Former Marine & Ports director Capt Gilbert Hallam dies

  • Long-serving former Director of Marine and Ports Capt Gilbert Hallam is shown pointing to an Admiralty Map of Bermuda in this 1985 file photo. A veteran of The Royal Navy in the Second World War, Capt Hallam died last week, aged 85.

    Long-serving former Director of Marine and Ports Capt Gilbert Hallam is shown pointing to an Admiralty Map of Bermuda in this 1985 file photo. A veteran of The Royal Navy in the Second World War, Capt Hallam died last week, aged 85.

Tributes poured in yesterday for the late Captain Kenneth Gilbert Ross Hallam who is due to be laid to rest later today.

The retired Royal Naval Officer, who was also a long-serving former Director of Marine and Ports, died on Wednesday, March 20, just weeks before his 86th birthday.

Born in London, Capt Hallam came to Bermuda at the age of ten and was educated at Saltus Grammar School where he became headboy in his senior year. He is also the nephew of former Chief Justice of Bermuda Sir Trounsel Gilbert.

Predeceased by his wife Thelma Hallam who died in February 2009, Capt Hallam is survived by two children, Simon Hallam, daughter Annabelle Sailer, grandchildren, other relatives and many friends.

His son returned to Bermuda on Friday from his home in Vancouver where he lives with his wife Julie. His sister is also here, she resides in Maryland with her husband, Brian Sailer and two daughters, Morgan, 13 and Lily, 11.

Mr Hallam recalled his father’s career with The Royal Navy where he served in the Second World War in the UK, Norway and Virginia Beach after he joined at the age of 17 in January, 1945.

He took a warship across the Atlantic to the UK in active duty.

Asked to recall his fondest memory Mr Hallam replied: “He never had a bad word to say about anyone and he always had stories to tell about military life and on life in general.

“My father had a real love for sailing, he was very active in the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps and the Hamilton Rotary Club as well.”

Another associate, William Anthoni Lightbourne, recalled how he had known Capt Hallam for several years while employed with the Department of Marine and Ports as a Ferry Pilot.

Said Mr Lightbourne: “Capt Hallam, I found, was a quiet man who did many things to promote the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps both locally and internationally.

“It was no surprise to me when he succeeded the late Capt Sir David Tibbits as President of the Bermuda Sea Cadet Association. I will always remember how pleased he was with the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps becoming a founding member of the International Sea Cadet Association in 1994.

“Capt Hallam always showed a keen interest in our youngsters and when he visited the UK and South Africa, which he did frequently, he would always touch base with the heads of their Sea Cadet organisations to strengthen our relationship.

“On a personal level he was of tremendous encouragement to me as a young commanding officer of the Hamilton Sea Cadet Unit and later when I was asked to take on the Command of the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps,” he added.

“Capt Hallam is a greater man than history may show and I am glad that under my Command the Corps held four President’s Parades to show its appreciation.”

Another retired Naval Officer, Capt Alan Brooks lamented the loss of a good friend who he described as a “very genuine and friendly guy”.

When he and his wife Paulina arrived in Bermuda in 2000 after he retired, he said Capt Hallam was one of the first people he and his wife met.

“In fact we bought our boat from him, he was a very keen boater and while he was still able we would go out on board together,” said Capt Brooks.

“Really it’s an association that goes back a long way, we would often go to lunch together. And on October 21, which is Trafalgar Day, he would always attend our Trafalgar Night Dinner by the Royal Naval Officers Association.”

Sadly he noted: “There’s only a few of us left now. I was very sad when I received news of his passing but I wasn’t entirely surprised because I had been to see him a few weeks ago and he was not the guy that I knew.

“He was clearly getting frail and his care giver was having to spend more time looking after him,” said Capt Brooks.

“One of my fondest memories of ‘Chippy’, that was his nickname, was just having a joke with him. He had a wicked sense of humour and it’s something which I particularly like in people and he had a very good sense of humour.

“I think he would want people to remember him most for just being somebody who contributed a great deal through his life to Bermuda. He was Director of Marine and Ports for a long time.

“He actually joined the Navy during Second World War and he took a ship from Bermuda through U-boat infested waters just so he could join up.”

Capt Brooks said he will remember his friend most for being “a gentleman who was very a straight forward, honest and honourable guy”.

“You knew that if you lifted the phone up needing somebody to help he would do it. I’ve been in touch with the few of us who are left now and those of us who can be will be there on Wednesday.”

A funeral service will be held at St Paul’s Anglican Church at 4pm today, the interment will follow in the churchyard in Paget.

The family has asked for donations to be made in memory of Capt Gilbert Hallam to the Bermuda Sea Cadets Association in lieu of flowers.

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Published Mar 27, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm)

Former Marine & Ports director Capt Gilbert Hallam dies

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