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Bermuda will remember them

  • Never forgotten: mason David West adds the names of John Headley Durham and Doris Paddock to the war memorial (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two more people joined the register of Bermuda’s war dead yesterday.

The names of Doris Paddock, whose exact role in the Second World War remains undisclosed, and Royal Navy veteran John Headley Durham were carved in stone on the eve of Remembrance Day.

Ms Paddock, who achieved the rank of captain at the age of 19, worked in a special unit that answered to wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Carol Everson, case officer for the Bermuda Legion, said Ms Paddock may have worked in espionage or served with Resistance forces in Occupied Europe.

She added: “There is still a lot of secrecy around those units that worked under Sir Winston. Although we used the highest possible sources, we could not find out exactly what she did.

“Her military career is a mystery, but it’s a good mystery.”

For Elizabeth Campbell, who fought for years to obtain recognition for her father, getting the Durham name added to the stone memorial proved a deeply moving experience.

She said: “I have wanted this for so long, it was overwhelming for me.”

Stonemason David West returned to the island from England to complete the work on the monument.

Ms Campbell’s father died aged 63 and left few documents or details about his wartime service.

But the tribute to his service was a longstanding promise to his widow, Gwen Durham, who is 98.

The granite monument, in the grounds of Cabinet Office on Front Street, is sacred ground for veterans and their families — especially today, when those who served in war are honoured around the world.

Mr West and his wife, Karen, were brought from Britain by Ms Campbell and hosted during their stay to complete the task begun years ago.

Mr West said after he had carefully cut the names: “I can be quite critical of my work, but I’m happy with this. Elizabeth has tried for a good few years to have her dad’s name added here.

“It’s a privilege to come back.”

Ms Everson said the monument was the brainchild of Derrick Burgess, public works minister in the previous Progressive Labour Party government.

Today marks the last day for the Legion to raise funds from its poppy appeal to support the island’s 140 veterans and their widows.

Ms Everson thanked the Royal Bermuda Regiment and civilian volunteers for their work in selling poppies.

She said relatives of veterans are welcome to join today’s parade and could march behind the main procession of former service personnel.