The Cayman Islands National Museum is now in possession of two ceremonial swords.
The rapiers are archetypes of a 1897 British infantry officer’s sword, and a possible 1827 German-made British rifle officer’s sword, as its proof disc suggests.
The swords belonged to the late Joseph Rodriquez “Roddy” Watler, a 33-year veteran inspector of the police service.
Mr. Watler’s daughter Joan Wilson donated the swords to the museum.
“We are pleased to accept this donation. The swords are an important part of our history of uniformed service, and enhance the National Collection,” a statement from the museum read.
The 1897 sword’s hilt is comprised of a three-quarter basket guard, copper and brass wire binding on a fish skin-covered tang, and a cross-hatched steel back piece. The guard design is composed of a laurel wreath below the royal cipher of King George VI. The 32.25 inch blade is straight, and bears minimal rust and pitting, according to the museum.
The 1827 patterned sword’s blade is of similar length and style. The guard bears an oval cartouche and a crowned bugle. The grip is again copper and brass wire binding over a fish-skin covered tang.
Mr. Watler was appointed head of the Cayman Islands Police Force, as it was known then, in 1925, and stayed in that role until he retired in 1958. He is best known for his heroic rescue of 20 marooned people during the 1932 storm for which he was awarded the King George V and Queen Mary Silver Medal for Bravery.
As head of the police, Mr. Watler also held the positions of lighthousekeeper, foreman of public works, boarding officer of vessels and warehousekeeper, customs officer and aide-de-camp to the Commissioner of the Cayman Islands and visiting governors.
From 1942 to 1945, Mr. Watler was appointed Officer in Charge of the Cayman Islands Company of The Jamaican Home Guard, which earned him another title – “Major” Watler.
Mr. Watler married Blanche Lee Bodden of George Town and raised a family of nine children, two of whom are still alive, daughters Joan and Helen.