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Regiment: special thanksgiving service

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Present and correct: Ex-members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and its predecessors joined a drumhead service of thanksgiving for the force’s golden jubilee at Warwick Camp(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Island’s veterans were given a rousing reception as they marched on to the parade ground for a special thanksgiving service to mark the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s golden jubilee.

About 40 former soldiers, some of whom served in the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Rifles before joining the Regiment in 1965, paraded with current soldiers yesterday at Warwick Camp.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown paid tribute to the legacy of “those that came before us”, and said the Regiment was “in touching distance” of the first all-volunteer recruit camp.

He added: “We share the same traditions, values and sense of service. We understand what duty means, the importance of a sense of humour, the value of teamwork, what real exhaustion feels like, that limits are there to be surpassed and the sacrifices that we and our families have had to make in the process.”

Retired Major Raymond Smith, who joined the Bermuda Militia Artillery in 1964 and became a founding member of the Bermuda Regiment a year later before retiring as an officer more than two decades ago, said: “I enjoyed it very much.”

The 72-year-old, who still serves on the Defence Board, added: “I was proud of us all — I used to like drill and parades anyway, so it was easy for me.”

On Saturday, volunteer soldiers got a taste of military life at a special open house at the Warwick Camp as they prepared to become the first soldiers to join the newly-Royal Regiment for January’s Recruit Camp.

Devina Burgess said she wanted to make a swap from the Bermuda Reserve Police to the Regiment.

The Four Star Pizza cashier, 26, from Devonshire said she was “torn” between applying for the public order specialists the Operational Support Unit (OSU) because of her police background and the Motor Transport section due to her interest in mechanics.

She said: “I’m currently studying a course in mechanics at Bermuda College. I was six years in what was then the Cadet Corps and thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s why I’m finally settling on the Royal Bermuda Regiment.”

Governor George Fergusson attends the thanksgiving service(Photograph by Akil Simmons)