Written by Pat Railton
P.C. Robert "Bob" Railton
Bob was born in Whitehaven, Cumbria, on 15th November 1926. At the tender age of 17, before the call of National Service, Bob decided he would volunteer for the Royal Navy. He served in the Royal Navy from August, 1944 to 1948. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Navy, visiting many different foreign ports, one of which was Bermuda. When his service in the Navy was over, he returned to Whitehaven to work and also became well-known as one of Whitehaven’s professional rugby league players. He played for Whitehaven for three years and often liked to just casually mention that in his day, Whitehaven used to win!
Eventually, Bob got itchy feet and it only took a local newspaper’s advertisement for anyone interested in training as a policeman to start Bob off on his next journey. He completed the 13 week course at the Police Training Centre, Mill Meese, Staffordshire, commencing August 31, 1953. All went well and I think it was when Bob was called to the office for his final instructions, the Officer told Bob he was being sent to Bermuda and that he probably would not know where that was. Naturally, Bob took great pleasure telling the Officer he had been to Bermuda.
He left England on the ship “Coronia’ on December 9, 1953, arriving in Bermuda on December 17th. He served on the Force for 8.2 years - December, 1953 to February 1962.
Young Bob Railton outside the Police Barracks on Victoria Street
He was promoted to Sergeant, but regret I do not know the year. My other regret is that I cannot remember the many other good friends who arrived in Bermuda at the same time.
(Editors note - we will research Police records and add these names if possible.
Bob was Treasurer of the Police Recreation Club for many years. In October, 1960, he was also on a Promotion Examination Committee with L.M. “Nobby” Clark (then Inspector) and J.C.P. Hanlon (Detective Inspector) set up to submit recommendations to standardize the procedure for promotion from Constable to Sergeant. Possibly these procedures to some degree may still be in force today.
Bob with his favourite Sunbeam Talbot outside Hamilton Police Station
Bob enjoyed all sports. Originally he played football for Police and, at some point, for BAA. Because he was a Rugby League professional, he was not allowed to play Rugby Union here. However, in due course, permission to some degree was granted and he played and travelled with the Police Rugby team for many years. It goes without saying that while in the Navy, he played without permission!
Bob was a happy policeman, but for various reasons, he was considering returning to England at the end of his first contract. However, along came Patricia Ann (nee Tribley), and once again Bob’s journey changed yet again! He and I were married in September 1956.
We were blessed with three beautiful children, Robert, Susan and David, and thirty-five happy years, for which I shall be forever grateful.
After the Force, Bob was also successful in the business world. His final job was as an accountant at Purvis Ltd. He was a very respected man, honourable, gentle and kind to one and all. I think Bob, at heart, was always a policeman. Because I feel my words are inadequate to describe the man I loved, I would like to submit a poem written by Bob for the Bermuda Police Magazine in July, 1955, called he Garden of Life.