Edric Pearman (1917-2022): war veteran, seaman and shipwright
A St George’s ship’s pilot and shipwright risked his life as a small-boat captain during the Second World War.
Edric Pearman, who was 104, and his late wife, Joyce, who died in 2016 after almost 75 years of marriage, were known as the island’s longest-married couple.
His daughter, Shirley Blakeney, said her “energetic, flamboyant and vibrant” father was “the heartbeat, the very soul of the Pearman family”.
Mr Pearman, who died last month, started his seagoing career as a child when he worked as a deckhand on his father Joseph’s charter boat.
He also worked in his father’s blacksmith shop.
Mr Pearman, known as Soccie, entertained tourists with songs as he piloted the family charter vessel and later worked at the Bermudiana Hotel in Hamilton and Castle Harbour Hotel in the East End.
He joined the merchant navy and later the Royal Navy after the war broke out and skippered tugboats and tenders in island waters.
One mission required him to pilot a boat in a storm to collect secret cargo from a British ship moored at Grassy Bay in Dockyard.
He also delivered vital supplies to ships at night under cover of darkness to evade detection.
Mr Pearman almost lost a leg when he suffered serious burns after the engine exploded on a tender he was piloting into St George’s Harbour.
Doctors planned to amputate his leg, but Mr Pearman’s father refused to allow it — and helped to nurse him back to health during nine weeks in hospital.
The Pearmans, an inseparable couple from childhood who loved swimming together, married in 1941.
The couple had eight children, Michael, Kenneth, Shirley, Aleathea, Constance, Irene, Joanne and Christine.
Mr Pearman took over the running of his father’s boat after the war and bought one of the first taxis to arrive in St George’s.
His voice once earned the Pearmans a week of free accommodation at a Florida resort after management overheard him singing to entertain guests at the hotel nightclub.
His voice was also known from his calls to radio talk shows, which included trademark jokes.
Mr Pearman also built fishing and charter boats.
Ms Blakeney said he was a “jack of all trades” and was a carpenter, mason and upholsterer.
He told The RoyalGazette in a 2015 interview: “I’ve done it all. I’ve had a very adventurous life.”
· Edric Joseph Pearman, a war veteran, shipwright and lifelong fisherman, was born on July 20, 1917. He died on January 20, 2022, aged 104.