Farewell to a loyal man of national stature
This is a sad and historic occasion as we pay last respects to a man of great local and national stature. So declared the Venerable Dr A T Hollis, officiating at the start of the service celebrating the life of Edward Hubert Lancelot Simmons.
Hubert was the eldest of nine children born to Ronald and Inez Simmons on February 25, 1925. He peacefully passed away December 27, 2014, with a legacy that’s tremendous, stamping him as a giant in Freemasonry as well as a most extraordinarily retired member of the Bermuda Police Service.
He grew up on the North Shore Road, Pembroke. The family later moved to Scaur Hill and then to Elys Harbour, Sandys.
Hubert had to discontinue his education at the old Tin Top School on Sound View Road and West End Primary School in order to work and assist his mother with the support of the family following the death of his father. His earliest employment was at the Dockyard in its generating station until he joined the police force in 1950.
In 1952 he married Dorothy Simmons, who passed away soon after the birth of the only child of the union, daughter Paulette.
In 1955 Hubert married a second time, to the former Lois Peniston of Devonshire. Their union was blessed with three children, Joanne, Hubert Jr, and Kenneth.
Hubert was a member of the police force for 28 years, becoming famous for his animated directing of traffic from the Bird Cage that’s still situated on the corner of Front Street and Hyde’s Corner.
The Royal Gazette of August 5,1951 highlighted how the young constable had become an unofficial attraction to tourists and locals alike, being filmed by home and motion picture interests from all over the United States. He was just sharp, spectacular and had to be seen to be believed.
Historians have recorded how black Bermudians were absolutely blocked from recognition and promotion to the commissioned ranks, in both the police force and the Army. That was not their preserve. But it did not curdle their loyalty to country.
Significantly, among those paying tribute to Hubert was the iconic Frederick C Bean, the first Bermudian Commissioner of Police.
He is perhaps better known as ‘Penny’ Bean. He noted how local recruits, at the time Hubert joined were given a few law books to read for a week, before being posted to a Division.
Hubert’s first posting was to Central Division, then to the Western Division, at Somerset Police Station; and later he was transferred to the CID.
His tenacity for work resulted in his promotion as Sergeant, and later to the rank of Inspector, and transfer as a prosecutor in Magistrates’ Court and a Coroner.
He was sent on training courses in the UK; was recipient of many Commissioner’s Commendations; was awarded the Colonial Police Long Service Medal for Meritorious Service.
He retired in 1978, after serving with distinction.
Retired Commissioner Bean spoke glowingly of Hubert’s association with other organisations, being a founding member of the Bermuda Police Choir; a founding member and president of the Ocean View Golf Club; and past President of the Bermuda Golf Association; and former chairman of Port Royal Golf Club Trustees.
He became an avid golfer tutored by the late great Herman Bascome. Commissioner Bean declared, that without doubt Hubert Lancelot Simmons was a most loyal and dedicated Police Officer who made a significant contribution to the maintenance of law and order, during his 28 years of sterling service.
The Wor Master of Abercorn Lodge No 123 on the Grand Registry of Ireland cited Hubert as a giant Freemason, whose contributions resulted in honours from the Grand Lodges of the Irish, English and Scottish Constitutions.