• December 21, 2015


The appointment of Sir Richard Gozney made me think of Erskine Burrows.

The last significant appointment Gozney had before his appointment is semi-retirement to Mann (from April 2016) was in Bermuda and it was in Bermuda in the evening of the 10th of March 1973 that Erskine Burrows shot and killed the then Governor, Sir Richard Sharples together with his aide de camp Captain Hugh Sayers.

It gave the British Government quite a shock! That sort of thing didn’t happen in what was left of their colonies and they were distinctly on edge for several months after. Armed naval personnel were deployed on shore immediately after the shooting and over the next few days troops were flown in including a sizeable detachment of the Parachute regiment.

Burrows was eventually convicted of the two killings and of an earlier assassination of the Commissioner of the Bermuda Police he was hanged together with a co defendant, Larry Tacklyn.

Appeals were lodged and Tacklyn expected a reprieve although Burrows apparently did not care if he was executed.

Of the killing of the Governor Burrows said:

“The motive for killing the Governor was to seek to make the people, black people in particular, become aware of the evilness and wickedness of the colonialist system in this island. Secondly, the motive was to show that these colonialists were just ordinary people like ourselves who eat, sleep and die just like anybody else and that we need not stand in fear and awe of them.”

Although of course execution had been abolished in the United Kingdom and there was a moratorium on its use in Bermuda where no one had been hanged for over thirty years. The British were so vengeful after the Governor’s killing that they lifted the moratorium on capital punishment and both Burrows and Tacklyn were hanged on 2nd December 1977.

The next three days saw serious rioting in the territory units of the Bermuda Regiment who together with the Parachute Regiment were deployed were inadequate and further military forces from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were flown in.

In the history of the episode Burrow is described as a petty criminal however the words:

“these colonialists were just ordinary people like ourselves who eat, sleep and die just like anybody else and that we need not stand in fear and awe of them.”

Make him sound more like a patriot to me certainly the ordinary people who protested for several days after his death thought so!

Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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