This section of our website is intended for you to keep in touch with all of your fellow colleagues who have served in the Bermuda Police. We started this column by putting all entries on one post but soon realized that it would stretch for far too long so we are doing it by each year- and this one is for 2015.
We welcome news, however brief, and would also encourage you to send us recent photos. Sadly we sometimes have to report "bad" news such as illnesses - or worse - but we are always delighted to receive positive news! We can be contacted through our email address or through the comments column at the bottom of each article, including this one.
Festive Season - On behalf of the Committee of the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association we would like to wish all of our readers and contributors a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. 2015 has not been without its trials and tribulations. not the least of which has been the loss of so many of our good friends and former colleagues during the past 12 months. We are, of course, all getting older and slowing down somewhat.
As Editor of the website I've been remiss in keeping you all fully up to date during the past few months, due in part to other commitments, but I hope to get fully back on track in the coming year. That would be greatly helped if you can find the time to drop me a line about yourselves. We are always happy to accept news and photographs about you and your families for this column. We also greatly appreciate you sending us your own personal life stroies for our "Then and Now" column, and submissions for our "Interesting Articles" column.
I would like to think that George Rose has started a trend with his recent submissions of interesting cases he has dealt with. These do not have to be all about major crimes, but about incidents or cases that were "different" and serve to act as a reminder of what we used to get up to during our younger days. For example, George has written several brief articles about his time on Beach Squad. Is there any other place on earth that would pay young men to spend their summers patrolling sandy beaches and keeping a watchful eye on young tourists?! If ylou dealt with any interesting or unusual cases please don't hesitate to write about them and submit articles to us. We are always happy to assist with editing where necessary.
Please also feel free to write and let us know what you are doing over the Festive Season. This can be just a few lines, and a photo of you and your family or friends would be much appreciated.
This will probably be one of our last entries for the year so I thought it fitting to re-print a letter we just received from Ann Beach in South Africa bringing us up-to-date on or good friend and former colleague Brian Callaghan.
A VERY HEALTHY
Dear Family and Friends,
Mail service here in South Africa is more aptly called "no mail" rather than "snail mail" as it is in Bermuda so I must resort to a more technological form of communication to send you all our best wishes on Christmas Day.
Brian continues to progress and now can walk in the pool without any support at all, a great achievement. He really enjoys twice a week sessions in the Hotel Spa pool and is now spending a full hour in his own version of aquatics. He walks around the house, with assistance, for most of the days resorting to the wheelchair only in the evening. Speech is sometimes there but he certainly has not lost the discerning eye of an eagle or his interest in reading the news whether in actual print or on his iPad!
I started off the year with a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires, Lima, Cusco and Macchu Pichu in late February before joining the Regent Mariner in Lima for a 21 night cruise around South America. It was a fantastic experience leaving me with places to which I want to return.
Bermuda beckoned twice during the year with the latest visit taking place over the America's Cup World Series which was held in Bermuda in October. Our little Island in the Atlantic became abuzz with long lost patriotism which created such a wonderful vibe over the weekend. Hopefully it will continue long after the actual America's Cup is held in 2017!
Also in October I visited Indiana to celebrate my oldest Uncle's 94th birthday with more than 80 family members joining in the weekend festivities. It was so special to see my many cousins and their expanding families. My sisters arrived from various states as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed my annual week long Morgan Tour in early November which included new places for exploration and great motoring around the Southern Cape.
With just a short break, Brian joined me on a 15 night cruise (on the same ship I was on earlier in the year) from Cape Town up the east coast of South Africa to Maputo, Mozambique and then back down and around the Cape up the west coast of SA to Walvis Bay, Namibia and return to Cape Town. We had a little bumpy start rounding Cape of Good Hope but seas were delightful for the rest of the cruise and we had some of the best entertainment we have experienced on a ship. I took one of our carers along to help and she was enthralled with it all.
Brian joins me in wishing you all a blessed Christmas with your family and friends and hope you have a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year.
Brian and Ann x
Sad Passing of Pete Morgan - As reported in our Latest News column (CLICK HERE to view entry) we were deeply saddened to hear the tragic news that former Sgt Pete Morgan died in Toronto last weekend. His funeral service was held on Friday 23rd December, in Peele, and we heard that another former Bermuda police officer, Adam Payne, made the long trip to Peele to attend Pete's funeral. We have sent our sincere condolences to Pete's wife Dianne, his daughter, OceanLili, and family.
We have been in touch with Dianne who has expressed interest in assisting with an article about Pete for our Hall of Fame column. No doubt we will have a number of his former colleagues be more than willing to recount their experiences with Pete, through both work, sports and social activities.
Andy Lavery meets up with Dick Coulthard - We hear that Andy and BettyAnn Lavery are presently on a round the world trip and they recently met up with Dick and Jenny Coulthard in Adelaide.
Andy has written to us to say, “During a day stopover in Adelaide from a cruise of Australia and New Zealand, BettyAnn and I were lucky enough to be picked up at the Port by Dick Coulthard. Dick took us to his and Jenny's beautiful home in a lovely retirement development not too far from the City. The development has lots of amenities and Dick keeps himself busy with his new sport of lawn bowls as well as his darts league.
Jenny has had some health issues but hopefully is responding well to treatment and is on the way to recovery. They are also very involved with their children and grand children.
We were also honored to receive a visit from two of them, daughter Claudia and son Aidan who have followed in Dad's footsteps and are Police Officers in the South Australia Police. His other daughter, Emma is a Sgt. in the Australian Air Force and is in Northern Queensland.
We had a lovely lunch and hilarious chat recalling old memories before returning to the ship. Dick and his family wish everyone all the very best for the festive season and upcoming New Year.
As for me, like all of us, the years may move on, but time stands still when in the company of old friends and colleagues.
Seasons Greetings to everyone.
Andy & Betty
Graham Peter "Mitch" MITCHELL - We were saddened to hear the news that ex-DS 1798, Graham Mitchell died last week at the age of 58 after having had cancer for some time.
Mitch had served in the Bermuda Police from March 1981 – June 1986 before returning to the UK where he joined the West Mercia Police from 28th July 1986 until his retirement on 31 August 2011.
He leaves a widow, Julie, to whom we send our sincere condolences. The funeral will take place on Thursday 29th. October at 3.30 pm at Redditch Crematorium, family flowers only, donations may be made to a Multiple Sclerosis charity. After the service there will be a gathering at the Oddfellows’ Arms, 24 Foregate Street, Astwood Bank, Redditch, B96 6BW from 4.30 pm.
Funeral for William "Mac" McBurnie - Former Sergeant William "Bill" Smith (CLICK HERE for article on Bill in our Then and Now column)has written to us to let us know that he attended the funeral service for Connell ”Mac” McBurnie, held in Aylmer, Ontario on 14th October 2015. Bill and “Mac” had both served as Police Cadets at High Wickham in the Buckinghamshire Police prior to joining the Bermuda Police, Bill in 1959 and Mac in 1960. Two more Buckinghamshire boys also came out to join the Bermuda Police - Peter Hawkes and Tim Burch.
Despite being under the weather himself, Bill drove the 150 km to Aylmer for Macs funeral. Off and on a rainy day but the sun shone when the funeral got underway.
Bill sent us the following report:-
“There there were in excess of 200 folk present including 30 or so uniformed officers from the OPP and the OPP College, representatives from London and Woodstock, who mounted the official guard with Bagpipe accompaniment. The Service was live streamed to two locations in the United Kingdom (CLICK HERE for link to the live streaming). Janice was holding up well considering that she had watched Mac decline since diagnosed in May
I had had lunch with Mac at his home in May and at the time he was his old self and the prognosis was good at that time. I left him feeling that all would be well because of Macs very positive outlook. Talking over the telephone later he exuded confidence and I was therefore shocked at the outcome.
The minister related a long list of Macs accomplishments and activities both in Bermuda and Canada and his daughter, Margo, spoke about her Dad with some fun stories about his life in Canada. We were all invited to a reception after the service to reflect and remember.”
William "Connell" McBurnie's Funeral - As earlier reported in our Latest News column, we were sad to hear of the passing of our former colleague William "Connell" "Mac" McBurnie in Canada on Sunday 4th October. Connell was an outstanding career police officer who served in the UK, Bermuda, and in Canada until his retirement as an Instructor at the Ontario Police College.
While serving here in Bermuda he was a first class sportsman who was a founder member and Captain of our first Police Hockey Team, and a prizewinning sailor.
Connell's funeral service will be held at Kebbell's Funeral Home in Aylmer, Ontario, on Wednesday 14th October at 11am. CLICK HERE for his obituary notice. We extend our sincere condolences to Connell's wife Janice, daugher Margo and his family and friends.
Tom Barnes' Funeral - We just heard that the funeral for our old friend Tom Barnes was held at the Chichester Crematorium, West Sussex, on Monday 5th October 2015. We understand there was a big turnout, with people attending who represented the different parts of Tom’s life - from family, long term friends, local people from Bognor and Aldwick, tradespeople, and police officers from both the Sussex Police and from Bermuda. In fact many people had to stand throughout the service.
As a sign of the respect with which Tom was held by his police colleagues, it was arranged for NARPO (the National Association of Retired Police Officers) to provide a banner/drape to be placed on Tom’s coffin.
The service was followed by a reception at Inglenook Restaurant in Pagham which was also very well attended with much reminiscing.
We are greatly indebted to Mike Caulkett for kindly providing us with a copy of his eulogy which was very well received by all those present, and was much appreciated by Tom's wife Juliet. CLICK HERE to read Mike's eulogy in our Hall of Fame article on Tom.
No sooner had we posted the article below about having lost no fewer than 15 of our former colleagues during the past 12months, than we heard about the passing of former WPC Elizabeth "Betty" Osborne in today's Royal Gazette, bringing our number to 16. Betty was one of our first women police officers having joined just a few weeks after Jean (Mathis) Vickers, and she attended Basic Training Course #1. She served from March 1962 to March 1970. Betty will be fondly remembered by all who served with her. We offer our sincere condolences to Betty's family. CLICK HERE for her obituary notice in todays Royal Gazette.
Sad Year for ExPo Bermuda - This has been a particularly sad year in which we have lost more of our former colleagues than anyone can recall - a total of fifteen as follows:-
Their names will be read out by the Commissioner of Police, Michael DeSilva, during the annual Memorial Service being held on Thursday 8th October at the Police Cemetery. CLICK HERE for more details of the Memorial Service. We urge our colleagues who are resident in Bermuda to attend this service.
Happier News - BBQ and Crown & Anchor Night at PRC - After publishing what appears to be an endless string of sad news we are delighted to let you know about a great evening planned for the last night of Police Week. Instead of the Police Ball, and due to economic restraints, the BPS will be organizing a BBQ and Charity Crown & Anchor evening at the Police Recreation Club on Saturday 10th October, to which all of our ExPo members are cordially invited to attend. The poster below provides you with details such as the cost of tickets ($20) which includes the BBQ and a free drink. We encourage all of our colleagues to attend what should be a very entertaining evening for which proceeds will be donated to charity.
Passing of Tom Barnes - We were deeply saddened to report the passing of our good friend and colleague, Tom Barnes, who served in the Bermuda Police from 1965 - 1970. CLICK HERE for further details of Tom in our Latest News column.
We have been advised that his funeral will be held at Chichester Crematorium, West Sussex at 11.00am on Monday 5th October 2015 and family and friends will gather afterwards at Inglenook Restaurant at Pagham near Bognor Regis, approximately 6 miles from the Crematorium. We understand that Tom's wife has asked Mike Caulkett to speak at the funeral. We send our sincere condolences to Juliet and family and friends.
Passing of Eddie "Boxhead" Foggo - As just reported in our Latest News column (CLICK HERE to view), our good friend and colleague, Eddie "Boxhead" Foggo passed away earlier today after suffering for several years from advanced Alzheimers.
We offer sincere condolences to Tricia and the Foggo family and will post funeral arrangements when we receive them. Eddie served on our Expo Committee and will always be fondly remembered by all those who worked him. CLICK HERE for more details in our Latest News column.
Surprise Visitor to PRC - Bob Porter is on Island for a few weeks with his wife Anne, and he made a point of heading up to the Police Club on Thursday 11th September to meet up with old friends and colleagues. But he had to look twice when he spotted a very familiar face (with a similar hairstyle to himself) sitting at the bar. It was none other than retired Chief Inspector Dave Parsons who served on the Force from 1950 - 1980 before heading off to cooler pastures in Canada.
Dave is visiting the Island for 3 weeks with his better half, Pat Lewis, and will likely make a return visit to the PRC for the regular Thursday afternoon get together. We hear that "Parse" regaled those in attendance with many humerous exploits from the good old days. We are hoping to make contact with Dave again while he's here in Bermuda and will try to obtain more information about where he is and what he's doing these days.
Another Get Together - Mick “Wally” Lumb and Godfrey Davies
It’s always a pleasure hearing about our former colleagues getting together after many years, and our latest news, from the great State of Indiana, is no exception. Mick “Wally” Lumb and Godfrey Davies had both been excellent rugby players with the Police Team in the 1970’s and they managed to meet up earlier this month for the first time in what they estimated to be 35 years. Even so they quickly picked up on their conversation as though they had never left Bermuda. As Godfrey says, “We had to wonder what the future would have brought if we had stayed?”
Mick has been living in Louisville, Kentucky for the past 10 years working for a metallurgical company after living in Upstate New York for many years after first leaving Bermuda. Most of his work is spent in the Southern U.S or the Mid West, with occasional jaunts to Wyoming and South Texas. He spent a recent vacation bird watching and relaxing in the swamps of Southern Louisiana, and also in the Sequoia Forest of California’s Sierra Nevada – again enjoying the peace and quiet which he confesses is “a far cry from the shenanigans in the Bermuda Police from 1977-1987.” Mick had previously met up with another former colleague Derek Richardson in Indianapolis, and he also visited the Island in 2013.
Godfrey who served here from 1976-1980 was an outstanding #8 on the Police Rugby Team, and we first heard from him in January 2013 when he read on our website about Mick meeting up with Derek Richardson, realizing that Dekek loved within 25 miles of his own hom.
Godfrey now lives in central Indiana on a property that includes a small lake and a forest area. There are fish in the lake and deer in the forest so he could be almost self sufficient, but Godfrey apparently detests fish, and says he could never pull the trigger on “Bambi” but he has a friend living nearby who feeds his family on venison caught in Godfrey’s woods.
After trying and failing to retire at the age of 45, Godfrey says he is finally getting the hang of retirement at 55. And he finally has time to keep up with the happenings in Bermuda on our expobermuda.com website, although it’s very sad to read of old colleagues going “thru de trees”! He was especially saddened to read about the passing of Lawrence “Mincy” Rawlins who occasionally partnered with him on U2. Godfrey vividly recalls going out on fishing trips with Mincy and Malpas (Brian of course) on Mincy’s magnificent and immaculate boat “Roz” but not being allowed to bring fish on board as Mincy;s wife, Roz, would be most upset if they had messed up the boat cutting up fish, so they had to deal with their catches on the swimming platform resulting in them losing lots of fish!
It’s great to hear from Mick and Godfrey.
Meeting up in London - We just heard from two of our “fittest” former Bermuda bobbies, Ray Banks and Mike Caulkett, who met up in London on 4th September after not having seen each other for 48 years - since they both worked here in the Bermuda Police. Both have always been keen cycle enthusiasts and it seems fitting that after arranging to get together they hired a couple of “Boris Bikes” and rode along the banks of the Thames while they reminisced about the good old days in Bermuda.
Ray, who was always a super fit sportsman left the Island in 1967 and settled with his wife, Sylvia, and their 3 children, in Vancouver. CLICK HERE for an article about Ray in our Then and Now column. While in London Ray took the opportunity to visit his daughter. He also thoroughly enjoyed watching the England – Ireland rugby game on television and visited old friends in Hertford.
Mike served here from 1964 -1970 before heading back to the UK where he returned to and served for many years in the Sussex Police. CLICK HERE for Mike’s article in our Then and Now column.
During their time here Mike organized an American Road Trip with Ray and two more young Bermuda policemen, Jim McIlwain and Duncan Batchelor, during which time they attended the Indy 500, and travelled some 8,000 miles over the length and breadth of the US in a rented car. Mike had been trying to make contact with Duncan Batchelor for several years but has had no luck tracing him, although we hear there has been a major development in this regard which we will report on in the next few days.
Mike has now retired but does his best to stay fit and has previous experience of cycling along the Thames as he described in an article he sent to us (CLICK HERE to view) on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Fortunately, the weather was much better for his get together with Ray!
One other piece of news about Mike; he and his wife Jill became proud grandparents for the first time 7 months ago when their oldest son, Ben and his wife, announced the birth of their beautiful son, William James Caulkett who already appears to be developing his grandfather’s penchant for speeding as he whizzes round the supermarket in a shopping cart!
Connell McBurnie Seriously Ill. - As mentioned in our Latest News column (CLICK HERE for details) we have just heard that Connell McBurnie, who had major surgery on a liver-related cancer ealier this year, is seriously ill after the cancer returned and has proved inoperable. Connell decided not to to undergo any further radiation or chemo and has just had to be re-admitted to hospital where his condition has seriously deteriorated.
Connell had first contacted us to provide his own personal account of the BELCO riot in 1965 (CLICK HERE for the article in which we reported his comments). Since our first contact it had been suggested to Connell that he write an article about his life, including his 5 years in Bermuda, for our Then and Now column. He agreed to do so, and his wife and daughter encouraged him, but sadly, he never got around to it. As Margo says, "We have bugged him for years to write his autobiography, and sadly that is not going to happen. So, my plan is to write it for him. He has had such an exciting life..that I want those stories and his memory to live on!!"
Margo is keen to hear from any of his former Bermuda colleagues who may have information she could use when writing about her father, and we would encourage his old colleagues, especially anyone who played hockey with Connell who captained our first Police hocker team, or who sailed with him when he partnered with Brownlow Gray to be a highly successful team, to contact us and we will provide you with Margo's contact details.
Mike Caulkett briefly crewed for Brownlow after Connell left the Island. Brownlow clearly thought that as Mike was both tall and an active sportsman (like Connell) he would be a great replacement, but Mike didn't quite live up to expectations as he is the first to admit, even though he eventually left Bermuda by setting sail into the sunset with Des McSherry and crew on the Fletcher Christian. Margo has been in touch with Mike who wrote back and included the following comment which I believe is both very pertineant and timely for so many of our old colleagues:-
“Most of us reach a point in our lives when we wish we had asked more questions of our parents and grandparents about their lives and experiences before they pass on, and the information they could so easily have provided is lost forever. I see this ‘Then and Now’ as being an opportunity to provide information about me and my life for my sons and future generations of my family as much as for www.expobermuda.com”
We would like to encourage anyone reading this who has not put pen to paper to tell your own life story in your own words while you can still do so. We are more than willing to provide you with any assistance regarding police records etc. The time to get started is NOW!
ERT Group gets together at PRC - John Sweeting, who served from July 1988 to July 1993, got together with some of his old ERT colleagues at the PRC this evening during his first Bermuda visit in 21 years.
John is staying with Grant Tomkins and his wife Kate (a true Stokey) and is really enjoying seeing his old haunts and old friends and colleagues.
After leaving Bermuda John eventually joined the Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Alliance where he is still serving at Coventry Airport as an SB Ports Officer.
John attends the annual Alan Oliver Memorial Golf Tournament held in the UK which is due to be held this year in York on 20th September. He has promised faithfully to send us details of this popular event which also serves as an annual reunion for former Bermuda police officers.
During the PRC get together, former leader of the ERT Team, Stuart Kirkpatrick took the opportunity to meet up with Andrew Smalling who is now serving as the BPS Close Protection Officer and Firearms Officer.
Stuart retired after 37 years in the BPS from 1975 – 2012. He served for many years as the Force Firearms Officer and Armourer where his previous military experience in the British Army, in the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Highlanders was ideal for his new role. Stuart currently spends his time living between Phoenix, Arizona and Bermuda, with his wife Isabella, who works here on Island. Stuart and Isabella often have former BPS officers, such as Les Williamson, Keith Senior and Mark Aspery visit them when they are in Phoenix.
During tonight’s gathering several of the former ERT officers exposed certain bodily markings and we wonder how many former members of the Service have any idea what these tattoos signified! And is there any member of the ERT who can also identify who these various limbs belong to!
John informed us that, by coincidence, Clive Williams and Billy Tempest Mitchell are also visiting the Island and they are planning to meet up at the PRC next Thursday 3rd September.
John Sweeting, Clive Williams and Billy Tempest Mitchell - We have been assured that John Sweeting has arrived safely on Island and plans to visit the PRC on Thursday afternoon (tomorrow) around 5pm. We understand that Clive Williams and Billy Tempest Mitchell are also on Island and are also likely to be found there. They would be delighted to meet up with old friends and colleagues.
John Sweeting - We just heard from John Sweeting who has advised that he will be here visiting the Island next week for the first time since he left 21 years ago, and plans to be up at the PRC bar at some point during his visit. We have suggested that the best time to get up to the bar is on Thursday afternoons around 5pm. Will try to contact John to see if he will be here next Thursday 27th August, and if so we would recommend that anyone who would like to see him be at the bat next Thursday at 5pm.
Lawrence "Mincy" Rawlins - The funeral for “Mincy” Rawlins was held at a packed St James’ Church in Sandys on Monday morning August 10th. It was very well attended by his family and friends, including many retired and former police officers.
Mincy had been ill for several years and made the decision a few months ago to not have any more treatment (radiation etc) so his passing was expected, Typical of Mincy he was cheerful to the end and he left specific instructions about the funeral service which was very uplifting from beginning to end.
His very good friend, former P.C. Jerome Simons gave a brief and fitting eulogy which we will publish in our article in our Latest News column announcing his passing (CLICK HERE for the article) .
Police colleagues attending included, Fred Bean, Carlton Adams, Hilton “Jellybean” Wingood, Gladwin “Doc” Hall, John Simmons, “Brinky” Tucker, Dave Cook, John Skinner, Archie Warner, Ken McDowall, Jimmy Costello, Paul Singh, Stan Francis, Arthur Bean, Kendrick Shillingford, Hiram Edwards, Steven Dean, Clyde “Tango” Burgess, John Dale, Eugene “Buck” Woods, June Pitt, Roger Sherratt, and others.
John "Boob” Travis - We have recently been in touch with John “Alfie” Fox who served in the Bermuda Police from 1962 - 1964, and has written an article for our Then and Now column (CLICK HERE for the article).
John informed us that 11 years ago he was shocked to read an obituary notice in the Ottawa national paper, about the death on April 13th 2004, of John Travis, a retired D/Sgt in the Ontario Provincial Police Ontario Provincial Police.
John had worked alongside John “Boob” Travis in the Bermuda Police and he was aware that after leaving Bermuda in 1966 “Boob” Travis had joined the OPP so there seems little doubt that this funeral notice was for him.
Get Together Season - Colin Mackenzie has written from Canada to let us know that their annual get together with the usual "suspects" was held on August 11th at a pub just outside Burlington, Ontario, about an hour west of Toronto.
Paul Hendrick, Jeff Baker, Ian Ganson, Ian “Paddy” Ackroyd, and Colin get together every year to reminisce. Colin tells us, “We are all retired now but keep active either playing golf, running, working at a golf club or still playing squash and giving lessons.
It was a warm, sunny afternoon and, of course, we talked about all the characters we worked with, the fun times, those who have passed on. We scratched our heads at those names that were on the tip of our tongue but could not remember (but could describe that person very well!).
It was fish and chips and mushy peas all around along with pints of beer. Although we keep in touch throughout any given year we always make a point of meeting in person and we will do so again next year. We ask that you pass on our good wishes to those who remember us on the Island."
Editors note - Hopefully, our website with all the photos we publish, helps us to figure out the names of all those characters we have worked with during our Bermuda Police days. Many thanks to Colin for keeping in touch with us.
Get Together in Southport - We just received the following photo and information from Bob Porritt.
More Sad News - Ian "Baby Douris - Some time ago we published a photo of a group of new recruits arriving in Bermuda on a BOAC flight way back in September 1963 (CLICK HERE to see photo in our Who, Where and When column). It was noted that one recruit was failed to arrive because he missed the flight. The missing recruit was Ian “Baby” Douris who finally arrived safely a few days later and went on to serve in the Bermuda Police from September 1963 to August 1970.
We believed that he eventually settled somewhere in New England and appealed for anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact us.
We have finally received an answer, but sadly, it was just a few days after Ian passed away at the end of July 2015. The news came from his daughter, Christine, who wrote a brief note to our website. We have written back to Christine who has sent us several great photos and has also promised to get together with her mother, Kathy, to provide us with more information about her father who she describes as, “the sweetest man I ever met and no one could say a bad word about him.” CLICK HERE for a brief article about Ian in our Latest News column.
What a very sad week - Since starting this website we have never had so many reports of the deaths of our old friends and colleagues in such a short time. During the week we have received no less than 6 such reports.
Here in Bermuda we were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Lawrence “Mincy” Rawlins which we have reported in our Latest News column (CLICK HERE for “Mincy’s” obituary in the Royal Gazette). Mincy was a very popular officer who served in the Force from 1961- 1994.
We also learned of the passing of John Allen who joined the Force in 1959 and transferred to the Probation Service in 1968. (CLICK HERE for more information about John in our Latest News column.)
We then heard about the death of retired Chief Inspector Jeff Sanders who served here from 1960-1985 before settling in Canada. (CLICK HERE for our report on Jeff in Latest News.)
Our good friend Nick Hall who is still with us (CLICK HERE for an article Nick has written in our “Then and Now” column), has advised us that former P.C. Graham Swinyard, who served here from 1964-1967 died in the U.K last weekend after a long illness. (CLICK HERE for more information about Graham in Latest News)).
We also heard from our good friend Tony Saunders about the passing of another of our former colleagues, Tom Gray, who was serving here in 1953 when Tony joined the Bermuda Police. Tom died just last month. He had joined along with a group of recruits from the UK including Ian Morrison, Walt Sneddon, “Bugsy” Harper, “Tosh” Turner, John Cafferkey and several others, some of whom, including Tom Gray, we could not find in the Police files which were not kept in the best of shape in the early 1950’s and before then.
Finally, we heard from John “Alfie” Fox who is writing an article in our Then and Now column about his service here in the early 1960’s, and John provided us with a press clipping on the death of John Travis in Smiths Falls. Ontario, in April 2004. We believe this to be John “Boob” Travis who served here from 1960 – 1964 before heading off to Canada where he joined the Ontario Provincial Police.
That’s enough bad news for August. Please stay healthy and feel free to write to us with some positive news about yourself!
Riddells Bay Dew Sweepers - This morning was intended as my first foray with the "Dew Sweepers" at Riddells Bay Golf Club - a group of keen golfers who are first on the course at the crack of dawn. With a significant number of former policemen in the group it seemed like a sensible thing to do, especially at the height of summer when it's ridiculously hot by late morning.
Mick Brown - We have just published an article written by former P.C. Mick Brown in our 'Then and Now' column. (CLICK HERE for the article) Mick has also advised that he and his wife Sue will be visiting the Island in September to spend some time with Sue's family and with then old friends. We will publish further details of their visit closer to the time of the visit.
John Baxter - John and Helen Baxter are usually regulars at our ExPo functions so we were concerned when John was not able to join us at our annual Expo BBQ held at the Police Club on 11th July due to him having been treated at King Edward Hospital earlier that day.
We have since heard from John that he had a flare up of Osteoarthritis Bilateral Hands which he suffers from. This can be very painful indeed and John had to be treated with morphine on the day. His right hand is nearly back to normal, but his left hand is still very stiff and very painful which results in him having no grip with it. He is on medication and hopefully he will soon get over his flare up and be back to normal. We wish him a speedy recovery.
John McQuaid - “Savages in Bermuda”! Anyone who served in the Bermuda Police between 1962 and 1969, especially those who served in Western Division, will remember our old friend John McQuaid (CLICK HERE for an article about John in our Then and Now column.)
John met and married his lovely wife Lynn in Bermuda and started their family here before moving back to Melton Mowbray in England where they have since made their home. In fact John writes his own blog named "Melton Mowbray - Queen of the Shires" which always makes for fascinating reading.
But what does all this have to do with “Savages in Bermuda”!
John has enjoyed a long term friendship with Dr. Ed Harris of the National Museum of Bermuda at Dockyard and they have kept in touch with each other over years especially when Ed visits England. CLICK HERE for article in our Interesting Articles - "A Time to Remember."
Ed has devoted his life to writing about and researching the history of Bermuda, and as John says, “Knowing Edward as I do, I can easily imagine his sheer excitement on first seeing the amazing collection of previously unseen sketches of his native island, some having been painted as long ago as 1834, and his immediate realisation of the massive significance of their existence and public exposure.”
He was referring to a remarkable collection of paintings of Bermuda by the prolific and wonderfully talented Royal Artillery surgeon Dr. Johnson Savage. These images only recently came into the public gaze from within the possession of present descendants of the Savage family in England, who have kindly donated the collection to the Museum for the people of Bermuda to enjoy and to be enlightened about an earlier era.
Dr. Harris is about to publish a beautiful book of the Savage paintings which is due to be launched in October 2015, and this was a “golden” opportunity for John and Lynn to return to the Island where they first met and started their family.
CLICK HERE to view John’s blog which contains fascinating information about the Savage paintings which really are stunning.
Jonathan Smith - Retired Commissioner Jonathan Smith was never one to stand still, from the first moment he put on a police uniform to today. He is still actively involved in politics, leads a busy life with his family, and in his “spare time” has just written his second book, “Island Flames” which is sure to be of great interest to any members of the Bermuda Police who served during the tumultuous events of the 1960’s and 1970’s. For more information about Jonathan's fascinating new book CLICK HERE for an article under our Press Releases giving Jonathan's personal insights into why he wrote the book, together with access to several extracts from the book kindly published by Today in Bermuda on their website, and information about how to order advanced copies of Island Flames which is due for release in the near future.
Clive Owen - It was a pleasure to meet up with former P.C. Clive Owen and his wife Jenny at our annual Summer BBQ held at the Police Club on Saturday 11th July. Clive had served in the Bermuda Police from June 1971 – September 1978, serving in Central, Mobile Reserve, MCPS, Eastern, and latterly as St David’s Parish Constable.
While here Clive met Jenny, who was a nurse at King Edward Hospital and they married in1972 and their first child, Christie was born here in 1975.
Shortly after returning to the UK they had their second child Tim, and Clive joined the West Mercia Police, where he served until retirement 8 years ago. Never one to stand still, Clive studied law whilst in the WEest Mercian Police and gained his PHD in Law at the University of Warwick. He now teaches law at the University of Worcester, and has worked with the Worcestershire County Council specializing in child protection issues. He also has a rather unusual hobby, book binding and restoring antiquarian books.
Clive and Jenny returned to Bermuda last year for the first time since 1978, and were delighted to return again this year in perfect time to attend our BBQ although it was touch and go as to whether we would hold it!
Annual Summer BBQ - After a drought of almost 2 months, the weather finally decided to deteriorate on the day of our annual Summer BBQ scheduled for Saturday 11th July on the Police Club patio. We had to make a decision just a few hours before the BBQ to hold it indoors in the PRC main hall, but on arrival we were advised that the air conditioning was faulty!
Even so we had over 50 friends and colleagues attend and the evening was a great success, with excellent food, our DJ playing music from our generation/s, and lots of reminiscing about the “good old days”
As mentioned above, we had two overseas guests, Clive and Jenny Owen who are holidaying on Island, and by coincidence the 11th happened to be Clive’s birthday. This event would not have been possible with the enormous help of Brian and Sharon Robinson, and in another lovely coincidence, the 11th was also the day of Brian’s mother, Barbara’s 92nd birthday, although no-one could quite believe that Barbara was a day older than 70!
During the evening Roger Sherratt organized a casual quiz with a series of questions all taken from our new book, “The History of Police in Bermuda – One hundred and thirty-five years of Service.” The audience managed to answer almost every question, and it was agreed by all those present who have seen the book that it provides a fascinating insight into the Bermuda Police Service.
Helen Gallagher - We recently contacted Helen about an article due to published any day now about our old friend John "Coco Eve in our Then and Now column. Tom and Helen were good friends of "Coco" for many years, and after "Coco" moved back to England Helen says, "we reconnected again through our mutual friendship with Dave and Arleen Woodcock and have spent many great and funny times together with John and his two lovely daughters, and later with Kath who is a wonderful lady. When we first returned to Northern Ireland the Woodcock's, John, and Mike and Carole Jent came over and spent a few days with us which was hilarious as many tales were told about exploits in the police as you may well know.
Ron Beech - Our latest unpdate on Ron is that he has left King Edward Hospital and is now back at home. He has a special hospital type bed, but we are sure that Charlotte is finding it difficult to cope although they do have carers coming in every day to help out with moving Ron. He still has very limited movement, but he is fully with it and appreciates visitors calling in to see him.
Young P.C. Don Urquhart
Don Urquhart - Don Urquhart has written to let us know that he has finally retired after 20 years in a civilian position with the New South Wales Police in Australia. CLICK HERE for an article on Don in our "Then and Now" column.
He is presently in the UK until mid-July but will be back in Sydney from early August. He says he is delighted with out new updated websiteand asked us to pass on a message to his old mates to say that if you are passing through Sydney you would be most welcome to catch up with him. Don is on Facebook and we also have his email address if anyone needs it.
Davie and Jean Kerr - Bermuda’s veteran visitor. Davie Kerr is planning a return trip to the Island from around mid-September to mid-October although exact dates are not yet nailed down, and could depend on house-sits! He is bringing his wife Jean with him and they want to be here to celebrate Davie’s 70th birthday in September, and also be here for Police Week, which Jean thoroughly enjoyed last year as did Davie.
Davie has been returning to Bermuda on an annual basis since his retirement from the Service and is always keen to do house-sits. He and Jean are happy to look after animals but they draw the line at piranhas and pythons! Another advanatage of having Davie house sit for you is that there is no need to lock up your booze cabinet!
4th June - We have just received the sad news that former Deputy Commissioner Alf Morris passed away on Saturday 30th May 29165 at the Hoar Cross Nursing Home at Burton-on-Trent, in Staffordshire.
Stanley and Hilary Hill - We have just received this photo from ‘Down Under’ of retired Inspector Stanley Hill and his wife Hilary which was taken last summer when they were on a trip to Port Douglas up in far northern Queensland to celebrate Stan’s 70th birthday. Stan says they had a great time in an ideal spot with lovely weather, reminding them a little of Bermuda.
Stan joined the Bermuda Police back in July 1966 and served for 30 years before retiring in 1998. He and Hilary eventually moved out to Australia where they have settled in Melbourne to be near to their 3 grandchildren.
Stan stays in touch with us occasionally through our website, and helped to identify the recruits featured in one of our Who, Where and When photos (CLICK HERE to view) taken outside the Police Training School during a training course held between March and May 1967.
Stan and Hilary have had occasional visits from a few of their former colleagues, including Ray Sousa who has also settled in Australia (CLICK HERE for Ray’s life story in our “Then and Now” column;) also our world-wide-wanderer, Davie Kerr, who paid a lightning visit to them in Melbourne, and Gertie Barker who brought Stan and Hilary up to date on what’s happening on the social scene here in Bermuda.
They are in the process of building a new house which is keeping them busy, but Stan says they would welcome any of their old friends who happen to be visiting “Down Under”. We have their contact details, telephone number and email address if anyone is planning to head out that way.
Arthur Rose - It was Arthur Rose's wish that his ashes be buried at the Police Cemetery at Prospect, and on Friday 1st May a group of many of his old friends and colleagues , together with the Commissioner of Police, Michael DeSilva, were present for the committal of Arthur's ashes in a ceremony conducted by the Police Pastor. The Rev. Bishop Lloyd Duncan, following which a reception was held at the Officers Mess at Prospect. CLICK HERE for an article in our Hall of Fame about Arthur who, at the time of his death in March was our oldest police pensioner. The article includes a tribute tdelivered by former P.C. Mike Caulkett at Arthur's funeral service in Hastings, Sussex, on 7th April.
Here are a few photos taken at the reception held at the Officers Mess.
William "Billy" Henry - “Billy” Henry was in touch with Dave Cook a little while ago and later sent Dave these photos taken around 1976-77.
Billy served in the Bermuda Police from 19th April 1976 - 20th October 1982, and the first photo is of Billy being a little distracted while directing traffic in the birdcage on Front Street. The second photo is of Ken Lewis, Dave Cook and Bill taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.
Billy spent some time on Dave Cook’s Watch in Hamilton after passing through Training School, and he later served in Narcotics.
At latest report he’s now working as a mechanical engineer (operating cranes on building sites) in New York, and he’s hoping to retire in the near future. He’s been back to Bermuda on a cruise two or three years ago, and paid a quick visit to the Police Club where he met up with Pat Hamlett who also worked in Narcotics. Billy plans to pay another visit to the Island and will let Dave Cook know the dates.
He’s still single, and apparently does not have internet. He keeps in touch with another former member of the Service, Alan Wilcock who is married and lives in Florida.
Our website is currently in the process of being upgraded and I am very limited in what can be added until this or chess has been completed. I am also in the UK and do not have the facility to post photos on the website until I return to Bermuda next weekend. However, we have three events to report on briefly and will post photos on two of them as soon as possible.
Arthur Rose - Arthur's funeral was held on 7th April in Hastings, Sussex, and former PC Mike Caulkett very kindly attended as a representative of the Ex-Police Officers Association and gave a tribute to Arthur which we will publish as soon as we are back up and running. Arthur had expressly asked that his ashes be buried in the Police Cemetery gat Prospect, and a service has been tentatively set for 1st May followed by a reception in the Officers Mess.
UPDATE: There will be a Memorial Service for Arthur at the Police Cemetery Prospect, at 4.30pm on Friday 1st May, immediately followed by a reception to which friends and colleagues are cordially invited.
Inspector Arthur Rose
Staffordshire Get Together - Whilst visiting my 96 year old Mum in Biddulph, North Staffordshire, I got together with with three former Bermuda Police officers who are now all settled and retired in their home county.
The four of us, John "Coco" Eve, Christine Muspratt, Terry Heathcote, and yours truly, Roger Sherratt, all met up at Trentham Gardens, and spent a very lively few hours catching up with each others happenings and reminiscing about the good old days in Bermuda. "Coco" served in the BPS for 25 years befire retiring and returning to the UK in 1991 with his wife Daphne and their two children, Erin 9 and Lynsey 5, settled back in "Coco's" home town of Leek and North Staffordshire. Tragically, Daphne died of cancer 6 years after their return, and Coco spent the next 10 years raising his two girls, both of whom went on to university and are both doing fine.
A few years ago Coco happened to meet a delightful lady, Kath, who had lost her husband and was also raising two daughters. It would appear that certain young ladies may have conspired to get their respective parents together socially, and that's when Coco said to himself, "Eve, you could get yourself in trouble here!" The two have been happily together for the last 7 years, and during my stay in North Staffordshire I had the pleasure of visiting them at their lovely home in Leek. Far from getting into trouble, Coco is clearly a very lucky man! During my brief visit to their home Coco said that he really misses the camaraderie he so enjoyed in the Bermuda Police. He attended the revent reunion near Birmingham and made it clear that he would always be happy to have old friends visit him and Kath in Leek. As a North Staffordshire man I'm clearly biased, but Coco and Kath live in a beautiful part of England so the offer is there!
Terry Heathcote only served in Bermuda for 12 months but he still has fond memories of the Island, even though he was directly involved in the BELCO riots back in February 1965. On returning to the UK he re-joined his old Forcem the Staffordshire Police and went on to become Superintendent, finishing up as Head of Personnel and Training. After retiring from the Police he worked for a while for the local Authority, but is now fully retired, still living in Stafford, and is still travelling and enjoying life to the full.
Christine Muspratt came to Bermuda as an experienced policewoman in 1963 having served for 7 years in the Hertfordshire Police. She served here for 3 years. first in the Policewomen's Department but also in CID, and she was awarded the Colonial Police Medal for Bravery as a result of her involvement in the BELCO disturbance in 1965. After returning to England she served in both the Hertfordshire Police and the Worcestershire Police before transferring to the Staffordshire Police where she served from 1969 - 1991. After retirement Chris settled near Lichfield, and has devoted her life to charity work to remain active, particularly with the Royal National Lifesaving Society and the Peel Society.
Chris has had some health issues but managed to make our reunion without any problems and when I last spoke with her, she had just purchased a new outfit for a very special occasion. She has been invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her years of selfless charity work. Chris has promised to write an article for our Then and Now column and we look forward to hearing more about her Police and other experiences.
Lightning Visit to Bermuda - John Bradford and Roy "Hong Kong" Haynes - John Bradford and his wife, Angela, together with Roy "Hong Kong" Haynes stepped off the Oriana cruise ship for a very brief visit to the Island and headed straight for Flanagan's Irish Pub and Restaurant on Front Street in Hamilton, where they met up with Dave Cook, Steve Taylor, Moby and Bron Pett, Ray and Debbie Bell, Dave Garland, and Judy Rollin, for a most enjoyable get together that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Steve Taylor, Ray Bell, Roy "Hong Kong" Haynes and John Bradford
For those of you who have not visited Bermuda for many years, Flanagan's Pub is located in Front Street next to the Bank of Butterfield (where A.S. Cooper's used to be in the 1960's). It was owned for a whlle by Tom Gallagher. Dave Garland's son, Chris is now an owner. It's a great sports bar, and has a balcony overlooking the Flagpole and Hamilton Harbor. Not a bad spot for a reunion!
Getting Together in Liverpool - This gathering of old Bermuda mates took place at Doctor Duncan's pub in Liverpool on Friday 27th March 2015.
Dave Walker was back home from Thailand to visit relatives after spending the previous week in Bermuda.
Bob Porritt reports that he, Frank Dowie, John Riordan and Graham Blackshaw joined Dave to reminisce about their time in Bermuda and in particular the PRC first eleven of which all four were members. Dave and Graham were not Police Officers but worked in the printing business on the island in the seventies. Bob says they had a good session which lasted a few hours until sadly they parted company. However Bob points out that with the advent of Facebook etc and ourt website it makes it easy for us all to keep in touch.
Bob sends his regard to all.
Arthur Rose - Death of our oldest Police Pensioner - We have received the sad news that retired Inspector Arthur Rose passed away on Tuesday 17th March after a short illness. Arthur was just a few weeks short of his 91st birthday and was our oldest Bermuda Police pensioner. CLICK HERE for an excellent article in the Royal Gazette on 23rd March 2015, in which you can place your personal comments about Arthur.
Born in Hastings, Sussex, on 27th March 1924, he served with the Lancashire Fusiliers, mainly in India during the Second World War, and joined the Bermuda Police Force in April 1951, where he served for 28 years, before retiring as an Inspector in the Police Traffic Department.
Arthur started his police career on the beat in Hamilton, then as a Parish Constable in Paget, before being promoted to Sergeant, serving in Hamilton and St. George. After promotion to Inspector he spent the rest of his service in the Police Traffic Department.
An all-round and imposing sportsman being 6’ 4” in height, he played in both our first Bermuda Police football team, and our first Police rugby team during the early 1950’s, and was also an avid squash and tennis player. (Check out the article about Arthur in the “Then and Now” column of our website at expobermuda.com
Arthur was a very popular member of the Force and was well known for always “whistling while he worked”! CLICK HERE for an article on Arthur's life story in our "Then and Now" column.
After leaving the Police he worked for Stevedoring Services for 10 years before eventually moving back to England having spent 57 years here in Bermuda. For the past 7 years he had been living with his sister, Mrs Jean Wright in Hastings, Sussex.
Tom O'Sullivan - We have received a request for information about former P.C. Tom O’Sullivan who hailed from County Kerry and served for several years in the An Garda Siochana (the Irish Police Force) before coming out to Bermuda as a constable in June 1961.
Young P.c.Tom O'Sullivan circa 1961
Tom served in St. George’s, Operations and as a CID Aide before leaving Bermuda in September 1967. He was an excellent player in the Police rugby team, as full back, and while in Bermuda he met and married his wife Elizabeth who was from Canada.
Retired Inspector George Oliver writes a series of articles called “Where are They Now” for the South Dublin Branch Garda Siochana Retired Members Association magazine, and he is keen to obtain any information about Tom O’Sullivan.
Regretfully, we have Tom on our list of Deceased former Bermuda police officers, but no-one seems to recall where or how we received this information.
Lightning strikes twice! - A few weeks ago we heard from John Bradford about a lightning visit he’s making to Bermuda on Monday 13th April on board the Oriana, arriving at Dockyard at 8am that morning and departing at 5pm the same day. John is hoping to meet up with some of his old mates while here, possibly in Flanagan’s on Front Street.
Little did he realize that lightning will be striking twice that day because we just heard, by an incredible coincidence, that also on board the Oriana taking the same 32 day cruise, will be one of John’s fellow recruits when he did his training course in Bermuda in June 1970.
Also taking the cruise is Roy “Hong Kong” Haynes who served here from 1970 – 1972. Roy went on to work as Head of Casino Security in London, but has now been retired for a few years and is keeping himself busy researching his family history and tracking down various branches of his family around the world. Roy loves going on cruises and says this one on the Oriana was just too tempting to miss.
We’re sure that both John and Roy will be delighted to meet up with old friends and colleagues during their quick visit to the Island.
Neil Topping - We just received an email from Neil Topping who had heard about Ron Beech from Kev Knights. Neil had only recently discovered our website and has written to say that after receiving Ronnie’s bedside contact number from our website he called him today and spoke with both Ronnie and Charlotte and was able to hold a good conversation with them. He says that they both really appreciate hearing from their old friends.
Neil had previously hosted the Beech clan on a few occasions since returning to the UK, and particularly enjoyed meeting Ronnie in Bristol to attend a Rugby League World Cup match. After speaking with Ronnie and Charlotte, Neil says he’s looking forward to future meetings with a great former colleague, genuine character and good friend.
Neil served here in the Force from 1982 and 1999 and was delighted to find the website and catch up with some of the “more seasoned faces”! He keeps in contact with a number of his old friends from Bermuda, both in the UK and still on Island. He was pleased to provide us with his contact details and asked to be included on our List of Former Colleagues.
Connell McBurnie - We have just heard that Connell McBurnie underwent surgey this morning, and although major, it appears to have gone very well. Connell is now resting comfortably at University Hospital in Straffordville, Ontario. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.
Enquiring about Bob McDonagh - We have just received a follow-up enquiry from Ralph Saints who is trying to find out any information about his old friend Bob "Spare Parts" McDonagh. Bob served in the Bermuda Police from 1971-1976 before returning to the UK.
He had served for several years in the Metropolitan Police prior to coming to Bermuda, but we have no idea what he did or where he settled after leaving Bermuda. Ralph says he met up with Bob on an SB Ports Course in 1980, and believes he may have settled in Glamorgan, South Wales. Ralph first asked about Bob back in December 2014, and our friend Davie Kerr wrote to say that he vaguely recalled hearing that Bob may have "gone shru de trees" but we are hoping that's not the case. If you can provide us with any information about Bob we would greatly appreciate you contacting us.
William "Connell" McBurnie - We just heard from William “Connell” McBurnie who served in the Force from September 1961 – September 1965, having previously served in the Buckinghamshire Police. Connell was on duty at BELCO on the morning of the BELCO riot back in 1965, and is writing a brief account of what he recalls about the events of that morning.
We were sorry to hear that Connell has been diagnosed with a liver related cancer and is about to undergo major surgery within the next two weeks. He and his wife are now living in Staffordville, Ontario, and we do have his contact details if anyone would like to get in touch with them.
We wish Connell all the very best with his surgery and our thoughts and prayers will be with him.
Update on Ron Beech - Here's the latest update we have on our good friend and colleague Ron Beech, from his daughter Jennifer who is now back in Bermuda.
Ron suffered a stroke on Tuesday 3rd February while at home alone. After Charlotte found him he was rushed to King Edward Hospital where it was confirmed that he’d suffered a major stroke. He was flown out by air ambulance the next day to the Lahey Clinic accompanied by Charlotte who has been by his side since then.
Without trying to be technical, the stroke was to the right side of his brain which means his left side is still functioning with regard to some speech and long term memory. Jennifer says that he can usually answer the phone (see number below) but is very frustrated at not being able to operate his laptop due to eyesight issues.
He has now been transferred to the New England Rehab Centre at Wobourn and is beginning to make some progress but it will definitely take time. For anyone who wishes to call Ron, you can try his room at New England Rehab 1-781-935-5050 (Room 302 North). We are sure he would appreciate your calls. We also have Charlotte’s mobile number and can provide it to you if you write and request it. She’s having a tough time dealing with this and our thoughts and prayers are with both Ron and Charlotte, Jennifer and Andrew.
Perhaps, Colin Mackenzie says it all when he writes, “Ron was one of the fastest men on two feet with a rugby ball in the early 70's and when we gave him that ball to run with, a try was inevitable. He was so quick off the mark and very few could catch him when he was in full stride. So, from one ex-rugby player to another, I wish Ron all the very best and hope he returns home to the Island soon.
Annual ExPo Cocktail Reception - We held our Annual ExPo Reception at the new Officers Mess (the former Reserve Police offices) at Prospect on Saturday 7th February which very well attended by some 70 of our members and friends, including COP Michael DeSilva, DCOP Paul Wright and their wives. This is a popular event where we can all get together to reminisce about our times together in the Bermuda Police, and catch up on what's happnin' with our friends and colleagues. Two couples were notably missing on Saturday night; Ron and Charlotte Beech usually attend all of our social functions, but Ron had to be flown to the Lahey Clinic in Boston after suffering a stroke (reported elsewhere on our website), and John and Mary Van de Weg who are also regular attendees, due to John being in failing health. The photos below provide a brief glimpse of the party.
CLICK HERE to see the captions for these photos and to view the the rest of our album taken at this years reception.
Ray and Pat Sousa - We heard a few days ago from Pat Sousa out in Western Australia which is being plagued by major fires. Her husband, Ray, was supposed to be retired, but those of us who know Ray also know he never did know how to keep still – even for a moment! Pat tells us they have been having a series of thunderstorms and lightning strikes that have increased the number of fires. And, of course, Ray was out there in the thick of it.
Both Ray and his son, Chris, have been out fighting the fires. Ray has been working flat out at a place called Boddington which is located only an hour away from their home, while Chris has been fighting a huge fire in Pemberton. Just to give you some idea of the size of problem with fires their Sunday paper last week reported that they’ve already had 2,900 fires already this year -and we’re only in February!
Pat sent us the attached clip from their local news station where you can catch a brief glimpse of Ray about 2 minutes into the clip, writing on a white board.
Since then we’ve heard from Ray who says he’s had a crazy 10 days fighting the fires. He sent us a more detailed report which we have posted under our Interesting Articles column (CLICK HERE to view the article).
Our biggest worry at the moment is how Ray’s dog “Muffy” has been getting on without him at home because Muffy is very much a “one man dog”!
John Bradford - We just received an email from John Bradford who served in the Bermuda Police from 1970-1973. He joined on the same day as Stanley Parr, Richard “Dick” Coulthard. John Stimson, Gwilym Williams, Mike Creswell, Ray Bell, James McInnes, Reg “Buster” Brown, Malcolm Irvine, Roy Haynes, Colin MacKenzie, Pat Hathaway and Ian “Paddy” Ackroyd, followed two days later by the rest of the group. The only person from either of these groups still living in Bermuda is Ray Bell.
John is making a lightning quick visit to the Island in April, arriving on the Oriana at 8am on Monday 13th April and departing at 5pm the same day.
He’s keen to meet up with some of his old mates and is planning to catch the ferry into Hamilton and head over to Flanagan’s. John got together with Steve Rollin a little while ago in Nottingham and enjoyed talking about the good times they had in Bermuda. If anyone wants to contact John we can provide you with his email address.
Ron Beech - Our latest report is that Ron is at the Lahey Clinic, and it sounds as though his stroke was, unfortunately, quite serious. We will bring you more information as soon as possible. Ron and Charlotte were sorely missed at our annual ExPo Cocktail Reception held at the Officers Mess last Saturday 7th February. I was also unable to attend due to a flu bug, but by all accounts it was a big success with some 70 people attending. We will post photos of the event in the next couple of days.
Ron Beech - We have just been informed that our good friend and colleague, Ron Beech, had a stroke yesterday and has been flown off Island for treatment. Charlotte is no doubt with him but at this point we don't have any further information. We will post more information as we receive it but in the meantime our thoughts and prayers are with Ron.
Dave and Jan O'Meara - Dave O’Meara contacted us after we posted our “Who, Where and When” photo of the Police- HM Customs Joint Importation Squad. Dave was able to correctly identify just about everyone in the photo (CLICK HERE to view it) and thought it was probably taken in 1986 shortly before Johnny Williams retired.
Dave was keen to get in contact with another officer in the photograph, Alan Wilcock, as the two were partners in Narcotics for 3-4 years. Dave knew that Alan left Bermuda early in 1988 when he and Bill Henry went off to Florida. Dave had tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with Alan but had had no luck until Alan contacted us about the JIS photo, and we were able to put them in touch with each other (this is one of the reasons for having our website – that is to help our former colleagues keep in touch with old friends and colleagues.)
Dave and Jan now live in the UK and are off on more travels in March when they plan to drive up to visit Northern Europe and stay with Norwegian friends. They are also planning to walk along the Great Wall of China in June.
They love to visit Spain whenever possible, especially during the bitter cold weather in the UK, and Dave just sent us this photo of their last visit and proudly boasts that his golf handicap is now down to 11. In Bermuda we would label Dave as a “sandbagger”!
Dave Walker planning a visit - We just heard from Dave Walker that he will be visiting the Island in March, arriving on the 18th and staying for a week. Dave lived in Bermuda from 1972 to 1979, and although not in the Police Force he played regularly for the PRC football team for 8 seasons. (CLICK HERE for an article on Dave in our "Then and Now" column.) He is planning on getting together with Keith Cassidy and Pete Borland, and hopes to meet up with other old friends and team mates while on Island. We have suggested that he pay a visit to the PRC either on Thursday 19th or 26th around 5pm for the usual gathering of the clan.
Bringing Back Fond Memories - David and Penny Long - As some of you old timers might recall, David Long served in the Bermuda Police from 1964 – 1967 before heading off to Florida with his Bermudian bride, Penny (Stevens) to attend Flying School. Dave went on to become a pilot, flying private planes and later and as a Captain for Continental Airlines. David and Penny still love Bermuda but had not been back here for 10 years until last September. Now retired and living in Daytona Beach they are both keen golfers and we enjoyed a round of golf at Belmont Hills during their visit.
Dave has since written about their trip back down memory lane:-
“I had not been here for just over 10 years and my memory of this truly beautiful island had been blurred with the passage of time. I decided to rent a bike and the years peeled away as it seemed like yesterday that I was in Traffic riding the same roads. I rode throughout the island taking in all the familiar sights and also remembering many scenes I encountered as a PC. The beaches so pristine, Penny and my “private” beach at the end of Horseshoe, if the tide was right still there, nothing changed over time.
This visit has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit and celebrate with my wife Penny, her heritage which means so much to her and rediscover how fortunate I was to have spent so many care free years on such an amazing island.
Although our visit was in some ways sad, as we had come to bury my Mother-in-law Lydia with her beloved husband, Steve, and at that time visit our son’s grave, we went inside St John’s Church to remember happy times as well, as this was the church where we were married in 1966.
I rethought how fortunate Penny was to grow up on such an amazing island although I have always known that she was an “Island Gal” at heart and how meeting her changed my life. In later years my greatest joy was flying into Bermuda doing a south shore run, which I requested each time, I took off, for my pleasure not the passengers!!!!!
As so many great times spent on the island came flooding back I thought how could I have forgotten such fond memories?!”
CLICK HERE for an article about David in our “Then and Now” column.
Two "Toffeemen" in Action - We're sure that lots of our readers will quickly be able to identify these two men who were in action recently at Riddell's Bay Golf Course, but we wonder how many of you would know that they are both Toffeemen - even the keggie-hander!
Grand Reunion in Birmingham Last September - As many of you will know, last September our good friend Bill Nixon organized a first class reunion in Birmingham of former Bermuda police officers and good friends who had lived in Bermuda. By all accounts this was a terrific success and we have just posted an article about the reunion under our "Interesting Articles" CLICK HERE for the article. The article contains comments from several of those who attended the reunion, along with some of the photos we have received. We have quite a few more photos and will be posting them in an album in the next few days. We cordially invite all those who attended to send us their account of the reunion, and ask you to make sure we have a photo or photos of you there if we don't already have any. Here are just a few of the photos of this very special occasion which might also be of interest to those who didn't manage to make it to Birmingham.
Get Together in Huddersfield: John Headey, Paul Hendrick and Bob Porritt - We just received this photo of a get together at a little Italian restaurant in Huddersfield on 16th January of three of our former colleagues, John, Paul and Bob.
Paul is still living in Canada but is originally from the Huddersfield area and these lads got together, and as Bob says “ We had a good natter about the old days and after four hours we barely scratched the surface.”
We also heard that even though the UK is experiencing some terribke cold winter this winter, Paul admitted that Canadian winters are too darned cold at -25c. Last time we heard from Paul he was still doing consultancy work for the National Hockey League, while John is retired from his business he and his wife Sue are still babysitting etc for their daughter Lena who we have previously reported is starring as Queen Cersei Lannister in the very popular TV series,” Game of Thrones” . (CLICK HERE for our latest article about Queen Cersei meeting HRH Queen Elizabeth)
Bob send his best regards to all.
Get Together in Oz : “Moby” Pett and Ken Blow - We also just received this photo of “Moby” Pett who met up with Ken Blow and his wife Gail in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, while Moby and Bron were on a trip Down Under.
“Moby and Ken arrived in Bermuda on 2nd March 1971, together with Pete Shaw, Ernie McCreight and Bernie Pitman, all of whom are still here, and 19 other new recruits. (We are wondering if anyone can recall the names of those other 19 recruits.)
Ken lived with Moby for about a year when they first arrived in Bermuda, with Ken leaving the Island after 2 years and heading off to Australia where he took a job with another former Bermuda police officer, Tom Hill, and where he also met and married Gail. This get together was the first time Moby and Ken had seen each other in over 40 years.
*Editors note - Davie Kerr has provided us with the names of all the other officers who came out at the same time as Moby and Ken. They are Dave Burley, Pete Swann, Colin McDonald, Pete Shaw, Bernie (Philp) Pitman, Mick Chitty, Alexander "Sandy" Duncan, Malcolm Edwards, Cliff Harries, Frank Rogers, Malcolm Marlowe, Ian Claridge, Martin Pearson, Anthony 'Tinker' Taylor and Ernie McCreight.
Davie went on to say,"know there are only 15 names there, and am wondering if the missing 4 were local lads who just happened to be on that course, although I honestly feel that the number should have been 15 and not 19".
I tend to think that Davie is correct because these were all experienced police officers who would only have been given a "localisation" course. There are no Bermudian officers joining at the same time so maybe 40 years has had its impact on memories!
SAD PASSING OF INSPECTOR HUBERT SIMMONS: We start off the New Year with the sad news that our senior retiree, Inspector Hubert Simmons passed away just a few days ago and his funeral service will be held at St. James’ Church, Somerset, at 2pm on Saturday 3rd January.
Hubert joined the Bermuda Police on 1st June 1950, a few months before Gladwin “Doc” Hall and Dudley Proctor, and our oldest retiree Arthur Rose.
Hubert served with distinction for 30 years before retiring in February 1980. He was, without doubt, one of the most popular officers in the Police Force, serving in a wide variety of departments, including Central (Uniform), Parishes, CID, Special Branch, Cycle Squad, Press Liaison Office, Administration, Coroners Officer, and latterly as the Inspector IC Western Division. An active and founder member of the Police Choir he was also an outstanding golfer.
We have expressed our sincere condolences to his wife, Lois, and to the Simmons family on their sad loss. We would also encourage all those who knew Hubert to pass on your condolences in the obituary column in the Royal Gazette which can be found at
COMMISSIONER’S NEW YEAR DAY PARTY: On a more positive note, the New Year started with the Commissioner’s Annual New Year’s Day Party which saw a change of venue for the first time in many years from the Police Recreation Club at Prospect, to the Botanical Gardens Centre due to damage having been sustained to the PRC roof during the two hurricanes, Fay and Gonzalo, which hit us head-on in October. For those pondering when it had ever been held anywhere else, it is believed that the first Commissioner’s Sherry Party was held in the old Police Club then located on Victoria Street behind where City Hall now stands.
The change of venue proved to be a great success, especially as attendees, including H.E. The Governor, the Premier, many other dignitaries and several dozen retired and former officers could walk out onto the verandah overlooking the Botanical Gardens on a glorious day and enjoy a magnificent view of the South Shore.
Below are several photos taken at the Party and you can see more of our Bermie ExPo members by CLICKING HERE for a photo album of the event.
On behalf of the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association we wish you a healthy and happy New Year and we encourage you to put pen to paper, or fingers to computer keyboard, and let us know where you are and what you are doing these days.