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Saluting our brother-in-arms

“As the battle raged higher

And though they did hurt me so bad

In the fear and alarm

You did not desert me

My brothers-in-arms”

— Dire Straits

Keith “Worms” Whorms will be remembered by hundreds as a “brother-in-arms”.

He was part of a fraternity linked by a single experience: the Royal Bermuda Regiment Boot Camp.

It's always a cold January morning when recruits walk into, or should I say are forced to run into, the gates of Warwick Camp.

They usually don't know anyone else as they face their new reality of waking up at 5am, going into the frigid South Shore waters, learning how to march, and being verbally challenged all day every day.

But as they look to the left, to the right, behind them and in front, they see others just like them. Men and women of all stripes sweating, suffering and saluting.

Within those two weeks, bonds are made that can never be broken.

Young persons, and not so young persons, become part of a unit, able to operate under the best and worst of conditions.

Essentially, they become “brothers-in-arms”.

Soldier

This unique bond lasts a lifetime. Never will they speak to each other without reminiscing about life in the Army.

And they know they can call upon each other in times of need because their “brother” is dependable in the darkest of hours.

Worms was such a person.

He worked his way through the ranks, from buck private to Colour Sargeant, the second-highest rank of Non Commissioned Officer.

He served alongside countless Bermudians, too many to mention.

A consummate professional, his dress uniform was ever immaculate, able to pass muster with even the most eagle-eyed officers.

This should come as no surprise — he served as the driver for the last few governors and premiers of Bermuda.

As was his dress, so were the vehicles that he proudly drove.

Never were they seen with a blemish, spot or streak, nor were they carelessly driven.

As a matter of fact, I don't recall him ever being more than 10 feet away from them, such was the pride he took in his duties.

Rootsman

As a man of the people he know how to blend his professional life with his personal life without missing a beat; representing the Royal Bermuda Regiment wherever he was to be found.

Off duty, he could frequently be found with his loyal Place's Place family, in the heart of the back of town.

He could usually be found either at the entrance, greeting persons as they came in and as they left, or meandering in and out of the crowd making sure everyone was safe and happy, and asking if they needed topping up.

He took exceptional pride in helping bridge cultural gaps between the people of the two islands that he called home: Jamaica and Bermuda.

He was a proud member of the Jamaican Association of Bermuda and never missed the annual jerk fest or cruise.

He was also always among the crowds at Cup Match and May 24 celebrations, embracing all that being Bermudian is all about.

On Wednesday, November 23 hundreds of Jamaicans, Bermudians and soldiers shed tears as they learnt that he had been promoted from the Regiment to the Angel Force.

Today hundreds of us salute him: our mate, our friend, our brother-in-arms.

Paying respects: Keith “Worms” Whorms will be remembered by hundreds as a “brother-in-arms”

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Published November 26, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated November 26, 2016 at 1:56 am)

Saluting our brother-in-arms

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