Bahamas News

RBDF holds 40 Year Observance of bombing of HMBS Flamingo

Lieutenant Commander Whitfield Neely stands at attention as he pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during a ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Lieutenant Commander Neely is the the last remaining current serving member of the HMBS Flamingo.

#Coral Harbour Base, Nassau, The Bahamas – 10 MAY ‘20 (RBDF): In a somber gathering at the Defence Force Base this morning, four marines killed in action 40 years ago were remembered during a wreath laying ceremony in commemoration of the bombing and sinking of HMBS Flamingo on May 10, 1980.

Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during the ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. He is shown placing a wreath near the water’s edge.

The significance of the day soaked through like the rainstorms that ensued as it happened. In attendance were Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Marco Rolle, Acting Commander Defence Force, Captain Raymond king and his Senior Command. In keeping with the COVID-19 Emergency Orders, one representative from each of the four families were represented. 

Lieutenant Commander Whitfield Neely, the lone current serving member represented the surviving crew members. Wreaths were placed at the HMBS Flamingo Memorial Park Monument and also near the water’s edge in remembrance of all those who were part of the tragedy that rocked the nation.

Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during the ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Also shown giving salutes are Acting Commander Defence Force, Captain Raymond king and Commander Michael Simmons, Captain Coral Harbour.

 On Saturday May 10 at approximately 5:00 p.m., HMBS Flamingo apprehended two Cuban fishing vessels for illegally fishing in Bahamian waters off cay Santo Domingo in the southern Bahamas. Without provocation or warning, two Cuban MIG fighters bombed HMBS Flamingo, killing four marines and wounding several others.

Mrs. Smith, the mother of Marine Seaman Austin Smith pays tribute during the ceremony of remembrance for HMBS Flamingo on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour.

The Defence Force craft eventually sunk in ocean waters 35 miles south of Ragged Island, and 15 out of the 19 crewmembers survived the ordeal by escaping to Ragged Island aboard one of the captured craft they had arrested.

Missing in action and presumed dead were Able Seaman Fenrick Sturrup, and Marine Seamen Austin Smith, David Tucker and Edward Williams. Senior Commander Amos Rolle, Chief Petty Officer Oscar Miller, Petty Officer Leopold Kirby and Marine Seaman Wilfred Sands have since passed, and will forever be remembered.

The Royal Bahamas Defence remains steadfast in its unwavering commitment, sacrifice and service toward the development of the Bahamas.

A family member of Marine Seaman Fenrick Sturrup heads to water’s edge for a wreath laying ceremony during a ceremony of remembrance for HMBS Flamingo on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Also shown is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Marco Rolle.

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