Legendary Bermudians

 
This section is a tribute to those unique Bermudians who had either made great contributions to the lives of the people of Bermuda, the island's economy, culture and heritage, or those characters who with their strange self chosen lifestyles made immense influence and became extremely popular with the islanders. It's about those, who became part of island's legends. 
 
Some characters were notorious in their life's approach, but taught some great lessons to many. They defined a part of real Bermuda the way Bermudians knew it and loved it. 
 
 
 
So this section is NOT necessarily about those who had reached great heights in their professional or political careers, and made great names for themselves. This is for those prominent personalities that Bermudians loved, many of who went unrecognized and getting lost in time. 
 
This is only a humble beginning to capture the life stories of such characters. There will be many more I am sure, whose stories will be added below. 
 
And I expect much of such contributions to be coming in from Islanders themselves. The whole thought about this section was triggered when an Island veteran wrote to me and persuaded me to create such a section in my website. 
 
Sir Henry Tucker was one such person. Being born in the Flatts village, he struggled through his life and became the first ever Premier of Bermuda in 1968 and also the top man (General Manager) in Bank of Bermuda. But those were only his personal achievements. 
 
His real contributions were many including changing his own stand and working hard in the parliament to bring voting rights for the women in Bermuda, setting the platform for International Business that has become the number one economic force in Bermuda, bringing up a black as his successor in the government and learning to support the black community, donating large part of his property that he amassed in his life including the Botanical Gardens and lot more. 
 
Teddy Tucker, the legendary scuba diver of Bermuda, spent his whole life studying the history of all the shipwrecks around the island. He researched and studied each vessel that left Spain, England or some other port in search of the new land. Many of those boats never made it to the new world as they got wrecked on the treacherous reefs around Bermuda's waters. Teddy Tucker knows more history of every wreck around the islands of Bermuda and will probably take much of that knowledge with him when he dies. The treasures he found are all he is known for. 
 
The knowledge he has researched point to many more lost treasures suspected to have sunk in Bermuda’s waters. I have been fortunate to have met with Teddy during a 2005 conference in Bermuda and heard from him and his wife about how their lives revolved around diving and collection of great treasures from the wrecks. Some day I'll capture that story here. 
 
Johnny Barnes, an earlier bus driver has now become an angel of love in the island. On his sudden realization at the age of 60, he quit his day job of a bus driver and turned to making people happy as his way of living. He chose the Crow Lane Circle and started waving at commuters of Hamilton City every day in the morning, cheering them and saying "Good Morning", "I love You". 
 
Initially thought to be a crazy man creating traffic confusion in the middle of the street, he has now won the hearts of thousands of islanders and even tourists. He stands for a symbol of happiness and love. A sight of this man makes the day for so many in Bermuda. 
 
 
 
Legendary Musicians of Bermuda: Music has been an integral part of Bermuda's culture and deeply rooted in the hearts of all in the island. And there have been many legendary musicians, singers and composers who have made invaluable contributions to Bermuda's music. Who does not know about "Bermuda is another world". It's like the second anthem of Bermuda. But how many still remember Hubert Smith who composed and sang the song originally? 
 
Sydney Beans was known as the father of Calypso Music. And the Talbot Brothers improvised that and took it to such heights that the island was taken by storm in the 1940s. And the memories of Milton Robinson who passed away in 2010 is still fresh to many. He was known to be the father of all Jazz musicians. Lance Hayward despite having the two biggest handicaps of his time of being a black and a blind, went on to become one of the finest Jazz Pianist, Composer, Arranger and a Choral Director. 
 
And there are many more such names that made immense contribution to the music of Bermuda. Check out the above link for their life stories. 
 
People & Culture of Bermuda: This entire section would be incomplete if I have not shared the essence of common Bermudians' lives and their culture. Because this social framework has been the base and source of spirit for all the heroes and special Bermudians who went on to create history in their own ways. 
 
Related Articles 
 
 
Viewers Contributions/Stories 
 
William & Elsie McGregor (by Kathryn Correia Grossman) 
My grandfather, William "Jock" McGregor arrived in Bermuda with the 2nd Argyle and Highlander Battalion from Scotland in 1927. In 1929, His battalion left Bermuda. Due to Jock’s meticulousness he was given orders to remain in Bermuda and was appointed to serve the Governor as his Driver at the age of 19. Jock embraced his duty of chauffeur driving the only car in Bermuda. He had to learn how to repair and service the car qualifying him as a mechanic. 
 
William Jock McGregor imported the first private car into Bermuda. His wife Elsie Tagget McGregor created the first Taxi cab service with this car. She was the first cab driver and the first woman cab driver. Jock opened mechanic shops while his good friends the Ray Brother’s started to import cars. They remained close friends until they passed. 
 
Alabama & Weatherbird - The Town Characters  (by Kathryn Correia Grossman) 
Notorious town characters such as "Alabama" in St. George is known by everyone. Another notorious Bermuda character was "Weatherbird" who was always clean, neat and drunk, lived on the steps of the docks on front street. Everyone knew Weatherbird. He was always pleasant and friendly to everyone for almost everyday of the year except for Easter Eve, Christmas Eve, and any other Holidays celebrated with a special feast.  
 
On those evenings Weatherbird would intentionally start a public ruckus with someone calling the police. He was arrested & charged with being drunk and disorderly in public. He spent every Christmas and Easter in the police jail cell just to be served Christmas dinner and Easter dinner for many years. The police finally caught on to his act. They told him not to make a scene. They caught on to his little game and they would come and get him every year thereafter so he could get his Christmas Dinner. Everybody knew weatherbird as he was the town character for his whole life. He preferred that life. 
 
Tommy Tucker (by Kathryn Correia Grossman) 
Tommy Tucker from Mount Hill, a longshoreman who worked on the docks his whole life, pushed a bike, never rode it, wore ten layers of clothes every day of his life, had a dog named Skipper that went everywhere with him, bathed in the ocean off north shore every day of his life, rain or shine, he striped naked and bathed. He lived in a pump room of the house he built for his mother and sister to live in.  
 
He never had a conversation with anyone. He spoke to everyone he passed by saying, "okay, all right, all right now, okay….." Everyone in the Island knows Tommy Tucker who never missed a day of work, wore all his clothes layered on and bathed daily in the sea with his little black and white terrier named Skipper. 
 
Tommy Tucker - Another Story  (by Jody Morris) 
I grew up in Bermuda, living on the North Shore of Pembroke. Tommy Tucker lived on top of the hill from my home. In the 1970's, I would be waiting for my school bus to take me to the Navy Base. Tommy would come down the hill on his bicycle, brakes screeching, when he was still about 30 feet up the hill, he would let go of the brakes and zoom out into the street and stop right next to me. (How he never got hit by traffic I'll never know). He would say "excuse me sir, can you tell me the time?" I'd reply with "Good morning Tommy! It's 7:05." He would reply with "Thank You." and keep repeating it at a yell all the way down to Langton's Market. He would take his little terrier 'Skipper' out on the cliff next to my house and fling the dog into the ocean like a Frisbee. Then he would climb down to the shoreline and wait for the dog to swim back in. He loved that dog so much, that was his way of giving the dog a bath. As the dog got old, he started pushing his bike so that Skipper could keep up. Tommy had a heart of gold, he will be missed.  
 
Nina Crane (by Kathryn Correia Grossman) 
Nina Crane is a man who served in the army in the 2nd world war. He worked for Meyer’s Tugs in St. George's. He would have a few drinks and would put on his world war2 uniform and march from his home on Buckingham Lane to the square in St George almost every weekend. He’d do salutes and march as he did in the army. On days when there where re-enactment or veteran’s day when the regiment did a performance, Nina Crane joined in and marched right with them.  
 
Then one day an inebriated Nina decided to take the Meyer’s tug boat Captained by Mack Burgess for a little ride. He hopped in the huge steel tug parked at the St George’s dock. He started up this massive tug boat and drove it right through the wooden planked bridge that joined Ordinance Island to the Square. The crash and sound of the breaking wooden planks as he plowed through with this mighty tug woke up people from their sleep. The sound could be heard by all of St. George’s. 
 
Rev Keith Harman - Rector Devonshire Parish, 1940s (by Anne Polhill Walton) 
Hi Raj, Keith Harman was my great uncle - my paternal grandmother's brother. Younger than her, I believe, and I know little about him. 
 
What I have been told over the years is that he was a C-of-E Canon and at some stage married and later divorced an American concert pianist, whose name I don't know. He was connected to the leper colony in some way, whether it simply came within his parish or was the main reason for his appointment, I don't know. 
 
I remember meeting him just the once when he came to the UK on leave - I think it would have been 1957/8-ish. He stayed with my grandmother (who lived in the same town as us, near Twickenham) and they came to tea. He brought me one of those plastic funnel things - when you click, a ping pong ball is launched and you have to catch it. I'm sure there's a better way of describing the toy, but you can still buy them and each of my four 
sons has had one and now the grandchildren who have started to arrive. Whenever I see one, I think of Keith. I thought he was brilliant because he called me 'kiddo' all the time! 
 
Whilst he was in the UK, there were a lot of parties at my grandparents' house - the Harmans of Keith's generation numbered quite a few. I think there were eleven and my grandmother was certainly the oldest girl, possibly oldest child. The boys had their own football team. During his hols, a Harman brother called Peace (born on the last day of WW-I, I think) died of a heart attack. That was my first experience of death. Peace's son 
was a cricketer, played for Surrey and England. 
 
I imagine Keith was back in the UK by the time my grandmother died (1977), but I was living in Montreal then and had just had my first son, so couldn't go to her funeral and possibly meet him again. I don't know when Keith died - just that he lived in a home for retired clergy at the time. 
 
Best wishes 
 
P.S: The fact that he was a talented photographer was interesting too – my cousin, Keith Thompson, who would have been Keith Harman’s great nephew, is an award-winning photographer in the UK. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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