by: Marine Seaman Michael E. Turner II
Executive Committee Members of the British Legion – Bahamas Branch paid a courtesy call on Commander Defence Force., Commodore Tellis A. Bethel on Monday past.
They were led by Comrade Cephas Ferguson, who currently serves as Chairman and Treasurer of the British Legion Bahamas Branch. He was accompanied by Ms. Christine Humes: 1st secretary and daughter of the late Chairman, Comrade Audley Humes; Father Andrew Toppin: Executive Committee Advisor, Chaplin and son of the late Comrade Lloyd Toppin as well as Defence Force Reservist Adina Munroe: Executive Secretary, 1st Assistant Treasurer, Office Administrator and daughter of the late Vice Chairman Comrade Matthias E. Munroe.
The meeting took place at the Defence Force Headquarters at Coral Harbour Base where future plans for the British Legion – Bahamas Branch were discussed with Commodore Bethel pledging the continued support of The Bahamas Branch.
The Bahamas Branch established its working relationship with the Defence Force in 2010, which guaranteed the award of pensions for Bahamas Branch members through the Royal Canadian Legion. Additionally, the Defence Force provides tangible support for the Bahamas Branch through annual financial contributions, conducting of military ceremonies for deceased members, making available one of its members (Reservist Adina Munroe) each year to assist with coordinating the distribution and collection of donations from Poppy sales.
Historically, when World War II broke out in 1939, some 300 Bahamians volunteered to enlist and subsequently completed their initial military training with the British West Indies Regiment in Jamaica. Those who did not go off to war were assigned to the first Bahamas Defence Force to guard the home-front.
A native of Crooked Island, Comrade Ferguson enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Hand in 1944 until the war ended in 1945. He is also a retired Bishop at the church he now attends, the Church of God of Prophecy – East Street Cathedral. He is a recipient of The Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honor in December of 1983 and was the Founder of Her Majesty’s Prison Fellowship Ministry in The Bahamas.
Comrade Ferguson was later elected the Chairman of the international military non-profit organization on June 14, 2013, where at 91 years of age, he offers over 50 years of public service and is still going strong.
This year, in addition to the assistance the Defence Force already provides, Defence Force personnel will assist with the wider distribution of poppies at various locations in New Providence and will also participate in the British Legion – Bahamas Branch Gala Ball next year.
The Defence Force takes pride in honouring and appreciating the sacrifice and service of The Bahamas’ World War veterans who placed themselves in harm’s way and laid down their lives to secure the peace and prosperity that so many Bahamians enjoy today. We applaud their efforts as we, too, do our part in guarding our heritage.