120th Anniversary of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band


120th Anniversary of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band

This special issue of stamps celebrates the 120th Anniversary of the world famous Royal Bahamas Police Force Band which has for many years been a major cultural icon throughout the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The rhythmic beats and harmonic tones that these sharply dressed military musicians produce are crowd pleasers for both local and international audiences. These stamps show both historical occasions and contemporary images of the band performing in the Bahamas and against the backdrop of Atlantis Resorts.

The band was formed in 1893 by Commandant F.C. Halkett who, in his Annual Police Report for that year, informed the Bahamas' Assembly that he was "successful in forming certain members of the Force into a Band sufficiently creditable to be able to perform once a week for the amazement of the public”.

At that time the Police Band consisted of just 12 members who performed normal police duties but were given time off for practice and official engagements with no extra payment. Later, in 1913 Mr. Leon E.H. Dupuch, founder/editor of the Tribune, assisted with obtaining funds for more instruments.

The two historical stamps show events in 1948 and 1975. The 15c stamp shows His Excellency Sir William Murphy KCMG, LLD Governor of the Bahamas presenting the Colonial Police Medal for Gallantry to Constable Fred Neville Seymour on 10th June, 1948. Mr Seymour had been responsible for the capture of a dangerous escaped convict, during which he had received a lifelong cutlass wound to his head. Mr Seymour was promoted to Sergeant and appointed the first Bahamian Conductor/Bandmaster of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band serving from 1949 to 1958, retiring as Chief Inspector in 1965.

The 25c value captures a historic moment as the band performed for the Queen as she boards the Royal Yacht "Britannia" in 1975. 

Over the year the band has especially benefitted from contributions from certain individuals. In the 1950’s the band made progressive improvements with additional instruments and music classes conducted by Warrant Officer EduBauchaire, band master from the U.S. Air Force band. Then in 1958 Mr. Dennis Morgan was recruited for the band from Jamaica to serve as the conductor and director of the band where he served right up until 1978. During his tenure the then Commissioner of Police Mr. Colchester Weymss introduced a change of attire for the entire Force. The Band was allowed to wear the white pith helmets with the chain attached to the peak; also a red band feather adorned the helmet. The drummers wore leopard skins with a red and gold belt that replaced the leather belts. All members wore the dark blue trousers with red stripes and white bush jackets. These few adjustments resulted in an impressive uniform, as can be seen on this special issue of postage stamps.

The band had been a platoon of the Bahamas Police Special Company Reserve Riot Unit but as it grew and improved it became a separate and complete unit in 1964 with 32 members and a very hectic and demanding schedule. This led to the band’s first international trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for three days which was used as a promotional trip for The Ministry of Tourism.

In recent years the band has become a magnificent tourist attraction performing at all manner of functions and Royal Visits as well as travelling extensively throughout the world, performing up to 150 engagements in a year.

Technical details:
Printer                                  BDT International Security Printing
Process                               Stochastic Lithography
Perforation                          14 per 2cms
Stamp size                          28.45 x 42.58mm
Sheet Layout                       20 (2 x 10)
Release Date                      15 May 2013
Production Co-ordination    Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

Photographs courtesy of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Photo of Mr Fred Seymour by Freddie Maura.