The British Legion-Bahamas Branch (BLBB) in collaboration with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) on Sunday paid homage to all Bahamian military veterans who served during World War I in a wreath-laying ceremony at Rawson Square.
RBDF officers and marines paraded from the Western Esplanade near Arawak Cay to Rawson Square in downtown Nassau. The event was held as a tribute to the 30 soldiers who marched from East Street to Rawson Square and onto Prince George Wharf in 1914. There, they boarded a ship, which took them to Jamaica to undergo further military training in preparation for the war.
Attending the ceremony was Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, Bishop Cephas Ferguson, Chairman of the British Legion – Bahamas Branch and his Executive Officers, and Commodore Tellis Bethel, Commander Defence Force, his Executive Command, and members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and families of World War I veterans.
The wreath-laying ceremony was in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the ending of World War 1 on 11th November 1918. Wreaths were also laid near the Queen Victoria statue as tributes to servicemen, who served 100 years ago during the reign of King George, and to veterans including the late Sir Etienne Dupuch and Mary Moseley.
Sir Etienne Dupuch volunteered from the Caribbean Region to join the war efforts. He served in the West India Regiment and returned to his beloved Bahamas on April 1, 1919 after the war. He would join his family’s business, The Tribune, and would begin his journalism career, among many other civil and humanitarian international interests. He was knighted three times for his tireless local and international work during World War II and in time of peace.
Moseley served as chairperson of the Belgian Relief Fund in Nassau. It was during 1914 that Moseley left The Bahamas for England to offer her assistance to the Great War Relief efforts. There, she formed the Ladies’ Committee of The West Indies, Bahamas Chapter. This was established in 1915 in London as the women’s wing of the war sub-committee. It was through her work with this Fund that she was able to raise thousands of Pounds for the Belgian War Relief effort.
According to RBDF Reservist Adina Munroe-Charlow, British Legion Executive Secretary and RBDF Representative, The Bahamas sent approximately 700 of its sons to participate in this War; six were killed in action, three died from wounds, and 28 from other causes.
The RBDF has partnered with the British Legion – Bahamas Branch since 2011, and is presently assisting in preserving the memories of the men who served in World Wars I and II.