March 25, 2019

Cayman Islands’ Pioneers


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Governor Duncan Taylor with members of Captain Rayal Bodden’s family

At a ceremony held last Friday (11) at Government House, H.E Governor Duncan Taylor, announced four postage stamps were to be issued to commemorate four Cayman Island pioneers. These were:

Mrs. Almeria McLaughlin Tomlinson (1882-1974), the granddaughter of one of Cayman Brac’s first settlers, William Scott. Mrs. Scott was a highly respected midwife who delivered hundreds of babies from Spot Bay to West End and also in Little Cayman. Her payment was often in the form of fish, ground provisions, or days of gardening by the baby’s father.

Capt. Rayal Bodden, Snr. (1885-1976), was born into a family of shipbuilders and was our publisher, Joan Wilson’s uncle. Capt. Rayal built over 100 ships including the “Lady Slater”, the “Cimboco”, and two minesweepers for the British Royal Navy. He also designed and helped construct Elmslie Memorial Church, General Post Office, Public Library, George Town Clock, and the town halls in West Bay, Bodden Town and East End. In 1971 he laid the cornerstone of the Legislative Assembly building.

Miss Irksie Leila Yates, Cert.Hon. (1899-1996), was a nurse and worked with Dr. Overton, the islands’ only doctor. She delivered many babies (over 1,000) and during the 1931 malaria epidemic was head nurse for government. In 1959 she opened a private clinic in her West Bay home. After retiring at the age of 73 she devoted her time to the
Mormon Church.

Major Joseph Rodriguez (Roddy) Watler (1890-1965), was Joan Wilson’s father. For over 30 years, he was Cayman Islands Inspector of Police, warehouse keeper, lighthouse keeper, bailiff, customs officer, head of the Home Guard

L-R Dep Prem. Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, Gregory Merren, Helen Merren, Joan Wilson and Aileen Wood (with baby).

during the second World War and aide-de-camp to the Commissioner of the Cayman Islands and visiting governors. He holds eight medals including one for bravery for actions during the 1932 hurricane. He was given the title of Major by Sir Hugh Foot.

Also attending the ceremony was Dep. Premier, M/s Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Mary Lawrence, Postmaster General, Mrs. Sheena Glasgow, members of the Cayman Islands Philatelic Bureau and members of the families of the honourees.

Governor Taylor gave out framed plaques showing the first day covers of the Pioneers stamps with a speech. Other speakers were Dep. Premier O’Connor-Connolly and Postmaster General Glasgow.

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