Charles Winton Ebanks was born on 15 October, 1919, from the union of Mr. and Mrs. Beaman Ebanks of the district of West Bay.
He was the last of nine siblings, seven boys and two girls. Brothers Daniel, Redfund, Dudley, Garvin, Ellon and Millward and sisters Eva and Girda, all preceded him in death.
Mr. Winton was a seaman in his early days; he remembered his dad Beaman Ebanks taking him to Mosquito Key on numerous occasions to do turtling, as that was the livelihood in those days. However, being the headstrong boy that he was, in 1939 he plainly told his dad, “Daddie, this is going to be my last time out at this Mosquito Key”.
When the call came out in early 1941 for volunteers to enlist in the Royal Navy for service primarily in Trinidad, Mr. Winton answered the call. Apparently, the enlistment physical test was that you had to be a certain body mass and height and weight. If you knew anything about Mr. Charles Winton, he was not the heavy set, structured body man in those days but was a very puny and small youngster as he described himself.
He noted that when the examiner got to measure his feet and I quote Mr. Winton, “He said, take off your shoes, I took off my shoes, take off your socks, I took off my socks. Let me see your instep, and when the man measuring me, saw my instep he said, “I cannot fail you for this, you have an instep there you will be able to run all over Trinidad and even Jamaica and back and we will not have a problem with you.”
Many will recall hearing Mr. Winton telling that story up until his passing, as it was indeed an accomplishment and opened the door that enabled him to go to sea to make a living and look after his family.
With pride in Mr. Winton’s voice, one could still hear the story about his miracle ticket; because that was the only way he could have gotten to go to sea at his age.
After the war was over, Mr. Winton was honourably discharged from the Navy, returned home, returned to civilian life and began his career as a merchant seaman.
The Panton family soon began recruiting men for National Bulk Carriers and thus Mr. Winton became one of many Caymanians who earned a reputation as outstanding seafarers by manning ships and travelling the world.
During Mr. Winton’s time at sea he had his named changed due to the fact that there were so many seamen with the last name “Ebanks” and in endeavouring not to get his mail and personal effects mixed up as it was in the past, Mr. Charles Winton Ebanks then changed his name to Charles Winton Senior.
Mr. Winton met his beloved wife, Ms Lula Mae Harris on one of his two-three weeks vacation trips from Trinidad. He later married Ms. Mae Harris on 16 December, 1947, at the Presbyterian Church in George Town by Rev. George
Hicks. Their union in marriage led to two wonderful sons, Charles and James Winton.
After the war and his years of travelling aboard ships such as the “Addie H” owned by Captain Charles Farrington and also the National Bulk Carriers in those days, Mr. Winton returned home years to be with his wife, the late Mae Winton.
After his seaman years, Mr. Winton found odd jobs around the Island and worked at the Galleon Beach Hotel, Holiday Inn and Treasure Island as the maintenance man until he retired.
In January 2011, Mr. Winton was honoured at the National Heroes Day celebration, when he and the other four living Caymanian veterans of the Royal Navy contingent that served in Trinidad during World War Two, was awarded the Cayman Islands Medal of Honour at the rank of Commander (CMH) in recognition of their outstanding wartime service in the cause of freedom.
Mr. Winton was indeed proud to have received this medal and whenever he spoke about it, you would sense the pride and gratitude in his heart.
We thanked the Cayman Islands Government for their recognition and special thanks to the Cayman Islands Veterans Association, especially Captain Dale Banks for being so instrumental in recommending that the National Honours and Awards Committee approve the award and in assisting Mr. Winton with a brand new wheelchair for that memorable event.
On 13 June, 2011, Mr. Charles Winton, Sr., became ill and was taken to the Cayman Islands hospital under the care of the wonderful staff, where he remained until his passing on Friday, 1 July, 2011 at approximately 5am.
Mr. Charles Winton, Sr., CMH was preceded in death by his wife, the late Lula Mae Winton, and left to mourn are his two sons Charles and James Winton, special daughter-in-law Majorie Cherry Winton; four grandchildren, James Harris Winton, Jr., Kevin Winton, Jamel Winton and Simone Jessica Winton; four great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives, church family and friends.
The family of the late Mr. Charles Winton Sr., CMH, wishes to thank the Cayman Islands Veterans Association, the staff of the Health Services Authority, his church family at the Church of God Universal and all other friends for all their support.
He has fought a good fight, He has finished the course and he has kept the faith. (11 Timothy 4:7)
May his soul rest in peace.