The Officers Mess at Prospect was the venue for a unique event during Police Week on the evening of Wednesday 2nd October 2019, when the BPS hosted a reception for the official opening of a new Police Museum at the Mess, in which pride of place must go to the cricket memorabilia of the late Det/Insp Edward “Bosun” Swainson who scored the first century in Cup Match way back in 1937, and also became the first black police officer promoted to the rank of Inspector. You can view video footage pf the official opening of the Museum on the Island Stats website at http://www.islandstats.com/sport.asp?sport=41&assoc=1&newsid=48296 with thanks to Earl Basden.
Attendees at the reception included members of the Swainson family, former and present police officers who have played or officiated in Cup Match, and invited guests most of whom had something in common - a love of the noble sport!
A.C.O.P. Martin Weekes cuts the ribbon to open the
Bermuda Police Service's new Historical Museum
Credit for being the driving force behind the idea of creating a police museum must go to Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes who officially opened the museum by cutting the ribbon. Commissioner Steven Corbishley has been a strong supporter of the idea and he had every intention of attending the opening but was unfortunately called abroad and sent his apologies.
Roger Sherratt looks on as George Rose shakes hands with Brandon "Pickles" Robinson
who kindly donated his grandfather's cricket memorabalia to the Bermuda Police Service
A focal point of the new museum will be the cricket memorabilia items kindly donated to the BPS by “Bosun” Swainson’s grandson, Brandon “Pickles” Robinson who had retained his grandfather’s cricket bat and cricket pads that are believed to have been used by “Bosun” when he scored his historic century in 1937. Also displayed with these items is a silver trophy presented to “Bosun” for his outstanding performances in a tournament held in New York in 1927 when he was part of a team of “coloured Bermudians” who played against teams of players from several West Indian Islands. These tournaments were held from about 1915 – 1929.
This generous donation of “Bosun’s” memorabilia came about as a result of a project that took more than 2 years to come to fruition. Retired Supt George Rose had previously researched the life of another legendary Bermuda police sportsman, Sgt Arthur Childs, who was an outstanding boxer in the 1930’s. George had researched and then written an extensive article about Arthur Childs that we published in our Hall of Fame column in 2017 which can be viewed at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/latesthof/614-test-of-arthur-richard-childs-article
Roger Sherratt was aware of the fame of Bosun Swainson but our police records from his era are almost non-existent so Roger suggested to George Rose that he consider doing some research on the life and times of “Bosun”.
George spent literally hundreds of hours meticulously going through countless editions of the Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Recorder, interviewing dozens of persons, and he subsequently wrote a comprehensive article about “Bosun” for our Hall of Fame.
Mr. Brownlow "Brownie" Place (centre) describes how he witnessed
"Bosun" Swainson score the first century in Cup Match in 1937
Sitting in front of "Brownie" is Retired Sgt Eugene "Buck" Woods and his wife,
and in the front right corner facing away from the camera is Charles Brown
who is now the official Cup Match statistician. At the back are George Rose and
Acting COP Darrin Simons and in front of them are Supt Claire Armes (on
secondment from the Devon and Cornwall Police), and P.C. Kimberley Spring
who has been very involved in setting up the museum
During his research, George interviewed an avid cricket fan who was actually present at the 1937 Cup Match when “Bosun” made history scoring that first century for the St. George’s Cup Match team. Mr. Brownlow “Brownie” Place still remembers that historic day - 82 years ago - although it might have been slightly painful to Brownie because he has always been a lifelong fan of Somerset Cricket Club! Mr. Place was a special guest at our reception and you could hear collective gasps when Roger casually asked if there was anyone present who “witnessed “Bosun’s 1937 century” and “Brownie” stood up and announced that he had been there at the match. “Brownie” has been watching Cup Match since about the age of 9 and at age 103 and still active, he has without doubt witnessed far more Cup Match games than anyone else.
Those present at the reception watched a video slideshow produced by Roger and kindly edited by Inspector Pete Stableford, showing photos from the Hall of Fame article along with photos of many of our police Cup Match players and officials.
Eugene "Buck" Woods
St. Clair "Brinky" Tucker
Clyde "Tango" Burgess
Our former police Cup Match players at the reception included Eugene “Buck” Woods, Neville Darrell, St. Clair “Brinky” Tucker, Clyde “Tango” Burgess, Adrian King and Ken Pitcher. We estimate that at least 20 police officers have played in Cup Match and you can check out our list at the end of this article.
Cup Match officials still serving in the BPS were Inspector Emmerson Carrington, and P.C. Melvin Best who made history themselves as the first pair of serving police officers to officiate together as the umpires for Cup Match 2018. Former P.C. James McKirdy also attended the reception in his capacity as an active Cup Match official who has acted as 3rd umpire at several Cup Matches and was Match Manager/Referee for Cup Match 2019.
During his opening remarks ACOP Martin Weekes referred to it being a “soft” opening of the new Police Museum because it is in the very early stages of its development.
There were already a number of items on display which include several old radar “guns”; both old and modern riot equipment; a selection of police truncheons through the ages; an old key to the cells at St. George’s Police Station, and a Morse Code Keyer used by Sgt. Arthur “Pip” Paley during the Second World War. The keyer was kindly donated to the museum by “Pip’s” grandson, Patrick Paley, who also donated the largest truncheon on display which had also been carried by his grandfather, was an invited guest at the reception.
Patrick Paley with his grandfather, Arthur "Pip"Paley's truncheon
There was even a small collection of “Bermuda Police” china which had been specially ordered in the late 1950’s around the time when the Police barracks and club moved up to Prospect in 1959 after the British Army closed their military operations in Bermuda.
Some items on display in Police Museum
Cheryl Smack stands proudly next to her Uncle Edward's memorabilia
Although the Officers Mess is not generally open to the public it is envisaged that it could be opened at regular times maybe once per week to give interested persons an opportunity to visit the museum.
During his remarks ACOP Martin Weekes encouraged anyone with interesting items to consider donating them to the museum. That of course, includes our ExPo members at home and abroad, along with members of their families.
Here is a provisional list but there may be more, particularly during the early days of Cup Match :-
Edward “Bosun” Swainson
Anthony “Sony” Roberts
Eugene “Buck’ Woods
St. Clair “Brinky” Tucker
Clyde “Tango” Burgess
Erskine “Cho” Smith
Roderick “Ken” Pitcher
CUP MATCH OFFICIALS
Anthony “Sony” Roberts
* Arthur Simons, was an outstanding cricket player who wrote an excellent book on the History of Cricket in Bermuda, published in 1946, He was Captain of Somerset CC’s Cup Match team and was a police officer. He had four brothers, Ambrose, Austin, Elliott, and O’Brien all of whom are said to have played Cup Match for Somerset, and all of whom served as police officers.