• UK
  • 06:44 04 Mar 2010
  • |    Washington, DC
  • 01:44 04 Mar 2010

The Bermuda Regiment

Bermuda Regiment Celebrate HM The Queen's Birthday

HM The Queen's Birthday Parade - 14 Jun 08

The Bermuda Regiment has a proud history of service at home and overseas, building on the distinguished service of its predecessor units. Bermuda’s military history is a glorious story that is not often told.

The Early Years
While local militias were raised from time to time since colonization, an Act of Parliament in 1895 formally raised organized units to supplement the regular British Army garrisons on the island. Given segregationist policy of the day, two units were formed: the black-recruited Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifles Corps (BVRC), later the Bermuda Rifles, which was white.

Other units were raised at various times, including the Bermuda Militia Infantry (BMI), Bermuda Home Guard and Bermuda Volunteer Engineers (BVE).

Service Overseas: 1914-18 and 1939- 45
The BMA and BVRC served in France during the First World War and suffered terrible casualties. The BMA served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and the BVRC served in the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. Battle Honours were earned throughout the European campaign in which over 100 Bermudians lost their lives. Many were conspicuous in their service, with Bermuda’s soldiers earning, amongst other commendations, the Military Medal for Gallantry.

During the Second World War the BMA soldiers formed the Bermuda Contingent of the 1st Caribbean Regiment which served in North Africa and Europe. BVRC served as a company in the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in Britain and Europe. Other Bermudians joined the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force or saw service with the Royal Navy. Of the 184 Bermudians serving overseas, 35 paid the ultimate sacrifice. Many were highly decorated for their valour, including a George Cross.

At home, the BMI and BVE, along with those who remained of the BVRC and BMA, guarded our shores. Bermuda’s brave men and women served with courage, pride and distinction during these wars. It is fitting that we remember them every 11th November during the National Service of Remembrance

Post War Years
Post World War II Bermuda was full of military activity with the continuing garrisons, the active HM Dockyard under the Royal Navy and the well-established bases of the Americans and later the Canadians. Within a dozen or so years, the advent of the so-called Cold War had changed the face of the world, including Bermuda.

The gun defences of Bermuda were becoming as outdated as the role itself and in 1953 the BMA were re-equipped and trained as infantry although they proudly retained their Royal Artillery allegiance, uniform and badge. The BVRC was also reformed into the Bermuda Rifles.

Amalgamation
The BMA and Bermuda Rifles, while officially separate and still racially segregated, steadily became jointly active through training exercises and ceremonial parades.

On the 23rd November 1965 the BMA and the Bermuda Rifles were combined to form The Bermuda Regiment. The amalgamated infantry battalion adopted the histories and characteristics of the predecessor units, although disappointingly the units’ well-earned battle honours of the two World Wars were not carried forward to the Colours and Drums of the Regiment.
Her Late Royal Highness, The Princess Margaret, GCVO, Countess of Snowdon, was the Regiment’s first Colonel-in-Chief and presented the Regiment with its first Colours in 1965.

1960’s and 1970’s
The first decade and a half of the Regiment’s existence was characterized by the social climate and disturbances of the time for which the Regiment was embodied:

►1966 Strike and Belco Riots
►1968 Riots and State of Emergency
►1970 Riots and State of Emergency
►1972 Assassination of Police Commissioner
►1973 Assassination of The Governor and his ADC
►1977 Riots and State of Emergency

1980’s
The strength and role of the Regiment was reviewed following the disturbances of 1977 and the Gilbert Report led to significant expansion of the Regiment in terms of structure and training. The decade presented further social change as the Regiment slowly defined its role within society. From the General Strike of 1981 through to the devastating Hurricane Emily in 1987, the Regiment showed itself to be responsive in time of national crisis.

►1980 First Black CO (Col C Eugene Raynor, now Honorary Colonel)
►1981 Embodiment for General Strike
►1987 Embodiment for Hurricane Emily

The Regiment was twice embodied for security and ceremonial services for the Anglo-American Summits of the early ‘90’s between President GHW Bush and Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major. In 1993, the Defence Act 1965 was supplemented by Governor’s Orders which further defined the structure and purpose of the Regiment.

In 1996, Bermuda became the focus of the world when a Chinese fishing vessel Xing Da with 100 illegal immigrants entered Bermuda waters. The Regiment was embodied to provide cordon and search capabilities and humanitarian support.

2000 and Beyond 

►2000 Joint Patrolling with Bermuda Police Service (Tall Ships 2000)
►2001 Embodiment for US Terror Attacks
►2003 Embodiment for Hurricane Fabian
►2004 Hurricane Relief Mission to Cayman Islands
►2005 Hurricane Relief Mission to Grenada
►2007 Internal Security Deployment for Cricket World Cup in Barbados
►2008 Hurricane Relief Mission to Turks and Caicos Islands

In addition to continuing training opportunities throughout the Americas and Europe, Regiment personnel served in Africa as part of the International Military Advisory Team to Sierra Leone’s armed services.

Whether in Warwick or Warminster, Middletown or Morocco, the Regiment continues to expand its local and international horizons.

Affiliations
 
The Royal Anglian Regiment (UK)
In both World Wars members of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps served in battle alongside the Lincolnshire Regiment. Through this service an affiliation grew which has extended through the Lincoln successor regiment, the Royal Anglian. Loan service personnel have served in the Bermuda Regiment as Staff Officer, Adjutant, RSM, Training Warrant Officer and Full Time Instructors (FTIs). In addition Royal Anglian and Bermuda Regiment personnel participate in each other's local and overseas camps.


The Lincoln and Welland Regiment (Canada)
Another part of the Lincolnshire Regiment connection extends to St Catherine's, Ontario, Canada home to the "Links and Winks". Through joint training and overseas camps and as valuable liaison for our annual JNCO Cadre Training in Canada, we continue this historic affiliation.

 
The Jamaica Defence Force (Jamaica)
The newly formed Bermuda Regiment first went to Jamaica in the late 1960's and has been going back for training in and overseas camps ever since. A close bond between the JDF and the Bermuda Regiment has been fostered over these many years and today the Regiment benefits not only while in Jamaica, but through secondment of personnel. Loan service personnel from the JDF have served as RSM and FTI's and contribute instructors for our annual Recruit Camp. Bermuda Regiment Personnel regularly benefit from diverse training courses conducted by the JDF.


The Royal Gibraltar Regiment (Gibraltar)
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RGR) is the home defence unit for the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. The RGR has participated in exchanges and attachments over a number of years, including the Bermuda Regiment's Annual overseas camps and the RGR's Annual exercise in Morocco, Jebel Sahara. There are many Similarities and parallels between our Regiments: both are amalgamations of two predecessor units, one artillery and one infantry. As such, both Regiments enjoy a very uncommon distinction: they possess two sets of Colours. One set are flags that are carried ceremonially on parade. The second are the artillery guns used for ceremonial salutes


Mission and Roles

Mission

The Bermuda Regiment is to support the Civil Authority with the security of Bermuda, its peoples, property, livelihood and interests in order to maintain normality

Roles and Responsibilities
The Regiment falls under the remit of His Excellency the Governor who serves as Commander-in-Chief. The Regiment is guided by the appointed members of the Defence Board.  Delegated Authority to the Government of Bermuda rests with the Minister of Public Safety.  These authorities outline their requirements for the Regiment in areas such as:

►Assistance to the Civil Authority, namely:
►Assistance to the Civil Ministries;
►Assistance to the Civil Power; and,
►Assistance to Bermudian Society.
►Assistance to the International Community.

Assistance to the Civil Ministries
Your Regiment may be called upon to give assistance to various government ministries which could be responding to a crisis beyond their immediate control or other more routine requests for assistance.  Crises include natural disasters such as hurricanes and man-made catastrophes like plane crashes and oil spills.  Non-crisis assistance may include maritime support to Police, Customs and Fisheries and the provision of ceremonial guards and the Band and Corps of Drums for parades and official or state occasions.

Assistance to the Civil Power
Your Regiment may be called upon to assist the civil power by providing protection for the Key Points (KPs) and other Internal Security (IS) Operations in support of the Police – such as crowd control.  Bermuda has a number of critical KPs such as the airport, oil terminals and BELCO, some of which may require reinforced security during difficult periods.

Assistance to Bermudian Society

The Regiment provides important support to the integration and development of Bermudians through provision of a common military experience, the opportunity to enhance life skills and an appreciation of discipline.  By developing skills to support, and respect for, civil authority and society we mould better citizens and make Bermuda a better country.

Assistance to the International Community

The Regiment has sent individuals and entire platoons to provide assistance the International Community.  Of recent note is the Internal Security deployment to Barbados for the World Cup of Cricket and disaster relief efforts in Grenada, Cayman and Turks and Caicos.

Affiliation
The Defence Attaché (DA) to the USA is also responsible for Bermuda. The Defence Attaché is best placed to support Bermuda from Washington DC where he can make use of his role as adviser to the UK Ambassador in the USA and his close contacts with the US military leadership.  The Assistant Military Attaché is therefore directed to maintain a close relationship with Bermuda and to act as the forward military advisor to the Governor of Bermuda. The Assistant Military Attaché visits Bermuda at least once a year to maintain contact with Government House, the government of Bermuda and the Bermuda Regiment.

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