50 years ago: Dramatic wartime story recounted

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, in honor of Remembrance Day, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden described some of the district’s experiences during WWII, which at that time had only ended two decades earlier.

“More than twenty years have passed since the hostilities of World War II ended. Grand Cayman remembers many tragedies from it. Even Bodden Town and its outlying districts of Breakers and Frank Sound shared in the excitement of the War years.

“One incident worthy of repetition was the inadvertent discharge of bombs just outside the reef at Frank Sound. Early one morning, a low-flying aircraft caught in an electrical storm dropped four bombs in the stormy waters just outside the channel. A few days later when the sea had calmed down, Mr. Livingstone Terry spotted the dangerous and unexploded eggs as they quietly lay on the bottom of the sea.

“A veteran seaman and a man who had outlived the horrors of two world wars, Mr. Terry marked the spot with a buoy attached to his anchor.

“A rider was dispatched to Bodden Town and the news was relayed to the authorities in George Town by telephone (when I say that Bodden Town is now twenty years behind the times, my readers will understand as our old telephone system has not been improved on.)

“The top brass from the United Sates Naval Base in George Town immediately investigated the matter. It was decided that on the morrow an attempt would be made to either salvage or explode the lethal bombs.

“The morrow dawned fair and a group of men who knew that they were playing with death rowed out in Mr. Terry’s big catboat.

“Mr. Terry who now at 83 years of age works 10 hours a day, still tingles with excitement at the memory of that breathtaking episode. He can still tell with the minutest detail of the ingenuity of the corps of engineers who tackled this dangerous operation. They were successful in exploding three of the bombs on that day. One failed to go off.

“On the following day, the more dangerous task of grappling up, and taking in tow the stubborn live bomb was undertaken.

“He remembers that on one occasion a huge wave washed the bomb up against the stern of the catboat. To use the words of Mr. Terry, ‘We nearly all went to hell or to see Jesus.’

“However, the bomb was brought ashore and the detonating cap removed from it. The remainder was buried in a deep hole under the supervision of the Commander himself.

“Mr. Terry has great respect for the efficiency of the U.S. Navy, but what he liked most was the promptness with which he received remuneration for the little service he had rendered.”

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