Chief Superintendent Oliver Trott, QPM, CPM, LSM

Served 1939 – 1972

Oliver "Chief" Trott

Oliver (“Chief”) Trott was, without doubt one of the most popular and respected officers to ever serve in the Bermuda Police Force. Although his later years were spent as Chief Superintendent in Uniform, it is as a brilliant detective that he earned his richly deserved reputation.

 Oliver Salsbury Winfield Trott, was born in St. George’s on 24th July 1914, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs Alfred Trott. Their family home was the yellow cottage standing just behind Somers Gardens at the corner of Shinbone Alley.

Oliver lost his mother at the tender age of 12, and was called upon to help raise his brother and sisters. He received his early education and tutelage under the guidance of Mr. Charles Snaith, and he went to Berkeley Institute just to take his Cambridge examinations along with three other students from St. George’s. After finishing school he studied the carpentry trade under the direction of Mr. Jacob Trott. He also worked for a spell with the Royal Engineers at Prospect as an apprentice carpenter.

We’re not sure what compelled Oliver to do so but in 1939, at the age of 24, he made the decision to join the Bermuda Police Service, at a time when men of colour had great difficulty making progress through the ranks. We do know, however, that his best friend, “Happy” Duerden, had already joined the Force so it is most likely that Oliver decided to follow suit.

Detective Sergeant "Happy" Duerden

There is no doubt what compelled him to make another major decision in his life, and that was falling in love with, and marrying his sweetheart, Miss Irene Delzel “Girlie” Lee. Oliver and Irene were happily married for 30 years, and they had two daughters, Judith (Swan) and Patricia (Harvey).

Irene recalls that Oliver had to take some sort of examination to join the Police, and when he was informed that he had passed the test, the police officer recruiting him asked where he came from because he spoke so perfectly! Oliver’s grandfather was an Englishman named Postlethwaite who had served in the Army.

Irene remembers hearing that “Happy” and Oliver were very fortunate to have been accepted onto the Police Force because they could easily have ruined any chance of doing so if they had been out with a group of their close friends who got up to some serious mischief one night in St. George’s. The group had an altercation with a uniformed police officer and finished up lifting him up a telegraph pole where they left him dangling by his belt on the pole. Fortunately, “Happy” and Oliver had been kept at home by their fathers that night, otherwise they would have been arrested along with all their mates. As Irene says, “Maybe they turned out to be a pair of good policemen because they knew all the tricks!”

Oliver spent his early years on the Force in uniform, first at Hamilton Police Station and then as Paget Parish Constable.   As a single man, he went to live with Mr and Mrs Alan and Norma Houghton at a house on King Street where the present Fire Station is now located.   Mr. Houghton came from the Turks and Caicos Islands and he was a pilot of His Excellency’s (The Governor’s) boat. Irene was friendly with their daughter Eleanor who later married Arnett Jackson, Mrs. Houghton used to take care of Irene after school.   It was at the Houghton’s house that she first met Oliver, and they were married when Irene was 21 and Oliver was 28.

Oliver spent some time serving in Somerset, however, in 1952 he was transferred to CID which was clearly the turning point in his Police career. He excelled as a detective officer and spent most of the rest of his distinguished career in CID.

 Young P.C. Oliver Trott (left) with fellow Police Officers outside Holy Trinity
Cathedral in Hamilton. We believe that the officer on the right is ex-Detective
Sergeant Sinclair Bean but would appreciate assistance in identifying the other officers

His rapid progress through the ranks was a testament to his ability and dedication. Oliver was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 1955, and just one year later, in 1956 he was promoted to Detective Inspector.   That is an exceptionally quick promotion by any standard. Five years later, in 1961, he was promoted to Chief Inspector in charge of Central CID where he cemented his reputation is an outstanding detective.

 Chief Trott is seated in civilian clothes on the front row.
We are searching for information on the other officers in this photograph

During his time in CID Oliver was involved in the investigation of many serious crimes, including the Warwick murders, and on several major cases he worked closely with Scotland Yard detectives brought in from abroad to provide assistance.   Oliver received numerous letters of good work and commendations for his expertise in solving serious crimes.

Oliver "Chief" Trott visits the scene of one of the Warwick murders with
two Scotland Yard detectives, Supt William Baker and Sgt John O'Connor, who
were the second team of Scotland Yard detectives to assist in the investigation
which resulted in the culperit being convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

During his tenure on the Force Oliver travelled to the U.K. and the U.S. attending numerous police courses and seminars.

Oliver "Chief" Trott at his desk in CID

In 1967 Oliver was promoted to Superintendent in uniform and became Bermuda’s first recruiting officer in charge of recruitment and training. Throughout most of the 1960’s he interviewed literally hundreds of potential recruits and travelled to the U.K and to the West Indies to do so, as well as interviewing Bermudian applicants for the Police Force.

Bermuda Police Senior Officers in ceremonial uniform
(l-r) Supt. Joe Nixon, ACOP Frank Williams, COP George Robins,
Chief Supt Oliver Trott, Supt L.M. "Nobby" Clark

Oliver was the first Chairman of the Police Association and was instrumental in pushing for the intermingling of all police officers, regardless of race, in a social setting at the Police Recreation Club.     He was an avid cricket fan and would often turn out to support the Police cricket teams.

In 1968 Oliver was promoted to Chief Superintendent, a position he held until his retirement from the Force on January 29th, 1972, after a career spanning 33 years.

Chief Superintendent Oliver Trott attends Government House with his
wife, Irene ("Girlie') and his daughter Patricia on 29th May 1971, to receive
his Queen's Colonial Police Medal for Distinguished Service
Below is H.E. Lord Martonmere (centre) with C/Supt Oliver Trott on
the left and Inspector Tommy Doyle on the right.   Inspector Doyle
received the Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service

During his distinguished service Oliver was awarded the Police Long Service Medal (1962), the Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service (1968), and in 1971 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.

Chief Superintendent Oliver Trott and his wife Irene ("Girlie") are presented
with retirement gifts by Commissioner of Police George Duckett at a
retirement party held in the Senior Officers Mess for Oliver in January 1972
after 33 years of outstanding service in the Bermuda Police
Oliver and Irene -  a very happy couple

Following his retirement he became General Manager of Bermuda Security Services for 5 years after which he retired fully and devoted himself to his wife, Irene, and his family.   He retained his close ties with the Police Force as a member of the Ex-Police Officers Association. He also served on the Defence Board for several years, and for many years he had been a member of the Hannibal Lodge, Grand Lodge of Ireland No. 224, serving as a Master Mason.

One of Oliver’s hidden talents was his culinary skills and there was nothing he loved more than to cook for his family, and as Irene says, “He always took great pride in his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. After he retired we did a lot of travelling, and he always seemed to manage to bring one of his grandchildren along with him.”

Oliver’s grandchildren are Troy, Suzette, Jason, and George Jr. His two great granddaughters at the time of his passing were Julica and Cetera. The Trott family has much to be proud of as the descendents of a truly outstanding police officer and a wonderfully warm human being who was highly respected by all who served with him and all who knew him.


Editor's Note -   We were about to publish this article about "Chief" Trott in our Hall of Fame when we received the sad news of the passing of his beloved wife, Irene "Girlie" Trott,  at the end of March 2013.  Mrs Trott had provided us with most of the information and photographs in this article just a few months ago.  It is often said that behind every great man there is a great woman.  "Chief" Trott was, without doubt one of the finest officers in the long history of the Bermuda Police. He was much loved by all who served under him in Central CID  when he often worked for many long hours day and night to investigate serious crimes.  There is also no doubt that Irene played a significant role in providing him with love and support at home.   We extend our deepest sympathy to the Trott family.

We also invite anyone who served with Oliver to write their comments below.

Ray Sousa
Just read this great article. I learned a lot from Oliver the few times I worked with him. He was highly respected by follow Police Officers,and Bermudian as whole; including the many criminals he arrested. I agree with Terry, our prayers and thoughts go out to the family regarding the passing of his wife.Ray Sousa
Colin Mackenzie
Chief Trott interviewed me in 1970 in London. I remember a great conversation with him about India where I was born. He asked if I played football, rugby and other sports. Yes to all. I also talked of my father who served with the Ghurkas in India and my experience with weapons, my father's army left-overs. Chief Trott was fascinated about India and the Ghurka's. Next thing I'm landing in Bermuda. Even later in my service he remembered to stop for a "chat" w/out imposing his senior position. A great loss of a great man.
Terry Cabral
I see Jim Woodward and Brian Malpas in the 'uniform' photo.
Terry Cabral
Much can be said about Oliver. I grew up with him on Dudley Hill Paget.He and his wife were great neighbors and one day in 1966 he recruited me.I'll get back later.Prayers to the family. She was a great lady married to a great man.Not many can fill their shoes.

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