Sergeant Lynn Hall
Served from 1956 - 1983
Lynn Hall has to be one of the best known and most popular policemen to have ever served in the Bermuda Police. Whether it was issuing uniforms as the officer in charge of Stores; as an outstanding Coordinator of the Police Outward Bound programme for many years; as a founding member and organizer of the popular Bermuda Police Choir; as a leader of the scout movement in Southampton Parish; as an active member of the AME Church, or as an avid sportsman, Lynn certainly has made his mark in both his community and in the Bermuda Police Service.
Born and raised in the Whale Bay area in Southampton, Lynn has not strayed far from his family roots. He and his wife, Cecilia, have been happily married for 53 years and they live at the top of Whaling Hill in Southampton Parish where they enjoy a panoramic view of the Great Sound.
Lynn was born on 13th December 1933. His parents were Ernest and Isobel Hall (nee Simmons). Mr. Hall senior was employed as a longshoreman at Dockyard. Lynn fondly remembers his time at Southampton Glebe School (now Dalton Tucker Elementary School) where the Headmistress, Mrs. Dalton Tucker, was extremely proud of her students and would inspect them every Monday morning, armed with her brush and scissors, and insisted that they all looked smart and well groomed. Mrs. Tucker certainly made an indelible impression on one of her students. Has anyone ever seen Lynn NOT looking smart!
After leaving school Lynn took up the trade of carpentry under the teaching of Arthur "Governor" Smith and "Spongy" Rawlins who operated a carpentry shop in Somerset. Lynn excelled in his trade, but his future lay elsewhere.
When asked what stirred his interest in joining the Police Force, Lynn recalled the day in 1953 when then P.C. Sony Roberts approached him and asked if he would be interested in volunteering as a cheerleader at Southampton Glebe School for the upcoming visit to Bermuda by H.R.H. Princess Margaret. Lynn was 21 at the time and had been actively involved with the 5th Troupe of Boy Scouts based at his old school. As a cheerleader he was required to wear a Police band on his arm, hand out flags to the children, keep them in order, and let them know when the motorcade was approaching. Needless to say, he did a great job on the day.
A short time later, again at the urging of Sony Roberts, Lynn attended a meeting at Southampton Glebe School where Police Commissioner Henderson and Superintendent Maxie Parker gave a talk to a group of potential recruits about joining the Force. After the meeting Sony assured Lynn that "a piece of paper is coming for you!" Sure enough, a few weeks later Lynn received an application form in the mail inviting him to take a written test, which he passed with flying colours.
Lynn joined along with a group of local recruits who all went on to make a name for themselves on the Force, including Custerfield "Custy" Crockwell, Hilton "Jellybean" Wingood, Harry Lister, Hubert Simmons, Leon Bean and Sinclair Bean. He was in elite company.
The year was 1956. This was in the days before the Training School at Prospect, and local recruits underwent very basic training at the old Police Station on Parliament Street (where the Government Offices are now located). They were all required to attend the 3rd floor of the Police Station dressed in a suit . Their "instructor" was Superintendent Percy Miller and they spent about a week going through the law books – with relevant sections specially marked - and they were handed small books with instructions on how the Force was structured, and how to deal with everything from children, to dangerous dogs, to taking care of their uniforms. This was in contrast to overseas recruits who attended a 3-month initial training course at the Mill Reece Police Training School in Staffordshire, England, before arriving in Bermuda.
At the end of the one-week course, which all passed, Lynn says, "we were all issued with our uniforms, including whistle, notebook, truncheon and handcuffs, by Inspector "Tug" Wilson who was then in charge of Stores. "We were sworn in, and we were all posted to Hamilton Station."
On his first day of duty, Lynn remembers walking down Front Street to direct traffic where the birdcage is now located. At that time summer uniform consisted of khaki shorts from India, cap from the U.K. and shoes from FC Footware at the corner of Church Street and Burnaby Street. Lynn can no doubt remember the precise details of where the uniforms came from because he eventually took over from ''Tug" Wilson as the officer in charge of Stores.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that his first Sergeant in Hamilton was his mentor, Sony Roberts, who by then had been promoted and who played such an important role in persuading Lynn to make his career in the Police Force. Lynn spent almost 4 years in Hamilton where the beats stretched from Front Street as far north as Marsh Folly Road, and the Police were also required to patrol Hamilton Docks, with static patrols at Nos. 1,2,5,6,7 and 8 gates.
Lynn vividly recalls the Dock Strike of 1959. He was part of a skeleton crew at Hamilton Police Station. The striking dockworkers had assembled down on Front Street near the birdcage and most of the Police Force were down by Trimingham's. Some of the workers were carrying swords and pitchforks so the situation was very tense. One of the Magistrate's went down to Front Street to read a Proclamation (from the Riot Act), and the crowd gradually broke up although there were a number of "scraps and scrapes" around Town. Inspector Marshall sent Lynn and Hubert Swan out in a police car to patrol the back of Town, and fortunately they had no problems on patrol.
Lynn recalls one of Bermuda's most famous characters, the well known rummie, "Weatherbird" Mills, being a regular inhabitant of the Front Street - Reid Street area. "Weatherbird" was arrested countless times for minor offences, usually related to his penchant for rum consumption, but as Lynn points out, he was a bit of a loner who loved to talk to anyone, and was not really a troublemaker.
Lynn and several of his colleagues did run into a spot of trouble though when they were called one night to a reported B&E (breaking and entering) in the back of Town. It turned out to be a domestic dispute between a husband who had left before the Police arrived, and one very irate wife, who, on hearing men's voices outside her house decided to open a window and promptly threw out a bucket full of what Lynn and the boys thought at first was water - but it turned out to be urine. The women was clearly very p......... off! Fortunately, Lynn only received a light spraying, and after going through the normal procedure of trying to calm things down, the officers left empty-handed and had a good laugh at their own expense.
Back in the day there were various neighbourhood "gangs" in Bermuda. Lynn says that in those days they loved to fight, but with fists, and after it was over they would shake hands. At that time the Police were labeled as the "P.I.G's" Lynn recalls speaking with one of the Court Street boys who asked him if he knew what "P.I.G." stood for, and informed Lynn that it stood for "Pride, Integrity and Guts"! Maybe there was a grudging respect for the Police back then.
Lynn was transferred to Traffic in 1957 at a time when it was located in the old Hamilton Station on Parliament Street (on the site of the present Government Administration Building) "Nobby" Clark was in charge, and all the officers in Traffic at that time were locals except Douglas "Red" Hebbard. They were fondly known as "Nobby's Boys". There were normally 3 cars on duty, covering East, West and Central. During the day-time officers would usually patrol alone, but they doubled up at night-time.
Lynn had several spells in Traffic but also spent time on beat duty at Somerset Police Station where his Sergeant once again, was "Sony" Roberts. He worked alongside "Bongo" Williams and the legendary West End duo, Mike Cann and Spike Hazell.
When a notice came out asking if anyone was interested in working in the Stores, Lynn figured this was much better than working night shift, and put his name down for the position. P.C. Bill Bryan was then in charge of Finance and asked Lynn if he was serious. Sure enough he got the job and worked in Stores for a number of years, starting in Hamilton Station above the Police Station, and then overseeing the move up to Police Headquarters where the Traffic Department is now, and at that time the stores was next to Jerry Hamm's office (the radio room). Lynn worked there with "Tiny " Wakefield who was anything but tiny!
Just about everyone who served in the Force in the 1960's and 1970's will have received their uniforms from Lynn while he was in Stores, but there are literally hundreds of young Bermudians who remember him for what must surely have been a life changing experience to each individual who participated in a programme for which Lynn Hall became a household name - the Bermuda Police Outward Bound Programme.
In was in 1970 that the Police first became involved with Outward Bound with the active support of then Minister of Youth and Sport, The Hon. Lancelot "Lenny" Swan, the Director of Youth and Sport, Reggie Ming, Johnnie Johnson from Outward Bound in London (former P.C. Dick Johnson's father), and the then Commissioner of Police, George Duckett. Lynn described how he got involved with Outward Bound with P.C. Tony Diggins who was, at that time working in Special Branch. Then Premier Sir E.T. Richards was also a strong supporter of introducing Outward Bound to young Bermudians. Tony Diggins was friends with Chay Blyth, the international sailor and Outward Bound leader, and when Tony asked Lynn if he would be interested in helping to set up the programme Lynn jumped at the chance.
(These names were kindly provided by Davie Kerr in May 2013, who also advised that the
The two of them flew to London after being invited to attend a meeting with the Lord Mayors Financing Group (confirm this title if possible), and in October 1970 the first ever group of young Bermudians attended O.B. Devon. The following year Mr. Swan handed over the running of Outward Bound in Bermuda to the Police.
Lynn, who attended a course at the Moray Sea School in Scotland, regularly took groups of young Bermudians on the overseas Outward Bound courses, and in 1974, after extensive negotiations, the Police took over the former Junior Training School at Paget Island and began to operate local courses in addition to annual overseas courses which were kindly sponsored by a group of dedicated local businesses. The facilities at that time were very rough and run down, but they were gradually transformed into an exceptional OB facility that has, over the years, seen literally thousands of young Bermudians testing their skills and perseverance.
During his time as Coordinator of Outward Bound, Lynn organized and accompanied at least 11 groups of young Bermudians on overseas courses, to Wales, Scotland and England. They would be spread out through 6 separate Outward Bound camps so they would have maximum opportunity to meet young people from other parts of the world.
There is no question that Outward Bound has been a major success in helping young Bermudians to recognize their potential, and its success in Bermuda is due in large part to the efforts of Lynn and Tony as co-Coordinators during the programmes early years, and to Lynn's continued efforts as the sole Coordinator after Tony Diggins' departure from the Island.
As Lynn said in the OB 5th Anniversary magazine, "The aims of Outward Bound are simple and yet fundamental, Outward Bound exists to provide young men and women with the opportunity to achieve personal growth, self awareness and self confidence; to become aware of the qualities and needs of others; to create a really effective, active and purposeful community, and to engender a love and respect for the wild places and natural beauty of the countryside."
Lynn has always been actively involved as an organizer in his community, even from a very young age. He was a keen scout, and eventually became a Scout Master, accompanying young Bermudians to International Scout Jamborees in Norway and Barbados. He joined Mount Zion AME Church as a young boy, where he went on to serve on the Steward's Board, sang in the choir, became Choir Director and Sunday School Superintendent.
In his spare time he also participated in a variety of sports, including billiards and snooker, playing for Somerset Bridge and the PRC. He played football for Somerset Eagles, and cricket and golf for the Police. And just to show his versatility Lynn was a member of the Police Motor Cycle Display Team.
Without any doubt, one of his greatest passions was as a founding member and organizer of the Police Choir. Lynn credits "Nobby" Clark for supporting the creation of the Choir and says that without "Nobby" it would never have taken off as it did. Lynn recalls attending a Christmas party at Nobby's house on Moresby Plain, along with the Somerset crew, including Mike and Spike, "Socks" Dill, "Buck" Woods, Lenny Edwards, and a few others. Also in attendance was Cecil Smith, the headmaster of Sandys Secondary School. The group began to sing Christmas carols and "Nobby" joined in. He must have been suitably impressed because the conversation got around to the suggestion that they should form a Police Choir. With a little bit of pressure Cecil agreed to become the Choirmaster, and once word got around that the Police had a choir, the invitations began to pour in for them to perform all over the Island.
As their reputation grew the choir was invited to sing at a music festival in Ottawa, Canada, at which other Police choirs from the surrounding area were also performing. The consensus amongst the Canadians was that the Bermuda Police Choir was first class, and this led to them being invited back on a regular basis to perform in Ottawa. Lynn explains that they would travel to Ottawa every other year. And who did all the organizing? You've guessed it - Lynn Hall who had been appointed as President of the Police Choir. There is no doubt that not only did the choir perform to a very high standard, but they were also great standard bearers for the BPS and served to greatly enhance the reputation and standing of the Police Force.
Prior to the formation of the Police Choir, Lynn and Cecilia had transferred to the Bethel AME Church where they are still members. Again, Lynn's organizational skills were in evidence as he has served as a member of the Steward's Board, as Pastor's aid, as an usher, as a member of the choir and as Senior Choir Director. In fact, he also acted as manager for the Apex Four, and accompanied this well-known Bermuda singing quartet on overseas tours to Canada, the U.S. and Jamaica, where they performed for thousands of people.
Never one to stand still for a moment, Lynn managed to find time to join the Kiwanis, and served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Kiwanis Club of Bermuda. During his time with Kiwanis he worked on countless community projects and attended numerous conventions around the world.
During his 27 year Police career Lynn received a Commissioner's Commendation in 1965 from COP George H. Robins while serving in CID, for "an excellent and persistent investigation" into a series of break-ins at shops, resulting in the arrests and convictions of a gang of burglars. He was awarded the Colonial Police Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1974, and in 1977 he was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal.
Perhaps nothing could better exemplify the high regard with which Lynn was held than the personal letter he received from H.R.H. Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on his retirement from the Police in 1983. Prince Phillip praised Lynn for his service in the Police, and also for his substantial contribution to Outward Bound Bermuda from its inception in 1970.
Lynn has never been one to boast of his accomplishments but he is proud of the fact that he and Cecilia's four children all graduated from university and all went on to become professionals in their chosen fields. Their eldest daughter Judith Hall-Bean (OBE) is currently the Assistant Cabinet Secretary. Their 2nd daughter Debra Benton is a lawyer now living and working in Washington DC. Their oldest son, the late Julian Hall, who sadly passed away in 2009, was a distinguished barrister and politician who was considered one of the greatest orators in Bermuda's history, and their youngest son, Lynn Hall Jnr is a teacher and Prison Officer.
Lynn and Cecilia are also the proud grandparents of Nadia, Liana, Claudia, and Lyniko.
Since his retirement from the Bermuda Police, Lynn and Cecilia, who are clearly a devoted couple, have travelled extensively around the world on trips and cruises, visiting such locations as the Holy Land, Eqypt, and Alaska. They have cruised in the Mediterranean, including Spain and Portugal, through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii, and through the West Indies including Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Vincent, and St. Kitt's (Cecilia's father's homeland) just to name a few.
Lynn no longer enjoys the best of health but if past history is anything to go by, no-one will be surprised if he and Cecilia set off on yet another adventure!
These memoirs were written by Roger Sherratt during several interviews with Lynn at his home in Southampton in September 2010. Sadly, many of the police officers mentioned are no longer with us. These are the Late Sony Roberts, Custerfield "Custy" Crockwell, Harry Lister, Leon Bean, Sinclair Bean, Jerry Ham, "Tiny" Wakefield, L.M. "Nobby" Clark, George Duckett, Douglas "Red" Hebbard, Mike Cann and Spike Hazel, Lenny Edwards, and George H. Robins.
Lynn and Cecilia kindly made available a wide variety of photographs and allowed them to be copied for use on the planned Bermuda Ex-Police Officers website. It was both a pleasure and a privilege recording these memoirs from Lynn.
We are deeply saddened to report that Lynn passed away on 4th February 2014, whilst on a visit to St. Kitt’s with his beloved wife Cecilia.
A Funeral Service was held for Lynn at the Heritage Worship Centre on Dundonald Street in Hamilton on Sunday 16th February 2014 in a packed church.
The Bermuda Police Service provided an Honour Guard and Pallbearers for the occasion, and the coffin was draped with the official Bermuda Police flag. Burial took place immediately following the service at St. Anne’s Church in Southampton.
Our Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association provided Honorary Pallbearers, Frederick “Penny” Bean, Hilton “Jellybean” Wingood, St Clair “Brinky” Tucker, Reese Bartley, Richard “Dick” Johnson, and Roger Sherratt.
Roger Sherratt read a Tribute to Lynn (see below) on behalf of the Ex-Police Association. Rev Larry Smith (former Superintendent Smith), Associate Minister of Bethel AME Church officiated at the Funeral and also gave a Tribute to Lynn.
A further Tribute to Lynn written by Tony Diggins, who had been the co-coordinator of Outward Bound with Lynn was read at the Service by Ms. Christie Morton (see below)
"It’s a great privilege to have been invited by Lynn’s family to pay a tribute to him on behalf of all the many friends and colleagues who served with him during his 27 years in the Police Force, which is what it was called when Lynn first put on the police uniform in 1956. The name was later changed to Police Service, and if anyone epitomized the word “Service” it was Lynn.
Lynn took great pride in everything he did, serving both the Police and the community with distinction. When I interviewed him three years ago for an article about his life for our Ex-Police Officers website, Lynn recalled that one of his first memories was of his headmistress at Southampton Glebe School, Mrs. Dalton Tucker, who was extremely proud of her students. Lynn described how she would inspect them every morning armed with her brush and scissors, insisting that they should all “look smart and well groomed.”
If you ever wondered whether teachers can have a positive influence on their students, ask yourself a simple question. “Has anyone ever seen Lynn Hall NOT looking smart and well groomed?”
Who would have guessed then that Lynn himself would have a positive influence on hundreds, perhaps thousands of young people during his Police career?
After first serving for several years in Hamilton, then as one of “Nobby’s Boys” in the Traffic Department, followed by a spell in Western Division, he applied for and was posted to the Police Stores. Anyone who served in the Force during the 1960’s and 70’s will have received their uniforms from Lynn. No, he didn’t carry a brush and scissors as Mrs. Tucker did, but he went out of his way to make sure we all started off looking smart and our uniforms were well fitted.
Never one to rest on his laurels Lynn was always looking for ways to serve. He had been very active in the Scout movement as a scoutmaster and organizer, accompanying young Bermudians to International Scout Jamborees, so he was used to giving his time and energy to young people.
In the early 1970’s he became involved in an organization that led to him being known forever afterwards as “Mr. Outward Bound”. He was asked to assist another young police officer, Tony Diggins, who had set up an Outward Programme for Bermuda with the support of both the Police Force and the Government. The two became joint coordinators of the programme and did such an outstanding job that the then Minister of Youth and Sports, The Hon Lancelot Swan, handed over the running of Outward Bound exclusively to the Bermuda Police, along with the facility at Paget Island.
After Tony left Bermuda, Lynn went on to be the sole Coordinator of Outward Bound for many years, with literally thousands of young Bermudians passing through the Police Outward Bound programme both locally and overseas. There is no question that the programme had a major impact on the lives of all those it touched, whether it was testing their skills and perseverance, or meeting young people from other parts of the world. And it’s success was due in large part to the tireless enthusiasm and commitment of Lynn. One of Lynn’s lasting legacies is the fact that the Police Outward Bound programme is still challenging young Bermudians – over 40 years later.
In his “spare time” – although I seriously question if he ever had any spare time - Lynn was always involved in other positive activities whether it was volunteering in his church, playing sports for the Police Teams, including billiards and snooker, cricket and golf, or performing in the very popular Police Motor Cycle Display Team.
But without doubt one of his greatest passions was his involvement as a founding member and organizer of the Police Choir. Lynn credits “Nobby Clark” with creating the spark that lit the flame for the choir when he hosted a Christmas Party at his home in Somerset where the “Somerset Crew” started singing Christmas Carols. Everyone agreed that they sounded good - very good, and the Police Choir was born, under the direction of Cecil Smith as choirmaster, and Lynn first as organizer and later as President. Word quickly spread about their musical talent and the invitations began to pour in Islandwide, along with an invitation to perform in a musical festival in Ottawa where they were a big hit. The choir was invited back to Ottawa on a number of occasions - and who did all the organizing. Why Lynn of course in his spare time!
Lynn’s tireless work both with the Police and in the community was recognized when he was awarded the Colonial Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1974, and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1977. He was always proud of his involvement in Outward Bound and none more so than the day in 1983, on his retirement from the Police Service when he received a personal letter from His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh, praising Lynn for his service to the Police and for his substantial contribution to Outward Bound Bermuda.
Although never one to boast of his accomplishments Lynn made it very clear three years ago when reminiscing about his life, how proud he was that he and Cecilia’s four children all graduated from university and all went on to become professionals in their chosen field.
On behalf of all of our retired and former Police officers who served with Lynn, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Cecilia, Judith, Debra, Lynn Junior and your entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Deeply saddened though we are we also celebrate a life lived to the fullest and feel privileged to have so many fond memories of a friend and colleague who gave so fully of himself to his family, to the Police Service and to all the many people whose lives he touched during his time with us."
My dear friend Lynn Hall became involved in the Bermuda Police Outward Bound project two years after it started. As a scout leader he had the vision to see what benefits the fledgling project could and would bring to the young people of Bermuda. Whether a young person was lucky enough to go on one of the overseas courses or attend a shorter adventure on Paget Island it was because of Lynn's commitment and enthusiasm for the whole project.
Lynn wanted to experience it all at first hand and completed a course as an instructor in the wilds of Moray Firth in the north of Scotland in 1973. From then on and with the blessing of the Bermuda Police we developed what was the biggest community project ever undertaken by such a small force - In the first five years we had repeatedly attracted more than sixty generous sponsors to send under-privileged teenagers on courses in the United Kingdom.
Lynn's tireless efforts, affable yet persistent nature played a massive part in those early days establishing Outward Bound as an essential part of the local scene. It was that persistent energy and commitment that ensured the project wouldn't fade and die when I left Bermuda in 1976. Indeed it gained greater strength and for the project still to be active 35 or more years later is a fitting tribute to this wonderful man.
He became a firm friend of my parents and one essential side-trip on the annual visit to the UK to escort the young people to their Outward Bound schools for their 3 week course, was to go and see my mum and dad. They loved Cil and Lynn like their own and the emotion was mutual.
With Lynn's passing, Bermuda has lost a true patriot and the police say goodbye to someone who enhanced their reputation immeasurably, both through the positive media coverage of the Police from the Outward Bound project and the individual gratitude of every student he was able to send on a course. The lasting legacy will be the continuity of the Paget Island Outward Bound base and, more difficult to define, all those people Lynn was able to create a life changing experience for.
You will be sorely missed Lynn but your invaluable legacy will live on.
Fond, fond memories - from your good friend 'Diggins'!