50 years ago: Warship visit big news in Brac

In the Dec. 8, 1965 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a predecessor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote about the visit of a British warship: 

“The visit of the anti-submarine frigate H.M.S. Rothesay, flagship of the British squadron stationed in the West Indies, was a great day in the history of the island. 

“From early morning the Islanders began gathering at the channel, the earliest arriving at 7:00 a.m., just in time to see the frigate heaving into view and steaming across the western tip of the island. They had the thrill of seeing the men lined up on her bow having their first view of the island. 

“By 8:00 a.m., the concrete pier presented a colourful picture of happy expectancy, with all the folks come together to express their welcome. Everybody was there – the young, the old, the children, the babes in arms. There were cameras, binoculars and smiles everywhere. 

“At 9:00 our local ‘Steady Girl’ manned by Messrs. Winton Ritch and Olney Scott, the British flag waving in the breeze, returned from the vessel bringing our District Commissioner and the Chief of Police. They advised us that the Commodore and his party would land at 9:30 a.m., the men at 10:30 a.m. and visitors would be allowed aboard from 2-5 p.m.” 

Ms. Ritch wrote that after landing, there was a buffet lunch, followed by sightseeing and swimming for the visiting officers. Later, District Commissioner Anton Foster and his wife hosted a cocktail party at their home. 

“The party was described by some of our young people as the most enjoyable in a long while, perhaps because ‘the officers were all so very friendly and we responded.’” 

The petty officers and ship’s crew wished they could have stayed longer, Ms. Ritch wrote. 

“About 90 men came ashore. At dusk while waiting on the pier, there was evidence that ‘every nice girl loves a sailor,’ a few of the boys took last minute dips and the lovely tenors of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ said ‘We’ve had a happy day.’” 

50 years ago: Warship visit big news in Brac