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Memorial for First Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Credit: BHC London

A memorial was held for the first Commodore of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the late William Swinley, O.B.E. The service took place at the Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin in Gloucestershire, England.

Commodore Swinley passed away on June 24th in Guernsey; he was buried on July 8th. During the memorial in Gloucestershire, High Commissioner of The Bahamas, His Excellency Eldred Bethel and Mrs Dawne Bethel gave condolences and greeted Commodore Swinley’s sons Philip and Ben along with other family members. In October 1975, then Commander Swinley formed The Royal Bahamas Defence Force where he became the first Commodore and served from 1976 to 1981. Former Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling mandated Commodore Swinley to design The Royal Bahamas Defence Force to be patterned after The Royal Navy. As a former British Naval officer, Swinley as Commodore used his skills to implement systems and structures used in The Royal Navy for The Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

High Commissioner Bethel views photo exhibit of Commodore Swinley’s life at memorial in Gloucestershire. 

High Commissioner Bethel and Mrs Bethel along with Swinley Family in Gloucestershire, England. 


Hugh Peers (Royal Navy based in Nassau during the 60’s and 70’s), High Commissioner Bethel, Margaret Swinley (sister) and Mrs Bethel.