday itself is not a public holiday - is that of the passion flower, of which there is a Bermuda species.  

This climbing vine requires a sheltered southern location and a great deal of care, so you will not see it in exposed local gardens. It has five sepals or five identical petals. Spanish missionaries who first discovered the flower in South America made it known how the petals represented the disciples without Peter and Judas. The legend was imported to Bermuda as well. The double row of colored filaments, known as the corona or crown, appear to show to some the halo around the head of Christ and to others the crown of thorns. 

Bermuda Passion flower, photo by author


The violet stamens and other parts of the flower appear to show the wounds and nails Christ endured.

Source of Flower Spanish

Bermuda Marathon Derby

Bermuda Public Holidays

Source British

Bermuda Moongate

Bermuda Moongate

Photo by this author of a Maine couple under the Moongate at Tobacco Bay, St. George's, Bermuda

Bermuda Moongate by Lladro

Lladro made this lovely Bermuda Moongate ornament

Old MoongateNew England version of Chinese design

Bermuda Moongate images. On the left, bottom, is an original Chinese one. A New England version is bottom center) and a local one. made from Bermuda limestone, is right

Legend has it that people who walk through a Bermuda Moongate, especially but not solely young lovers and honeymooners, are blessed with good luck. The first plan for one in Bermuda was brought from a Chinese garden in 1860 by a local sea captain. He drew the design of a circular, ornamental wooden gateway to a garden or place of inner repose and, once back in Bermuda, built one of his own. It has since been adopted by Bermuda as a national symbol. The real Chinese origin, many centuries old, of the Moongate was unknown locally until the former gardener of the Duke of Westminster in the United Kingdom was employed to lay out the grounds of the (former) Bermudiana Hotel in the 1920s being built at that time by the Furness Withy shipping group. This was the first of the Bermuda Moongates in hotel properties. (In July 2004, a Japanese garden with a structure almost identical to what in Bermuda is called a moongate, won a Silver Gilt prize at the Royal Horticultural Society show at Tatton Garden in the UK). Some years later, one was seen at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, but as an authentic and much-admired Chinese Moongate. About 40 now exist in Bermuda, mostly on private property including in the gardens of several hotels but with public ones at places including the Bermuda Botanical Gardens; Par la Ville Gardens, Hamilton; and Tobacco Bay. Bermuda versions are always built of Bermuda stone and often but not always used as an entrance to a garden. Unfortunately, Bermuda Moongates do not export well as Bermuda stone, local limestone, is very heavy. There is also a New England version, in granite, of the Chinese design, as one of the photographs above shows. 

Bermuda Moongate song. Composer Ralph Blane, from the USA, co-wrote the song "Step Though a Moongate." Once there was a 45 rpm record of the song, with Ralph singing. On the flip side of the record is "Bermuda Blue." One of his best known compositions was "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and other songs of the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis." A local version of Step Through a Moongate, sung years ago by Gene and Pinky Steede, confirms the Oriental origin of the Bermuda Moongate in the words of  the song.

Source China, Bermuda and American songs

Bermuda National Fishcake Competition

Annual, since 1992.

 2018. March 24. The woman crowned Bermuda’s queen of fishcakes said she was shocked by her win. Valerie Pethen explained: “I consider myself a hit-and-miss cook at everything. Fishcakes are one of the few things that I do, and I enjoy doing.” The 72-year-old Paget resident claimed the title for best fishcakes from a female competitor at the annual Bermuda National Fishcake Competition held at the Leopards Club on Thursday night. Mujib Swan took the title for best entry by a male participant. Ms Pethen said she only cooked the island favorite once a year and that she never followed a recipe. She added: “I’m not one of these people who just get a charge out of cooking. I cook minimally.” Ms Pethen revealed her secret ingredient was sweet potatoes. She said: “It’s just ironic that in today’s paper there were two articles extolling the virtues of sweet potatoes.” She added the idea for the starch substitute was inspired by a friend more than two decades ago as they both began diets based on their blood types. Ms Pethen said: “One Good Friday she called and said ‘Val — we can make our fishcakes with sweet potatoes’.” She added: “I just hope I have started a trend for people to at least try it. The taste is different, but it is so lovely.” Ms Pethen added that almost everything in her fishcakes was Bermudian. She said the sweet potatoes were bought at the farmers market at Botanical Gardens. The parsley, thyme and onion came from her garden and lemon juice came from the tree in her yard. Ms Pethen added: “It’s not Bermuda fish, but it’s in a package called Bermuda’s best.” Nasturtiums from behind her garden and a friend’s loquat chutney were used as part of her plate presentation. Ms Pethen said she was inspired to enter this year’s competition after a chance meeting with Rodney Smith, one of the competition’s organizers, last week. Mr Smith was handing out fishcakes in the Court Street area to promote the competition. She said she admired both Mr Smith and Dale Butler for “trying to keep the tradition alive”. Ms Pethen said she decided to enter “to support the effort, but I never expected to win”. Mr Butler, the founder of the competition, described this year’s event as a smash. He added: “It was very well attended. I would say it was a successful evening.” Mr Butler said there were about a dozen entries in this year’s running. All entries were assessed on criteria including colour, taste and presentation by a panel of five judges. Mr Butler said that crowning two new champions this year was “very important” for the competition. He explained: “We want the legacy to continue.” Mr Butler and Mr Smith had won the National Fishcake Competition since it began in 1992, but both decided to step back from this year’s battle. Mr Butler explained: “If you don’t pass on an opportunity to others, they’ll lose interest.” He said that the island favorite food was something that had “removed barriers” and united the community. Mr Butler added: “If you want to get a group of people together, say you’re having a fishcake party and everyone comes.”

Source Bermudian

Bermuda Open Houses and Gardens (until 2008)

This lovely tradition has finished, with the last one held in 2008 and then in only one place, not several in every parish as was earlier the case. It was hugely interesting, culturally and environmentally stimulating and uniquely enjoyable in New York, Virginia, etc. It increased visitors by 30-50% for the months involved. Plus, they led to new friendships, referrals galore, much repeat business, encouragement to home owners to show off their homes and gardens and a recurring source of income to hosting organizations from the charges made to visit all the Open Homes and Gardens on specific days, in sequence. Local homeowners were reluctant to continue opening up their homes and gardens, quoting the need for security, the high crime rate which rendered their properties exposed to attack after publicity and more.

Source Bermudian

Bermuda Pilot Gigs

2018. April 13. The Bermuda Pilot Gig Club held its first West End regatta at its new premises on Boaz Island today. The event to commemorate pilot James “Jemmy” Darrell saw six teams compete in a series of races designed to test their piloting skills, speed and agility. Roger Gillett, BPGC chairman, said: “Today we have a series of four races all designed to not only test the crews rowing ability but also the Cox’s ability.” Mr Gillet said each race would challenge the teams in different ways while also emulating “the sorts of things the pilots in past generations had to do”. The traditional gigs guided ships and rescued people in distress. Sarah Burrows, location captain and member of the Sandy Crabs team, explained that the first race involved the teams rescuing “survivors” stranded on Middle Kings Point. The second race saw each gig carry a pilot flag that had to be placed in a buoy — emulating the race to take pilots to incoming vessels. The salvage race involved teams towing an old tyre, and the final race — capture the flag — represented a pilot being brought back to shore. Three teams from Spanish Point took part in the event, along with two teams from St George’s and one home team. The latter took the prize for the best-dressed gig. Ms Burrows said she was excited for the club’s first event at the newly renovated premises. She said they hoped to showcase the history of Bermuda’s gigs as well as the “exercise element”. Ms Burrows added: “The idea is to make this a community club that everyone can celebrate.” Liz Christopher, a descendant of Mr Darrell and pilot Stephen Richardson, the namesake of the gig she raced in, described the new premises as a wonderful event space and a great opportunity for children to get involved. Ms Christopher added: “I think it’s perfect. I suspect any future events will be really well prescribed.” Mr Gillett explained that volunteers had worked hard to renovate the pump house of the disused sewage plant on Boaz Island into its new headquarters. He added: “It’s quite special because it’s ours — it’s dedicated to our activities.” Simon Groves, chairman of the Boaz Island Village Condominium Association, added: “It’s an example of a private initiative, hard work and a co-operative effort to make something happen that will benefit not just this community but everybody involved in rowing. It sets an example for others to follow.”

Source Bermudian

Cup Match Pilot Gig Race 

Annually, for the Raines Family Trophy, 

On July 29, 2016 Pilot gig James T Griffiths, bearing the Somerset flag, emerged victorious over the pilot gig Jemmy Darrell, bearing the St George’s flag, in the race along Ferry Reach to the Swing Bridge finish line. Both gigs are named after Bermudian pilots. Gigs are a centuries-old Bermudian tradition: the wooden boats once greeted incoming ships and guided them in to port. The Cup Match race, in only its second year, is already a main feature of the gig racing calendar after the sport made a return in popularity in recent times. Long and narrow, gigs were built for speed, and the element of competition is nothing new: the boats once ranged far offshore with the hope of beating others to be the first on board an arriving ship. They were also renowned for rescuing passengers and goods from vessels in distress. Yesterday, James T Griffiths, was coxed by Anson Nash and Jemmy Darrell by Roger Gillett, with crews representing the respective ends of the island. The Somerset gig had a lead of just over a boat length for most of the race and despite their best efforts the St George’s crew could not claw their way back. Somerset takes the trophy of a large cedar thole pin where it will be displayed in the West End of the island until next summer. This makes it one victory apiece since the inaugural race in July 2015. Ronnie Chameau of the St George’s team said: “This can only bode well for the continued friendly rivalry between the teams. I heard one St George’s rower vowing to get their well-trained team together for 2017. I am sure Somerset will be ready to meet them fair and square.” Frank Raines, a regular visitor to Bermuda from Washington for 30 years, and his family donated the trophy and a cash prize to be given to a charity chosen by the victorious team. Somerset: Anson Nash (cox), Mario Thompson, Christiane Bosson, Pamela Mahoney, Lawrence Bird, Christopher Smith and Andrew Morille. St George’s: Roger Gillett (cox), Debbie Jones, Michael Jones, Cammie Simmons, Leeanne Cox, Sende Semos and Ronnie Chameau.

Source Bermudian

Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda TriangleThere is a great deal of misunderstanding about this in the USA, Canada, Britain, Europe and elsewhere. It is assumed, wrongly, that this area is solely in Bermuda. 

To be entirely accurate, Bermuda is only one point of the three in  - and by far the smallest part of - the Bermuda Triangle. 88 percent of all the sinister or unexplained events of the Triangle happened much closer to Florida - especially Miami - or Puerto Rico, the other two points of the Triangle. Technically, Bermuda is near to it but not actually in the Sargasso Sea where the majority of events may have occured. Draw a triangle between Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico to get an idea of the Bermuda Triangle and then consider the effect of enormous Florida, large Puerto Rico and tiny (only 21 square miles) of Bermuda. This is the descending order of importance of the three places in the Triangle.

It may disappoint some to know this but there has never been any effect at all of the Bermuda Triangle on any of the customs and culture of Bermuda. This author was told personally by an elderly writer in the USA who studied the Triangle that when the original " Bermuda Triangle" was coined in the USA, it was supposed to have been the "Miami Triangle" but Miami objected as it did not want to lose visitors. The "Puerto Rico Triangle" was the second choice, but it too objected, for the same reason. It is alleged that no one from Bermuda bothered to reply so the name stuck by default. This has never been proven so may be mere speculation. What is known to be true is that there have been quite a few ship and aircraft losses on the Triangle over the years, a few near Bermuda. The most interesting and comprehensive Bermuda Triangle website is done from the USA by an American, given the prominence of Florida and the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the combination of facts and myth. Several books have been written about it. The Chinese, in particular, are said to be sensitive about it, believing it is unlucky to be in any way associated with it, which may help explain why Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico are not yet on the list of Chinese government-approved tourism sites.

Source American

Bermuda Wedding Cakes

3 layers high, Traditionally made to a wonderful old recipe.  In past years, there were two cakes, one for the Bermudian bride, the other for her Bermudian husband, but that custom has weakened now, often to one cake as below serving both and their guests. 

Bermuda wedding cake

Bermuda wedding cake

Source Bermudian

Blessing of the Boats

A tradition dating back to 1849, takes place at the Chapel of Ease dock in St George’s Harbour. In June 2016 The Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, and the Rev David Raths conducted the blessing after being rowed respectively by the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club in Harry Fox, and by members of the St George’s-based TS Admiral Somers Sea Cadets in Lady Stockton. Parliamentarian Suzann Roberts-Holshouser helped to conduct the service, along with Demi Wight, Dylan Holshouser and Henry Hayward, while music was provided by members of the St George’s Corps of the Salvation Army. The event dates back to the consecration of the Chapel of Ease. With no bridge connecting St George to St David’s, four sons of clergymen volunteered to row the bishop across the harbour. As he passed through, the bishop blessed the boats that had gathered to watch. The tradition is now carried out every year, usually accompanied by a codfish breakfast. Visiting boats are invited to take part in the event, but are asked to first collect a flag from the Visitors Information Centre in St George’s. Each boat in attendance is blessed and receives a Certificate of Blessing saying, “Bless o lord this vessel and all who sail in her; may she be a trustworthy and safe servant.”

British spelling, mostly

Local advertisements, brochures, guide books, newspapers etc. spell certain words in the British - not American - way, despite the fact that Bermuda is so much closer geographically to the USA than to any other country. This may be confusing to our visitors, more than 85 percent of whom are American. Some words used locally, like "scheme," have a less pleasant connotation in the USA. Some British words end in "our" but the American equivalent ends in "or" for example, "harbor." Do you write your birthday 7 4 60 or 4 7 60? It depends on whether you are American or British or Canadian. The Bermuda Government spells its local Official Notices in the British and Canadian way. The Royal Gazette daily newspaper publishes its date of issue the American, not British, way. Traffic signs are confusing to Americans because distances are shown in meters (metres in Britain), not miles. And gasoline (petrol) prices are confusing to Americans because they are in liters (liters), not gallons. Most Americans think, wrongly, that gasoline is cheap in Bermuda because of the posted prices, but in fact they pay more in Bermuda for a liter (0.22 gallon) than for a gallon back home. And Bermuda drives on the left, not right, despite the fact that we have 8 times more visitors than locals every year.  But if one writes for a mostly American audience as this website does it is good manners to do it the American way. But note, in the American, not British, way there are a number of Americanisms in Bermuda. Words like "liquor" not "alcohol" relate to certain licensing laws. There are more, such as sidewalks, not pavements.

Source British

Christmas Boat Parade

2013 Christmas Boat Parade

Christmas Boat Parade

Next is December 2018. 2013. December 9. The Island's top spectator event of the year, the Christmas Boat Parade in Hamilton Harbour. A stunning display of Bermuda-based illuminated boats of all sizes, treating 20,000 viewers  and ending with a magnificent fireworks display. An after-dark marine spectacle, free to all, on a Saturday evening in December before Christmas, watched mostly from vantage places ashore such as Albouy's Point and Barr's Bay Park. Front Street and Harbour Road also teem with spectators. It is now an established once-every-two-years Christmas-tide tradition (except for December 2008 when it did not occur). It draws a bigger audience than any other festive activity in Bermuda, over 20,000 spectators. Boats participating cover a measured course twice. Imagination and ingenuity of boat owners are incredible. Prizes are given in a number of categories. There are also sightseeing boats. The fireworks are launched from White's Island. It is superb, not to be missed by any local or visitor.

 In December 2013 19 categories of boats ensured that everybody won something for taking part. In top place for Best Commercial boat was Playmate, entered by Playmate Fishing Charters. Spirit of Bermuda won Best Sailboat, and Bermuda Pest Control's Blue Heron was the top corporate entry. The Caledonian Society of Bermuda won Best Non-profit with Naughtiness, while Bill Pitman's Sylvester took Best Powerboat under 25ft and James Boyce's Dutch Courage won the over-25 category. Best Bermuda Themed boat was Full Hott Scott, entered by Corey Masters-Brown; Jamie Chaters Megabucks won Best Community Message. Topping Most Original was Edwin Whitfield's Andrea Christine, while Friends of Black Seal got Most Humorous with Cedar; the Chewstick Foundation's Halcyon won Best Traditional Christmas theme. Twisted Tini entered by Martin Harvey took Best Contemporary. Best Crew Costumes went to Carlos Falcao's Lucky Charms, and William Knight White's Gabriella won Most Confusing. Fairmont Southampton Turtle Hill Golf Club won Best Use of Lights with Friendship, and Best Music went to Anamaria Worswick's Unholey. In the Pink Category, Peter Stableford's Just Sayin came in first, while Justin Williams's Justified was deemed Most Fun to be Aboard. The MarketPlace barge took the Children's Choice category.

Source Bermudian

Christmas & Boxing Day Pantomime & Holidays

See Bermuda Public Holidays

Source British

Crown and Anchor

A local gamble particularly noticeable at Cup Match time. Whichever team hosts the annual Cup Match (see below) game accepts tenders for the gambling game of Crown and Anchor, one of the many "concessionary" events, operators of which pay Government a hefty license fee. The odds are always stacked heavily in favour of the operator, not the gambler. Players should first make a point of knowing the basics of the game.

Crown and Anchor gambling, Bermuda

Royal Gazette photo

Source Bermudian

Cup Match Bermuda 2-day Public Holiday

2018. August 3. Somerset enjoy best-ever victory over St. George's.  After piling on 378 runs on Thursday, Somerset bowled out St George’s twice. The latter's batsmen scored only 121 in their first innings. In the follow-on,  St George’s were able to only add 223. Somerset won by an innings and 35 runs.

This first day of the two-day Thursday and Friday Cup Match holiday in late July or early August  is named to commemorate the most important modern events in Bermuda's 400+ year-old history. They are held by tradition on the two consecutive days of (a) Emancipation Day (see below) and Somers Day. These two days are, by Bermuda statute, always on the Thursday preceding the first Monday in August and the Friday preceding the first Monday in August. For many Bermudians, locals and visitors who do not have to work on a Saturday or Sunday this amounts to a 4-day public holiday long weekend. This Public Holiday commemorates the uniquely emotional, cultural, historic and racial day of August 1, 1834 when under British laws that then extended to all British colonies, dominions and islands, with Britons themselves in the UK having been freed since 1772, the Slavery Abolition Act was enacted locally under British legislative pressure, to free the Island's slaves. In Bermuda, 4.000 persons, until then slaves, became free.  They and other former slaves who had already been freed from that moment on, gained equal legal status to whites. That momentous day is mostly celebrated with the annual cricket Cup Match classic between St. George's and Somerset, two prominent local cricket teams. It follows a tradition that first started on August 8, 1872. The Bermuda Cricket Club had earlier been founded in St. George's ( in 1845) and played its first cricket game against the-then British Army garrison in Bermuda.  Long before cricket became the hugely popular sport it is today, a match played between the fleet team of the resident Royal Navy base and the British Army garrison regimental team was a major event in the social calendar of the Town of St. George.  This sport was first brought to Bermuda in the 1840s by British Army soldiers stationed here. Cricket is a British game that originated in England centuries ago. It is not unique to Bermuda. It is popular throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations. Its local season is from late April to late September. In 1872, British cricket thus arrived for local civilians. For many years until 1902, the unofficial festive game was between two fraternal lodges on opposite sides of Bermuda - in Somerset in the west end and St. George's on the east end.  The festive game began officially in July 1902 between the Somerset Cricket Club in the west end and the St. George's Cricket Club in the east end. Venues of the game change yearly between both clubs.  Most recent (2015) winner is the Somerset Cricket Club. Today, among the cricket-loving nations and territories of the world, only in Bermuda does the whole of Bermuda grind to a complete halt for two days every summer to turn its attention to a cricket game. On Cup Match days, many Bermudians either go physically to the game or listen to it on the radio. Because the popularity of the festive  annual game caused continued absences from employment the 2-day public holiday was first introduced in 1947 and has been in effect ever since.  Since 1999, a celebration of emancipation is now part of the ritual of the first day of Cup Match, formally renamed Emancipation Day.  It is a very busy time for camping and picnicking by Bermudians and locals at public (Government) parks or beaches. The designated campgrounds are Ferry Point, Coney Island and Chaplin Bay but all public parks and beaches can be invaded by persons pitching tents from two days beforehand and until the Sunday evening after Cup Match. It can be disconcerting for tourists who hope in vain for deserted public beaches and are not used to seeing campers pitching tents so close to public beaches. They would not be allowed in their own countries. Nor would the trash so many locals leave near their tents.

Source Bermudian

Dramatic arts

In serious, comedic and other works, the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society, Black Box Productions, Jabulani Repertory Company and others provide cultural entertainment.

Source British

Drystone walling or dyking

Drystone walls, still found in some parts of Bermuda, are limestone walls made without mortar. 

Source British

Festival of Lights

Discontinued in 2008 as a lovely Christmas-time tradition due to economic conditions and the high price of fuel. Until then it was sponsored for many years by The Bermuda Electric Light Company, the only electricity service, which awarded prizes. Some Bermuda homes were dazzling. 

Source Local

Gombeys and annual Gombey Festival

Dancers similar to those in Africa and certain parts of the Caribbean, from black families. They dance at certain times of the year and on special days. In 2018 there were 6 Bermudian Gombey troupes. They appeared in the 2003 Edinburgh Tattoo. The word Gombey comes from the African Bantu language and means both rhythm and drum. Noteworthy  and quote-worthy are the books "The Bermuda Gombey; Bermuda's Unique Dance Heritage" by Louise A. Jackson and "Bermuda: Traditions and Tastes" by Judith Watson.

Annual Gombey Festival. The event is held to celebrate Bermuda’s premier folk dancers, the Gombeys, whose dances celebrate a centuries-old Bermudian folk tradition that blends elements of African and Caribbean performance with North American native music and British military drumming. A tradition of dance passed down through the ages since Bermuda was first populated in part by those of African origin. Each year the festival honors an individual who has cultivated and strengthened the traditions of Gombey music and dance. In 2015 the award was given to Allan Warner of the Warner Gombeys, one of Bermuda's veteran Gombey Captains.  He was joined by his family along with members of the Place’s, H & H, Warwick, Gombey Evolution and Gombey Warriors groups. The event was once known as the Gombey Competition, but has evolved into a celebration of a folk tradition that stretches back for centuries. Each troupe has its own distinct history, and the names of drummers and performers who had been influenced by Mr Warner were listed off to drumming, whistles and ecstatic cheers.

2019. October 14. Gombeys “stand for everybody in Bermuda”, a veteran performer proclaimed at a weekend event dedicated to the art form. Shawn Caisey added: “We stand for every ancestor. Gombeys are about honour at its highest. It goes back to slavery, our ancestors. If you are deep into your black culture, you’ll get the gist of what I’m saying. Respect and honour at its highest. That’s the best way I can put it.” The 46-year-old was honoured at the Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase on Saturday at Botanical Gardens. Mr Caisey said that his love for Gombeys grew out of his upbringing in the Government Gate area of Pembroke, where he lived just three doors down from the home base for Place’s Gombeys. He added: “It was right there in front of me — it was always there.” Mr Caisey, a member of H&H Gombeys for nearly 30 years, said it was the history behind the art form that had sustained his interest. “What started me was just being curious as a kid.  When I became an early teenager, my peers were asking me questions I couldn’t answer. It sort of messed me up because I wanted to answer, but I couldn’t ... I didn’t know.” Ed Christopher, the event emcee, described Mr Caisey as a “keen researcher on the history and origins of Gombey culture”. He added: “He would often be seen at the Bermuda National Library studying up about the Gombeys and other masquerade cultures in the Caribbean and Africa.” Mr Christopher said that Mr Caisey was recognised as an elder in Bermuda’s Gombey community and called him an “expert costume designer, drum-maker, and of course, dancer”. He added: “Throughout his career, he has performed in front of royalty, and represented Bermuda in the Caribbean, North America and Europe.” Wayne Raynor, one of the captains of H&H Gombeys, said that Mr Caines was one of the key figures in Bermuda’s Gombey community. He added: “If you want to know anything about Gombeys, old or new, he can direct you to the right people or he can tell you if he knows. He’s like a Gombey encyclopedia.” Zane Hendrickson, another captain of H&H, said that it meant a lot to have Mr Caisey recognised. He added: “He taught us everything that we know now. Not even just about Gombeys — about life, period.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, told the audience that the Gombey had become an “iconic symbol of Bermudian culture”. She added: “Tonight we are honouring our folk art, our history and our connections to the African diaspora.” Five troupes took part in the festival showcase: Gombey Evolution, Gombey Warriors, H&H Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys and Warwick Gombeys. Ms Foggo thanked the groups for taking part in the event “and more, importantly, for being the strong tradition bearers”. She added: “We all love the Gombeys and we are all here to celebrate with you for our traditional art.” Mr Caisey said that while he didn’t devote his time for accolades, the recognition at the event was appreciated. He added: “It’s nice to know, to feel, to see, that people appreciate what you have been doing over the years.” Mr Caisey, whose 18-year-old son, Chekai, dances with H&H, said that his family’s connection to the Gombeys was generational. “I have a newborn ten months old,” he said. “He loves it.”

2018. December 26. Gombey troupes were out in force around the island today for their annual post-Christmas performances. Kent Henry, the president of Place’s New Generation Gombeys, said that Gombeys and Boxing Day were synonymous. He added: “In Bermuda, it is something that we have always done.” Mr Henry, 55, a drummer with the troupe for the last 30 years, looked back on a childhood surrounded by Gombeys in the Roberts Avenue, Devonshire, area. Bermuda’s Gombeys are an African tradition with Caribbean, Native American and British elements, and their practices are passed down by generations. The word “Gombey” derives from a Bantu word for “rhythm”. Mr Henry said that about 20 dancers and drummers were expected to take part backed by a support group of about the same size. He added that the troupe had been preparing for the last two months. Mr Henry said: “Boxing Day is the longest day.” The troupe started its day with a performance at the Hamilton Princess Hotel. “It’s a celebration of culture, it’s a celebration of Bermudian culture — it’s a celebration of life, really,” Mr Henry said. “The music and the dancing — once it gets to you, you feel it. It’s a spirit that goes with the Gombeys.“

2018. October 6. The Gombey Festival showcase filled the main show ring at the Botanical Gardens with drumming, whistling and whirling regalia as troupes and international guests performed for an audience of hundreds. Gombeys were among the spectators, and children in Gombey costumes played on the hillside as onlookers lined Berry Hill Road. “Let the rhythm begin,” Lovitta Foggo, the Acting Minister of Social Development and Sports, told the crowd to open the event. Ed Christopher, the MC for the showcase, introduced Gombey Evolution, Wilson’s New Generation Gombeys, Gombey Warriors, H & H Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys and the Warwick Gombeys, as well as the Bermuda Donquili African dance and drum group. The crowd welcomed international guests Zayd Saleem, a Moko Jumbie stilt walker from the US Virgin Islands, and the Hermitage Shortknee Dancers, visiting from Grenada. Leon “Sparky” Place, this year’s honouree, was applauded as “an undisputed master of the Gombey arts who has no immediate plans to hang up his costume”. Mr Christopher added that Mr Place still continues to perform with his “beloved” Place’s Gombey Troupe on special occasions. Mr Place was nicknamed “the praying Gombey”, he said, and has left “an indelible stamp on Bermuda’s Gombey culture” over more than 60 years as a performer, mentor and captain. Mr Place brought a disciplined ethos to his troupe, the crowd heard. “I believed that children had to be of good deportment at home and at school — and if they were not, they could not dance,” Mr Place was quoted as saying. Mr Place thanked the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs for supporting the show, which grew last year from a one-day event to a weekend of commemorations. Under a clear, still evening, Mr Christopher called for a moment of silence for “those who came before us and who led the way”, listing off the names of leading Gombey figures. As the performances got under way, he said: “See how proud Bermuda Gombeys are? They carry on their heads peacock feathers — you can’t get prouder than a peacock.”

2018 October 6. A veteran Gombey dancer was honored yesterday at the launch of a festival to celebrate the island’s iconic dancers. Leon “Sparky” Place, a former dancer and drummer with Place’s Gombeys, as well as traditional dancers from overseas were at Victoria Park in Hamilton to publicize today’s Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase. Lovitta Foggo, the acting social development and sports minister, joined Bermudian troupes Place’s and Warwick Gombeys, as well as the Hermitage Shortknee Band from Grenada at the park. Ms Foggo gave special recognition to Mr Place, who was recruited into the troupe when he was 10 with his brothers, Dennis and Reginald Jr. She said: “He had little choice in the matter — his father, known as ‘Scranny’, was the group’s founder and captain, and Gombey was a family affair.” Mr Place succeeded his brother Dennis as captain in the late 1970s. Ms Foggo said Mr Place was a disciplined mentor for younger dancers and was “exceptionally creative”. She added that Mr Place had added more than ten original steps to the troupe’s repertoire. However, Ms Foggo said: “Perhaps his most enduring contribution to the art is as a master costume designer.” She explained that he had pioneered the use of wool fringes on the Gombey regalia, an innovation that brought new dynamism to dance moves. Ms Foggo said the annual festival was set up to highlight the contribution of folk dancers who represented a tradition “passed down the ages, from generations of master Gombey dancers”. She was speaking as Zayd Saleen, from St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, walked through Victoria Park on stilts, which are a symbol of the islands’ Moko Jumbies’ towering role as protectors. Bermuda’s six Gombey troupes will join international guests today at the main show ring at Paget’s Botanical Gardens. The free event is scheduled to run from 5pm to 9pm. A symposium, called Gombeys and Traditions of the Diaspora, will be held tomorrow at the CedarBridge Academy cafeteria from 2pm to 4pm.

2017. October 6. This year’s Gombey Festival pays special tribute to a trailblazer and keeper of Gombey traditions: the late Terry “Termite” Simmons. Mr Simmons, who died in January, aged 62, personified Bermuda’s unique art form — not only dancing, but creating the elaborate Gombey regalia. His handiwork still proudly adorns the St Monica’s Road residence of daughters Dawnae and Terrieka, and their mother, Dawnette Simmons. Mr Simmons grew up near by at the family homestead in Government Gate, where he first heard the distinctive drumming of the Gombeys and joined at an early age. He joined his godfather Charles Norford’s troupe as a child and performed with other groups, devoting himself to the Gombeys for the rest of his life. “Termite” was also a footballer and played for Centaurs, North Village and Young Men’s Social Club in his early days — and worked for more than 30 years at the Bermuda Telephone Company. Mr Simmons was also a sous chef at the Fairmont Southampton, additionally working for MarketPlace’s produce section, and Redeem Construction as a mason. Former MP Dale Butler, a Gombey scholar and cousin of Mr Simmons, recalled him as “a personable, well-known, extremely friendly young man. He had passion for Gombey dancing, its history, and for remembering the older performers. It ran in his veins. He was talented, gifted, and had the greatest respect for the tradition.” Deeply committed to the culture, Mr Simmons passed on Gombey traditions to his family — most recently to his grandson, Ricaija. Bermuda’s fraternity of Gombeys unites tomorrow at the main show ring of the Botanical Gardens, from 5pm to 9pm, for the International Gombey Festival Showcase, which is open to everyone.

2016. September 12. The familiar sound of Gombeys echoed throughout the W.E.R. Joell Tennis Stadium this weekend at the annual Gombey Festival. The event, hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, drew hundreds of spectators to watch performances by four of the island’s Gombey troupes — Gombey Warriors, Gombey Evolution, H&H Gombeys and Places New Generation Gombeys. Attendees were also given some information about the history of the Gombey tradition and their attire, and heard live music by Mitchell “Live Wire” Trott. At the heart of the event was the honoring of H&H Gombeys troupe founder Tyrone “Funk” Nesbitt, who was recognized for his lifelong contribution to the art form. Sylvan Richards, Minister of Community and Culture, even joined in the spirit of the event by dancing before the crowd. “I enjoyed the performances of the various gombey troupes that were on display at the annual gombey festival,” Mr Richards said. “I was also honored to be able to celebrate the contributions made to our gombey culture by Tyrone ‘Funk’ Nesbitt. The public turnout at the festival was also much appreciated and the audience participation was both enthusiastic and appreciative. The Gombeys are an important component of Bermudian culture and the annual Gombey Festival continues to celebrate the Gombeys’ contribution to our culture.”

2016. Saturday, September 10. Annual Gombey Festival.  WER Joell Tennis Stadium.  Doors will open at 5pm, with the festival on Marsh Folly Road starting at 6pm and the finale at around 8.30pm — where the peewee Gombeys from each troupe will perform for three minutes apiece. The event is held to celebrate Bermuda’s premier folk dancers, the Gombeys, whose dances celebrate a centuries-old Bermudian folk tradition that blends elements of African and Caribbean performance with North American native music and British military drumming. A tradition of dance passed down through the ages since Bermuda was first populated in part by those of African origin. Each year the festival honors an individual who has cultivated and strengthened the traditions of Gombey music and dance. In 2015 the award was given to Allan Warner of the Warner Gombeys, one of Bermuda's veteran Gombey Captains.  He was joined by his family along with members of the Place’s, H & H, Warwick, Gombey Evolution and Gombey Warriors groups. The event was once known as the Gombey Competition, but has evolved into a celebration of a folk tradition that stretches back for centuries. Each troupe has its own distinct history, and the names of drummers and performers who had been influenced by Mr Warner were listed off to drumming, whistles and ecstatic cheers.  Also during the celebration, H&H Gombeys troupe founder Tyrone “Funk” Nesbitt will be honored for his life’s contribution to the art form. Sylvan Richards, Minister of Social Development and Sports, called the festival “an opportunity not to be missed”. “With all the intricate costumes that have been created for each troupe, it will be a visual kaleidoscope of colours,” he added.

Gombey troupe

Bermuda Gombey troupe

Source Bermuda

Hasty Pudding Theatricals

Always in March - from Harvard University. Annual visit to Bermuda for over 50 years. Sponsored by the Bermuda Government's Department of Tourism which later became the Bermuda Tourism Authority. 

Hot Cross Buns

For full details of their history and significance see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_cross_bun. The custom was imported to Bermuda from the United Kingdom and is much favored locally. They are available from commercial Bermudian bakeries or as home-made, sold or given away in batches by family matriarchs who love to make them from scratch. They are square-shaped sticky buns about 1.85 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep, with icing sugar applied to them in the shape of a cross. This signifies Christ's agony and death on the cross. 

Source UK

Marathon Derby

Accurately, a half marathon of 13 miles. Dates back to January 1910. It began as a friendly cross-country race began in June 1909 between Bermudian soldiers and those in the British Army then based in Bermuda. It was then hosted by the Somerset Athletic Club, a newly formed black community organization.  Earlier, running had become a Bermudianized sport, especially in Somerset. but had not been competed for before then by non-locals. British soldiers witnessed the racing and wanted to join in but they were too late (see 1910). .

1910. January. The friendly cross-country race began in June 1909 between Bermudian soldiers and those in the British Army then based in Bermuda, by then renamed the Marathon Derby. It became an official annual event. It was hosted by the Somerset Athletic Club, a newly formed black community organization. British soldiers issued another challenge, which was accepted, with the locals stating they wanted it run from Somerset to Hamilton. Private Jordan, of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry then stationed in Bermuda, was the first to cross the line, followed by Bermudian local and Somerset favorite John C. Bean. After Stanley Burgess first took part in 1921, when he was 20, and first won it in 1926, then 1927 and 1928 and eventually 10 times, it became famous locally.

See the book Marathon - All the Facts, Winners and Drama. Dale Butler.

Music choirs, classical, calypso and soca music

See Beautiful Bermuda in Music

Source British and Caribbean

Non-Mariners Race

Cancelled in June 2018 after being in existence since 1962, The event was then the brainchild of older brothers of Jill Raine, Eric and Anthony Amos and a group of their friends. The idea behind the event was to poke fun at the disciplined world of yachting. They just wanted to do a spoof on it and that was to show a non-mariners race where everything was wrong. It was silly fun. There was no start and there was no finish. Non-vessels in the early days of the event included an antique bed, a refrigerator and a cello case. A chamber pot was presented as a race prize. Annual Non-Mariners races were first held in Hamilton Harbour. They later moved to St George’s and Ferry Reach before they settled on Mangrove Bay in 1972. Sandys Boat Club, which most recently sponsored the race and charged an admission fee, confirmed the cancellation of the event. A spokesman for the club said fewer entries, a change in the economics of the event, and a shortage of volunteers were behind the decision. The raft-up parties in Mangrove Bay will go ahead as planned earlier, on the Sunday following the annual Cup Match 2-day public. holiday.

Official Gazette in newspaper form gone

It ceased after October 31, 2018. It has been a Bermuda tradition since the advent of newspapers in Bermuda in January 1784. From then on, Bermuda will be solely dependant on Government news via a government website for all government-related business. Beyond Bermuda, to ensure the widest possible circulation including for the disabled and senior citizens, print media is still the norm, with government conveying its official news via appropriate, wide-circulation print media as well as via the internet.

In Britain, see what the Official Gazette covers, at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/

Onions (people)

Onions were introduced to Bermuda in about 1616 from Britain as English onions - before they reached the USA. Not until the 1830s did they become a major export. By the mid 19th century, Bermudians became known as Onions and Bermuda as the Onion Patch. The popularity of the by-then Bermudianized British Onion, or Bermuda Onion, led to the development of Bermuda Onion seed in Texas in 1898. In Texas, a farming community called itself the Bermuda Colony (later, Bermuda, Texas), on the north side of the Nueces River in Dimmit County. Competition began between Bermuda and Texas to export onions. A combination of what the Texans could do with their onions with the new railway system nationwide in the USA that Bermuda could not and high tariffs imposed by the USA, led to decline of the industry in Bermuda. After the Great War, exports were finished. Today, more people in the USA get their onions from Georgia than Texas. One reason may be that onions take six months to harvest.

Source Local

Palm Sunday Walk

An annual favorite, a different location each year over several miles of flat and hilly areas in places usually barred to the general public, run by the Bermuda National Trust. Walking shoes with non-slip tread are recommended. No dogs or wheeled vehicles (such as mountain bikes and strollers).

Source British

Peppercorn Ceremony

About every April 20. Hundreds gather in King’s Square to watch the annual morning Peppercorn Ceremony, the 202nd in 2018. The annual tradition in St George’s is based around Freemasons paying their symbolic rent for the Old State House. Numerous civic leaders, including in 2016 the Mayor of Lyme Regis, the southern English town twinned with Bermuda, are present to watch the treasurer for the Freemasons officially pay the peppercorn rent which is unchanged in two centuries. Festivities include a parade by the Royal Bermuda Regiment. Freemasons represent lodges from several countries, in 2016, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, MPs from both sides of the House of Assembly, and the Mayor of St George’s, Quinell Francis, who arrived in a horse-drawn carriage, were officials attending. Governor George Fergusson and Mrs Fergusson, who arrived escorted by police, celebrated the final Peppercorn Ceremony of their time in Bermuda. In a speech to the crowd, Mrs Francis said that the Corporations of St George’s and Hamilton have been working together on improving governance through legislation, thanking Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs, for amendments to the Municipality Act to allow them to again collect wharfage. Mr Fergusson highlighted the rich history of the island, but added that Bermuda remains a leader in the modern world. After his speech, the Governor’s council left to conduct its annual meeting in the Old State House.

Peppercorn ceremony

Source British

Portuguese Cultural Association

There are many people of Portuguese extraction (mostly from the Azores) extraction. Some are still Portuguese nationals, despite long residence that in any other country would have qualified them as citizens. The Association has a splendid troupe of dancers, men in red waistcoats and women in red skirts and tight bodices. They dance to traditional Azorean tunes, on special days including the Bermuda Day May 24 Parade celebrations.

Source Portuguese

Roof Wetting

Bermuda Roof wetting Roof wetting

When new houses, apartment blocks and office buildings gave their roofs completed, to seal out the rain, wind and moisture, locals celebrate with a roof wetting on the roof.  All who participate on the roof have to be able to go up and get down unaided and must wear hard hats. Usually, an owner and contractor or builder are the key persons and climb the outside of a roof via a ladder.  As this picture of a January 2009 roof wetting shows, in winter suits are often worn by the owners while the construction foreman  and crew are in working clothes. When the Bermuda Government is the owner, usually the Minister concerned is present. A bottle of black rum is either poured on the roof or is shared, or both.

Royal Bermuda Regiment

Soldiers are paid $1,000 per week and will make up to $5,000 during their first year of part-time service. There are extra bonuses for soldiers who re-engage every year and pass their Individual Military Training tests. Soldiers train regularly in the United States, Canada, Britain and Jamaica and have been deployed on operations across the region; Soldiers have the opportunity to train to be leaders, either as Junior Non-Commissioned Officers or as Officers. Fitness is an important component of military training. The RBR continuously challenges an individual both physically and mentally in order to ensure their preparation for the demands of the military environment.

2020. March 21. Soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment have mobilized at the airport to help returned residents disembark and transport those who need quarantined outside their homes to special accommodation. Sergeant Giovanni Lema, a member of the RBR’s Motor Transport section, drove one of the buses used to ferry passengers off some of the last planes to arrive on the island before the airport shut down to most flights at midnight last night. Sergeant Lema, 35, speaking from the airport, said: “We’re providing transport using Public Transportation Board buses for people who may need it from the airport to where they’re staying and helping keep passengers moving quickly through the terminal using the Regimental Police.” He added only ten people were allowed through at a time and social distancing was enforced. The father-of-two, a carpenter in civilian life, said: “I think people have been encouraged to see us. No one has been rude or abusive — they see us as protection. Seeing us has given them a bit of comfort. People are relieved to be home and happy we’re there. I think we’ve helped take some of the stress off them when they finally got here.” Sergeant Lema is part of a partial RBR embodiment of about 60 soldiers, a mix of full-time staff and part-time soldiers. He admitted it was hard to leave wife Michelle, his son, aged 5, and daughter, aged 3 at home in Warwick when he reported for duty at Warwick Camp. He said: “it’s always tough leaving your family and your loved ones not knowing when you will be home. Even after you’re dismissed, you have to think about whether you will have to self-quarantine.” Sergeant Lema added the troops on transport duty all “kept an eye on each other and on our health to make sure if anything does change, we can address it”. But he said: “You do what you have to do for the protection of the people we’re here to serve.” Sergeant Lema added: “I’m a healthy person, so I don’t have too much to be concerned about — I would be more worried about taking something home to my family. But we’re getting on with the job, just like we always do.” Major Ben Beasley, the RBR’s Commanding Officer designate, said the troops were called in under the direction of the Ministry of National Security. He added: “No matter the national emergency, for more than 50 years the Regiment has been relied on to put the needs of others before themselves and this spirit is as evident today as it has ever been.” Major Beasley added: “Our role is to provide a flexible and adaptable resource to the Government and the people of Bermuda in times of crisis. This is an unprecedented challenge for the country, but we stand ready to provide back-up to support the normal functioning of our country. The Regiment’s troops lean into a challenge, especially when the stakes are high. The extensive training that we conduct, the exercises overseas, the rigorous command courses, all of these elements come together to create an agile force that protects Bermuda’s interests on land and sea.” Major Beasley said the RBR’s notice to move time was reduced to 48 hours last Friday and all soldiers are now on 24 hours notice to move as preparation for a possible full embodiment. He added: “We are better trained and equipped to deal with emergencies than ever before and the civil authorities and the public should be assured that we will do everything in our power to assist should the coronavirus crisis worsen. We work closely with other departments so there is familiarity when the challenge arises.” Major Beasley said that commanders had been instructed to carry out a dry run of the mobilisation process to confirm the wellbeing of soldiers and their families and establish likely personnel numbers. He added: “All training weekends, drill nights, and social events have been cancelled, in line with government guidance, to protect the health of our troops as much as possible.” Major Beasley said: “We are grateful to the families and employers of our soldiers for the support that allows our military to function because those loved ones and companies have once again put the needs of others before their own. Our soldiers’ sacrifice comes at a cost to them too and that is never taken for granted.”  He added that soldiers and members of the public should continue to follow government guidance posted at https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus.

2020. March 18. A new association designed to reunite old comrades from the Royal Bermuda Regiment and promote service in the military has been launched. Major Preston Gill, the president of the Royal Bermuda Regiment Association, said the organisation was designed to promote, foster and maintain the traditions and well-being of the Regiment and its predecessors through the perpetuation of the comradeship of members and former members. Major Gill, a serving soldier, added: “A total of 11,900 people have served in the Regiment and we weren’t capturing all that post-Regiment experience.” But he said: “We also want to focus on the Junior Leaders, the future, the currently serving, as well as veterans. The purpose is to enhance the camaraderie among serving members and develop that for the future.” Major Gill was speaking as members of the RBRA executive visited the military side-chapel at the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton to help publicize the new organisation. Gavin Rayner, a former Regimental Sergeant Major, who retired in 2015 and who is treasurer and RSM of the association, said: “An organisation like this has been in a lot of people’s minds for a long time and for someone like Mr Gill to put something on paper.” Mr Rayner, who works for drinks suppliers Burrows Lightbourn, added: “I jumped at the chance to be involved. It just gives back to the battalion. It brings together a lot of the former members on a bigger scale than what is currently available. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to incorporate junior ranks for networking and to be of assistance to soldiers still serving.” The organisers said the RBRA was not an official part of the RBR, but had its approval and expected to work closely with it in the future. Major Gill said: “We want people to continue to experience that feeling of camaraderie, help with recruitment and encourage former members to rejoin the RBR.” He added honorary membership was open to residents who were veterans of other services and Bermudians who had served in overseas units. Major Gill said: “The key thing is to promote the welfare of private soldiers in the RBR and offer assistance if and when they leave the Regiment. Former Sergeant Peter Aldrich, a business consultant, added: “Like many others, despite my feelings of being conscripted at the time, I thoroughly enjoyed my service. Mr Aldrich, who served from 1985-91, said: “I still deeply appreciate and value the friendships that I made and the experiences that I had in the Regiment; all of which helped shape the person I am today for which I am extremely grateful. The Regiment continues to be a common thread that brings together all walks of life for the common goal of military service for one’s country, which Bermuda should be proud of.” Roderick Spencer, an ex-Colour Sergeant who served from 1985 to 2002, added: “I’m still friends with a lot of ex-Senior Non Commissioned Officers, mess members and soldiers who served under me. Mr Spencer, an entrepreneur as well as chief information officer at wholesalers Butterfield & Vallis, said: “A lot of them miss the friendships that were created and the opportunities that were created and we want to reward them for their years of service.” Former Sergeant Bill Davidson, the compliance manager at a professional services firm, added: “I learned a lot from the Regiment and owe them a lot and this is an opportunity to give back. I’ve always been impressed by the shared experience of the RBR and this is a way to formalize that common experience. We can help each other, the community and soldiers who are still serving. We’re not the RBR, we’re an organisation that supports the RBR.” Major William Madeiros, the chairman of the Defence Board, said the board backed the association to the hilt. He added: “It’s an excellent idea as we continue looking for reasons and benefits of association with the Regiment – the association is one of those benefits. It’s a fantastic idea and, on behalf of the board, we wish Major Gill and the rest of the team every success. Major Gill has done an excellent job liaising with myself and the Honorary Colonel David Gibbons and we are happy to endorse the association.” For more information or to join the RBRA, email regimentassociation@gmail.com

2020. February 18. More than 30 soldiers yesterday began two weeks of intensive training at the start of their careers as Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers. The island trainees were joined by five officer cadets from the new Cayman Regiment, who are in Bermuda to learn as much as possible before they go on to further education at the British Army’s Sandhurst training college and become the nucleus of the officer corps at home. RBR Private David Pinto, 26, said: “It teaches discipline and tactics. I’ve been in university and I’ve just finished, but I’ve always liked military things and I’d like to apply to become an officer later on.” The information technology specialist at power group Ascendant added: “I’m here to improve my discipline so anything that does that, I’m looking forward to. I’m hoping it will help build my character. It’s a good way to prove you can surprise yourself, go further than you thought and go beyond.” Private Matthew Daniel, 18, who works at the new St George’s golf course in preparation for further education, said: “I joined for the financial benefits, but also for the new experience and meeting other people. I also want to help Bermuda and give back for all the things it’s given me. I did the Junior Leaders programme when I was younger, so I’m used to the format and how they do things.” Corporal Dijon Arruda, a five-year veteran of the RBR and an instructor for the two week Recruit Camp, said: “It’s so far, so good. I like the enthusiasm I’ve seen. Some are a little nervous, but that’s typical.” The 31-year-old from Warwick added: “I’m excited to be training the new Cayman Regiment as well.” Cayman Officer Cadets Halston Farley and Gabe Rabess, who will go through basic training with RBR soldiers, said they were happy to be in Bermuda. Officer Cadet Farley, 35 said: “I’m looking forward to seeing how things are done here because we have to go back and start our regiment up.” The primary schoolteacher from Bodden Town on Grand Cayman, who has some previous military experience in Barbados and was Regimental Sergeant Major in the Cadet Corps in the Caymans, added he would welcome the “adventurous activities and re-familiarization with the weapons system” in his time in Bermuda. Gabe Rabess, 48, from the Cayman’s capital George Town, said he was a police officer in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and an ex-firefighter in London so his previous training had prepared him for the rigors of military life. Officer Cadet Rabess added: “I’m not really nervous. I’m looking forward to the weapons handling and map reading because I haven’t done that for a while.” He added: “Bermuda is lovely. It’s a beautiful place — clean, although it’s a bit cold for us.” Corporal Arruda, who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, added it was “a privilege” to get the opportunity to help train overseas soldiers. He added: “At the same time, it shows what the RBR can produce, not only for our own, but from others looking for that kind of training. All going well, and it should, there will be other Overseas Territories looking to start a regiment and I would be happy to be a part of that package.”

2020. February 15. The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s first woman Recruit Camp drill instructor will take to the parade ground this weekend. Colour Sergeant Shanté Arnold, the chief clerk of the RBR, will put the latest intake of 36 raw recruits, including five Officer Cadets from the new Cayman Islands Regiment, through their paces. Colour sergeant Arnold, a full-time soldier, and responsible for RBR administration, said: “Once you get to Colour Sergeant, your goal is to do the drill course in England — it’s a rite of passage. People fight to get on that course and it was my turn last year. It’s something new. You’re used to doing the drill movements, but teaching other people how to do it and breaking it down to step by step is difficult.” Colour Sergeant Arnold said there was a woman drill instructor about 30 years ago, but she would be the first to teach recruits the basics of drill. The 20-year veteran of the RBR added: “It’s a bit of pressure on my shoulders. “But at the end of the day, no matter what job you’re doing, it’s what you put into it. Every day, put your best foot forward and get the job done.” Major Duncan Simons, the RBR Adjutant, said the recruits, including the Caymanian Officer Cadet contingent, could expect to be challenged over the two-week camp, which starts on Sunday. He said: “This is their introduction to military life and the Caymanian soldiers will fall in alongside the RBR recruits and do the same training.” The RBR’s intake of 31 soldiers includes two women recruits and six foreign residents. Major Simons said: “It’s a good figure. We’re looking to take in 60 to 80 a year, which is ideal, so we’re hoping to get at least 30 for the summer Recruit Camp. We’re looking to diversify our ranks so the opportunity is there for women, or indeed anyone, to step into leadership or senior training roles or get a commission as an officer. People often reference their Recruit Camp experience as a transformational one and they often approach the challenges in their lives differently once they’ve gone through it. They will also make friends and connections as they go through it which can last a lifetime. It is a testament to the quality of training we provide that the Cayman Islands has chosen to send the soldiers who will lead their regiment to us.”

2020. February 8. The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s top training officer has been named its new Commanding Officer, it was revealed. Major Ben Beasley, the RBR training officer and Acting Commanding Officer, will take over from Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley. The former Royal Air Force officer said “I am honoured and humbled to be selected for this position. The field of potential candidates was impressive and speaks to the quality of officers serving in the Royal Bermuda Regiment,” the Commanding Officer designate said. The future of the RBR is a bright and exciting one, as we expand into the Coast Guard and work in more collaboration with the other Overseas Territories while still conducting civic and military operations at home, as we have done for 55 years,” he said. Major Beasley, who is expected to take over as colonel in March, added: “All serving members are indebted to the public’s continuing support, especially those who employ our soldiers and support them through their careers. Mostly, it is to the families that sustain the homestead when the soldier in their life leaves for camps, training, or in times of peril, nobly putting the needs of the country before their own. And for that, I am fortunate to have such a family and could not accept this position without acknowledging the sacrifices my wife Kirsten has accepted to make this possible.” The news was announced by John Rankin, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the RBR. Mr Rankin said: “I am delighted that Ben Beasley will be taking over as Commanding Officer of the regiment. The regiment plays a key role in ensuring the safety and security of Bermuda, as seen most recently in its work in helping to get the island back on its feet following Hurricane Humberto in September. The regiment has also shown its ability to meet new challenges, including, most recently, the development of the Bermuda Coast Guard. Major Beasley will bring much experience to his new role, gained both within the regiment and from his former service in the Reserve Police and in the Royal Air Force. I look forward to working with Major Beasley as he prepares to lead the regiment into the future.” Lieutenant-Colonel Curley has been on leave from the RBR since last October.The Royal Gazette reported last month that he was understood to be linked to a police investigation into how a prominent lawyer acquired weapons from the RBR. Justin Williams, whose law firm, Williams Barristers and Attorneys, formerly provided legal advice to the regiment, said then that he received two deactivated weapons from Warwick Camp for display purposes and that he did not pay for them. The regiment confirmed there was an “ongoing investigation” after a Pati request from the Gazette, which asked for “records showing the sale or loan of any weapon belonging to the RBR to any individual or organisation since February 2016” — when Lieutenant-Colonel Curley took over as CO. It said that a “law enforcement exemption” applied to the information requested. Mr Williams’s home in Fairylands, Pembroke, was raided by police in November last year.

2019. December 24. A brace of Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers have passed out from the British Army’s elite Royal Military Academy. Now Ci’re Bean and Andrew Wallace will rejoin the Regiment at Warwick Camp as Second Lieutenants in charge of other soldiers after completing the eight-week Army Reserve training course at the RMA, known as Sandhurst. Second Lieutenant Bean, a former Lance Corporal, said it was “an amazing experience — very intense, but extremely interesting”. The 21-year-old from Sandys, who runs his own firm, Payakid, which places at-risk youngsters with employers, added: “We got to meet and work with a lot of people and learnt a lot of new things. It was just great to get that exposure.” He added: “It was extremely cold; we were operating in minus three temperatures and coming from Bermuda, you don’t experience that. It was my first time in the UK.” But Second Lieutenant Bean, posted as a Platoon Commander to the RBR’s A Company, the specialists in infantry tactics and public order duties, said: “I definitely enjoyed it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would never have got the chance to do something like that if I hadn’t joined the Regiment — I would definitely recommend the RBR. It offers a lot of opportunities. No matter what walk of life you come from, there is something for you.” Second Lieutenant Bean was an award-winning Lance Corporal instructor at the February Recruit Camp, where now Second Lieutenant Wallace got his first taste of RBR life as a new Private. Second Lieutenant Wallace, 25, from Paget, spent three years in the Officer Training Corps while he studied for a degree in military history at Kent University in the UK. He said he had applied for a commission early in his RBR career, because his prior experience meant he had covered a lot of the basics of soldiering and he wanted a bigger challenge. Second Lieutenant Wallace added the Sandhurst course was a grueling mix of classroom and field work. The curatorial assistant at the National Museum of Bermuda said: “There was just so much information. You just have to grab it when you can and hold it tight. It was the longest time I’ve ever been away from home and the longest time I’ve done anything military. And you have lessons from about 6.30am to nine at night.” Second Lieutenant Wallace, now a Platoon Commander in the RBR’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief B Company, said: “It lived up to expectations. I went in there thinking it would probably be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I left thinking that.” But he said it was good for the RBR that its officers were trained at an institution with an international reputation. He said: “It’s putting Bermuda out there. I met a lot of people on that course and if I end up running into them on a deployment, we will have that instant connection. For the regiment, the fact that they send people away to an institution held in such high regard, people recognise that and it’s very valuable.” Second Lieutenant Wallace said his military training had boosted his efficiency at work and in his personal life. He explained: “For example, it’s one thing to go into a grocery store and spend 30 or 40 minutes wandering around. Planning in advance and getting it done in a few minutes is something else. Time efficiency has been the best lesson. It’s learning how to manage your time and get the most out of it. And you can use that time productively elsewhere.” He added that the RBR, whose physical trainers are also British Army qualified, could get unfit recruits to the standards required faster than people might think. Second Lieutenant Wallace added: “I have no regrets about joining. It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and I’m glad I did.” The two will be confirmed in their new ranks if they are successful at the Commissioning and Promotions board and their appointments are confirmed by John Rankin, the Governor and RBR Commander-in-Chief. RBR soldiers are expected to complete 30 days of service a year, including a two-week training camp, usually overseas, and regular nights and weekends and earn about $5,000 in their first year. Further trade and leadership training, at home and overseas, is also available.

2019. December 14. Bermuda’s soldiers said today a career in the Royal Bermuda Regiment was the ranking second job on the island. They explained the RBR offered the chance to develop themselves, network, and boost their chances in the job market, as well as providing a rewarding military experience and the opportunity to travel and gain extra qualifications. Sergeant Joshua Dawson, 28, an auto technician at Pembroke’s Auto Solutions, said his role in keeping the RBR moving as part of the Motor Transport section allowed him to gain wider experience in his trade. Sergeant Dawson, one of more than 20 soldiers promoted last week, added: “You get to work with all different types of people and situations you don’t normally deal with – you get all sorts of skills and training. I fix trucks, drive cars and have done driving on overseas trips. It’s definitely helped me improve at work because the things I learned doing the trucks are things I wouldn’t learn in my full-time job.” The six-year veteran, from Hamilton Parish, said: “I basically joined because I liked the lifestyle and structure. Going up through the ranks was something I enjoyed doing – it’s about gaining responsibility and helping people. It’s good to have someone of higher rank who’s prepared to teach Privates, Lance Corporals and Corporals things and help them to progress too. I have no regrets. I have always thought about staying on long term with the possibility of a full-time position if one becomes available.” Sergeant Dawson added the modern RBR had continued to develop over his six years of service and now had a more structured and academic approach to training. He explained: “It’s a lot more beneficial to people now because we’re looking to teach people and improve people, not just as soldiers, but in terms of their character. People are enjoying it more and learning more.” Corporal Ariana Smith, 22, who works at the Bermuda National Library, said she was pleased to have reached her rank after just two years’ service. Corporal Smith, from Southampton, the clerk for the RBR’s Junior Leaders programme, added: “I joined because I enjoy new experiences and learning new skills you can use elsewhere in life. I expected it to be really tough when I joined, although I didn’t know too much about the modern Regiment. It was tough, but it wasn’t as difficult as I’d been told by my father and grandfather, who were both in the Regiment. It’s very different now – it’s a lot more humane and I enjoy it very much.” Corporal Smith added: “It’s definitely helped me with my organisation and time management. They’ve both improved and my discipline, when it comes to doing anything, projects or whatever, is much better. I also enjoy the camaraderie – it’s like a big, happy family. We all have our differences, but at the end of the day you put them aside and treat each other like family.” Lance Corporal Wayne Willis, originally from North Carolina and married to a Bermudian, said he was motivated by a desire to give back to the country and forge friendships after he moved to the island. Lance Corporal Willis, who has served for a year and was also just promoted, has transferred from the RBR’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief specialists in B Company to the Regimental Police. He said: “It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve been able to meet a lot of people – good people. When I came here I didn’t know anyone except my wife.” Lance Corporal Willis, 31, who works at wholesalers Viking Food, added: “The RBR has sharpened my leadership skills and it’s helped develop me – and the extra money helps. It comes in handy.” New Sergeant Luke Swan, 26, from Pembroke, was one of the last soldiers recruited under the old conscription system. Sergeant Swan admitted: “At the time, it sucked. But it was the camaraderie of the Regiment and the things you would never do in civilian life, the training, the weapons, that got me hooked. The camaraderie between troops of all ranks is what really keeps you there. I like the RBR. It’s actually fun.” And – six years after he ran through the gates of Warwick Camp - he will be Training Company Sergeant for the RBR’s next Recruit Camp, due to run from February 18-26 next year. Sergeant Swan said: “If someone had told me that six years ago, I would have said ‘not a chance’. I didn’t know what to expect when I joined, but it certainly wasn’t being Recruit Camp Sergeant.” The 2018 Corporal of the Year, an insulator with BAC air conditioning, added: “I’ve learned a lot from the Army. You get so many different people and you have to learn to manage all these different personalities. I can also live in the field anywhere.” He added his military experience helped him in civilian life. Sergeant Swan said: “I find I’m always prepared to deal with any situations just through the years I’ve been in the Regiment. What I would say to my 19-year-old self would be ‘take any opportunity in the RBR as it comes and to make the most of it’. At the time, I wasn’t going to go away to school – I wanted to get a job. The Regiment became a good source of income. I had a job then, but it was a hustle.” Sergeant Swan added: “If people have had trouble finding a job, social problems and can’t find their way, the RBR will sort them out. We have so many resources, people from different backgrounds and you can create a huge social network. I know a lot of people who have been recommended for jobs based on their performance in the Regiment.” An RBR spokesman said spaces were still available for the recruit camp in February. RBR soldiers are expected to complete 30 days of service a year, including a two week training camp, usually overseas, and regular nights and weekends and earn about $5000 in their first year. Further trade and leadership training, at home and overseas, is also available. To enquire about service in the RBR, phone 238-1045 or visit rbr.bm.

2019. November 6. The commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment is absent from his job, but John Rankin, the Governor, has refused to reveal the reason why. Government House confirmed to The Royal Gazette that Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley was “currently on leave”. However, Mr Rankin, the regiment’s commander-in-chief, declined to answer questions on Colonel Curley’s sudden absence from his post. A spokeswoman said: “In line with established policy, Government House does not comment on personnel issues.” Captain Paolo Odoli, the regiment’s adjutant, said: “I can confirm that the CO is on leave. Any further questions should be directed to Government House.” Major Ben Beasley, the regiment’s second in command, is acting CO in Colonel Curley’s absence. He also referred questions to Government House. Some of the Governor’s responsibilities in relation to the regiment, including budget, recruitment and answers to parliamentary questions, are deferred to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. Questions put to Mr Caines yesterday, via the Department of Communications, received no response. A spokeswoman said: “Any matters regarding the commanding officer of the RBR should be referred to Government House, as the remit of the RBR falls under Government House.” Colonel Curley became the sixteenth commanding officer of the regiment in February 2016. He is understood to have gone on leave at some point last month.

2019. October 8. More than 100 soldiers returned home at the weekend after a tough two-week exercise in the UK designed to test their public order and internal security skills.  The Royal Bermuda Regiment troops were based at Lydd training camp in Kent, where they used realistic villages to hone their public order techniques against opposition proved by professional soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment. The RBR contingent also worked with Royal Army Veterinary Corps dog handlers and their specially-trained protection dogs and spent time on hi-tech British Army firing ranges. Corporal Dijon Arruda, 31, from Warwick, said: “Active Shield was different – I learned a lot of new things. I’m a basic public order instructor and I learned a few tips and tricks. It was interesting having the dog unit involved and seeing how things changed because of that.” Cpl Arruda, who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess, added: “I’ve enjoyed it very much. Being able to be in the village in an urban setting really opens up your eyes and we learned a lot of things we can bring back home. Based on the feedback, my group did very well on Active Shield and achieved what we set out to achieve.” Private Owen Chisnall, 25, from Southampton and a project manager with air conditioning firm BAC, said: “The exercise was great. There were a lot of good experiences out there. We definitely learned some new skills The public order training was really fun and you can’t go wrong spending a couple of days on the ranges.” Pte Andrea Burrows, 21, from Pembroke and at 5ft 1in the smallest and lightest soldier on the exercise, held her own against repeated onslaughts by the Royal Anglians during the public order phase Pte Burrows, who works at hardware store Gorhams, said: “I’m taller than my shield when it’s resting on the ground – but not by much. I was nervous at first because it was something new to me, but once I got used to it, it became second nature and I enjoyed it. I got first hand experience of what it’s like on the front line and got to see what soldiers and the police do to protect their country. I was part of something bigger than myself, but I’m looking forward to the nice warm weather at home.” Lieutenant Travis Stevens, an information risk manager at professional services firm KPMG, who commanded an Operational Support Unit platoon, said: “Some of our soldiers came in to the RBR as late as February and they were able to pick up skills, drills and tactics you would expect to see in more senior soldiers. I was very pleased with their performance and, more importantly, with their ability to self-motivate in sections and platoons. I have never seen morale so high on an exercise like this. When they were getting hit with Molotov cocktails or rubber bullets from as close as ten metres away, they showed a level of maturity that really impressed me. This was a very worthwhile exercise.” Lt Stevens highlighted the support shown by his own firm and others to soldiers who commit their time to the RBR. He said: “They are good corporate citizens and Regiment service helps to develop individuals and their companies as well. Good employers recognize the benefits of having individuals who are immersed in an environment that forces leadership – that translates into the workplace as well.” Sergeant Major Chauncey Durham, a 32-year veteran of the RBR, was Company Sergeant Major for the exercise, in charge of discipline, standards and administration. Sgt Maj. Durham, a Customs officer in civilian life from Southampton, said: “The soldiers worked very well out of their comfort zone, got stuck in grasped the training. They learned professionalism, and learned the job of a soldier is not fun and games. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding hard work.” Major Preston Gill, who had overall command of Active Shield, added: “The Royal Anglian Regiment said that, in comparison to the British Army Reserves, we can hold our own. Our troops were rated competent in public order and we are now the only Reserve unit that has been assessed for public order duties and assessed positively.” Maj. Gill added: “They gave us an indication of areas where we can develop and equipment we could acquire. It was extremely valuable and not the kind of thing we could do at home. The British soldiers were very tough on us and that’s hard to replicate in Bermuda.”

2019. October 1. Bermuda’s soldiers today took part in a large-scale exercise designed to test their skills in protection of key points and casualty evacuation. The troops tackled armed insurgents, protected a building designated as the seat of government and dealt with angry residents as well as with people seriously injured in a massive gas explosion. They also got instruction in trauma treatment from a specialist from the Royal Army Medical Corps earlier in the day. The soldiers were taught to use tourniquets to stop serious bleeding, how to deal with chest wounds and how to use field dressings on arm and leg injuries as Exercise Active Shield entered its second week. They were also shown the newest stretchers used by the British Army, including a collapsible one designed to be carried in the field before they put their training into practice with casualties with realistic injuries and fake blood. Corporal Dijon Arruda, 31, who commanded a section for the scenario, helped deal with the casualties, which included a double leg amputation, victims with serious burns and others with shock and minor injuries. Cpl Arruda said: “Even though it’s training, getting in a situation and looking at it, there is a pause. But all things we’ve learnt in the lessons we’ve had kicked in. Having the lessons was very informative. We learnt a lot and of new things and we will be able to adapt some of that training to back home.” Cpl Arruda, from Warwick and who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, added: “The equipment the British use is very modern and easy to use and travel with.” An RAMC woman Lance Corporal, who cannot be named for security reasons, said after the day’s training that the RBR contingent had thrown themselves into the scenarios. The 28-year-old added: “They’re actually quite good on the trauma side of things. The leadership of the Junior Non Commissioned Officers in organising caring for and giving first aid to the victim with serious leg injuries was quite good as well.” She said: “They played the game well — everyone who was involved has worked very hard.” The medic added: “They’re dead keen — you could see they took a lot of pride in it and their discipline is pretty good as well.” The RBR soldiers earlier practiced house searches for firearms and other contraband items in a purpose-built training village, setting up vehicle check points and searches of people and vehicles. Pte Alex Godet, 24, from Paget, said: “It was all new to me — everything we’ve done this week has been. It’s been very exciting. We learnt a lot on the house searches by missing things — we’ve had a lot to cover in a short period of time, which is the best part of the exercise. Here, we’re in the classroom then out in the field immediately afterwards and learning by doing things.” Cpl Ahmed Hall, 28, from St David’s, who works for building supplies firm Baptiste, added: “The house clearing was the first time for many of the troops. But they learnt fast and they will remember what they were taught.” Sergeant Craig Davitt, a 15-year British Army veteran from the Royal Anglian Regiment’s Vikings battalion and an instructor for Active Shield, said: “There are a few ‘work on’ points. But from the start of the exercise, there has been a great improvement in their overall situational awareness and how they look at things tactically. The private soldiers have improved over a short period of time, which is great.” Sgt Davitt added: “I have enjoyed working with the RBR and I would welcome the chance to work with them again, in the UK or in Bermuda.” The RBR troops on Monday worked on night patrols in urban and open areas, designed to support the police by deterring crime, gathering intelligence and reassuring the civilian population. Colour Sergeant Peter-Paul Taylor, 29, from Smith’s, a tractor trailer driver in civilian life, commanded an Operational Support Unit during the exercise. He said: “There are few areas in Bermuda we can do this kind of training without disrupting civilians. We have definitely capitalized on the training areas out here, which are much more realistic than we could provide at home. They are much more versatile. The soldiers have worked together for several days and they are understanding each other better, they’re listening to their leaders and really enjoying it. Despite getting cold and wet and wearing a lot of kit and equipment, they were determined to keep working. I’m proud of all of them.”

2019. September 29. The island’s soldiers stood down yesterday after a major effort to cope with the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto. Private Ariana Smith, 22, who only joined the Regiment last year, had a baptism of fire on her first hurricane deployment. She said: “I knew we would be cleaning up, but not much else. I have enjoyed the togetherness of it all. It’s been very rewarding. The lack of sleep has not been fun, but I would volunteer for this type of effort again.” Pte Smith, who joined the RBR after a friend in the service convinced her to have a shot at Recruit Camp in 2018, added the pay rates were attractive. But she said: “Really it was because I like new challenges and getting to try new things. I was excited to see what new opportunities joining the Regiment would bring – and this was just the latest one.” She was speaking after 120 Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers fanned out across the island on Thursday to help clear roads and help people whose homes had been damaged by the Category 3 storm, which hit on Wednesday night. Pte Kyle DeRoza, 22, from Warwick, was part of the hurricane nerve centre at the Bermuda Police Services communications centre at police headquarters in Devonshire and also worked with a team engaged in clean-up operations. The signals specialist said: “The updates came in fast and were processed fast as well.” Pte DeRoza, who studied computing at Bermuda College and who joined up in 2017, added he later transferred to a clean-up crew and hit the ground running. He said: “I am a hands-on person and like having something to do – what is keeping me beyond my minimum service is my pride in helping the island. You can directly help your neighbours and your community in the RBR. You can even help yourself – we have the tools, equipment and training to gain new certifications in trade skills or academics, which give you more job and career opportunities outside of Warwick Camp.” RBR Adjutant Captain Paolo Odoli, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday with a call-up to serve through the storm, also worked in the Prospect communications centre. He said: “It was another magnificent effort by our country’s soldiers, who stepped up to the plate yet again when Bermuda needed them. The RBR – and the entire country – should be proud of the men and women who left their own homes to help protect others from harm.” Captain Odoli added: “It was hard work and it was stressful – but, as Hurricane Jerry approaches, we will be ready to do it all over again if needed.” RBR Acting Commanding Officer Major Ben Beasley said: “I am immensely proud of the effort put in by our soldiers on land and at sea. The RBR has again proved its capabilities and ability to deal with a crisis, be it at home or overseas.”

2019. September 3. The Governor has thrown a special reception to honour the decades of service to the island’s military by Royal Bermuda Regiment Honorary Colonel Eugene Raynor. The Government House event, hosted by John Rankin, was held to mark the retirement of Colonel Raynor after 20 years as Honorary Colonel and almost 60 years in Bermuda’s armed services. The Governor also used the occasion to thank former RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Gibbons, who will succeed Colonel Raynor as honorary colonel, for taking up the role and to welcome Major William Madeiros as the new chairman of the Defence Board and Promotions Board to replace Colonel Gibbons. The honorary colonel’s role is to advise the Governor, the commander-in-chief of the RBR, and the regiment on military matters and to promote military service. Mr Rankin said Colonel Raynor had joined the segregated military in 1961 as a private soldier in the Bermuda Militia Artillery. He added: “You were a founding member of the integrated Bermuda Regiment Band, and rose to become commanding officer between 1980 and 1984.” Mr Rankin, speaking at the reception last Friday night, reminded the audience that Colonel Raynor was also the first black commanding officer of the island’s defence force and was awarded an OBE for his service. He added: “I know enough to know that such awards are not made easily and are for genuine service to your country.” Colonel Raynor, who will continue to sit on the Defence Board, was presented with a miniature replica of a commanding officer’s sword to mark his retirement. Mr Rankin said: “Your advice has been valued by successive commanding officers of the regiment and also by my predecessors as Governor and myself. Your service has been outstanding.” National security minister Wayne Caines said he was a junior leader when Col Raynor was CO of the regiment. He explained that the young soldiers were in awe of him and learnt from him. He added: “I represent your legacy as Minister of National Security. Thank you for pouring into me as a young man. Thank you for that.” Colonel Gibbons told Colonel Raynor: “I joined the Regiment when you were commanding officer, and I was commissioned when you were commanding officer … and I’m here now. And it’s an extremely proud moment to take over from you.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the CO of the RBR, said he had joined up after Col Raynor stood down as CO, but knew him in his honorary role. He told Col Raynor: “You were out and about with the troops in the field and giving advice to privates and commanding officers. You would always ask those key questions — I think it opened my eyes immensely and helped me to get the post I am in now.”

2019. August 16. The Honorary Colonel of the Royal Bermuda Regiment is to step down after more than 20 years in the role and almost 60 years in the military. Lieutenant-Colonel Eugene Raynor, appointed as the first black commanding officer of the Bermuda Regiment in 1980, will be replaced by another former CO, Lieutenant-Colonel David Gibbons. Colonel Raynor, who joined the segregated military as a private in the Bermuda Militia Artillery in 1961, said: “Being involved, in one way or another, has been pretty much a way of life. To be the Honorary Colonel of the Royal Bermuda Regiment is an honour very few people will have. It’s been a good time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Colonel Raynor achieved the rank of corporal in the BMA before he was commissioned in 1964. He was one of the founding officers of the integrated Bermuda Regiment, formed from the BMA and the Bermuda Rifle Corps in 1965. Colonel Raynor stood down as CO in 1984, but later joined the Defence Board and was made honorary colonel in 1999. His role was to advise a series of governors, who act as the Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, and the regiment on military matters and to promote military service. Colonel Raynor said: “Even though I’m not hands-on, I have been aware, and made myself aware, of what was going on. I hope I have been useful, especially with the different governors I have met. I believe I have been useful there, to some extent.” Colonel Raynor’s military experience started as a toddler — his father, Vernon, was a soldier in the Bermuda Militia Infantry assigned to protection of the island’s military installations in the Second World War. He said in an interview as an adult that he remembered being mesmerized by his father’s .303 Lee Enfield rifle when he came home on a break. He said: “Another one of my earliest memories was watching parades — that was a major influence on me.” Colonel Raynor later joined the BMA Cadet programme, even though he was three months short of the minimum age of 14. He went on to sign up with the BMA and rose rapidly through the ranks. Colonel Raynor was also one of the soldiers picked for the regiment’s first overseas camp in Jamaica in 1968. He was appointed as aide-de-camp to the governor in the 1970s and rose to the highest rank in the service less than a decade later. Colonel Raynor said: “It’s been a good time and I’ve enjoyed it.” But the 77-year-old, awarded an OBE for his military service, added that he was aware of his advancing years and wanted to reduce his responsibilities, so decided to stand down from his honorary role and from the Defence Board. Colonel Raynor added he would miss the camaraderie of the RBR most and the interaction with the ranks. He said: “I’ve enjoyed that. With people over the years, I was hands-on. What the soldiers were doing, I was doing and I found that the soldiers really appreciated having me around. I was just as dirty coming out of the field as them. Later on, as honorary colonel, it was always my intent to visit them in the field and spend as much time with them as possible. Being with the troops at all levels was the best experience I had as a soldier.” He added that being appointed the first black commanding officer was a pivotal event. Colonel Raynor said: “It was a proud moment for me and for the whole island, really. It was a great ceremony at Police Field and the whole regiment turned out.” He added that the RBR had changed in many ways — but that the commitment to service to the island in internal security and disaster relief was a constant. Colonel Raynor said: “The regiment in its present state has had, over the past few years, the opportunities to improve its standard of operations and training and the chance to take part in major international exercises. The opportunities surpass the Jamaica exercise I was on in 1968. The regiment has been a major benefit to Bermuda. The RBR offers an opportunity for military training. Recruits will be doing things very different from their normal lives. People will find out there is a niche there that they can enjoy and that benefits individuals and the community. It will be tough and starts being tough simply by being immersed in a disciplined activity. But when people come out after three years, they have things they can recall and use to guide them out of other problems life will throw at them.” John Rankin, the Governor, thanked Colonel Raynor for his long service. He added: “His advice, drawing on his long and distinguished experience, has played an important role in developing the regiment’s work in support of the security and defence of Bermuda. I, and my predecessors as Governor, have been grateful for all he has done for the regiment throughout his career, not least during his service as commanding officer from 1980 to1984. At the same time I am very pleased to appoint Colonel Gibbons as his successor and look forward to working with Colonel Gibbons as the regiment continues to grow and develop in the post-conscription period.”

2019. August 5. A joint-services marine team rescued six US tourists after their rental boat capsized in heavy waves yesterday. The Royal Bermuda Regiment and police team on police boat Rescue 2, deployed as part of the marine security element for the traditional Non-Mariners raft-up at Mangrove Bay, swung into action after the Boston Whaler, about 13ft long, overturned in Cavello Bay in Sandys at about lunchtime. RBR Private Keeshun Best, a member of Boat Troop and part of the Rescue 2 crew, said: “There were a few people holding on to a capsized boat, which was sinking. “We got them out of the water and took them to Somerset Bridge — they were very grateful we turned up.” The 26-year-old from Smith’s added: “I’ve done training for this kind of thing, but never had to do it before. But I knew exactly what to do and kept calm.” Lance Corporal Donavin Trott-Burchall, who piloted an RBR rigid-inflatable boat on patrol in Mangrove Bay and also answered the distress call, said: “The water was a bit rough for such a small boat and it tipped over. We were going to tow the boat back, but a jet ski that was with them did that, so we resumed our patrol.” The 26-year-old from Devonshire, also a Special Constable, added that he had enjoyed his stint on the water over the holidays. He said: “It’s just making sure everyone is safe and keeping a presence out there. People are less likely to act up if they see us and we’re here to assist people if something goes wrong — I’m OK with that.” Private J.D. Symons, who crewed the RIB with Lance Corporal Trott and Bermuda Reserve Police Section Officer Jeffrey Benevides, added: “This is the reason I got into the regiment.” The 22-year-old from Devonshire, a diving instructor with Fantasea in Sandys, added: “Just getting out on the water and policing it — it’s great. We are extra hands to help out in rescues and things like that. It’s definitely worthwhile. A lot of what we do is training to look out for people and this is exactly what we’re doing —keeping an active watch.” Section Officer Benevides, a 21-year veteran of the BRP and a government animal control officer when out of uniform, said: “We wouldn’t have been able to have such a high-profile presence this year without the RBR. I enjoy working with them. I’ve cross-trained with them and done some weekend camps with them. The Reserve Police works really well with the regiment — I guess because we’re all volunteers. We’re all here for the same reason. We want to give something back to the community.” Private Best and Lance Corporal Trott-Burchall were two of nine RBR soldiers deployed on a five-strong fleet of Boat Troop and police boats for the raft up, including 41 Juliet, a derelict boat brought back to life by RBR marine specialists and only commissioned last Wednesday. Sergeant Major Jeffrey Patterson, the officer-in-charge of Boat Troop, said: “It’s been a very positive experience. There were fewer boats and it has been quieter than last year.” He added that the joint patrols had assisted other boats that got into trouble amid high winds and strong waves. Sergeant Major Patterson said: “We have worked very well with the police and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

2019. July 31. The latest addition to the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Boat Troop fleet was today christened at Warwick Camp. Governor John Rankin and Minister of National Security Wayne Caines were among the VIPs that helped commission 41 Juliet – a 27ft Boston Whaler Guardian class boat – into service. The refitted former Bermuda Police Service vessel will make its first official patrols over the Cup Match holiday weekend. Mr Rankin, who was among the guests who christened the vessel with a splash of Bermuda-matured rum, rather than the traditional champagne, said: “Ensuring the safety of people in Bermuda is the top priority of all of us in our respective roles – ensuring safety on land and also ensuring safety at sea.” The Governor, who is Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, thanked the Bermuda Police Service for the role its marine unit played on the water. He added: “I am equally delighted that the Royal Bermuda Regiment is now expanding its role, in conjunction with the police, to ensure safety at sea.” Mr Rankin said the new boat, which skilled Boat Troop soldiers spent a year refurbishing, was a “concrete implementation” of the move towards an RBR Coast Guard role. He added: “That’s not going to be achieved overnight – we need all the services with experience in this area to work together, but this is an important first step.” Mr Rankin said he was “satisfied” that the RBR Boat Troop would “operate in a professional fashion and further develop the capacity in this area over the coming months”. Mr Caines said: “This might seem like just another boat, but this is the start of something spectacular.” He added that the RBR and the BPS were committed to working together to ensure the safety and security of Bermuda on land and at sea. Mr Caines said: “It’s something you don’t often see – both have areas of expertise and both could have stayed in their own silos of responsibility, but both see the benefit of pooling their resources to the benefit of the community. People should exercise care when traveling by land or sea and show responsible driving and responsible behaviour on the water." RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley thanked Sergeant Major Jeff Patterson, Colour Sergeant Leslie Spanswick and their Boat Troop team, which includes shipwrights, marine mechanics and divers, as well as Special Constables, for their skill and dedication in restoring the 1997 vintage boat to as-new condition. He added that Boat Troop had worked with the police for 15 years on joint maritime operations in inshore waters. Col Curley said: “This has resulted in the RBR Boat Troop gaining valuable operational experience in supporting and reinforcing the BPS marine unit with general patrols during the summer and special events such as Cup Match, the America’s Cup and public holidays over the years.” Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley highlighted the joint services operation last weekend to find and rescue a young man who had fallen off a boat in Hamilton Harbour. He added: “That is the tangible effect of what we’re seeking to offer.” Royal Navy Commander Marcus Jacques, who is based in Key West, Florida, who also attended the ceremony, said he had been asked by the Governor to help “move the Coast Guard forward and give a slightly different perspective on how that might be achieved”. Sgt Maj. Patterson added: “I’m pleased with the work we did and with the outcome. It was more than a year’s work by part-time volunteer soldiers and did not interfere with their operational commitments.”

2019. June 30. Soldiers and civilian volunteers joined forces to clear vegetation at an historic estate designated as a national park. About 20 troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment joined volunteers recruited by the Government’s Mirrors organisation and Department of Parks staff at Southlands yesterday. Many of the soldiers involved have just returned from the multinational Exercise TradeWinds held in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The volunteers targeted invasive species at the near-40 acre South Shore Road estate and cut back bushes and trees in the first of what is expected to be regular clear-up events at the estate. Kim Jackson, the Mirrors programme manager, said: “We want to kick off monthly community clean-ups of Southlands and get the public involved in community engagement, as well as learning about the history of the site. It’s a collaboration between Mirrors and the parks department and we asked the Regiment for some support. They’ve been fantastic. We so much appreciate the Regiment because they boost up the manpower. And, because they have people with chainsaws, that helps up enormously, as the volunteers can focus on picking things up and putting them in the trucks while the Regiment does the specialist work.” Margot Shane, the Mirrors office manager, added: “They’re half the people here — I think that says it all.” Lance Corporal Orville Hall, of the RBR’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief specialist B Company, said: “I’m enjoying it. Our expertise makes a big difference and I was happy to help — I like helping out people.” Colour Sergeant Harry Hunt, the RBR’s chief armourer, was the link between Mirrors and the RBR and helped organize the military contingent for the clean-up effort. He said: “We were happy to assist. It’s important because it allows Bermudians to see us working here as well as overseas. We also have a lot of useful skills that are transferable to a wide range of civilian applications. It also helps us improve our initiative and teamwork, so everybody’s happy.” Southlands was bought in 1913 by Scots-Canadian department store tycoon James Morgan who turned it into a series of ornamental gardens and pools based on former quarries that dotted the area. It was sold by Mr Morgan’s son after the businessman died in the 1930s. The estate passed through several hands before it was acquired by the Bermuda Government in 2010 in a land swap with the Morgan’s Point site in Southampton to save the open space from a hotel development and retain it as parkland.

2019. June 24. Bermuda’s soldiers were singled out for praise at the closing ceremony of a massive international military exercise in the Caribbean at the weekend. Sir Louis Straker, the Acting Prime Minister of St Vincent & the Grenadines, the host nation for Exercise Tradewinds, said that the RBR had won hearts and minds for their work in renovating and improving security at a free public clinic near their base at the disused ET Joshua Airport. The RBR also donated 30 sets of public order kit, including shields and protective gear, to the Royal St Vincent & the Grenadines Police. Sir Louis said: “Honourable mention must be made of the Government of Bermuda and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.” He was also pleased that Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, had attended the closing ceremony. He told Mr Caines and the RBR: “It was truly an honour and a privilege having you here. You have contributed significantly to the success of the exercise and we look forward to lasting friendships and sustained engagement to counter threats, advancement of security and the promotion of economic opportunities, peace and security in our region.” Colin John, the Commissioner of the Royal St Vincent & Grenadines Police, added: “Our new-found friends, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, must come in for a special mention not because they are the largest contingent here, but because they have been very enthusiastic.” Mr John said the Bermuda soldiers had been “on time and professional throughout the exercise”. He added: “I think the Bermudians should come in for some special mention. They also assisted us with some special equipment, so I just want to go on record thanking them for what they have done.” They were speaking at the closing ceremony for the exercise, held at Victoria Park in the SVG capital Kingstown on Friday. Tradewinds involved 500 ground troops, about 120 of them from Bermuda, as well as four naval and Coast Guard ships crewed by 100 sailors. Earlier in the exercise, which was organised by the US military’s Southern Command based in Florida, soldiers from the RBR painted the Sion Hill Clinic inside and out. RBR troops also cut down trees and undergrowth which hid the building from the nearby road and which was used as cover by thieves who have targeted the clinic several times. They also installed new high-intensity security lights and fencing. Mr Caines, who earlier had a private meeting with Sir Louis at the SVG government headquarters in Kingstown, was interviewed by an SVG broadcasting company at the Sion Hill Clinic and at the closing ceremony by the US military media team attached to the exercise and the SVG Government’s Agency for Public Information. He told the media that RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley “had gone a step above in integrating us with Southcom, making sure we have key training opportunities, opportunities that can be used at home”. Mr Caines added that he was pleased the RBR, which got a round of applause from the military of the 22 participant countries at Tradewinds, had been highlighted for their community work in St Vincent. He said: “That’s the Bermudian touch — going into a country and helping. They did some work at a specific location and gave some kit to the St Vincent & Grenadines Police Force.” Ground troops, naval forces and coastguard personnel from the Caribbean, South America, Canada, the US and UK took part in Tradewinds. Mr Caines added that the closing ceremony had “filled my heart with pride. To be in St Vincent and to see our young men and women, we all in Bermuda have much to be proud of.” Tradewinds was designed to build increased regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response work. Countries that took part included Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.

2019. June 22. Bermudian soldiers mounted an assault on a terrorist stronghold as part of a training exercise in the Caribbean Thursday. Royal Bermuda Regiment troops stormed a building occupied by terrorists and bomb-makers alongside soldiers and police from other countries as part of their Tradewinds training in St Vincent. Tradewinds, run by the US military’s Southern Command, was designed to increase regional co-operation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response work. Countries taking part include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. Captain Kenji Bean, the second-in-command of the land force component of the exercise, said: “I’ve spoken to a lot of the soldiers and they have really enjoyed working alongside the military and police from different countries. They have experienced a different part of the world, different cultures and different levels of training. It also gave them experience of the level of endurance that is needed to sustain a major operation. They are now better prepared and more robust for when they continue their training back in Bermuda.” Captain Bean added: “Tradewinds has worked well because it’s testing our responses to different events, as well as teaching new tactics to sharpen our skills and drills. Our communications ability is being tested as is our ability to get things done efficiently. It has also forced people to get out of their comfort zone and we have been able to network with other agencies from around the Caribbean and around the world and share our experience with them. The RBR as a career is great exposure for anyone looking to expand their skills. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding.” Lance Corporal Kyree Govia said: “I’ve done this sort of thing before. It’s not brand new and I think we did well. We were told it was a gang that had taken over the compound. Our job was to retake it. It was a snatch and grab operation.” The 24-year-old Masters employee, from Pembroke, was speaking after a platoon of RBR soldiers struck at the Old Melrose police station near the capital Kingstown. They were told that the leaders of terrorist and crime group the Brigade of Martyrs Liberation had taken over in the building and also had a bomb factory there. Two improvised explosive devices were found during a sweep of the compound after a short firefight and were disabled by soldiers from other countries taking part while the RBR surrounded the building.

2019. June 21. Bermuda’s soldiers are playing a vital behind-the-scenes role in a major disaster relief and security exercise in the Caribbean. Royal Bermuda Regiment troops are a major component of the land forces for Exercise Tradewinds in St Vincent & the Grenadines – but senior officers are heavily involved as planners and coordinators of the multi-national military force. Major Dwight Robinson, who commands the RBR’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief B Company, as well as being the Band & Corps of Drums Director of Music, is the land forces commander of about 170 multi-national troops involved in the exercise. He said: “It’s been a huge change – not something I, as a musician, would normally be involved in, but there is learning all around here and I’m grateful for the opportunity.” Maj. Robinson added he appreciated the assistance Major Ben Beasley, the RBR’s second-in-command and training officer, had given him. The multi-national troops in the Tradewinds land forces include several light infantry platoons, humanitarian and disaster relief specialists, a logistics platoon and bomb disposal experts, as well as a Barbados headquartered Regional Security Services platoon. There are a further 100 sailors on board four patrol vessels, some of which are carrying elite clearance divers. Maj. Robinson said the soldiers had been involved in missions ranging from disposing of improvised explosive devices, strike operations, which included stopping criminal activity and arrests of criminals and terrorists. He added: “It all reinforces the skills we would need back home if the need ever arose.” Maj. Beasley, who is part of the directing staff for the RBR, said he was working with Canadian forces to ensure training and development was maximized. He added: “It’s the most amount of realism we had on an exercise in recent years. We are having to work through the exercise and solve real-time problems as well. There is no real safety net – if something happens then the Caribbean Task Force or a company commander has to solve it. The RBR has far exceeded expectations and they have risen to a level they perhaps didn’t believe they could achieve. Tradewinds not only confirms our capabilities, it has expanded them and demonstrated to our regional partners our high level of competency.” Lieutenant Colonel Rob Horton of the Royal Canadian Engineers, said he had been involved in teaching operational planning to officers from other countries. He added that the 22 countries involved came together with limited experience of multi-national operations. Col Horton said: “We monitor them through the planning process and get them to execute operations as they are learning. This is a good experience for the Caribbean Task Force and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.” Lieutenant Commander Cesar Yañez of the Colombian Navy, the deputy chief of staff, said the exercise involved naval vessels from St Vincent, the US, Canada and Holland. He added: “The Royal Bermuda Regiment have given us a very good performance. They react quickly and they’ve done an excellent job. Maybe in the future we can work together again and I am able to tell my country how professional the Royal Bermuda Regiment is.” Lieutenant Colonel Denzil Carmichael of the Guyana Defence Force, the commander of the combined joint task force, said: “This is my first experience with the RBR and what I’ve seen so far is that they are extremely professional and giving great support to this exercise.” Tradewinds was designed to build increased regional co-operation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response work. Countries taking part include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

2019. June 16. A multinational task force tackled a simulated bomb alert at a hotel in St Vincent at the weekend as part of their Tradewinds training exercise. Troops from the Royal Bermuda Regiment joined forces with Caribbean, American and French forces on a security exercise which featured an abandoned suitcase leaking fluid in a hotel lobby. The security team, which evacuated the Blue Lagoon Hotel in the Ratho Mills district of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and bomb disposal experts were delivered to the scene in an RBR vehicle with a police escort. Private Camille Jones, an RBR signaler who acted as the team’s communications specialist, said: “I’m with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team and transmitting what’s going on to the commanders back at base.” The 24-year-old bank customer services assistant from Smith’s added: “I’m enjoying the trip and the adventure. It’s been amazing. It’s been great working with all these different countries. I’ve met people from all over the world.” Private Jones is part of the 120-strong RBR contingent on phase two of Exercise Tradewinds, a major security and disaster relief training programme involving 22 countries. Corporal Douglas Caesar of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, who was among the first responders to arrive at the scene of the bomb exercise yesterday, said he had participated in the annual Tradewinds exercise, run by the United States military’s Southern Command, when it took place in Antigua and Jamaica. He added: “I’m not directly involved this time, but I know it’s a useful exercise. You never know when you might be called on to assist your sister countries. It’s training everyone to one standard so there won’t be any hiccups. It’s also building bonds of friendship with places like Bermuda.” Bermudian soldiers joined troops from other countries in reaction to a scenario based around a terrorist mass shooting at a cricket match at the Arnos Vale sports stadium in Arnos Vale. A sweep of the stadium found a “bomb” and RBR soldiers deployed a cordon around the stadium. RBR medics set up an emergency triage post and prepared to treat casualties from the incident while bomb disposal experts disposed of the device. RBR Lance Corporal Donavin Trott-Burchall, of Boat Troop, but seconded to B Company for Tradewinds, said: “We’re doing a perimeter check, looking for the suspects — six people in two vehicles. I’m enjoying the whole experience. I like traveling to new places and the people here are really nice.” The 26-year-old from Devonshire added: “The great thing about the Regiment is that you get to travel, meet new people and you build lifelong relationships with your fellow soldiers.” Captain Shaun Richards of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, who acted as part of the Regional Observer Assessment Team, said the different countries involved were still in the early stages of working together. He added: “There are things which will need to be worked on, but this is a learning experience. I am sure everyone involved is learning a lot and it’s good for all the countries taking part in Tradewinds.” Edward Rodgers, the US Southern Command deputy divisional chief for training and exercises and a former US Marine Corps officer, said after the stadium scenario: “Each day everyone is getting better. There was some good training today. They were able to respond in a timely manner and the casualties were treated as fast as possible. It’s an improvement on yesterday and we expect more improvements as the exercise goes on.” Tradewinds was designed to build increased regional co-operation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response work. Countries taking part include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.

2019. June 14. Bermuda’s solders took their place among 22 other countries for the opening ceremony of a massive international disaster relief exercise in the Caribbean today. Island soldiers lined up alongside representatives of the armies, navies, coastguards and air forces of regional participants in Exercise Tradewinds phase two in St Vincent & the Grenadines. Private Gayon Burrows, who carried the Bermuda flag at the ceremony, said he was proud to represent his country and be a part of the exercise. He added: “It’s been great so far. It’s something new for me – it’s my first overseas trip with the Regiment, so I’m pretty excited.” The 21-year-old from Hamilton Parish, a drummer in the RBR Band & Corps of Drums as well as a member of humanitarian aid and disaster relief specialists B Company, said: “Apart from meeting people from different countries, I’m trying to get more discipline and an idea of what I can do as a soldier as well as a musician.” Pte Burrows, a two-year veteran of the RBR, added: “If I hadn’t joined the Regiment, I would never have done anything like this. I made the choice to join and I’ve never regretted it.” Edward Rodgers, the deputy divisional chief of training for the US Southern Command, which organised the exercise, earlier told the opening ceremony for Tradewinds that it was an excellent training opportunity. He said: “We come together once a year to exercise. That’s very critical. It builds friendships, trust and partnership with everyone else.” It is the first time Bermuda has taken part in the exercise having only observed the training nearly 30 years ago. For the first time, Bermuda has deployed a full company of about 120 soldiers from Bravo Company. Mr Rodgers, a retired US Marine Corps officer, added: “It’s good to see that Bermuda was able to attend and be a big part of phase two of the exercise. They have come with a good force, ready to train. We’re very happy to have Bermuda back in the Tradewinds exercise.” 1st Lieutenant Jishar Obergh of the Suriname Navy, said: “This is our first time here and we’re enjoying meeting people from other countries like Bermuda.” Leading Seaman Brad Northrup, a diver with the Royal Canadian Navy, added: “It’s been pretty cool to see all the different aspects of life, how they do things and how it all comes together.” Tradewinds was designed to build increased regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response work. Nations participating in the exercise include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.

2019. June 13. About 120 soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment arrived in the Caribbean today to join a major multinational disaster relief exercise. The troops bedded down in the disused ET Joshua Airport on St Vincent before phase two of Exercise TradeWinds 19, which will involve a variety of tough scenarios, starts in earnest tomorrow. Lance Corporal Gary Dowling, a bandsman and member of the humanitarian aid and disaster relief company, said: “We’re still waiting to be tasked but I know there is a lot planned. It’s a really brilliant spot. They’ve tried their hardest to give us a relatively comfortable standard of living to help us get off to a good start.” Exercise TradeWinds, in its second phase after an intensive planning session in the Dominican Republic, involves soldiers, sailors and airmen from over 20 countries. It is the first time a contingent from Bermuda has had any involvement in the annual exercise, run by the US Southern Command for almost 30 years. Other countries represented include the UK, Canada, Jamaica and France, as well as forces from the host country Private Marketa Raynor, 36, of Hamilton Parish, said: “I love it so far. The scenery is fantastic and the atmosphere is awesome, much better than I expected. Pte Raynor, a housekeeper at the Elbow Beach Hotel in civilian life, added: “The military from the other countries have been really cool. It’s like being around Bermudians you haven’t seen for a while. The accommodation is quite basic but much better than living in the bush.” Private Adam Curley, 30, added: “I’m looking forward to the exercise. It’s always good to meet new people and hopefully we will learn from each other. The RBR has a huge amount of experience with hurricanes.” RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley said the first tasks for the RBR contingent would be to refresh their skills and rehearsals for scenarios, which will include practical exercises and tests of knowledge. He added: “The soldiers are very enthusiastic — it’s an adventure for them, it’s a different country, culture and the climate has already begun to test their resilience as it is already hot and very humid. We will be working closely with Caribbean agencies and security force and at the end of it our soldiers will be a lot stronger in all aspects of disaster relief and humanitarian aid. If we are ever called on to do this for real at home or overseas, we will be well prepared.” Colonel Curley said the scenarios used to test the RBR’s skills were still being kept secret — but predicted a grueling workout. “We needed to do something different and TradeWinds was an operation which was ideal. We performed really well during the first phase of the exercise and that leads directly into phase two. We are a modern and forward-thinking force and have restructured to be better organised to face the threats to Bermuda that we’re most likely to see. We also want to provide interesting, enjoyable and testing training to our soldiers and to develop skills that they can easily transfer to civilian life.”

2019. May 25. A massive logistics ship has been loaded with Royal Bermuda Regiment trucks and equipment headed for a major disaster relief exercise in the Caribbean. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay will transport the RBR gear to the Dominican Republic and on to St Vincent & the Grenadines for the multinational disaster training Exercise TradeWinds, to be carried out over May and June. Mounts Bay will also act as the hurricane relief ship and carry out drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean region and Bermuda over the hurricane season, which runs from June to the end of November. Captain Gordon Emmerson, who joined the ship as RBR liaison officer for the exercise, said: “I’m very excited about it. I’m nervous about sea sickness, but I’m looking forward to linking up with the crew on the ship and learning about how they transport different types of cargo.” He added that he would take part in training exercises with the crew and 24 Commando Royal Engineers, who spent a week training with the RBR before they joined the ship after it docked in Hamilton Harbour. Royal Navy Lieutenant Lee Holborn, a Wildcat helicopter pilot from the Fleet Air Arm’s 815 Squadron attached to Mounts Bay, said: “This is my first encounter with the RBR, but should the worst happen and we find ourselves coming back here later in the year, we are really set up. The 32-year-old, from Wiltshire, added: “We know their plans and how we would fit into them.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s Commanding Officer, visited the ship on Wednesday, just before it headed for the Dominican Republic, to brief to RFA and Royal Navy personnel on board. He said: “We have achieved everything that we wanted to do in equipment preparation and training for the exercise. I gave an intelligence safety brief to the helicopter pilots on hard and soft landing sites around the island. If the need arises. I also wanted to make sure our standard operating procedures were up to date for ground troops supervising helicopter landings. ” Colonel Curley added: “It’s a very impressive ship, has tons of humanitarian aid and disaster relief equipment on board and is equipped with its own powered floating dock. It’s ideal for dealing with emergencies and using beaches as well as normal dock facilities. And whenever we have to do an operation together, we have already been introduced and will be able to integrate seamlessly. I wish Captain Jeremy Macanley, his entire crew and Captain Emmerson well for their deployment. Captain Emmerson will be attached to Mounts Bay for five weeks and he will be met by RBR troops on the second part of TradeWinds in St Vincent & the Grenadines.” Cub Scouts and Royal Bermuda Regiment junior leaders were earlier treated to a tour of the ship. Children from the 16th Bermuda Cub Scouts went aboard the vessel with the RBR junior leaders on Tuesday. Zach Moniz, 10, said: “I like it a lot because I always play a lot of video games, but this is way better.” Cara Bernhard, 11, added: “I like it because we probably wouldn’t be doing it unless we are cub scouts.” Mounts Bay made its first call on Bermuda in 2017 in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria hitting the Caribbean. Captain Jed Macanley said: “There is lots that we can learn from the regiment from 2017 and from where it went and assisted so it has been mutual learning. As much as anything, it’s good to know each other so that if we do have to pitch up we have already made the introductions, we know who we are working with, how they work, how we work and how we can synchronize together.” Third Officer Alexander Moore explained how technology helped to power the vessel or hold its position in shallow water.

2019. May 19. A Royal Fleet Auxiliary cargo ship, RFA Mounts Bay, has called on Bermuda this weekend. The vessel, which is visiting the island until Wednesday, is on hurricane season patrol. It is part of Britain’s rapid response aid for British Overseas Territories in the region. Mounts Bay made its first call on Bermuda in 2017, in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria hitting the Caribbean. It delivered humanitarian aid to the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and British Virgin Islands, along with Dominica. During its visit, the Mounts Bay will be briefed on the island’s emergency planning arrangements, as well as key points requiring support in times of need. The ship is to liaise with the Royal Bermuda Regiment, and members of the Bermuda Cub Scouts and RBR Junior Leaders will also have the opportunity to visit. Twenty soldiers from the British Army 24 Commando Royal Engineer Regiment will join the ship, along with Captain Gordon Emmerson of the Royal Bermuda Regiment. John Rankin, the Governor, said he was “delighted” at the visit. Mr Rankin added: “The ship is a key part of the UK’s commitment to providing disaster relief to Bermuda and the Caribbean Overseas Territories in time of need. Mounts Bay is hugely well-equipped and her crew have the skills to make a real difference in assisting local emergency services in time of crisis.” The ship’s cargo includes tractors, diggers, trucks, quad bikes, command and all-terrain vehicles. The vessel will also take part in anti-drug operations in the Caribbean later this year with partners in the region.

2019. May 18. A British Army general responsible for commissioning more than 1,000 officers and who wrote the book on military leadership has shared his expertise with the Royal Bermuda Regiment. Major General Patrick Marriott, a former Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, the training school for British Army officers, visited Warwick Camp while on the island to speak about ethical leadership at a conference organised by asset management firm Schroders. He met RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, other RBR officers and senior non-commissioned officers. General Marriott said: “The regiment is unique and I think it does an incredible job in a situation that’s changing and evolving. It’s evolved very well under Colonel Curley’s leadership. He consults people, that’s very obvious and that will make the evolution of the regiment so much better.” The RBR has re-organised to create two main companies, one trained for humanitarian and disaster relief and the other for more traditional military roles. General Marriott said: “Essentially, the RBR is going to be focused on real public service — disaster relief and crises. There will be great rewards when, sadly, they do need to respond to a hurricane. I think the island is very fortunate to have them here.” General Marriott was speaking at the Officers’ Mess at Warwick Camp, just before he spoke at the Schroders conference at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club last weekend. He said: “If I was a young lad or young girl on the island, joining up is a really good thing to do, even if only for a few years. It’s putting something into the island in a really good way.” General Marriott was Commandant at Sandhurst, where RBR officers are trained, between 2009 and 2012. Captain Paolo Odoli, the new RBR Adjutant, who attended Sandhurst when General Marriott was in charge, said: “It was a real pleasure to once again be able to attend one of his talks on leadership having done so nine years ago at the academy. ‘Do as you ought, not as you want’ speaks to the heart of ethical leadership, which is a guiding principle for officers who earn a commission in the RBR. We are pleased that he enjoyed his visit to Warwick Camp and thinks so highly of the RBR and the success of our reorganization. We strive to be a modern, forward-thinking organisation that is focused on preparing ourselves for the challenges that we are likely to face in the future.” Captain Odoli added that the RBR was still accepting applications for places on the next Recruit Camp, due to be held in July. General Marriott joined the British Army in 1977 and was commissioned from Sandhurst into the 17th/21st Lancers. He has served in combat hotspots like Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland and also held senior staff command positions, including Director-General of Leadership, and was responsible for the creation of British Army’s leadership doctrine. He is still a serving soldier in the British Army Reserve. Schroders made ten spots at its conference available to the RBR free of charge. Lana Desmond, the firm’s managing director, said: “I am extremely grateful to Major General Marriott for being the guest speaker at our investment conference last week, and was delighted that we were able to connect him with the Royal Bermuda Regiment during his time here, which allowed him to share his personal experiences with Bermuda’s soldiers. It was also our pleasure to be able to host some of the Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel at our investment conference.”

2019. May 11. More than 20 soldiers from the British Army’s elite 24 Commando Royal Engineers are to spend a week helping to hone the disaster relief skills of the Royal Bermuda Regiment in the run-up to hurricane season. The UK soldiers will work with the RBR to share expertise and experience in humanitarian and disaster relief, known as HADR, before they join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay when it docks in Bermuda next week. RFA Mounts Bay, a near-600ft logistics vessel, is scheduled to start a six-month deployment in the Caribbean region to provide rapid assistance in the event of hurricane strikes on UK Overseas Territories. The hurricane season runs from the start of June until the end of November. Captain Tom Booth of 24 Cdo RE, which provides engineering support for the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade, said the visit was arranged after RBR Sergeant Major Pete Ramm met soldiers from the unit at a planning meeting for this summer’s Exercise Tradewinds, a multi-national disaster relief exercise based in the Dominican Republic and St Vincent & the Grenadines. Captain Booth, 30, from Harrogate, Yorkshire, added: “The RBR seems like a very professional unit and takes its role very seriously, which is very promising. What we can do is give them a different look at how to do things – the RBR has far more experience than we have in hurricanes, but we have a different skill set and it’s always good to exchange knowledge. We were extremely keen to do it because we have HADR capabilities that we’re constantly developing and Pete was very keen to get the best training for the RBR. We have a wide skill set, from building bridges, demolishing bridges, laying mines, clearing mines, construction and water supply, which makes us ideally suited for the HADR role.” RFA Mounts Bay will also transport all the RBR equipment needed for Exercise Tradewinds, including trucks, to the Caribbean at no cost to Bermuda. The 21 soldiers, who arrived on Friday, will work with the RBR’s HADR specialists in B Company. RBR Private Va’shonte Wilson, 23, from St George’s Parish, said he looked forward to working with the British soldiers. He added: “I think there’s a lot we can learn from them and we can help them with hot weather conditions. We’re more used to a tropical environment, as well as hurricanes.” Soldiers from the RBR and 24 Cdo RE worked together in Operation Ruman, the 2017 relief effort in the Turks & Caicos Islands after they were devastated by Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Captain Gordon Emmerson, 36, Commandant of the Junior Leaders programme, who will join RFA Mounts Bay for five weeks as the RBR’s liaison officer, said: “I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity for growth and development for me and for enhancement of the skills and experience of the RBR. At the end of this, we will be better equipped and with more knowledge, which we can pass on to our soldiers in the future to prepare us for HADR operations at home and overseas.” 24 Cdo RE Staff Sergeant Mohan Thapa, 40, from Devon, said he and the rest of the contingent were delighted to be in Bermuda. The former Royal Gurkha Rifles engineer, who transferred to the Commandos in 2010 and is a veteran of Afghanistan, added: “We were told when you wear your uniform here, you’re welcomed. We are over the moon to be working with the RBR – for 70 per cent of our soldiers, it’s their first time in the Caribbean region. We understand what the RBR is and what they proved they could do during Operation Ruman. I believe we will definitely work well with them and help them out with HADR capabilities.” Lance Corporal Matthew Hemmings, 29, from Newport, South Wales, said: “It’s a beautiful island – very picturesque. I’m looking forward to working with the RBR and hoping to swap some badges.” He added: “The RBR is obviously more experienced in dealing with hurricanes because of the constant threat of them and our only dealings with them are when we’re overseas. But we can help with the general running of operations, the control of situations and how to deal with unexpected problems in a methodical way. We also have a lot more specialist equipment.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s Commanding Officer, said: “This is a golden opportunity for us to enhance our HADR capabilities. These UK soldiers are trained up and ready for deployment in the Caribbean. The end state will be both units will enhance their HADR knowledge and will continue to focus on unit development. We are on line for Bermuda first, but there may be a time when both our units are working hand in glove on HADR operations if the call comes and we are deployed anywhere in Caribbean after the approval process is completed.”

2019. April 25. More than 60 soldiers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment were on parade yesterday for the traditional Peppercorn Ceremony in St George. The troops and the RBR Band & Corps of Drums added to the spectacle as the Masonic Lodge of St George’s paid the annual rent for the State House — one peppercorn. Jose Urbano, a tourist from Florida, said the ceremony was “beautiful. I enjoy the people being so relaxed. It’s different in America. Everyone’s so tense.” Mr Urbano said he last visited Bermuda 30 years ago and was pleased to be back. He added: “We were so lucky to see that celebration today and that we were able to enjoy it.” Sandi Harries, from Paget, said: ”It was marvelous. It’s great to continue that tradition. It makes me very proud to be a Bermudian and to be able to witness something like this.” John Rankin, the Governor, told the crowds in the Olde Towne’s Kings Square that Bermuda was “fortunate that we live together with religious communities in harmony, respecting each other’s beliefs”. He added that this week’s Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and a terror attack on a mosque in New Zealand last month highlighted the dangers of extremism and “the importance of standing together in a spirit of tolerance”. Mr Rankin thanked the Freemasons for their charitable work and the RBR “together with the Bermuda Police Service in ensuring the safety and security of this island”. Mayor of St George Quinell Francis said that plans to abolish the Corporations of St George and Hamilton meant the 203rd Peppercorn Ceremony was “the end of an era in Bermuda’s history”. Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s commanding officer, said he was pleased by the performance of the troops on parade, who were drawn from the RBR’s humanitarian and disaster relief company, commanded by Major Dwight Robinson with Captain Kenji Bean as parade commander. He added: “They all looked very good and the band gave a great performance. It was a long parade, so they stood fast. There were a lot of spectators, which was very pleasing. I also spotted a lot of schoolchildren, which was good to see. It’s Bermuda traditions at their finest. We are delighted to support the Governor, the Government of Bermuda as well as the Corporation of St George and to add some pomp and ceremony to this occasion.” Colonel Curley added that the soldiers on parade were also undergoing extra training to prepare them for Exercise TradeWinds, a major international disaster training event, to be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the summer. He said: “The modern Regiment is flexible, adaptable and able to perform a wide range of roles in addition to the ceremonial one.”

2019. March 27. The Royal Bermuda Regiment fitness instructor who helped the all-woman Bermuda Rifle & Drill Team put their best foot forward has been thanked for his efforts. The group gave Sergio White, a Colour Sergeant in the RBR who runs Positive Results Gym, a bottle of wine, other gifts and a cash donation as a reward for training the squad. Debbie Symons, an RBR sergeant who leads the group of 30 women and 15 schoolgirls, said: “We are based on marching, fitness and team work. It is a sisterhood. “He has stuck by me for the past six years and I just wanted to showed my appreciation by giving him something back. He has a big heart, like me.” Mr White was happy to use his military skills to help train the team. He said: “The girls enjoyed it, I enjoyed it and it has just grown. I did it from the kindness of my heart, I didn’t expect anything from it. It’s always good to give back.” Ms Symons, in her last year of running the team, and other members of the group made the presentation at Mr White’s gym on Woodlands Road in Pembroke on Tuesday. The team has regular training sessions on the Warwick Camp parade ground and has marched in every Bermuda Day Parade since the group formed in 2014. Team member Gladwina O’Mara said: “I have a background in the Bermuda Police Service as a detective constable so the drill was familiar. I enjoy the level of exercise, the regiment, and it was fun being part of the team.” Lora Davis, another team member, added: “I’m an ex-member of the Bermuda Regiment — the drill was my favourite part then and I knew this was something I wanted to do. I’m also a police reserve, where I do drill, so it was a continuation of what I like to do. It’s the discipline and the exercise and our fitness sergeant has kept us in step.”

2018. December 14. The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s training officer was appointed as second-in-command of the island’s armed service yesterday. Major Ben Beasley, a former Royal Air Force officer, takes over the role from Major Warren Furbert. John Rankin, the Governor, promoted Major Beasley on the recommendation of the RBR’s promotions board. Mr Rankin said: “During his career to date, he has served the regiment with distinction in a number of positions, including as adjutant and as training officer. I look forward to working with Major Beasley in his new role.” Major Beasley, who joined the RBR in 2011, completed the UK Defence Academy’s advanced command and staff course last year. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Bermuda in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Mr Rankin thanked Major Furbert for his work in his seven years as second-in-command. He said: “He has given dedicated service to the regiment as a full-time member of staff since 1984 and will continue, for the time being, as the regiment’s paymaster.”

2018. December 7. The Royal Bermuda Regiment plans to offer learning credits for soldiers to enhance their training. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, announced the move as he updated the House of Assembly on the Regiment’s activities. He said the credits would allow soldiers “to further their education and development. Growing the capability of the men and women who make up the regiment can only result in the growth of the capability of the Regiment as a whole.” He said the force reorganized last month into two operational companies of about 100 soldiers each, supported by a logistics company and training wing. One company will focus on internal security in support of the police, and the other has a dual focus of humanitarian aid and disaster relief, locally and overseas. Mr Caines added that work continued on “the much anticipated Coast Guard Unit”. He said: “The Regiment has taken possession of Watford House on Watford Island and, pending final approvals, a floating dock and fencing will be installed.” Mr Caines said the Coast Guard will work jointly with police in its first year to enable training to be completed. He described 2018 and the formal end to conscription as a “turning point” for the Regiment. Mr Caines said that 2019 would be the years when “the seeds of change bear fruit”. He added: “The renewed offer to our soldiers of enhanced training and increased education and development will be a key feature. The Regiment will continue to market itself as a feasible, long-term-career, and will provide leadership and management training for enlisted ranks and junior officers.” Mr Caines said that two recruit camps would be held next year with the first intake starting on February 19.

2018. July 1. The Royal Bermuda Regiment welcomed 24 new recruits to its first summer camp today. The rookie soldiers will spend the next two weeks learning the basics of military life in preparation for a choice of special roles at the end of their training. Shosun Durham, who comes from a family which has served in the island’s military for generations, said: “There is a sense of brotherhood and there’s discipline. It’s also a place where I can learn new skills.” The 23-year-old crewman on Longtail, a catamaran cruise boat based in Hamilton, added that the recommendations of friends helped convince him to join up. He said: “It was mainly how highly my friends spoke of it. I’m also big into fitness — I’m an exercise physiologist — so that side of the training really interests me. I’d like to continue my education here.” Andrea Warren, 31, from Devonshire, is one of eight women who joined up for the second recruit camp of the year. Private Warren, a food service supervisor at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, said she wanted to boost her management credentials. She added: “I joined to further my leadership skills, help out the country and learn a new trade. I spoke to someone when I signed up about mechanics but I don’t know what else they have to offer, so we’ll see what happens.” Vidal Papina — originally from 9,000 miles away in the Philippines — said joining the military was a boyhood dream. Private Papina, from Pembroke, who works for Hamilton’s Supermart, added: “I heard about the regiment and thought I would try my best. I play drums, so maybe I’d like to join the band, but I’ll wait and see.” The 43-year-old, who has lived in Bermuda for several years, added: “I’m not nervous at all — I’m very excited to be here.” The recruits’ first day was taken up with lectures on the conduct expected from soldiers and the issue of unfamiliar kit that will become like a second skin by the time they finish basic training. Sergeant Major Jason Harrell said: “This recruit camp is built from the ground up and based on modern needs. It’s an updated syllabus designed for modern soldiering.” He added: “The recruits will, for example, get more time on the weapons. They’re not doing any more than before, but getting more time for lessons. The way we used to do it worked for our old rifles, but not for the new ones.” But he said: “Some things never change — the basic soldiering skills, discipline, teamwork and self-reliance.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, RBR commanding officer, added: “It’s a great pleasure to see yet another intake of recruits in a July recruit camp for the first time ever. It’s nice to see them taking on the challenge of the military life. We’re on the verge of issuing a strategic review which these soldiers will be introduced to — and they will be adopting these new training procedures throughout their careers. Colonel Curley added: “Our training team has shown a lot of zeal and energy in preparing from January for this. They’re ready to roll and they will push this two-week programme out, which is streamlined to get recruits up to speed a lot faster. Our recruiting team did a lot to get these new soldiers through the door and we are grateful to them for all their hard work and dedication.” Colonel Curley added that the training schedule had been amended to take account of the latest thinking on instructional techniques and will also include an allowance for the summer heat. He said: “This is a modern-thinking and changing organisation and our training system will evolve to keep pace. I personally commend all our soldiers, present and future, for their commitment to service to their country.”

2018. June 26. A former senior military officer said yesterday he feared the Government’s decision to end conscription would weaken the island’s defence force. Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Rance, leader of the Nine Colonels, a pressure group of former Commanding Officers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said he believed the “vast majority” of former officers and Non-Commissioned Officers would view the Defence Amendment Act “with great concern”. Colonel Rance said: “Obviously, we’re going to hope it succeeds, but we think that there are some pretty big risks here that it may not.” He said the group would continue to act as a “friend and advocate” for the Regiment and “hold the minister’s feet to the fire”. Colonel Rance added: “If we see it failing, we’ll point that out too, publicly. If at the end of the day it all goes well, wonderful, but if the strength does fall off, as we think it may, we will ask the hard questions of the Government of the day. They will have created the problem. They will have to fix it.” Colonel Rance was speaking after Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, piloted a Bill to end conscription through the House of Assembly last Friday. The former CO of the Regiment said he felt the decision to end conscription was based on “false premises”. Colonel Rance dismissed arguments from anti-conscription campaigner Larry Marshall and group Bermudians Against the Draft that conscription was a violation of human rights. Colonel Rance said: “Those claims have all been rejected in the courts when there have been challenges made to the law, but people have bought into it. In a sense, the Government’s been duped.” Colonel Rance said the Nine Colonels were also concerned about the Regiment’s ability to fill its ranks using volunteers alone. He added the RBR would have to compete with other organisations, including the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service, for recruits. Colonel Rance said: “There are only so many people to go around and we are a small community at the end of the day.” He added that plans to downsize and restructure the RBR were “implicitly recognizing” the risk. Colonel Rance explained: “When you downsize, you don’t need as many people to begin with. You’re trying to solve the equation from the demand side as much from the supply side in this case.” He said he believed downsizing was being done to cut operational costs so extra cash could be used to attract volunteers. Colonel Rance said he thought the move would work in the short term. He added: “What I think is going to happen in the longer term is the inducements to make better offers to compete in the job market will have to lead to higher costs if they want to attract top-class talent.” Colonel Rance said the group was also concerned about plans for an RBR Coast Guard to assume responsibility for policing Bermuda’s waters. Mr Caines told the House of Assembly the Coast Guard was expected to take over Marine Police duties in April 2020. Colonel Rance said: “What we’re concerned about is that it could turn into a fantasy without adequate funding. The minister knows this, and he will have to work very hard to make sure the funding is available.”

2019. June 23. Legislation to end conscription into the island’s military was passed in the House of Assembly last night. Wayne Caines, Minster of National Security, said the Defence Amendment Act was “a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the Royal Bermuda Regiment into a bespoke hybrid organisation, which is more efficient, effective and professional”. Mr Caines, a former officer in the RBR, said that conscription had “served Bermuda well over the years”. But he added: “That said, the modern era dictates that the time has come for conscription into the Royal Bermuda Regiment to end, as is the case in each of the other Overseas Territories. I am confident that Bermuda will be the better for ending conscription.” Mr Caines said his ministry had worked with the RBR to make sure the regiment would be able to sustain its volunteer numbers. He added: “The RBR will continue its extensive public relations campaigns and incentive programmes in order to attract men and women to serve.” Mr Caines said a review by the RBR had been conducted over the past six months. He added the report found that a total of 327 personnel, 28 officers and 299 soldiers, could carry out the work of the RBR. The number is down from the 400 soldiers recommended in a 2014 report. Mr Caines said the review also focused on the creation of a coast guard. He added: “The plan for the RBR Coast Guard is for the RBR to commence training now and perform the role alongside the Bermuda Police Service until the RBR Coast Guard is fully trained and completely take over the function.” The new Coast Guard is expected to take over maritime security duties in April 2020. Mr Caines said the RBR would recruit with “a promise to invest in those officers and soldiers who volunteer to serve Bermuda”. He added: “Through training partners in Bermuda and overseas, the regiment will deliver a pathway of education and training that is second-to-none. In short, this is a very exciting time to be a member of the Royal Bermuda Regiment.” Mr Caines said that he had met pressure group the Nine Colonels who “remain steadfast in their belief that conscription should not end”. But he added that they were “open” to the recommendations of the latest review. Mr Caines said: “They have made it clear that they would like to see a clear time continuum and firm undertaking by the Government that shows a commitment to enacting the key recommendations.” Michael Dunkley, a former premier and shadow national security minister, said that he had always felt “very uncomfortable” about conscription. He added: “I am glad that the day has come where we can deal with it.” But Mr Dunkley added: “At the same time, we need to make sure that the RBR is in a position to effectively fill out their mandate.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works admitted he was a “reluctant member” of the Regiment when he signed up. He said he had been opposed to the abolition of conscription, but that he could see the benefits of the Act. Colonel Burch added: “My own view on this has evolved. I get that times change and situations evolve. In order for this to be successful in terms of the survival of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, we require people who are in service to have the ability to convince young people that this is something they want to do. It must be aggressive and talk to young people where they are.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said: “There are some of our young people who didn’t want to be there but who will tell you in retrospect that they could not have had a more positive experience. I’m going to miss hearing the positive experiences from those who didn’t want to do it.” Jamahl Simmons, the economic development minister, admitted he had been a “reluctant” conscript, but that the Regiment helped to “instil basic life skills”.

Bermuda Regiment

Then-Governor Richard Gozney inspecting the Regiment.

Bermuda Regiment Band

Bermuda Regiment Recruits

Bermuda Regiment guns

Bermuda Regiment 2

Bermuda Regiment photos by Bermuda's only daily newspaper, The Royal Gazette

Source British

Shark oil barometers

Bermuda Shark Oil BarometerBermudians, especially before the days of electronic weather forecasting, once used to rely heavily on unique, home-made, soda or wine bottle, shark-oil based "barometers" to predict storms and other severe weather. Local St. David's Islanders in particular used to catch and eat shark and, if it met the conditions and was the species of shark required, cooked it in its own liver oil.  The shark - only a young one, called a puppy shark, will do in this case - has to be caught in certain months when the liver is white in color. The process must be done in natural sunlight in a non-metallic container. After being melted down in the hot sun, it was poured into any soda (carbonated beverage) or wine bottle and hung outside. On a clear day, the shark oil is transparent, like water, usually with a little sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The appearance of the oil altered, clouded up, consistently with changes in the weather. The stirred-up sediment or crystals that formed in the neck of the bottle often showed peaks and valleys that led to some usually accurate weather predictions by fishermen in particular. In old Bermuda, bottles of shark oil appeared on many walls or terraces. Local practitioners of the art today say a reliable way of knowing what the weather is going to be like is to secure the bottle with string, hang it up with the bottle straight, not tilting, then observe over time how the shark oil settles or remains cloudy. Some old timers still check shark oil before going out  with their boats into deep waters. There are dozens of theories on why shark oil changes with the climate and whether it really is effective. The only one that seems to fit is that electrical changes in the atmosphere - at least in Bermuda, possibly elsewhere too -  affect the shark's liver and alert the shark to move out to deeper water before a bad storm. The oil retains this function when removed, and the change is visible, the oil switching from a clear golden color like cooking oil to milky white. Shark oil is common in many countries with sea access and so are soda bottles and shark oil barometers, so there is no need to export them from Bermuda.

Source Local

Queen's Birthday and New Year Honours Lists

Given in Bermuda to whose whose courage, selflessness and hard work have changed Bermuda for the better. Their names can be submitted them for consideration in the Queen’s Birthday and/or New Year's Honours List.  Honorees include voluntary work, arts, health, sport, education, science, business and politics. The Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to public life or served the community over a sustained period. Nominees should be still active in their chosen area, newly retired or have had a recent significant achievement. The honours are a good way to say thank you. There are many unsung heroes in Bermuda who quietly contribute in all kinds of important ways to improve the lives of Bermudians. It is an opportunity to pay homage to those who work tirelessly for and on behalf of others, and a chance to say thank you for years of hard work and dedication. Nomination forms can be downloaded from the section on the right of www.gov.bm/governor-bermuda, and applicants are cautioned not to discuss the matter with their chosen nominees. Completed forms must be received by the Cabinet Office no later than 5pm on the last working day of April or October. 

War Veterans on Remembrance Day

Bermuda War Veterans Association Registered Charity 140
Bermuda War Veterans Commissioners See Bermuda Government Boards

See under November in Bermuda Public Holidays

Source British

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Authored, researched, compiled and website-managed by Keith A. Forbes. Last Updated: June 26, 2020
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