Gerald David “Dave” Gillery

Served from 1959 - 1965


Young P.C. Dave Gillery

We heard recently from one of our former colleagues, Dave Gillery who now lives in Australia with his wife Margaret, and who, while serving here in the Bermuda Police made a name for himself as an outstanding footballer and cricketer. Dave had written to me a couple of years ago when we published an article about the time when Admiralty House was used for several years as singlemen’s quarters.  CLICK HERE to view the article, “Admiralty House - 1960’s Paradise! “   Unfortunately, I mislaid Dave’s correspondence which I’ve now re-discovered and the result is the following article here in our “Then and Now” column which I know will be of interest to our “super senior” retirees who were around at the time when Dave was serving here in the Bermuda Police.

Gerald David “Dave” Gillery was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in October 1936, and did his 2 years National Service from 1955-1957 in the British Army prior to joining the Bermuda Police on 16th October 1959. Here is Dave’s account of his time here in Bermuda, especially living at Admiralty House, and his subsequent moves along with his wife Margaret, eventually settling near Brisbane in Australia 

I came out to Bermuda on a BOAC Britannia via Gander in  October 1959 together with John (“Extra”) Brennan and Frank Thompson.  John was a really nice chap, partial to a drop of scotch which led him into trouble with our Hamilton watch sergeant, John Cribbin!

I was posted to Central Division, Hamilton, and I was only in the barracks at Prospect a couple of weeks before being offered the alternative of moving to Admiralty House which I accepted as did Frank Thompson.

 Admiralty House in the early 1960’s\

Admiralty House, as most us who ever stayed there will recollect, was a superb location above Admiralty Cove with a jetty and statue of Neptune.The beach on the other side of the cove was great for picnics and the swimming and snorkelling was brilliant (apart from the moray eels living in the rocks).

 Neptune watches over Admiralty House dock 

The Signal block or Cypher block was on the right hand side of the drive to the house but I think it was being renovated when I arrived.

To the best of my recollection Admiralty House was populated at that time by the following:-  Downstairs:-  Bob Woolley - Hamilton Central, Bill Freeman - CID, Ian “Crash” Kane - CID, Ian Morrison - CID.   Upstairs  were Jack Shaughnessy - Traffic, and  Mike Kelly - CID.

I moved into the room down the corridor from Jack,  and Frank moved into a room on the left up a further flight of stairs. Harvey Fothergill, Keith Lovell and Fred Beard, who also arrived in October, became occupants of the Cypher Quarters. They were followed by Bob Stewart who moved in next to Mike Kelly and George Hammond who moved in next to Frank Thompson. 

George joined the Bermuda Police Pipe band which was formed about 1960. This resulted in the atrocious sound of George practicing on his bagpipes at all hours of the day and night  - an Englishman’s worst nightmare! I seem to remember that Bill Pratt and John Allen also spent some time there at this early period. Bob Woolley and Bill Freeman both resigned in early 1960. Bill went back to England and Bob Woolley went to New York where I understand he joined the NYPD.   “Cynical” Syd Gregory moved into Woolley’s room and I think Bill Elliot may have replaced Bill Freeman. Bob Irons and Bill Elliott were great drinking buddies and together with Joe Colton spent a lot of time at every place on the island which served rum! However, I don’t think Bob Irons actually lived permanently at Admiralty House during my time there. "Pip" Carter may have lived there but I seem to recall he was married. Jack Shaughnessy got married and Colin Finnegan moved in there for a while prior to co-habiting with Alistair “Shakey” Johnson.

I think the residency list at Admiralty House stayed fairly constant during the early 1960's subject to a few changes due to resignations and marriages. The arrival of officers like Andy Heggie and Andy Dryburgh, required the local “Diddleybops” to learn a second language other than English, while Jim Lyons, Ken Norman, George Garrod, Ron Mullan and Alan Wyatt lifted the quality of the soccer team, but I don’t recall any residing at Admiralty House. 

The police football team won the BFC trophy in 1960  - so we were pretty good before they arrived!  Among the football players in the photo below are Clive Donald and Bob Stewart. I would rate Bob Stewart as the best centre half in Bermuda, and Clive Donald was a superb fast bowler.  While I did play soccer, cricket was my first love.  Clive and I had some wonderful cricket experiences together. He was in my opinion the best fast bowler on the island at that time and great middle order batsman. 

In addition to the police side in the local league both Clive and I played  regularly for the Travellers Cricket Club  who had some exceptional players. Anthony Goodfellow was a classic opening bat, Stuart Watson captained the side and we played many matches against local and visiting sides.

Unfortunately, as Bob Stewart referred to in his article (CLICK HERE to view it), the leagues, both football and cricket, were still segregated in the early period which left little access to top class competition, especially in cricket.   Bermuda had some wonderful cricketers at that time, close to English County standard. Rupert Scotland, Lloyd James and Cal Symonds come to mind with “Buck” Woods and Neville Darrell (both police officers) close behind.

 Police Team Winners of BFC Knockout Cup 1959-1960 beating Nationals in the Final
Back row  -  John Allen, John Sampson, Bob Stewart, Allan Harker, 
Larry Swain, George Linnen, Peter Morgan, Barry King.
Front Row -  Colin Finnegan, Clive Donald, Mike Burke, Dave Gillery, Geoff Edwards

1961 saw the arrival of  John Sharp, Tim Willis and Mike Johnson,  followed by Derek Jenkinson, Dave Garland, John Bailey, and I think Pete Rose was also billeted at Admiralty House

A highlight for any visitor to Admiralty House was a quick visit to Mike Kelly's famous chest of drawers. The drawers in this fine antique piece of furniture contained an enormous array of ladies lingerie to rival Victoria’s Secret. This fine collection was acquired by  Mike (as gifts) from various ladies who arrived on the island on cruise ships, in college weeks or hotel visits.

 Dave and Margaret at Forty Thieves with Mike Kelly & (first wife) Mary

Mike, who was in traffic at the time, was a great friend and mentor, and Margaret and I visited the the Forty Thieves club with Mike and his wife Mary on several occasions. Mary unfortunately passed away at an early age.  Margaret and I spent many happy hours at The Forty Thieves Club in the early,1960’s. It was a fabulous venue with all the top entertainers from the US and UK. and well managed by mein host Terry Brannon.

 Dave and Margaret at Forty Thieves with Ken Norman and wife Joan

Incidentally, Martin St James the hypnotist, and a regular visitor to the club lived  and worked on the Gold Coast. He died In 2014, one of his sons Shane still operates in field. He was Australia’s oldest father having a son at 77. Beat me by a whisker!!!

Poster for Martin St. James at 40 Thieves


Jack Shaughnessy was a colourful character, very laidback and he had a great sense of  humour. He was promoted to Sergeant and I became his station officer at Central during my first contract and we had a really good relationship. Jack's room at Admiralty House was in the corridor directly before mine and his charismatic personality meant he always had a succession of lady visitors. Jack however never closed his room door which resulted in providing me on numerous occasions with views of extremely revealing and compromising situations!

In your article on Admiralty House I see that both Mike Cherry and Bob Stewart referred to the fabulous parties at Admiralty House. In 1960 these parties were mainly organised by the residents, although others who deserve a mention were the irrepressible Mike Wood,  who was ‘promotion officer’ and Alistair “Shakey” Johnson who organised the music. At that time entertainment was dominated by the Beatles, Elvis, Ben E King, Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker who did the TWIST while Les Elgart and Ray Conniff provided the moments for passionate embrace when the lights went out. 

The essential limbo competition was conducted - which was inevitabley won by string bean Keith Lovell. We estimated that 400 people used to attend the parties at that time,consuming enormous amounts of rum and beer - unfortunately only three people, George Hammond, Bob Stewart and I, invariably had to clean up the mess and wash all the glasses  - a truly marathon task!

However, Admiralty House was less than a five-star hotel!  Light bulbs were in short supply and the laundry and ironing room was always overcrowded.  Syd Gregory constantly complained about me ironing my sheets when he wanted to iron his uniform.

Due to the lack of light bulbs the corridors were more like the back-of-town rather than Front Street. One night George Hammond left the broom at the bottom of the stairs leading to his room; in the darkness I stepped on the broom head causing the handle to fly up and smack me in the mouth resulting in severe injury. I had to go to KEMH to have stitches.   Unfortunately this incident occurred on my first date with my future wife Margaret Hassell who I had promised to take to the charity ball at the Princess hotel to raise funds for Alistair Fraser who was in a critical condition in hospital after a very serious scooter accident.  Margaret and I looked like “Beauty and the Beast” at the ball!

The residents of Admiralty House despite  having an over abundant supply of alcoholic beverages on the premises  were compensated for the inconvenience of travelling to the Police Club at Prospect  by the thought of having to partake of the Haute Cuisine of Charle Seabourne and the excellent bar service of Mein Host,  Ken Morris and we could  catch up on all the latest fascinating details of life in the married quarters at Prospect.  I also used to like going there to beat “Nobby” Clark and Tom Oliver on the snooker table!

Additionally Saturday night was always a great night. Bob Irons and Bill Elliot would call time in the bar and the TV room would become a noisy mass of plain and uniformed officers for the weekly diet of the Huckleberry Hound Show with Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. Going back to Admiralty House along North Shore Road after a few gin and tonics was a bit of a challenge, sometimes we had to detour via Happy Valley Road to avoid the  zealous and promotion minded traffic officers like George Goddard, Peter Stubbs and Jim McMaster, otherwise you had a reserved seat outside Charlie Parker's office. I moved out of Admiralty House in March 1962 after Margaret and I were married.  

Party time at house on Collectors Hill circa 1960-1961
Back row (l-r) Helen Bridges, a nurse, Alistair Fraser, Peter Hartley, 
Dave and Margaret Gillery, Jean Rose, Harvey Fothergill, George Goddard,
Finnegan’s Dog,  Jeanne Franklin (later Goddard’s wife) and Mike Wood .
Middle and Front  -  Not Sure, Margot Smith behind Alec Smith, 
Braxton Simmons, Colin Finnegan, Brian Lay.

The Bermuda Police CID when I arrived was a highly respected unit having recently wrapped up the the arrest of Wendell Lightbourne for the murder of Jeannette Rawlinson on a South Shore beach - with the help of Scotland Yard murder squad of course.   The CID squad was led by Inspector Oliver Trott and included “Happy” Duerden,  Milton Marsh, Bob Irons, Bill Elliott, John Sheehy, “Crash” Kane, Ian Morrison, Bryn Jones, and John Mullan. They were all excellent people and were always willing to support newly arriving officers.

D/Inspector Oliver Trott and his CID Team – circa 1960
(l-r) Harold Moniz, John Joe Sheehy, Milton Murray Marsh, Sinclair Bean
Syke Smith, Oliver Trott, "Happy" Duerden, Mike Burke, Leon Bean & Mike Kelly

Editors note -  CLICK HERE  to view an article in our ‘Then and Now’  column about The Late D/Insp Milton Murray Marsh who kindly donated as excellent album of photos of C.I.D. which included photos of most of the detectives mentioned by Dave.

I read with interest the article about the building of the first police boat, “Blue Heron” by Dave Garland and Derek Jenkinson in 1962. CLICK HERE to view the article.  Margaret and I built a houseboat in Boss’s Cove, Spanish Point at the the same time. Construction of both these projects received valuable assistance from Margaret’s uncle Tony Soares. Tony and “Buckey” Petty operated the boat slip at Boss’s Cove; he was one of nine children in the Soares family, was always happy, had a great sense of humour and was a very experienced boatbuilder. Dave Garland became good friends with Tony and I am sure Dave would remember him.

 PC’s Dave Garland and Derek 
Jenkinson at Admiralty House

Margaret and I lived on the houseboat for three years and sold it to Syd Sherwood (Sherwood Manor) when we moved to Florida in December 1965. There were probably only two houseboats on the island at that time, with Brian and Betty Malpas living on the other one moored  in Mangrove Bay, Somerset.

I completed my second contract with the Police Force in October 1965 and Margaret and I moved to Miami, Florida in December 1965.

In Miami I met up with Barry King, a former Bermuda police officer and worked with him in department store security for a couple of years. Barry played for Bermuda as a goalkeeper during his period on the island and we both played for the German American Soccer Club in Miami with several  other English expats until 1972 when I moved to Australia. 

Barry remained in Florida and died from Lewin's disease about 2010.

In 1967 Colin Finnegan, Terry Lambert and Dave Long moved to Florida to complete an air pilots training course near Orlando. On completion of the course Colin and Terry moved to Cocoa Beach near Cape Canaveral, neither took up employment in the flying industry, Colin worked tn a bank but unfortunately developed Parkinson's disease in 1968 and was pensioned off. He eventually died of the disease about 10 years ago .

Terry was employed at the Cape Canaveral Space Centre and actually worked on the LEM lunar lander. He suffered from a lung infection and died in the 1980’s. Miami to Cocoa Beach was only a three hour drive so Barry and I and  our wives had regular contact with Terry and Colin for several years until 1972.  Brian Malpas joined us on a few occasions to remember island times.

Dave and Penny Long moved out to Colorado where Dave continued his long career as a pilot. Dave took Margaret and I on a joy flight while he was training at the flight school which resulted in a near death experience! He came in little high on the landing and we finished up about three feet from the perimeter hedge!  CLICK HERE to read Dave Long's "Then and Now" article.

After 5 years in Florida, Margaret and I eventually decided to move again, this time to Australia where we settled about 30 miles from Brisbane.  Another former Bermuda policeman, George Goddard settled in the Brisbane western suburbs. I’ve had little contact  with George in recent years; he's quite a reserved character, however, I understand he does return to Bermuda occasionally. He was writing a book on the Bermuda Docks strike in the 1960's but I have not heard anything further.

George had married a local girl as I did. Her name was Jeannie Franklin. Her parents were Wilbur and Helen Franklin who owned the Smoke Shop on Front Street, opposite the Bank of Bermuda, in the 1960’s. Their son Buddy had a travel agency in Bermuda for many years but died some years ago. Jeannie and my wife Margaret were childhood friends as their parents were neighbours in Spanish Point.

Jeannie was one of the highly prized Pan Am girls in the early 1960’s,  she of course married George. The other girls were Betty Lightbourn who married Brian Malpas, Ann Binden who married Mike Cherry, Patsy Benevides (who was Margaret’s boy friends sister) and Margot who married Alec Smith - also a police officer. 

Margaret and I would often return home to Bermuda to see her family and old friends.  Our last visit was in June 2017 when we came for Lily Hassell’s 100th birthday and for the America’s Cup.  Lily died in March 2018, and our son Scott came with Margaret for her funeral.  Sadly, Margaret’s sister Joan died in Bermuda in March 2020 but nobody could travel because of Covid. This means that we no longer have close family relatives on the Island, and now with advancing years we have little inclination for long distance travel.

Hope my recollections add some provoking perspective to the period when I was serving in the Bermuda Police especially around 1959-61 when some of us were living and enjoying life at Admiralty House.  The period seems to be not as well documented as later years - maybe for a simple reason!

I have always been astonished by the the capabilities, the demeanour and the empathy of the members of the force with whom I became associated with during my first contract between 1959 and 1962.  The assistance offered by the existing officers of all ranks, whether drawn from British or Bermudian sources, was professionally and socially highly beneficial to me.

During this period Bermuda training courses were finally established, and Jean Vickers, a lovely lady and good friend, became the first local female officer. ( CLICK HERE to view our "Then and Now" article about Jean.)  Cadetships were also offered to local male and female residents and more experienced officers were recruited from the UK. The quality of these people improved the Force and commenced a gradual but permanent trend to disband the segregation of Bermuda society.

In this regard the police sporting teams particularly in football and cricket played a large part  in breaking down the racial and social barriers which existed.

Margaret Gillery, Pat Heggie, Dave Gillery and Andy Heggie

Here at our home near Brisbane, Andy Heggie and I continue to meet regularly at his local golf club. Andy's wife, Pat (nee Watts) worked for the Chief Justice at the Supreme Court in this period.

Dave Gillery
April 2024

Editors note -  At the time of this writing, Dave asked to send his best regards to Mike Cherry, who showed him round the police beats, and to his fellow footballers, Bob Stewart, and Clive Donald, and to any of the guys who worked with Dave during his time in Bermuda. Sadly. Mike Cherry died in March 2024.