NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force on Tuesday offered condolences on the passing of Senior Commander Amos Rolle, who passed away on February 25.
Senior Commander Rolle was the former commanding officer of the ill-fated HMBS Flamingo during the Cuban incident on May 10th, 1980.
Approximately 40 days prior to the incident, he became one of the pioneers of a fledgling Defence Force when he along with 27 individuals were officially transferred from the Royal Bahamas Police Force Marine Division to the newly formed Royal Bahamas Defence Force in March 1980. Among those transferred was Commodore Leon Smith (Retired), who became the first Bahamian Commander Defence Force.
At the time, Senior Commander Rolle had attained the rank of Assistant Superintendent in the Police Force, and was subsequently given the rank of Lieutenant Commander upon being transferred. Both he and Commodore Smith were later appointed Commanding Officers of the 103-foot sister ships, HMBS Flamingo and Marlin, respectively. The patrol vessels were constructed in England by Vosper Thorney Croft and made the trans-Atlantic voyage to New Providence under the command of the two Bahamian officers in July 1978.
It was on May 10, 1980 that Senior Commander Rolle would become a part of one of the most significant events in the history of a vibrant Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a young Bahamas. A little over 2 months after the Defence Force became an official entity, he was on routine patrol in the southern Bahamas as the Commanding Officer of HMBS FLAMINGO when his vessel was attacked and sunk by Cuban jet fighters. Four young Marines lost their lives during this event. Nevertheless, Senior Commander Rolle was successful in returning the remaining 14 survivors to safety onboard a captured craft.
Senior Commander Rolle’s last appointment was that of Captain Coral Harbour, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.
The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, extends sincerest condolences on behalf of the members of his Executive Command, the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned,, Junior Marines, veterans of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and himself to the late Senior Commander Rolle’s spouse, Mrs. Paula Rolle, his Children: Kerry, Cathy, Anthea, Nadina, Jason and Yonae; grand-children, great-grand-children, family and loved ones.