April 21, 2021

Major “Roddy” Watler remembered

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roddy Wilson Joan photos2Today (Fridayy 3rd March) is the anniversary of Major Joseph Rodriquez ‘Roddy’ Watler who served as Inspector of Police (for 33 years), was light house keeper, foreman of public works, boarding officer of vessels, and warehouse keeper.

He was appointed Officer in Charge of the Cayman Islands Company of The Jamaican Home Guard on 1st  October 1942 until 31st March 1945 when the war ceased.

In the raging hurricane of 1932 Major Watler exhibited much bravery in rescuing 20 people who were marooned in Red Bay. For this service he was awarded the King George V and Queen Mary Silver Medal for Bravery.

Major Watler was also an Elder and Manager of Elmslie Memorial United Church for many years.

roddy Wilson Joan photos1He was a stalwart citizen, a fine man, a dear friend to all and respected by all. A restraining influence on the reckless and rebellious, yet a man of reverence; a thinker with a reflective mind and a tender heart. His chief joys were centred around his home and family.

Incredibly, there is no mention of this truly great Caymanian in the official “History of the Cayman Islands” book.

Even at the honours ceremony of past heroes at Heroes Square last month there was no tribute to Major Watler and his name was not mentioned.

His surviving daughters, Helen Merren and Joan Wilson certainly remember their wonderful father and his extraordinary life and service he gave to his country the Cayman Islands.

Screen-shot-2014-03-02-at-10.38.11-PMEven though he is forgotten by our government officials today. “We will never forget you, dearest father,” Joan said in posting this message.

Major Joseph Rodriquez Watler was born on 3rd March 1880 in the District of Red Bay, Grand Cayman.

He died at age 75 in April of 1965.

An award winning stage play written by Colin Wilson called “Watler’s War” has been staged at The Prospect Playhouse and shown on CITN/Cayman27. The play shows Mj. Watler watler familydiscovering a German spy during World War II and hearing of the death of his eldest son, Ladner, whose ship where Ladner was the second officer, was torpedoed by a German submarine.

The play has since been published by a London publishing house.

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