Nevisian is Bermuda’s oldest retired police officer at 102
Photo of Bermuda Commissioner Michael DeSilva and Mr. Marsh with his birthday gift (Photo courtesy of Bermuda News)
ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 18TH 2011 – A national of the Federation celebrated his 102nd birthday in Bermuda.
But the national is just not an ordinary national of Bermudian. Nevisian-born Milton Murray Marsh is the oldest retired police officer in Bermuda and actually retired from the police force before current Commissioner Michael DeSilva was born.
Commissioner DeSilva who paid a visit to marsh on Thursday, said that decades ago Mr. Marsh received a commendation and a £5 bonus for his work on a murder case. Mr. Marsh said that was good money back then, while the Commissioner joked to not “let my staff know that, because it might catch on.”
When asked if he wanted to come out of retirement and assist the Police Service now, Mr. Marsh smiled and declined the offer. Milton Murray Marsh was born in Charlestown, Nevis, in the British West Indies on 17th February 1909. He was raised between Charlestown and Basseterre, St. Kitts, and his father, Arthur Alexander Marsh was a police officer, so perhaps law enforcement was in his blood.
After leaving school Milton worked for a time in a hardware store in Basseterre and he then became Assistant to the Head Store Man in the Works Department (similar to the old Public Works Department in Bermuda).
As a young man in Nevis and St. Kitts, Milton loved to play sports – cricket and football – and proudly says that he had to learn early how to defend himself because some people wanted to take their revenge out on him because of his father’s position as a policeman. As he says, “I had to take care of myself – the hard way.”
Milton eventually decided to visit Bermuda and, it was more or less through his father that he was able to get a job as an Assistant in Public Works although he knew this was not what he wanted to do long term. His father introduced him to the idea of joining the Bermuda Police Force but he was reluctant to do so because of his past experiences as the son of a policeman in Nevis and St. Kitts.
Soon after Milton got a new job working for a while at the Cooperative Society store on Boaz Island in Somerset. Milton met his wife Gwendolyn (nee Williams) who was Bermudian, at Misicks Music School run by Miss Gladys Tatem. He had learned how to play the violin as a young boy in St. Kitts, and he wanted to continue with his interest in music. Their relationship blossomed and they were married on April 20, 1944 at St. John’s Church in Pembroke. Gwendolyn was the daughter of Detective Sergeant J.J. Williams, who was himself an outstanding detective and worked alongside Bermuda’s first ever Detective Officer, “D.O.” Simons.
Milton joined the Bermuda Police Force on the 30th June 1941.