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November 21, 2021

40 Vintage Photos Capture Street Scenes of Bermuda in 1941

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is about 1,035 km (643 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (with Cape Point on Hatteras Island being the nearest landfall); 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba, and 1,538 km (956 mi) due north of the British Virgin Islands.

Bermuda consists of over 170 islands and is divided into nine parishes. Its climate is subtropical, primarily due to its chilly but mild winter temperatures. Unlike other designated subtropical areas, summers are also mild, with temperatures generally not rising above 30 °C (86 °F) in the hottest months of July and August.

Bermuda’s capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is internally self-governing, it is the most populous of the British overseas territories. It had one of the world's highest GDP per capita for most of the 20th century.

These vintage photos from buddymedbery were taken by his grandfather Medbery on Bermuda in fall of 1941 when he was there working for the army.


  1. An interesting collection of photos....
    I need to review these further, but it appears that your grandfather Medbery spent time with my uncle Dave Knudsen - some photos are almost identical to Dave's, clearly taken within moments of some that I have in my digital collection.
    Not all photos in this collection were taken in 1941: the photo showing the Monarch of Bermuda, for instance, would have been taken before the Monarch left Bermuda for the last time in 1939.

  2. Further to the above, the 4th photo in this collection, showing Front Street with carriages, the Victoria Block and the Bermuda Cathedral in the background, was taken c1935-1936, before the balconies were removed from the Pearman Watlington and Co building on the very left.

  3. My thanks to buddymedbery for making his grandfather's album available online. I wonder if Buddy is aware of the significance of one of the photographs taken by his grandfather?

    The photograph (No.32) of the Spanish cargo ship the SS Navemar (‘Nevermore’) seems iniquitous enough until one notices the tangle of humanity on her decks.

    The Navemar was built in England in 1921, Norwegian-owned until 1927 and then Spanish-owned for the rest of her career.

    In 1941, the America-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee was desperate to rescue Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia escaping Nazi persecution. Many held US visas that were about to expire and the Committee directed the refugees to Seville, where the SS Navemar had been privately chartered to make the transatlantic crossing to the United States. Tickets for the few passenger cabins sold at exorbitant prices while the captain vacated his cabin and charged $2,000 to all who could fit themselves into the small space. Bunks were fitted in the filthy cargo holds, which had previously carried coal. Although attempts were made to clean the ship, there was too little time to complete the task before sailing.

    The Navemar left Seville on 7 August 1941. She called at Lisbon where many of the visas were extended by the US Embassy there. After calling at Havana (where many of the mutinous crew reportedly abandoned ship) she was forced by British authorities to stop in Bermuda for an inspection of the ship and her human cargo, and the ship finally reached New York on 12 September 1941. Many of the passengers had contracted typhus and six died in the seven-week crossing.

    After her refugee voyage the Navemar returned to general trade and was torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Barbarigo in the Strait of Gibraltar on 23 January 1942.
    ~ Info from Wikipedia and Bermuda's Royal Gazette newspaper.

    Again, thanks for posting.




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