Barbados during World War I and World War II

Stories about Barbados during the war years 1914 to 1945.

Wendell Valentyne Byer World War I Commonwealth War Grave St Barnabas Churchyard St Michael Barbados

World War I Commonwealth War Graves – Barbados

On 25th August 2021 it will be exactly 100 years since the death of Wendell Valentyne Byer. Who was Wendell you may ask? A famous cricketer? A politician perhaps? No, he was none of these, Wendell was once a trainee schoolteacher in St George. He was strong and fit – 5 feet 11 and a …

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Aircraft landing at Kai Tak airport Hong Kong

Kai Tak airport, Hong Kong – the Bajan connection

Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong closed on 6th July 1998. Landing at Kai Tak was a one-of-a-kind experience for pilots and passengers alike. It was breath-taking. With mountains on the port [left hand] side as you flew through a very distinct urban corridor of medium rise buildings bound by high rise buildings on either side, …

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Troops of the British West Indies Regiment -1916

George Blackman BWIR – There were no parades for us

In 1915 Britain’s War Office, which had initially opposed recruitment of West Indian troops, agreed to accept volunteers from the West Indies. A new regiment was formed, the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR), which served in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “They called us darkies. But when the battle starts, it didn’t make a …

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P/O Andrew Cole in Lockheed Hudson cockpit

The Beautiful Blonde in the Bank – F/L Andrew Leslie Cole AFC RAF

Errol Barrow was Andrew Cole’s navigator while he was in the RAF, firstly with 88 Squadron during World War II and for two years post-war they both flew with the BAFO Communications Squadron, assigned to Commander-in-Chief and Military Governor of the British Occupation Zone in Germany, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir William Sholto …

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CNS Lady boats poster

The Canadian Lady Boats

Between 1928 and 1952 The Canadian National Steamship Company Lady Boats operated two routes from Canada to the West Indies the: eastern-route route: where steamships, Lady Nelson, Lady Hawkins and Lady Drake, provided a year-round service every two weeks from Halifax to Bermuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, …

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Col. Reginald Michelin, Commissioner of Police, Barbados, 1949 to 1953

It was always hot – Memoirs of Col. Reginald T. Michelin, Commissioner of Barbados Police 1949-1953 post Col. Oriel St.A. Duke

Reginald Townend Michelin (1903-1998), CMG (1957), CVO (1953), OBE (1952) took the post of Sub-Inspector, Police, Jamaica, 1924 and Inspector, Police, Leeward Islands, 1928. He was made Assistant Commissioner of Police, Nigeria, 1930, and Commissioner of Police, Barbados, 1949 and Jamaica, 1953, retiring in 1958 from the Colonial Police. In 1940 he married Nina Gladys …

It was always hot – Memoirs of Col. Reginald T. Michelin, Commissioner of Barbados Police 1949-1953 post Col. Oriel St.A. Duke Read More »

Aerial view of Carlisle Bay including torpedo net - 1942

Anti Submarine & Torpedo Net – Carlisle Bay, Barbados 1942

In early September 1942 the Royal Navy installed an anti-submarine and anti-torpedo boom net across Carlisle Bay. That boom net was tested and breached on 11th September 1942 shortly after 4:30 by German U-boat 514. In 1942 Carlisle Bay was much deeper than it is today. Burkes beach at times had no beach and the …

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SGT Errol Barrow RAF Navigator, 31 OTU RAF Debert, Nova Scotia, Canada – 7 April 1944

F/O Errol Barrow RAF Navigator World War II & Prime Minister of Barbados

Errol Barrow led Barbados to Independence on 30th November 1966 and served as Barbados’ first and fourth Prime Minister.  This is the story of Errol Walton Barrow (21st January 1920 – 1st June 1987) and his time as a Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) from 1940 to 1947. Very little is written about Errol …

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Blackwood Screw Dock - 1910 to 1939

Barbados Blackwood Screwdock (dry dock)

Our guest contributor is Keith Mackie, a South African Consulting Coastal & Harbour Engineer who specialises in Dry Docks and the Dry Docking of ships.  In December 2009 he was brought to Barbados by Caribbean Lifestyles Ltd. to survey the Blackwood screwdock and assess its potential for conservation and restoration.  Sitting in the Blackwood dock …

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Snappy Snaps 1910 - 1939

A sailing trip aboard the schooner Mary M. Lewis from Bridgetown to Georgetown – Summer 1939.

This is the story of a sailing adventure by 3 boys: Joe Burton (aged 18), Jim Burton (aged 16) and “Ginger” Edwards (aged 16?) who sailed from Bridgetown to Georgetown and back on board the schooner Mary M. Lewis in the summer of 1939.  Joe Burton and Jim Burton were brothers. “Ginger”Edwards was the junior …

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Allied Merchant Ships Sunk - Capt. W.H.R. Armstrong

Survivors arriving in Barbados in May 1942 from ships sunk by German U-Boats

In May of 1942 there was intense activity by U-Boats in the Caribbean that resulted in heavy losses of allied shipping. Germany was trying, and succeeding, to disrupt the supplies of war material reaching Europe from the USA and Caribbean. Trinidad and Venezuela were supplying the allies with petroleum products, Guyana with Bauxite and the …

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Bajan schooner - Florence M. Douglas

The Sinking of the Florence M. Douglas and the story of Douglas the Barbadian who joined the German Navy in WW2.

The Florence M. Douglas was a schooner built in Holetown, Barbados, and owned by Peter S. Hassell.  On the 4th May 1942 she was sailing at 07.55N 58.10W from Bonaire, Netherland Antilles, to Georgetown, British Guiana, with a cargo of salt. At 19:00 the U-162 fired a shot across the bow and Captain Herbert Rexford …

The Sinking of the Florence M. Douglas and the story of Douglas the Barbadian who joined the German Navy in WW2. Read More »

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