Veterans recall fallen men

| 12/11/2008

(CNS): Although the traditional Sunday Remembrance service was cancelled due tot he passage of Hurricane Paloma the horrors of war and fallen soldiers of the past were remembered during the Cayman Islands Veterans’ Association (CIVA) ceremony which took place yesterday (Tuesday, 11 November). 

In spite of ongoing local post-hurricane emergency response efforts the CIVA maintained its observation of the hour of remembrance — 11:00 a.m. on 11 November — and laid the traditional wreath to honour former servicemen and women as the small gathering recalled the hour and day when hostilities ceased, ending World War I.

A special guest at this ceremony was visiting Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League representative, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Warren, who laid the wreath. He joined CIVA President Capt Dale Banks and a few other veterans at the Elmslie Memorial Church on the George Town waterfront. Elmslie’s Administrator John Macmillian led the prayers.

Also attending the event were CIVA members Ewart Ebanks, Shane Bothwell, Peter Massie and Graham Walker.  Several visiting cruise passengers, including veterans, were present. More than 20 million military and civilian deaths occurred inWorld War I, with a similar number of injuries.  Then, in World War II, an estimated 60 million people died, including some 40 million civilians through air raids, disease, starvation and genocide.

For the men of Cayman, World War II Royal Navy Reserve duties focused around Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. That island was then the only source of oil for the British forces.

However, Cayman’s involvement in the war effort extended to maintaining a strong Home Guard, servingin global merchant marine support efforts, and building the wooden (mine-deterrent) minesweepers for use in Caribbean waters.

The Cayman Islands Veterans’ Association’s Remembrance Day ceremony was also an unplanned but welcomed addition to the vacation agenda for Capt Bob Long, US Coast Guard (Ret) and his wife Kim. On shore visit during their Caribbean cruise, the Californians spoke with local veterans and shared war experiences.  Long said he served on the only Coast Guard vessel stationed in the Bering Sea between the USA and the then USSR. Both of Mrs Long’s parents also served in the US Marine Corps.

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