Swainson’s iconic items to be displayed
The bat, batting pads and a ball from Edward “Bosun” Swainson’s historic first century scored in Cup Match in 1937 will be the first items placed in the new Police Museum at the Senior Officers Mess in Prospect.
The museum will be officially opened next Wednesday by Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley, with the intention of recognising the sporting achievements of former police officers.
Several played in Cup Match over the years with Swainson, who rose to the rank of Detective Inspector, going down in history as the first batsman to score a century in Cup Match, following his 122 in 1937.
Swainson’s grandson, Brandon “Pickles” Robinson has donated the items to the BPS which will be the centrepiece of the new museum, along with a trophy Swainson was presented during a cricket tour to the United States.
“It’s very early days for the Police Museum, so there are only a few items at the moment, but Commissioner Corbishley is planning to hold a reception during Police Week at the Officers Mess for a soft opening of the museum,” said Roger Sherratt, a retired policeman who is now the editor of the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association website.
“He will be inviting members of the Swainson family, along with all the police officers and former police officers who have ever played Cup Match and are still with us.”
Together with George Rose, another former police officer, Sherratt wrote an article on Swainson’s life as an outstanding police officer and cricketer.
“This article was conceived just over two years ago when retired Superintendent George Rose and I met to discuss the feasibility of writing a Hall of Fame article on a legendary cricketer and police officer, Edward ‘Bosun’ Swainson, for our website’s Hall of Fame,” Sherratt wrote in his Editor’s note.
Swainson, who is also the grandfather of Gina Swainson, Bermuda’s Miss World in 1979, was born in 1901, the year before the first Cup Match was played.
He scored 122 in that historic century and fell one run short of a second century the following year when he was dismissed for 99. The 122 is the twelfth highest among the 36 centuries scored in Cup Match.
Swainson was also an outstanding policeman, the first black officer to be promoted to the rank of Inspector.
“We were somewhat hampered by the fact that there are literally no police records dating back to the years when ‘Bosun’ was a serving police officer,” Sherratt added.
“George took up the challenge and he has spent countless hours during the past two years in the Bermuda library and elsewhere conducting meticulous research about the ‘Bosun’ who was without doubt one of Bermuda’s finest-ever cricketers, who made history when he scored the first century in Cup Match in 1937.
“George has also interviewed numerous people, including surviving family members. In doing so he has unearthed a treasure-trove of valuable information about this remarkable man.
“George also discovered a great deal of information about Bermuda cricket in general and Cup Match in particular during his search through the records of The Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Recorder.
“For example, during his research George uncovered fascinating information about ‘coloured’ Bermuda cricket teams who were travelling abroad on highly successful tours to the United States as early as 1915 through the 1920s, and playing against teams made up of cricketers from Jamaica, St Kitt’s and the West Indies, in general.”
The police website, Sherratt believes, provides a great outlet for former police officers.
“For the past eight years, I’ve been publishing the website for the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association, which provides former and retired members of the Bermuda Police Service with a means of keeping in touch with each other, to record our collective history, and to encourage our colleagues to sit down and write about their own personal experiences so they can be recorded for posterity,” he said.
“The only problem with tackling an article on ‘Bosun’ was that our police records dating back to the time when he served are almost non-existent, and we had difficulty locating family members who might have personal records about him.”
A photo of Swainson standing next to the scoreboard on the day he scored his century is one of the few cricket images of Swainson, along with one of him as a Parish Constable in uniform on patrol in St David’s.
“Although the primary objective was to write the story of ‘Bosun’ Swainson, George unearthed a great deal of information about cricket in general and Cup Match in particular,” Sherratt added.
“A major source of information was a book published in 1946 by one of Somerset CC’s all time greats, Arthur Simons, who along with his three brothers, Austin, Ambrose, Elliott and O’Brien, are all said to have played in Cup Match for Somerset, and all had served as members of the Police Force.
Arthur’s book, Bermuda Cricket Reminiscences — A Brief History of Cricket in Bermuda 1902-1943 is a collector’s item, and the only copy we’re aware of is in the reference library.
“George also looked for interesting cases dealt with by ‘Bosun’ during his police career, and any other information about ‘Bosun’ who was also an excellent billiards and football player.
“He interviewed a number of people who could assist in providing information about ‘Bosun’, including former captain of St George’s CC, Calvin ‘Bummy’ Symonds, who remembered getting cricket advice as a young lad from his neighbour Inspector Swainson.
“George also met with one of Bermuda’s most avid cricket fans, 103-year-old Mr Brownlow ‘Brownie’ Place, who was present on that momentous day in 1937 when ‘Bosun’ scored his century, although it has to be said that Brownie was and still is a Somerset fan!”
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