Photos: Regiment Holds Service Of Thanksgiving

September 21, 2015

The Royal Bermuda Regiment at the weekend honoured its history and its veterans as former members of the Regiment and its predecessors joined serving soldiers for a special drumhead service of thanksgiving yesterday [Sept 20] for the force’s golden jubilee at its Warwick Camp HQ.

And on Saturday, volunteer soldiers got a taste of military life at a special open house at the Warwick Camp as they prepared to become the first soldiers to join the newly-Royal Regiment for January’s Recruit Camp.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown told soldiers present and past yesterday: “We in the serving Regiment are all very conscious that any success we have is built on the legacy of those that came before us. That we walk in your shoes – that you are us and we are you.”

He added: “We share the same traditions, values and sense of service. We understand what duty means, the importance of a sense of humour, the value of teamwork, what real exhaustion feels like, that limits are there to be surpassed and the sacrifices that we and our families have had to make in the process.”


Col. Foster-Brown said that, in addition to the Royal honour, the Regiment now had up-to-date British Army SA-80 rifles as standard issue – and were “in touching distance” of the first all-volunteer Recruit Camp.

He added that soldiers would soon be sworn in as Special Constables due to better working links with the Bermuda Police Service and that new international links had been formed to boost training and opportunities to acquire new skills.

Col. Foster-Brown was speaking after around 40 former soldiers, some of whom served in the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Rifles before joining the newly-formed Bermuda Regiment in 1965, paraded with current soldiers.

And the veterans got the biggest cheer of the day from the watching crowd when they marched on to the parade ground.

Retired Major Raymond Smith, who joined the Bermuda Militia Artillery in 1964 and became a founding member of the Bermuda Regiment a year later before retiring as an officer more than two decades ago, said: “I enjoyed it very much.

The 72-year-old, who still serves on the Defence Board, added: “I was proud of us all – I used to like drill and parades anyway, so it was easy for me.”

Governor George Fergusson, told the service, conducted by Regiment chaplain Major the Reverend Canon David Raths, that the Regiment had been “one of the main ways the Bermuda community has protected itself.”

He added: “And it’s done a great job in this form of service. But the Regiment has been more than that. It’s been one way people in Bermuda have worked together and become friends together.

“Its formation was a step in ending that division in the community which lasted too long.”

Premier and Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley, who delivered a reading at the service, said afterwards: “It was a great service.

“There are a number of things I was pleased to see – the spirits are very high and the Regiment has made some real strides in the last couple of years in telling people about what the Regiment stands for and what it does.

“That attracts volunteers and helps us to do what needs to be done. And the Royal title gives the Regiment an extra bit of status and marks the historic occasion of its 50th anniversary.”

On Saturday, would-be soldiers watched presentations by officers and serving soldiers before touring displays showing the wide range of career options available in the Island’s armed service.

Devina Burgess said she wanted to make a swap from the Bermuda Reserve Police to the Regiment.

The Four Star Pizza cashier, 26, from Devonshire said she was “torn” between applying for the public order specialists the Operational Support Unit [OSU] because of her police background and the Motor Transport section due to her interest in mechanics.

She said: “I’m currently studying a course in mechanics at Bermuda College. I was six years in what was then the Cadet Corps and thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s why I’m finally settling on the Royal Bermuda Regiment.”

Daquan Scott said he had been conscripted – but intended to make the most of his time as a soldier.

He added: “Friends who are in the Regiment and mostly in the Junior NCO Cadre said I might as well come here today of my own free will. I’m liking it so far – it looks pretty cool.”

Shannon Cassidy, who works in a dive shop at Tucker’s Point, said: “I volunteered – I’ve been in the Junior Leaders so I have an idea of what to expect.

The 18-year-old from Warwick added: “Some of the stuff I know already, but it’s nice to see all the equipment on display. I’m looking forward to joining next January.”

Award-winning RBR junior NCO Lance Corporal Dante Durham said he had enjoyed showing potential recruits around Warwick Camp.

He added: “They look pretty good – I enjoy the adventure and being able to teach. Right now, it’s all about our new SA-80 rifles and I’m one of the first couple of people to instruct in this.

“That’s a great privilege – we’re now the Royal Bermuda Regiment and we have a high standard to live up to. It’s great to be able to help keep that standard high.”

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