Visit to Bermuda

Long Overdue Visit to Bermuda to Visit Family Members

Bermudian Diary - the overdue visit

In 2006 I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Bermuda at the invitation of my cousin Diana and meet up with some of my family members living there. Whilst there I kept diary notes of all that I heard and saw, my impressions of the island and its people and, most importantly, lots of information that my cousin Diana kindly shared with me about the Young family history.

I wrote these diary entries during my stay. In places they are little more than brief notes, but I wanted to record everything that I heard and saw in order to create as complete a picture as possible of the Bermudian branch of the Ient family.

Bermuda

One of the beaches that make Bermuda famous for its beautiful pink tinged sand

Bermuda

Diana, my host & me on Front Street Hamilton

Please follow the links below to go to the section of your choice:

About Bermuda
The Outward Journey to Bermuda
The 1920s & 1930s
Remembrance Day
Bermuda Defined
Philip Jent

Notes on the Young Family Members

Pauline Young
Diana's Family
Reg's Family
Roddy's Family
Dennis's Family

Rita Alexander

About Bermuda

Bermuda (officially, The Bermuda Islands or The Somers Isles) is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda Island, St George's Island and St David's Island are linked by bridges to form a continuous fishhook shaped area of land, 22 miles in length and only 2 miles across at its widest point. In all, the territory consists of Bermuda itself and approximately 138 islands. It has a subtropical climate and Bermuda is warmed by the nearby Gulf Stream. The climate is humid and, as a result, the summertime heat index can be high, even though mid-August temperatures rarely exceed 30°C (86°F). Winters are mild, with average daytime temperatures in January and February around 20°C (68°F).

 

For more information see:

http://www.bermudatourism.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bermuda

http://www.bermuda-online.org/

Map

 

The Outward Journey to Bermuda

9th November 2006

I had an extremely good start to my visit to Bermuda – the skies were brilliantly clear and the aircraft from Gatwick flew over the whole of the south coast, finally leaving England at Lands End. It was like a journey through all the things that I love and cherish about England; it was about the holidays we took and so many wonderful memories. It was a real life, three-dimensional, geography lesson.

Firstly we saw the South Downs in relief, with a shimmering silver sea reflecting the morning sunlight. Chichester Harbour where James and I went sailing on a five day RYA course; along the coast past Hayling Island and the inland waters, then across to the Isle of Wight. I could almost spot the place where my brother George's sailing club was at Emsworth. I saw Bracklesham Bay and Portsmouth, where I could just make out the new Spinnaker Tower; then more clearly Cowes Reach and the Botley River, where we stayed overnight on the RYA course when I was 15. Southampton Water looked like a map spread out before us, including the oil refinery with its tanks positioned like small draughts on a chequer board. We continued over the New Forest, where the heathland showed brown and the surrounding countryside was a contrasting green of patchwork fields with hedgerows picked out as if in thick pencil line. Lymington, where we had once taken the ferry across to the Isle of Wight, came into view next, across the water from Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. As the Needles moved beyond our sight, we saw Bournemouth and Poole Harbour, with Brownsea Island and the coast stretching along Studland Bay.

The most amazing thing was how clear the Purbeck Hills were, all one straight line, as if somebody had buried a tube and then covered it with earth and the grass had grown over the top. I could just make out Durdle Door but could not quite see Lulworth Cove. I remembered walks with Adrian, Jason and James along the Dorset coastal path.[1] We flew over Weymouth and I could see Portland and Chesil Beach, marked out exactly as it is on the map, including Wyke Regis, where George's hotel was.

We flew along the coast and the next exciting thing to see was Salcombe and the estuary where James and I holidayed for many years. The tide was up so the estuary seemed quite large – right up to Kingsbridge. Visibility from the aeroplane was perfect, everything was absolutely clear, including the hills above with their patchwork of hedgerows leading out to the headland and Prawle Point, Burgh Island and Hope Cove. We moved along the coast and saw Plymouth, the entrance to the harbour; then Fowey, where I had spent a night on my own sail training trip. Then came Falmouth and its large estuary and Lizard, where Adrian and I had found an Indian tepee on the coastal path. Finally, we flew over the tip of Lands End and saw surfers on Sennen Cove beach facing westward.

There had not been a cloud in the sky and I had been given the opportunity to see England as a 3D map, with all the places we have visited and enjoyed in the past set out before me!

How the Ient Family Came to Bermuda

However, before starting out on my journey I thought it would be useful to explain just how the Ients came to be living in Bermuda. Really one must look at this part of the Ient family as being the Young's as Pauline Ient married Charles Edward Young. Charles Edward Young was born in 1899 and died in 1973.

Charles Edward Young

Diana's mother, Pauline Ient, met her husband when she was about 16, which was towards the end of the First World War. Diana thinks they met at a dance during the War as her mother has always jokingly said that she went with one man and came home with another. His name was Charles Edward Young and although he started in one regiment he quite soon joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and it was with this regiment that Pauline and her husband came to Bermuda.

 

The 1920s & 1930s

Pauline Ient married Charles Young on 29 January 1922 in London (click here to go to the picture of the family group taken after the wedding). They lived in Aldershot for some time. This was where two of the children were born:

Dennis Charles Young was born in Aldershot on 4th October 1922.

"Roddy", Roderick Young was born in January 1928 when the family was in quarters at Prospect, Aldershot.

Around 1930 they came to Bermuda and the second two children were born:

Diana on 8 March 1931

Reginald (Reg) on 30 June 1933

According to Dennis there was another child who died just after birth, - Julian who is buried in St Johns Churchyard, Bermuda.

The marriage between Pauline and Charles broke up at some point (around 1938-39) whilst Diana was a young girl. Diana and Reg stayed with their mother and Roddy and Dennis stayed with Charles Young who, by that time, had moved to Hamilton where he had his liquor business.

After demob from the army he initially ran the BVRC Band staging concerts round the island. Later he started his liquor business. Diana says that she remembers in the late 30s her father running the Halfway House at Flatts in Bermuda, so by this time he had been demobbed out of the army. The 'pub' was quite a success by all accounts. Here is a quote from the magazine 'The Bermudian' written in 1935:

'Taverns of Bermuda' – by Charles Wilson, September 1935:

"On my wheels (cycle) again, I pass through the city and along the March Folly Road to the North Shore, and made my first stop at Flatts, where stands the very aptly named Half-Way House. Mr Young, who would be an asset to the Ritz ballroom, welcomed me cheerily, and gave me one of the Red Devil swizzles (a cocktail). He couldn't have selected a better name."

Here is Charles Young outside the Halfway House

Here is Charles Young outside the Halfway House

 

The pub was famous for the Red Devil cocktails –see below

 

The Bar

The bar

The advert used around the island The advert used around the island

 

Later Charles Young operated a liquor business in Hamilton (basically wholesale and retail off licence). Just after the marriage break up Pauline was a waitress at the American Officer's Club. About this time they moved to Shelley Bay. Later Pauline worked at one of the most well known stores in Bermuda:

Gibbons

For over 40 years Pauline worked for Gibbons, a "dry" goods store in Hamilton which is still going today.

 

<< Gibbons Store on Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda

 

Charles's second wife was Francesca. In Diana's papers I found a record of a death in Bermuda of Mrs Francesca Amanda Young. This was Charles Young's second wife. The cutting gives the time of the service on Thursday 5th May 1988.

It appears that the Young family came from Southsea as a newspaper clipping records –

Mrs Mary Young from Southsea in England, came to stay with her devoted son and daughter-in-law Charles and Fran Young at their home in Devonshire (Bermuda). Mrs Mary Young is 89 years old.

In the 1930s Dennis and Roddy were sent to London to attend school. They left Bermuda when they were quite young. Whilst there Dennis stayed with Aunty Kath and Roddy stayed with Grandma (Julia Ient) in Clairvale Road, Heston, Hounslow.

Dennis Young's ID card dated 11th May 1942

Dennis Young's ID card dated 11th May 1942

In 1939 Dennis returned to Bermuda (a few weeks before war was declared), he was 16 years old, and got his first job at the Bermuda Electric Light Company. In 1940, he joined the Meteorological Office and in 1942 this unit was transferred into the RAF. He was demobbed in 1946 and joined the RAF Meteorological Service. Through this he travelled widely around the world and eventually settled in Bridgewater, Somerset where he lived in retirement until he moved to Scotland to be near his daughter, Karen.

Roddy stayed in England throughout the war and was called up for service after the end of WWII. After his national service in the British Army he returned to Bermuda and joined his father in his business which either had just been converted or was on the way to being converted to a motor cycle hire business. Two wheeled transport is big business in Bermuda since you can't hire a car out here. This was the business which eventually left Roddy extremely rich.

In 1987 there was a major court case involving Roddy. Here is an excerpt from a newspaper of the time:

Honda dealer Sybil and Roddy Young were fined nearly $1 million after admitting smuggling foreign currency abroad. Computer expert Richard Altridge was fined $70 for helping them. The Young's have one month to pay the fines, the largest ever imposed in Bermuda 26/8/87.

According to another newspaper cutting Sybil Young was arrested on 27th June 1983 in England for currency violation offences. She was arrested in Hampshire on a warrant that was issued by Bow Street Magistrates under the Fugitive Offenders Act. It appears that they were charged with 56 counts of revenue offences in a magistrate's court. Well, well, well!

I know that Reg joined him in the motorcycle business and Diana worked for him for a time. There was, quite a time later, a fall out between Reg and Roddy and apparently they did not speak for a while. Roddy's wife, Sybil, is now in the UK as is her daughter. Her son, Carl, is still on the island and has not married but has a girlfriend.

On the island are Diana and her descendants and Reg and his descendants. Dennis and his children are in England.

Remembrance Day

11th November 2006

Today is 11th November and Diana and I have been to see the ceremony at the Cenotaph in Hamilton, Bermuda which was almost more British than being in Britain. It was a very colourful ceremony, with the band dressed in pith helmets and soldiers in their white jackets and blue trousers:

There was also a veteran's band with bagpipers. What inspiring marching music! The ceremony was carried out at the Cenotaph with three flags of Great Britain, the Royal Air Force flag, the Royal Navy flag and the Union Jack. The Governor General arrived to lay his wreath and he was flanked by police motor bike outriders - all very grand. The march-past was down Front Street, Hamilton, in the glorious sunshine with the Union Jack flying above. In fact, I have never seen so many Union Jacks, they were all over Bermuda.

Remembrance Day

Bermuda Defined

I've now been on the island for just over four days and it has been a fascinating experience looking into other people's lives. It has also been interesting comparing my view of the island with the image created by the beautiful calendars Diana sends every year. Yes, the houses are exquisitely coloured in a light pink, light green or light blue with white painted roofs and the island is perfectly set in blue clear waters. It stretches some 20 odd miles and is in the shape of a fishhook or billhook, not being very wide. It is a tropical green island with houses dotted everywhere over the small hills, their white roofs showing through the surrounding green foliage.

View over the botanical gardens

View over the botanical gardens

View over St George's Bay

View over St George's Bay

November is, obviously, not the season for flowers but, regardless, there are plenty of them out, hibiscus showing bright red against the green foliage, alongside a smattering of yellow and blue flowers – the names I'm afraid I do not know. Apparently, the prevalent tree here, up until a disastrous tree disease struck them down in 1945, was the cedar and it appears that everything was made out of it - boats, houses etc. Unfortunately, only a few cedars survived with an Australian small pine tree introduced in its place. Despite this, the island is definitely very green with a coast not unlike Cornwall, which is quite rocky but without the cliffs. The rocks are volcanic mixed in with some limestone. There are beautiful beaches, mostly on the south shore, where the sand is a kind of yellowy-pink. At this time of year the temperature is warm and the sea is ideal for swimming at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit – very pleasant.

There is an abundance of British naval and military history here and around the island there are many forts. The dockyard, in use up until 1992 by the British navy, is a fascinating example of British military architectural history.

The buildings in the capital, Hamilton – especially on Front Street which overlooks the harbour - reflect a kind of British/American/colonial appearance, with open arcades at the bottom, where the footpath is and balconies and verandas above. In many cases, buildings have the name of the occupying company or the organisation on them.

Customs House

The original capital, St George's, is at the other end of the island and, to give you an example, the Customs House is not unlike the Customs House in King's Lynn. St George's was the capital from about 1620 onwards.

The one thing that strikes me about modern day Bermuda is how narrow the roads are. They do drive on the left and the narrowness of the roads is reminiscent of some of the narrow lanes and roads in England. Although the speed of the traffic is not high – the speed limit is supposed to be 35 kilometres an hour - the traffic is constant; the majority of it made up of motor scooters. It seems everyone goes everywhere by motor scooter. There are, of course, a fair number of cars, buses, taxis and lorries etc. and, with no pavements in most places, it does seem a little dangerous to walk anywhere. However, having tried it, it is not too bad and people seem to be fairly considerate. More than half the population is made up of people of Black and Caribbean descent and drivers from this part of the community seem to communicate with each other constantly on the road by tooting their horns – not as a sign of warning but just a "toot", as it were, to say hello to somebody and this goes on all the time.

Union Jack Bermudian flagBermuda is definitely British – everywhere you go you can see the Union Jack or the Bermudian flag.[2] I've never seen so many Union Jacks.

Apart from that, the island does cater for the American tourist – American style food, American portions and, most of all, the television is American, although the local TV station does include some British programmes sometimes. There is a Bermudian accent, at first I thought it was American, but it is not, it is Bermudian. However, a lot of people do speak with an American accent – clearly they are very close, with people from Bermuda able to take a two hour flight to go shopping in New York and, if any specialised hospitalisation is required, this is also carried out in America.

It is not a cheap island to visit – you can easily spend a hundred dollars on a meal for two, which might be really no more than a specialised burger, chips and drinks with coffee.

Philip Jent

When I was making the arrangements for the trip here to Bermuda I had no idea that Michael Jent had a son who was working here. This is completely unconnected with his father Michael's stay on the island, when he was a policeman some years ago. Michael and his wife, Elizabeth, broke up quite a while ago and Elizabeth returned to Scotland with the two twin boys, Michael and Philip. I think it was then that Michael came out to Bermuda as a policeman – he had previously been in the Metropolitan Police in London.

L to R: Vic, Leanne & Philip

L to R: Vic, Leanne & Philip

Quite by chance and through my website I had an email from a Philip Jent shortly before I went to Bermuda and it turned out this was Michael's son, Philip. Now aged 35, and strangely enough working in Bermuda. I didn't know I was going to discover part of Michael's family here in Bermuda and I have now met him – he is a very nice guy working as a fitness instructor in a health club on the island.

His brother Michael is back in Scotland. Philip has been working on the island for 2-3 years on and off and he has a partner who is from Yorkshire and has been working
on the island for about 5 years – her name is Leanne.

Notes on the Young Family Members

Whilst I have been staying with Diana I have had the opportunity of going through some of her papers and newspaper cuttings which has helped me piece together some of the history of the Young-Ient family in Bermuda.

Pauline Young

In Diana's papers I came across a copy of the identity card for Pauline Young, (my aunt):

Pauline Young ID card

Pauline Young ID card:

 

Address: St Georges, Bermuda. Born: 22 January 1901. Height: 5'7 Eyes: Blue Hair: Light brown.

 

Dated: 4th September 1943.

The papers also included a copy of Pauline's baptism and confirmation certificate. She was confirmed on 13th December 1916. Unfortunately it doesn't say where.

Diana's Family

Diana was married twice and her first husband was Horace Whitehead and her second husband was John Barker. Apparently ex-husband Barker, who came from Hull in the UK, still lives on the island and they are still in touch which is very nice.

Diana had two boys by her first marriage to Mr Horace Whitehead of St Georges, Bermuda and their names are Dennis and David. They are currently both in the maintenance and service business – one works for a company and the other one runs his own business doing household repairs and maintenance.

I met David and Dennis whilst on the island. They are both in their 40s and have children who in turn have children.

Reg's Family

Diana's brother Reggie (Reginald Young) was married to Vivienne Young and they have a daughter Katherine Mary who married Nigel Williams on Saturday 12th June 1993 in Hamilton, Bermuda.

I met Diana's brother, Reg and his second wife, Evelyn, who only fairly recently came over from England. Reg doesn't have many descendants having two children, Kathy, who has two children and Peter who hasn't married. Peter along with Diana are my main family contacts in Bermuda.

Roddy's Family

I didn't meet any of Roddy's descendants – as far as I can see there appears to be only one on the island and his name is Carl. I am not sure if Diana is very close to him, as there has been no offer to arrange a meeting. Roddy and Sybil Young had a second child - a daughter, Joy Amanda, who married David Charles Tucker on 4th May 1991 in the Design Museum, London SE1.

Roddy died in 2002 at the age of 75. The memorial service for Roderick Carl Young was held at the Old Devonshire Church in Bermuda on 18th Tuesday 2002. The newspaper notes that he is survived by his son-in-law David Tucker in England and his sister, Mrs Diana Barker of Bermuda and brother's Reginald E. Young of Bermuda and Dennis Young of Scotland. He was buried at sea on the Wednesday morning.

Dennis's Family

Diana and I have been talking quite a lot about Dennis, her elder brother (born 1922) and lives in Morayshire in Scotland. Dennis Charles Young was married to Jean Walker on 15th February 1947 at the Church of St John the Baptist in Unthank Road.

The death of Jean Mary Jacqueline Young, Park Cottage, South Street, Forres is noted in Diana's files. The "In Memorial" service programme notes her birthday as being 11th January 1927 and that she died on 3rd November 2003.

Dennis's Descendents:

Rita Alexander

When I visited Diana in Bermuda I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go through some of her family papers and I came across an extremely interesting collection of letters relating to Ient family history. These were written by Rita Alexander (known as Margie) to Diana in 1992. Rita lived in Zimbabwe where she was a nurse. She died in 1999.

To see these letters click here



[1] The line of hills throughout Dorset reflects the straight line of the Purbeck Hills but in less relief.

[2]The Bermudian flag: red, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Bermudian coat of arms (white and green shield with a red lion holding a scrolled shield showing the sinking of the ship Sea Venture off Bermuda in 1609) centred on the outer half of the flag.


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